500 miles north of the equator sits this remote chain of islands forgotten in time… towering mountains, lush green rainforests, stunning sunsets, waterfalls, hiking, game fishing, the friendliest people in the Pacific and let’s not forget - world class surf. Stretching over thousands of kilometres, the Caroline Islands are part of the widely scattered islands of the Federated States of Micronesia. They offer a mix of perfect waves, unique tropical beauty and rich local culture.
Founded in 2004 by Allois Malfitani and close friend Chris Groak, Pohnpei Surf Club is the original surf operation in the Caroline Islands. Having surfed the region since 2000, Allois and Chris decided it was time to share their secret but with a focus on ensuring that the environment (both land and water) was respected. The surf breaks are all situated between one and two miles offshore. Navigation through the maze of shallow inshore reefs is not easy and requires their expert local knowledge.
Widely renowned as one of the world's best rights, P-Pass offers up an incredible barrel ride. Don’t get scared by the pictures… the big Teahupoo-style waves you see on the website only hit Pohnpei a few times a year. Most swells deliver perfect 2ft to 6ft faces. The staff at Pohnpei Surf Club will make your surfing holiday an experience never to forget. Allois and his friendly crew will ensure you get maximum surf time, catch a big fish and experience the incredible island of Pohnpei.
Pohnpei Surf Club operates out of Pohnpei's latest and greatest holiday accommodation. Boasting excellent facilities and located just 10 minutes’ drive from the airport, the new and improved Pohnpei Surf Club is close to surf breaks and only a short stroll to some excellent Pohnpei bars and restaurants such as the Rusty Anchor, Ocean View Hotel and Restaurant, Arnolds Pizza, Flamingo and Simons Market (local fish and produce market). It’s also just a quick car ride to Cupids and other bars and restaurants in Kolonia town… the perfect location!
Pohnpei Surf Club will be hosting World Surfaris’ guests in the newest rooms on Pohnpei Island… overlooking the water with great views and excellent service. Located on the scenic Mangrove Bay peninsula, nestled next to calm warm tropical waters, you couldn’t picture a more beautiful place to spend an island getaway.
The property features a marina complete with several boats available for fishing, diving, snorkelling, surfing or sailing charters and an island style bar boasting the best drink selection on Pohnpei. Surf Palikir Pass (P-Pass), one of the top right hand breaks in the world; take a hike through a tropical rainforest; admire the hundreds of banana and coconut trees in the area; or simply stop to smell the beautiful Pohnpei flowers. The convenient location of Pohnpei Surf Club will enable you to make the most of your island escape.
Whether you’re looking for a surf trip, dive trip, fun family holiday or a romantic getaway, Pohnpei Surf Club delivers excellent value for an affordable price. The dedicated and professional staff will welcome you with true “Kaselehlie” spirit! With the telescope upstairs, you can check out the surf conditions at first light, grab breakfast and head out for a short 7 mile boat ride to Palikir. Yes, it’s a huge upgrade from previous seasons… for less money and fewer surfers. This is a hard deal to beat in the surfing world. All we can say is Book Early!
The newly improved Pohnpei Surf Club, just keeps getting better. The 7 rooms are the best on the island...oceanfront double rooms with double and queen sized beds, AC, Wi-Fi, cable TV, refrigerator, full bath, telephone with free local calls, and an overwater balcony with a stunning view. Complimentary morning coffee and in room breakfast is also available.
Just down the hall you have a ship's telescope for surf checks, Pohnpei Surf Club office next to the accommodation, and the best fleet of boats on the island, all within walking distance.
In August 2015, the new Pohnpei Sushi Restaurant opened adjacent to the bar, around 50m from the rooms. There are 3 other restaurants within walking distance and another 5 restaurants a short taxi drive away. Breakfast and boat takeaways can be delivered to your room from 5am (from Arnold's just around the corner...one of the best restaurants on the island). Local vendors, super markets and small stores are also located a short walk or taxi ride from the new Pohnpei Surf Club location.
Pohnpei Surf Club (PSC) Boats -
This is where we hope you will spend most of your trip - inside the boats using them to get to the best dives, surf spots, fishing grounds, exploring Pohnpei waters or just cruising around.
PSC's main priority with the boats is to get you quickly and safely from point A to B. In 12 seasons they have never had a boat accident with guests or a boat that had to be towed back to the camp from any unsafe location. Even if they have a motor problem they always have a boat on standby at the camp to come pick you up, or many friends on the island that would be happy to help. The boat pilots are born and raised in Pohnpei. No need of GPS for these guys. They know these reefs like the palms of their hands.
All PSC's boats are very well maintained and equipped with cell phones, radio, first aid kits, GPS (when needed) coolers for food and drinks, ice, lots of shaded area, seat cushions, fishing and diving equipment (when needed).
During every summer (around July, August and September) they are always upgrading, fixing and adding a few new motors to the boats so they might look a little bit different (and better) than the ones described below.
Currently they have three boats in operation. From 30 to 33 ft long, all fiberglass and mostly Honda latest generation outboard motors. The boats are ideal for rides in the lagoon, to the surf, shallow and deep water, with an average speed of 25 to 30 mph under good conditions. PSC take pride in their fleet of boats to make sure you have a safe and comfortable ride.
Boat Rides - The time they depart every day is based on the activity, location heading, tides and weather. With surfers and up to eight guests they use only one boat. For more than 8 guests they use a second boat.
On most surf days you will have a good breakfast and go. For long days out, they always make sure to pre-order take-out food for a second meal later in the day.
If they have two boats going, the first one leaves early, with or without breakfast, and the second one leaves around one to two hours later. That helps to break the crowd apart. They usually bring some snacks and water on the boat but you are welcome to bring your own food or order some take-out from the restaurant.
Ideally, everyone wants to spend the whole day out, especially if the surf is good. When they do have two boats out, a group that wants to return to the hotel can go back on one of the boats, usually leaving the bigger boat out at the line up for a later return to the hotel.
For diving and tours, all trips are based on location, weather, tides and number of people going. Most trips are with small groups. Pohnpei does not have those loaded boats full of tourists and for most, you will be lucky to see another tourist around.
Pohnpei is the most wind friendly island in all of the Caroline Islands (Micronesia). The Trade Winds are the predominant wind throughout out the Carolines. These winds are offshore and side offshore for most breaks on the north side of the island of Pohnpei. Even on days when the trades are blowing strong, P-Pass and Main Pass hold their perfection. If the wind blows side off shore, the waves wrap the reef so much that the inside section faces perfect off shore conditions, the reef blocking the wind chop. On other islands of the Carolines (Kosrae), the trade winds blow side shore to on shore. Even light trade winds (the predominant wind on the region) will blow out the only decent break on the north side of Kosrae. The reef at P-Pass (Palikir) is one of the easiest user friendly reefs in Micronesia. P-Pass can be surfed at any tide, with no booties required. On other Micronesian islands, low tides mean exposed dry reef and even the medium tides can be pretty sketchy, shorter rides and even exposed coral heads. In Pohnpei, you can surf all day, no waiting for the tide, not to mention, you can surf on Sundays (on some Micronesian Islands, Sunday is a sacred day and you cannot work or surf). It is a law! Pohnpei has the longest, most consistent, rideable wave on any tide or swell coming from the N, NW and NE out of all the Caroline Islands (Micronesia). Pohnpei is exposed to Typhoon swells to the west and strong north swells without anything blocking the swells for 2000 miles. The Carolines can get fickle, however P-Pass is the wave magnet of the region.
The Pohnpei Surf Club has been the longest operational surf camp in all of the Western Pacific. Located a short 15 minute boat ride from Palikir, they have the most comfortable fleet of boats on the island to take you to P-Pass or whatever other wave will be working on that day.
Micronesia has some of the best waves in the world and Pohnpei has by far the best one in Micronesia. Expect warm, crystal clear water, with perfect powerful waves. In Pohnpei, waves break far from the beach, similar to Tahiti or Fiji, either on the barrier reef or near a reef pass. It is not possible to check the surf from shore (close by), so the only way to get to the waves is by boat. Most of the swells that reach Pohnpei are generated by North Pacific winter storms (does not necessarily have the same swell window as Hawaii) and from typhoons in the Western Pacific. Pohnpei surf season goes from early September through to early May. Up to four feet, the waves on Pohnpei are user-friendly. Once the surf gets bigger, you enter another level of surfing. Late take-off’s, fast down-the-line rides, and hollow barrels are what you will find.
No, Pohnpei is not always 8 to 10 ft with top to bottom barrels and pro surfers like you see on surf magazines. Those days do happen 2 to 5 times depending on the year.
On most days during the surf season the Pohnpei surf scene is comprised of around 20 laid back surfers on the whole island. During the off season you will be lucky to find someone to surf with at one of the off season spots or on an odd day at P-Pass.
Most swells that hit Pohnpei are from the north with size ranging from 2 to 6 feet. At this size P-Pass and most of the other waves in Pohnpei are for the intermediate to advance level. On a 2 to 3 ft day and a high tide P-Pass is a very easy and friendly wave to ride.
Ninety per cent of the waves surfed in Pohnpei are located on reef passes. The other waves are all located on bends on the barrier reef. Because there's no way of checking these waves except by boat, and in most cases by leaving another perfect wave, these reef bends are hardly ever surfed.
There are no beach breaks or waves breaking close to the island in Pohnpei. All waves in Pohnpei break on the barrier reef and do require a boat ride.
The weather is always hot. The only time you might feel cold is during a rain squall or when the boat is moving. Bring a rain jacket for these days and lots of sun protection for when it is not raining. The ocean water is always warm, around 85+ degrees.
Pohnpei is heaven on earth for surfers and one of the friendliest places to surf in the world. It's a little bit far from it all, and used to be expensive to get to, and this is the main reason this beautiful part of the world has been left untouched by tourism and surfers.
The Surf Season on the north side of Pohnpei is from October through April with occasional swells in September and May. Winds have a tendency to blow very light and variable from August through December. Trade winds will blow from December until around June or July.
Trades winds are offshore. During every winter there will be a time when the trades will blow stronger then suddenly dying out into perfect conditions for surfing. For most of the time you would not find a place on earth with such perfect wind conditions. Palikir Pass can handle trade winds unless they start blowing too strong or with a lot of north in it which is rare.
It’s a perfect right hander. P-Pass is a short for Palikir Pass. Palikir is the name of the area in which this wave is located, a district of Pohnpei. Palikir Pass is by far the number one wave in the region. Not only perfect but also works under most conditions. The predominant trade winds are always off shore or side shore.
Any swell from the NW to NE will make it work, with a straight north being the best for Palikir Pass. Too much E on the swell and it starts missing the pass (Palikir Pass faces a perfect NW and the wave still has to wrap around and into the pass). Too much W and the wave start to close out on the inside. Anyways, most swells that hit Pohnpei during our surf season are from the north with small variations from the east and west which is the best direction for Palikir Pass. Most swells that hit Pohnpei in the winter range from 2 to 6 feet with occasional bigger days.
On most days Palikir can be surfed at any tide and the reef is a lot more user friendly than Indo, Tahiti or Fiji. There is no reef walking unless you might have to retrieve your lost board on a really low tide day.
Swells here have nothing to do with Hawaii or anywhere else in the Pacific. Pohnpei is located between Honolulu and Manila and a completely different swell window. They do require the same kind of low pressure systems as Hawaii, but from a different location in the Pacific Ocean.
Under small conditions Palikir Pass is a easy wave for a novice surfer. Once it reaches 5 ft and up you enter a different level of surfing. Even at that size it is a easy and perfect wave to ride with a predictable take off and absolutely perfect wall and sections. On up to a 5 ft day you can ride the wave all the way in until it becomes a 2 ft wave, or you can just ride the first two barrel sections and paddle back for more.
On most days there is no current at Palikir Pass. On some extreme tide days the current can get strong and move towards the channel for 30 minutes to one hour and then stop. The tide variation on Pohnpei goes from 3ft to almost 6 ft on the most extreme tides of the year.
P-Pass holds good all the way to 10 ft (Hawaiian size). At this size or bigger, the wave will start doing a double up similar to Shipsterns in Tasmania. Guest Mark Matthews from Australia called it a tropical Shippies on the biggest day ever surfed.
Well, if you don’t like those giant days with lots of pro surfers and photographers around, you won’t see any on most days at P-Pass. Those days only happen a few days a year. As we have mentioned before, on most days you will be living the Warm Pacific dream setup with a crew of friendly surfers sharing the line up. Because all waves in Pohnpei are perfect, surfers do take turns.
If you want to be part of the friendly crew of surfers that share these line ups, DO NOT BACK PADDLE OR PADDLE AROUND, DON’T DROP IN, and DON’T BE SNEAKY. The wave is perfect and everyone out is polite, so wait your turn, enjoy the ride and come back out for another one.
At Palikir you can surf at any tide meaning no waiting for the tide or winds to come up. The only time you might walk on the reef is if you lose your board, and most of the time the winds will blow it right to the channel, where the boats can go pick it up.
The main reason why people love and talk about Palikir Pass is because a regular guy can come out here and ride a wave, which at any other break in the world would have dozens, if not hundreds of locals and pros surfers fighting for that same ride. Here you will have a shot at riding a wave you see mostly in a photos or movies, without the hassle you would find at other well-known spots around the world. Off course it also always depends on your level of surfing, so stay within it.
For sure, the ride of your life!
Once the north swells are in and the trades are blowing, no one wants to surf anything but Palikir Pass. But there are options on the right days. On a high tide the Lighthouse can be a fun wave, and the Main Pass always bigger and challenging. To surf the Main Pass you have to make the wave or you might be in for some serious reef walks.
The East side has really fun and perfect waves from August until mid to late December. The West side also has some epic spots and on a giant swell there are other options that can go from a fun escape to the most epic ride of your life. No kidding.
As for most of the other waves in Pohnpei, you hardly see any surfers around as most don’t know about them, or where and when to go. Leave it to Pohnpei Surf Club to get you there.
Swell: Any type of Nth
Wind: Surf all-round the island so variable
Allois Malfitani has called Pohnpei home for the last decade. Allois is a mad keen waterman and has a flotilla of boats and jetskis to ensure everyone staying with him at Pohnpei Surf Club has the maximum opportunity to surf P-Pass and other Pohnpei breaks when they are pumping. Allois is assisted by a team of local boatmen who know the waters and reefs better than anyone. Allois and his crew will become your mates and will definitely keep you entertained. It's safety first when staying at Pohnpei Surf Club and Allois is equipped to handle any situation. If you are a keen angler, then Allois will take great pleasure in finding you some incredible game fish in this region. There is no other option for surf guiding in Pohnpei other than Allois at Pohnpei Surf Club.
Pohnpei Island has so much to offer. In addition to the incredible surf there's mysterious ancient ruins of the Nan Madol, a relic of some intrigue from the middle ages and dates back to a civilization from the third century AD. There's spectacular waterfalls, a wonderful local culture and some of the best world-class fishing and diving. The fishing in this region is world class, Pohnpei Surf Club can arrange a fishing trip and you will be sure to land the best fish of your life.
There is so much to Pohnpei that it is hard to find a place to start:
Nan Madol: Ancient and incredible are the mysterious ruins of Nan Madol. Words or pictures are not enough to explain what you are about to see. You have to be there in person to feel and try to understand the meaning or try to figure out how it was built. Nan Madol just became a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2016.
Waterfalls: From a five minute easy hike to an all-day six waterfall tour. What would you expect from an island with tall green mountains and lots of rain? There are more waterfalls in Pohnpei than you will ever be able to see on one trip.
Outer Atolls Excursions: Ant and Pakin are located 10 and 30 miles off shore, respectively. Incredible diving, deep sea fishing, beaches, reef passes, snorkeling, and bird watching. All the guests taken there said these were the most beautiful beaches and unreal water they have ever been to or seen in their lives. Other places you have to visit in order to enjoy the feeling and understand the islands are Nahlap and Black Coral. These two islands are located on the barrier reef on the southwest side of the island, tranquil local style resorts with thatch roof bungalows. Black Coral is a Marine Protected area where fish such as grouper spawn during certain times of the year. It's one of the best places in Pohnpei to dive and see the aggregation of these fish by the hundreds. Nahlap, on the other hand, is one of the best fishing grounds in Pohnpei.
Hiking: Let's not forget all the hikes and lookouts like Sohkes Ridge, the World War II historical sites located in many different locations around the island, and the many good restaurants and bars.
Fishing, Kite Surfing, Wind Surfing, Hiking, Exploring, Diving & Stand up Paddle Tours.
Bars & Restaurants: Besides the great Mangrove Bar, Sushi and grill at Pohnpei Surf Club, there are also lots of other bar and restaurants from walking distance to a short drive away.