Surfing Bora Bora


Where possible we are out amongst it whenever the swell rises during ‘cyclone season’ as the weather forecasters call the patterns during this period of El Nino. Accordingly we were there yesterday 18th January, 2016 following predictions of a north-westerly swell of a splash over 2m.

Alas we met with driving rain which precluded taking shots….& flattened what was an impressive break. The task was made even harder as we were shooting into the sun. Anyway a bad shot is better than none at all. A quick look at the ‘after rain’ left that was breaking out the back of the pass:



Here’s the right that was working. The right pumps in a good south-easterly swell. The wave will break just past the eastern side of Motu Ahura & follow the reef around towards the Pearl Beach Resort offering surfers a great ride of 150m plus.


A group of surfers had gathered inside the pass profiting from a nice wave closer to the Motu Tapu reef. In the group, a number of surfboards & belly boards but also a plasticised canoe, a SUP & a VI va’a (outrigger canoe).






Looking forward to the arrival of a big south-westerly or north-westerly swell….

In the interim some news that will be of interest to readers – the World Surf League (WSL) has decided to create a new surfing zone to be known as ‘Polynesia’ to join Australasia, Africa, Europe Japan, North America & South America in a 7 zone competition framework. The zone will be included for competition purposes from next year & initially include Hawaii & French Polynesia & potentially others such as Fiji & Samoa.

This is great news for local surfers who will see a large number of places reserved for them in Polynesian zone competitions & they will no longer be required to constantly travel to compete internationally so as to gain points in ‘World Qualifying Series’ (WQS) events. Previously local surfers were required to compete in WSL events in either Australia or Europe to gain qualifying points whereas they will now be able to compete in WSL events in either Polynesia or Europe.

These Polynesian zone ‘home’ events will provide local surfers with the opportunity to increase their chances of acceeding to the ‘big game’ – the World Series Tour (WST), the pinnacle of world surfing.

Amongst the competitions that will benefit from the above decision:

  • Rangiroa Pro Open Tahiti (QS1000) – 8-11 March, 2016
  • Papara Pro Open Tahiti (QS1000) – 13-18 March, 2016
  • Papara Pro Junior Tahiti – 13-18 March, 2016
  • Papara Pro Vahine Junior Tahiti – 13-18 March, 2016



You must be able to surf in paradise …………….. Well Bora Bora has got you covered!


  • An enjoyable outing especially for the surf nut;
  • Check out the huge lemon sharks ‘out the back, below you’ when surfing Teanvanui Pass;
  • A ‘left’ but chance of a ‘right’ in the ‘blowy’ season.

During Captain Cook’s 3rd voyage in 1769, Joseph Banks remarked how impressed he was with the skill with which Tahitians were able to surf the breaks around the island. Its an interesting insight into Tahiti’s place in the history of surfing & one has to wonder if Banks actually made it out to Teahupoo!

There are 2 spots on Bora Bora to surf – Teavanui Pass & a right off the reef out behind Motu Pitiaau. They play to different weather conditions opening up an extended surf season of sorts. We jumped in the boat with Raimanu & headed off in search of the perfect break.

The best known, most regular & easiest to reach is the left off Teavanui Pass. It’s a great setting overlooking Motu Tapu & Mt Otemanu on one side & the Pearl Beach Resort on the other:



In a south/south westerly swell it pumps & Raimanu headed on out to show us how it’s done in waht what were pretty good surf conditions:





The right on the opposite side of the pass also works but in a north/north westerly blow, the prevailing wind in the event of a cyclone! From around December each year, the right can be the go, especially after cyclonic conditions in the area.

The same winds also open up the chance to surf Bora Bora’s other spot, a little known right which breaks along Point Tupititi, a westward projecting section of the reef behind Motu Pitiaau. We headed over to check it out, to the westernmost point of Motu Pitiaau, a magic spot once reserved for the clients of Club Med & where Raimanu’s family have land:


From here it’s a bit of a hike but the rewards can be there as reef breaks tend give a good consistent wave in the right conditions. Leaving the boat near Raimanu’s we headed off by foot along the coral filled section that separates the motu from the seaside extremities of the reef. You’ll find the spot quite easily but it’s a decent walk. Here’s what greets you:


If you should happen to cross through the island’s interior you’ll well pass through beautiful plantations of tiare tahiti & pandanus & then be knocked out by the sudden appearance of surf backed by the looming islands of Tahaa & Raiatea:


Given the anticipated conditions I had taken a mask rather than surfboard. There’s an excellent, effortless drift to be had in taking the current from near the surf spot for a fabulous ride back to the point where we’d left the boat taking in bands of leopard rays along the way.


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  1. Hi,

    I am heading to Bora Bora on the 21st & 22nd and was hoping to do some surfing, there should be a solid SW swell. Do you know any locals I can pay for a lift out to the reef pass?

    Thanks lance

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