With their sprawling coastlines, countries like the US, Australia, and South Africa are well trodden surfing destinations, but there’s something extra special about surfing around the islands of Samoa. Offering world-class waves, warm clear waters, and a stunning tropical island backdrop, Samoa should be on every surfer’s bucket list of places to visit. With so many top surfing spots around the archipelago, you’re guaranteed to experience something new every day – and better still, without the crowds.
You’ll find great surf in Samoa all year round, but each season brings its own character which might affect where you choose to go at different times of the year. Throughout April to October (northern hemisphere summer), consistent swells develop in the Southern Ocean which hit the southern shores of Upolu and Savai’i creating excellent surfing conditions.
The months of February to April usually bring the most picture-perfect conditions as dwindling trade winds create sparkling rolling seas and glassy conditions. The southern hemisphere summer, which starts around November and goes through to January, generates swells in the North Pacific which travel to Samoa and make the north shores of Upolu and Savai’i more favourable for surfers.
If you don’t want to bring your own surfboard to Samoa, especially if you’re only planning a one-off surf trip, or even if a surfing experience is a lastminute idea once you arrive, you’ll always be able to find a board to hire. While many hotels and resorts will offer a limited selection of surfboards for hire, your best hire options will be around the capital of Apia on Upolu island.
You’ll discover some of Upolu’s best surfing spots from Apia east on the north of the island to Cape Utumau’u, and on the south of Upolu, from Maninoa to Matatufu. On Savai’i, popular surfing destinations include Aganoa Beach, Manase, Lano, and Fagamalo. But there’s so much more. Here’s an overview of some of Samoa’s best surfing locations and experiences.
Situated on the north-east coast of the island, there are a few breaks on offer here offering varying degrees of difficulty. While the most experienced surfers might venture further out to catch the big waves, the most ‘playful’ area can be found in front of the river mouth. Tiavea Bay is best accessed by four-wheel drive which means it might be best experienced as part of a guided tour.
On one of the southernmost tips of Upolu island, Boulders is an exposed left hand reef break with dependable surfing conditions and big waves throughout the year. Breaking off a lava cliff and swinging into a coral reef, the location is best accessed by boat, and you’ll need to be careful of rocks in the water.
A long paddle from the shore, Salani is usually accessible by boat as part of a guided surfing expedition. With waves breaking on the exposed coral reef generating large and small barrels, Salani is known for good wave conditions all year, even outside the trade wind season.
A popular host destination for surfing competitions, Aganoa Beach offers a surf reef break in the waters just off the beach. Unlike many surfing hotspots around the islands, surf breaks are within easy paddling distance and don’t require boat access. Ideal for all experience levels, breaks vary in size from small to large and are reliable in every season.
Many of Samoa’s top surfing hotspots can be difficult to reach but you’ll soon see that the journey is a small price to pay when you get there. Unsurprisingly, if you want to enjoy some of the world’s best and most exhilarating surfing experiences, staying in a surf resort which offers boat transport and experienced local guides could be the best way to go.
No trip to Samoa is complete without a stay in a traditional beachside fale. Vaiula Beach Fales have a huge range of fales on offer to suit all types of groups and sizes. Samoa Surf Secrets is based in Vaiula, providing tours to several great surf spots within a 15-minute boat trip.
Situated on a five-acre parcel of land next to the border of Tafua Rainforest Preserve in Savai’i, the picturesque Aganoa Surf Lodge offers exclusive access to a white sand beach and crystal-clear lagoon. Surfing experiences can be enjoyed from the beach while the accommodation is all-inclusive and guided expeditions are offered as part of your stay.
Perfectly located on the mouth of the Mulivai Fagatoloa River and before a vibrantly coloured blue lagoon on Upolu’s south shore, Salani Surf Resort is a dedicated surf resort with beautiful natural surrounds. The resort offers its guests fully trained boatmen and surf guides to ensure you reach the best waves safely. Boats are available from dawn to dusk, so you can catch the waves right out front or travel to other breaks around the islands. Lodging includes well-appointed fan-cooled fales and the resort also offers a bar and restaurant serving delicious meals to keep you energised.
You can take your pick of surfing experiences all around the islands by joining Manoa Tours for a day (or a few). Guided by an experienced local surfer, you’ll be taken to secret surf spots only the locals know, but most importantly of all, you’ll always be promised the best surfing conditions on any given day. Manoa Tours gives you the advantage of boat or four-wheel drive access to the best spots, depending on what’s most suitable for the day.
For a truly authentic Samoan surf experience and stay, Maninoa Surf Camp is a collective of wall-less beach fales next to the Sinalei Resort on the south shore of Upolu, but deluxe and executive apartment-style accommodation is also available here. As part of your stay, you’ll have access to experienced local guides and boat access to the best surf spots all through the day.