John Finlay tests Nusa Island Retreat PNG waters for himself!

World Surfaris Director, John Finlay gives us his insight into his recent visit to Nusa Island Retreat:

I’d been to PNG once before and had a fabulous time, especially on the wave front, so I was really looking forward to my visit to Nusa Island Retreat. The experience didn’t disappoint.

Air Niugini performed like clockwork, flying us from Brisbane to Port Moresby & then on to Kavieng via Rubaul. Lou (Nusa Island Retreat chief surfguide & all time good guy) collected us from the Kavieng Airport for the short car ride, then even shorter boat ride, to Nusa Island Retreat. We arrived just after dark, so went straight to the bar for an SP beer with owners Shaun & Shannon Keane.

Over a gourmet buffet dinner, (a nightly occurrence, we subsequently discovered), Lou briefed us on how the surfing worked & lined us up for the early morning boat trip. We finned up that night, slept like logs & were pumped & ready to go at the allotted 6am.

The swell was small, so the only option was Ral Island – the local swell magnet. It was beautifully glassy & nicely shaped as it broke along the reef at the front of the small island. A couple of us SUP’d to start with, while the other 2 paddled long boards. It was a great start to what we hoped would be a gradually building swell.

After several days of only slightly increased swell & highly variable winds, which meant that Ral was often the only option, we took a road trip down the east coast of New Ireland. Some 70km east of Kavieng, we were delivered to a right hand slab called Lubrua. What a gem!

It was glassy, a full 4’ on the sets & as hollow as anything I have seen in recent times. Take-offs had the heart pumping as you pushed over the ledge, jumping to your feet but ducking your head to avoid the lip that was throwing to form those magical things we search so far & wide for – barrels.  Not a hugely long ride but what a magnificent rush! Simply beautiful surf.

Off to the side of the main peak & closer into shore, the local kids were riding their splinters of wood with astonishing agility & poise. There were quite a few of them but only the 4 of us travelling surfers in the water. And the kids weren’t an issue – if you got anywhere near them, they just duck-dived and laughed themselves out of the way, completely unperturbed. Best on a mid to high tide, we had a couple of sessions over a 4 hour period, before hitting the road back to Kavieng. A big day out that was the highlight of our time at Nusa Island Retreat.

The much anticipated bigger swell did not arrive in time for us to enjoy all the numerous left & right point & reef breaks that litter the immediate area of the Retreat. However, there was sufficient swell in a couple of memorable sessions in which the potential of several places could be clearly appreciated.

Just have to go back again….soon!

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