6 Reasons why Samoa should be your Post Covid Surf Trip
Samoa is an un-spoilt natural paradise where crystal clear waters meets pristine rainforests. This jewel of the Pacific is made up of two distinct islands, both with pumping surf that picks up swell from every angle.
The main Samoan Island of Upolu and its smaller neighbour, Savaii attract swell all year round. With a multitude of world class reef breaks scattered to the North, South, East and West. Most breaks are only accessible by boat and you need an expert surf guide to take you there.
Dive in deep and discover Samoa with Ronnie Long.
Dating back to WWI, American Samoa to the East remains an unincorporated territory of the United States. A once German controlled island of Western Samoa was reclaimed by New Zealand in the war and subsequently controlled for most of the 20th century. Western Samoa claimed independence and was recognised as a sovereign nation for the first time in 1962. By 1997 they changed from Western Samoa to simply, Samoa.
Samoa is an amazing surf adventure suitable for Intermediate plus level surfers. 90% of the waves break over reef and vary from cruisy walls to death or glory slabs.
Samoa’s year round swell window is possible due to its 360 degree chance of swell in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and relatively ease of access to its outer reefs.
The North and South Coasts of Upolu give you great options and if you want to surf all day, every day it is possible. Just make sure to time it with the tides. Most breaks in Samoa are affected by tide, with low tides breaking on dry reef in most cases.
Savaii, is 90 minutes by ferry from Apia. It is home to none other than Aganoa Beach. Here you will find a perfect right and sometimes left depending on swell direction. Stay in quaint fale’s right on the beach and paddle 5 mins and you are in the line up with no crowds.
Samoa has a range of local cuisines you must try during your surf trip.
Palusami – Coconut milk baked in Taro leaves (great source of protein after many hours surfing)
Faiai Eleni – Fresh fish usually prepared in a thick coconut cream and served in coconut shells.
Panikeke – Sort of tastes like a deep fried banana. Popular street food if you venture into Apia.
Samoa has plenty to do apart from surfing.
Being so close to the rainforests and mountains means you can easily trek to magnificent waterfalls or venture to one of the many swimming holes. A popular tourist attraction and something you must visit during your trip to Samoa is the To Sua Ocean Trench, meaning “big hole”.
If you are on Savaii, one of the best things to do is swim with the turtles at the “Auala green turtle sanctuary”.
Another cool thing to do is jump aboard a local bus into Apia for a browse in the markets. This is a memorable experience and a great way to meet the locals and enrich yourself with Samoan culture.
One of the more bizarre customs you will come across anywhere in the world is the Fa’afafine. These are groups of Samoans who identify themselves as having non-binary role or being a third-gender. Fa’afafine’ are assigned as male gender at birth, but raised and are embodied as female. Commonly, Fa’afafine’ are the youngest male in a household of having more boys than girls. They are raised as women to perform common household duties.
Tattooing is also a unique custom of Samoan culture. Tattoo’s are gender specific. Women receive tattoo’s that stretch from the upper thigh to just below the knees. Males have a more intricate design that stretches from the upper waist to the knees.
Things to be aware of
Although Samoa has a smorgasboard of waves, it is highly recommened to travel with a guide who knows the area. In particular the local village chiefs or senior figures. Many waves are on traditional Samoan lands and you have to pay a small fee to surf there. If you don’t pay, suffer the consequences. Many of the resorts have this all covered so book with one of them.
Many of the waves break on shallow, sharp reef. Be prepared, don’t step too far out of your comfort zone, but challenge yourself nonetheless.
Try not to get roped into a casual game of beach footy with the locals. Their idea of ‘touch’ is a bit different to what we grew up with.