Fiji In February

Chris Peel
Swellnet Dispatch

The off-season.

It's something you hear all the time as a travelling surfer. Usually in a local watering hole with someone telling you how they either got totally skunked, or conversely, they scored the trip of a lifetime at a place and month that you wouldn't normally bother looking at swell forecasts. But what does an off-season mean? It's not like the waves just stop.

Sure, if you're after eight foot-plus Padang Padang in December you're probably being a little optimistic, but turning your head to the Pacific in February may make a bit more sense.

I was given an incredible opportunity last month to head out to Namotu Island in Fiji - cheers Gibbo! - to have a little peek at what the off-season in Fiji was all about. I told the usual circle of close mates and was instantly met with, ''Mate you're tripping, it's off-season''. Which got me thinking what exactly is off-season? Yeah sure, it's not the premium swell window and the winds are probably going to be a little wrong, but does that mean I'm not going to get fun surf?

Fiji mainly works on south swells that track up between Oz and NZ and make their way north to the perfectly-shaped reefs of southern Fiji. Once there, if they are met with a south-east wind the wave loved the world over should start to do its thing. 

I flew into Fiji with low expectations, trying to get in the frame of mind of preparing for the worst but hoping for the best. The first day I arrived Namotu Lefts was head-high, without a breath of wind, and stacked with wave after wave. I grabbed my fish and charged out like someone who had spent the last two years locked in Australia with some crazy pandemic in place...

It wasn't stand up tubes but jeez it was fun...five-turns-to-the-boat kinda stuff. This went on for about a week-and-a-half. As mid-February approached a couple of guests checked in who were keen for Cloudbreak. The first few sessions were just what dreams are made of - for an average surfer like me anyway. Slightly overhead, still challenging, with the odd bigger set now and then, and this went on for another week. Then one night, while sitting at the beach bar watching the sunset, a message came through from my old boy saying: ''Should be fun there tomorrow, get the 6’8” waxed''. 

We woke up to a different ocean that morning. It wasn't crazy, life-changing stuff, but there was more energy than I'd seen in my short time on the island. We motored out, and there it was...double-overhead Cloudbreak in all its glory. This for me, as a surfer, and a goofyfooter no less, is what it's all about. There are too many details to go into except to say multiple tubes were had and high-fives thrown. 

So, the end of February approached and had me scratching my head asking, ''so this is the off-season?'' I don't know if I got lucky with a dream run or if this is actually how the offseason runs in Fiji. Whatever it was, I’ll take it repeatedly. I think as surfers sometimes we get too caught up in trying to follow what everyone says and for a subculture of so-called individuals we are a bit of a herd that follows a few leaders. I know we all wanna go to Indonesia in July, but how many of us can handle ten foot plus G'Land? I know I can’t, and I know most of the crew that can will be flying in with photographers and to the next zone before the swell ends.

I guess what I'm getting at is this: Don't listen to everyone and just go.

Of course, getting skunked is a part of the chase and it makes scoring that much sweeter!

Happy hunting,
-Peely.

"Namotu Island, shot from the air with Namotu Lefts peeling down the reef. You can't see it in this image, but directly below is a mellow right-hander called Swimming Pools."

"The morning light at Cloudbreak has to be up there with some of the most beautiful light. Also, don’t be tricked into thinking it's only this size. Once the wave wraps onto the reef it generally doubles in size."

"Carl Moseley takes a knee through the inside section of Cloudbreak."

"Tex Mitchell on one of the bigger waves of the day. This photograph doesn't really tell the story of the wave as he went through three full-blown foamball sections. Hats off to Tex."

"Johnny is a gun windsurfer, and I think it's fair to say he also shines without the sail."

"Ben Wilson threading one through Shish-Kabobs."

"A couple days before this I had my 300mm go down on me. Complete disaster! Luckily, the legends at Canon sent me a new one which allowed me to keep shooting and also to explore some new settings. Here’s Balaram Stack with the first wave of the day."

"Julian Schofield holding on tight."

 

"Unidentified setting a confident line."

"It must be a great feeling to be here and know what comes next."

"The view from Namotu dining area. It's epic to have a spot to always keep an eye on the waves. Especially during off-season when you never know when there will be swell..."

"The Pacific never ceases to amaze me. The show even continues into most nights."

Comments

mickseq's picture
mickseq's picture
mickseq Tuesday, 15 Mar 2022 at 5:38pm

Nice, how are the crowds usually?

Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 5:23am

CB has a pretty good order to its line up once it gets over head, so not bad at all.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 3:24pm

That's not my experience. On a good 4-5ft (double overhead bombs) day in 2018 there must have been 50 people out for the pre-brekky, and only the 6-8 people up the top had any order at all, with the second section a veritable shitfight. My observation, having last surfed it in '92, was that there were many out of their depth and making things hairier than needed.

Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 3:56pm

I hear ya. Guess those are the days you have to try time your sessions. I did have one day that it was a little crowded and we waited for the mid morning session and ended up having it to ourselves. Wasn't double over head bombs but good constant over head which was a ton of fun. We may have gotten lucky with the wind.

Fluiddreams's picture
Fluiddreams's picture
Fluiddreams Friday, 18 Mar 2022 at 8:37am

A bit hard when your trying to budge a Fijian to get out of bed earlier so you can beat the crowds. A lot of the other resorts that ferry you out you gotta have a least 3 punters on board to get things moving and then they take you out only at set times so unless your actually on Tavarua or Namoto your not going score

BBrowny's picture
BBrowny's picture
BBrowny Tuesday, 15 Mar 2022 at 6:47pm

Unreal shots.

Stuff the variants, passports at the ready!

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Tuesday, 15 Mar 2022 at 6:53pm

That'd do me just fine.

eel's picture
eel's picture
eel Tuesday, 15 Mar 2022 at 7:07pm

I had my best ever surf trip in January at Fiji about 4 years ago. Somehow I lucked into maintenance week when both Namotu and Tavarua were closed for guests so the breaks were empty. I scored pumping cloudbreak, restaurants, tavi rights and Wilkes with minimal people. It was ridiculous.

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster Tuesday, 15 Mar 2022 at 7:24pm

Nice.

Off season is the new 'on' season for me. With the stupid crowd levels in this day and age I'll never bother with Indo or the Sth Pacific between May and September again.

seeds's picture
seeds's picture
seeds Tuesday, 15 Mar 2022 at 8:21pm

Awesome. No crowds and at my limits size wise. Lucky bugger. Surfed the Coral Coast once in March but was couple of feet

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost Tuesday, 15 Mar 2022 at 8:47pm

Julian Scholfield looks familiar ????

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 11:34am

Looks like Fletch, pit boss for Rip Curl at CT events.

stanfrance's picture
stanfrance's picture
stanfrance Tuesday, 15 Mar 2022 at 10:28pm

Nice…. There was hardly anyone there and we scored…I’m going to tell everyone about it ;)

Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 5:22am

There were actually probably around 80+ surfers staying in the region at the time. When the waves are like this generally 5 breaks will be working. Divide that between the surfers and their diffrent abilities and there's your answer.

stanfrance's picture
stanfrance's picture
stanfrance Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 1:42pm

Thanks Chris. Not sure I was asking a question, more of an observation really....and not trying to single you out but when I score good conditions and work out how to dodge the crowds (i.e. off-season vs on-season) I try not to tell too many people about it, but I am probably a bit old school....

Troppo's picture
Troppo's picture
Troppo Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 9:14pm

Mate if you are trying to keep Cloudbreak a secret or out of the media in any way at all, good luck to you... you heard the phrase "the horse has bolted"???
Haha

stanfrance's picture
stanfrance's picture
stanfrance Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 9:53pm

No worries Troppo, I’m sure you feel lonely if your not surfing with a crowd

Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel Thursday, 17 Mar 2022 at 5:10am

Totally understand and know where your coming from. I 100% back keeping spots low key and not naming them. Though I think once a world tour event has had a tower in-front of a waves it's pretty well been exposed.

stanfrance's picture
stanfrance's picture
stanfrance Thursday, 17 Mar 2022 at 6:20pm

It’s all cool guys, I shouldn’t have chimed in. I just think the surf is becoming ever more crowded and even well known spots have their secrets or lesser known seasons and conditions. If you cherish those it may pay to keep it a bit quiet.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 5:35am

80+ surfers in the area in the off season ,must be hectic in the on season.....glad you scored mate

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 11:06am

You have the crew from Tav and Namotu but usually a mix of surf levels and often non surfing or limited surfing partners. It’s a hike from the other islands and mainland so the big advantage of staying on Tav or Namotu is you usually get early morning sessions and later afternoon ones to just your group. Mainland boats tend to arrive from 9am onwards and rarely stay for more than 2-3 hours. If Cloudie is really on it can get very busy as swells are well flagged. But if it’s big other options open up (Tav rights for example and Pools) which are better for average Joes anyway. Best thing about Fiji is it’s so damn close to Australia. You can leave Sydney early morning and surf the afternoon. The downside is Tav and Namotu force you to book through the US and pay in US dollars. It’s priced for Seppos with cash but if you can find the dollars definitely do it. Namotu is my pick. Great staff, boat men, food, bar, fresh fish is epic.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 11:32am

Pretty easy run out from Plantation, which is full of Aussies and Kiwis.

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 11:43am

Been there done that. The 7am boat that leaves at 9am….maybe. Does my head in.

Granted it’s closer than the mainland but it’s not a look out and check and it’s definitely not a go when the wind changes location.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 12:50pm

You done the plantation island thing Stu? looking at a family holiday somewhere this year.
Never been to Fiji

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 1:01pm

Yeah, about five years ago. All the kids were just old enough to swim, and the oldest could snorkel, so they were amused all day. I got, from memory, three days out on the reefs, the last two at Cloudbreak with some good size to it.

I heard there was some reluctance for the boat drivers to go out sometimes, though I didn't experience it.

Biggest muck up we had was not realising the package didn't include food, so each breakfast we'd test the seams on my wife's handbag shoving it full of sausages and toast and fruit.

All good in the end, even with the pisshead Kiwis in their rugger jumpers. I'd go back there.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 2:01pm

I’ve heard mostly good things about plantation island from guys around here who have been with their families.
One guy said the food is average so they cooked dinner in the room
The thought of scoring cloud break is very exciting

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 3:27pm

The main challenge is getting to the boat drivers first, goofy, and making sure you're actually on the boat.....and that it doesn't leave on Fiji Time. You can rock up when the boat's due only to be told a mob have already claimed it.

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 4:28pm

Stayed on Plantation in 2009 & 20011 both times June into July just with my wife. Found the boat in the morning (just on or after dawn) to be super reliable on each trip. Maybe hanging around for an extra 20 minutes tops or having to pick up someone at Funky Fish on Malolo Lailai on the way.

Mainly surfed Wilkes in 09' and a couple of other nearby reefs Namotu etc. which was great fun (due to only getting Cloudbreak on changeover days) and super consistent nearly every morning between 3 to 6'. Maybe a dozen guys spread out most sessions.

In 2011 Cloudbreak had opened up to everyone. Happy days!

Wife said if I wanted to surf there each morning we had to stay at Lomani Resort on the Southern tip of plantation island. My eyes watered at the cost (about $450 per night) but so worth it! Surfed Cloudbreak nearly every day for 2 weeks and never came back from a dud surf. Never got really crowded and had it one morning absolutely perfect 6ft with a few bigger ones with 7 of us out for around an hour and a half before one other boat showed up. Another solid 6 - 8ft day stays in the memory banks too. Always took 2 boards and surfed my 7'0 4 out of 5 surfs there.

I'd get back to Lomani late morning and whatever my wife wanted to do for the rest of the day was fine by me. Lomani was super lux with your own self contained bungalow and beach frontage as well as no kids under 16 years. Wouldn't mind going back actually........

Carruchay's picture
Carruchay's picture
Carruchay Tuesday, 22 Mar 2022 at 11:34am

We've been going every year to Plantation for the last 10-11 years, think one year we even went twice! you can get a beachfront bungalow for a week, flights for a fam of 4 for just over 5K so its good value. We stuff a suitcase full of food each time so we dont have to just eat the resort food the whole time.
NEVER BEEN SKUNKED
Boats can be a little unreliable - best thing you can do is hunt around the resort & Malolo & Lomani for other surfers and try arrange your own boat from one of the local village - then you can dictate your own timetables, and also use them to take the fam fishing / island hopping etc.
Will always keep going back until I can afford Tav or Namotu!

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Tuesday, 22 Mar 2022 at 12:09pm

"Boats can be a little unreliable - best thing you can do is hunt around the resort & Malolo & Lomani for other surfers and try arrange your own boat from one of the local village - then you can dictate your own timetables, and also use them to take the fam fishing / island hopping etc."

I like this idea.

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 2:02pm

Or just wait for the USD to tank and snap up a bargain.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 3:03pm

So you reckon Namotu is the pick Lost? Why is that?

Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 3:06pm

I'll back that up. Im sure they're all great, but Namotu has 2 of the more reliable waves right out the front and doesn't have a boat schedule. So you can jump in a boat and go any time you want. Thats a big plus for me.

neville-beats-buddha's picture
neville-beats-buddha's picture
neville-beats-buddha Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 3:09pm

+1 For Namotu and boat flexibility. Plus Swimming Pools is fun as hell on the right board.

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 6:58pm

Yep I’d give Namotu the edge. It’s a tiny island with an incredible vibe. You just rock down to the beach bar at anytime and they zip you out to the breaks. That’s priceless. You can see pools, Namotu lefts and Wilkes all from the Island so can pick your time and just go. They always have a guide in the water or watching from the boat which feels a little over the top but great if something goes wrong (or if looking for tips on where to sit etc). Tav is good also - you can watch restaurants from guess where (the restaurant) if it’s working. When the pro ran the aussies always stayed at Namotu and the Yanks at Tav.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Saturday, 19 Mar 2022 at 6:14pm

How much is a week at Namotu these days?

Would the misses have a good time at little Namotu?

ringostarr's picture
ringostarr's picture
ringostarr Thursday, 24 Mar 2022 at 11:10pm

I have a similar question as Solitude. Any comments on Namotu v Tav for the wife and kids (kids could be classified as beginner surfers who would be happy to try learner waves but also happy to not surf)?

scoopmaster's picture
scoopmaster's picture
scoopmaster Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 7:05am

That lightning shot is almost a great one, shame that middle bolt got overexposed - it’s blown out in sections. Probably just needed one higher f- stop. As a storm chaser I am all too familiar with that outcome - almost great, but one or more factors take it down to just a good/ decent/average shot. So many variables to guess - what direction to shoot, how far away (bright) will the lightning be, focusing at night can be very difficult and then of course most importantly you have to be in the right place at the right time - near the rain/ lightning so it looks bright, but ideally not in the rain so you can set up with a tripod outside. Oh and the waves look alright too I guess

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 10:55am

Perhaps share one of your “great ones”. I thought it was a bloody good shot - but hey I’m just a guy appreciating a image in Swellnet.

scoopmaster's picture
scoopmaster's picture
scoopmaster Thursday, 17 Mar 2022 at 9:26am

If I'd taken it I'd still rate it in my top 5-10 shots, and that's after many years of trying. I've probably only got 2 lightning photos where I feel there was NOTHING I could have done to make the shot better. There's still a whole other level possible above any of my shots - close lightning strike hitting a famous landmark, lightning strike with tornado or a great rainbow, or looking down on a close bolt so you can see where it's landing.

Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel Thursday, 17 Mar 2022 at 9:28am

Would love to see some of your work. Have you got a site or Handle?

scoopmaster's picture
scoopmaster's picture
scoopmaster Thursday, 17 Mar 2022 at 9:47am

was my top 10 photos, I've since got another couple in the mix

Edit click on "watch on youtube"

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Thursday, 17 Mar 2022 at 4:33pm

Unreal pics
Stu check out his Nowra MTB vid .

Swany's picture
Swany's picture
Swany Sunday, 20 Mar 2022 at 7:49am

Incredible work scoopmaster!

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 11:33am

Ha ha...keep in mind it was probably 2am when he took it.

Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel Thursday, 17 Mar 2022 at 9:55am

Actually 12 midnight. Woke up to the wind, grabbed my camera and put it on the balcony (no tripod around) and just played the wait game... Guess I got lucky haha!

Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 12:12pm

Thanks for the advice.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 1:01pm

I stayed on Malolo Island, next to Plantation.

we made sure we took very, very good care of the boatman there, and he was happy enough to spend almost all day out at CB.

Almost the entire time we were there it was over 6ft.

Usually the Namotu boats stayed there and it took one 8ft set before a boatload of 55 year old dentists from Redondo beach staying on Tav decided 3ft Restaurants was much more fun.

That led to mostly uncrowded sessions, including one memorable session where it went oil slick glassy after a rain squall and we had perfect 6-8ft CB to ourselves for 3 hours.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 1:58pm

Unreal.

AlfredWallace's picture
AlfredWallace's picture
AlfredWallace Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 1:13pm

Thanks CHRIS nice mellow review of your visit. Great photos.
LOST I’m not sure anyone would be deterred from paying in USD, every boat trip to the Mentawais, Banyaks etc. I and others have been on over the last two decades is paid in USD, alas thanks for your input.

lost's picture
lost's picture
lost Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 11:34pm

Deterred perhaps by the rates when converted back to AUD + Waterways 3% fee for card plus your banks % fee and shitty exchange rate.

Bottom line is it’s expensive relative to other spots you mention. Anyway I’m still a fan but worth calling out it’s going to be out of reach for many.

AlfredWallace's picture
AlfredWallace's picture
AlfredWallace Thursday, 17 Mar 2022 at 9:40am

LOST .Good points highlighted fella. At the end of the day, you know us surfers, we are selfish, sneaky, always have ulterior motives, more than often trying to juggle duties to kids, wives, pets etc. just to get a wave. Our eyes are always on the weather, swell buoys and any chance of free wheeling away from the family we do, our minds are often distracted and absent from conversations with others, i know when I suggest a holiday destination to my family( with an secret internal burning fire to end up at a reasonable surf break) my wife looks at me with eyes likes lasers.
I know I would and maybe others are the same, if there’s a chance of a surf trip away, I’m in and I’ll pay in whatever denomination asking. Endorphins, geez they can control or fuck your life. All the best

mowgli's picture
mowgli's picture
mowgli Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 1:14pm

I've been wondering what Rote Island is like in the off season. Anyone know? As Chris said, most punters (including yours truly) aren't interested in death barrels at Nias. A 10 day trip involving mostly head high, clean - cleanish, mechanical and long waves, with a few of days of double overhead would do nicely. Throw in some fishing to boot! The misso is a goofy so we tend to make our OS trips to places dominated with lefts on account of everything around here except for Mudjimba Island and that little reefy opposite Moffat (and they're not exactly 150-200m rides either) being a right.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 1:29pm

I'd be worried about the lack of swell there in the off-season, being that it needs a bit more to get going. Take the last summer for example, even Margs was small so up there would be flat.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 1:54pm

Exactly Craig.
10 days of dead flat surf would test even the keenest fisho.

Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 3:12pm

What Margs you talking about?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 3:12pm

Margaret River.

Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 3:51pm

Fiji and Southwest WA on really share swell fortunes during the Southern Hemisphere's winter and the lows that churn under South Africa and make their way East sending swell to Indo, WA, South Oz, Vicco, Tassie etc and if we are lucky move into the gap between NZ and Oz and send a bit of love to Fiji. Summer is a far more complex bit of f#*ckery and Fiji can get swells from several different generators but it's a much more complex and variable equation best left to the long term vets and weather hawks hunched over screens. I was here in Fiji in the off season, it was a huge amount of fun and we had a ton of surf. Scroll down my social feeds I have never been to Fiji before so it's not like I can draw from an archive of images … yet.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 3:53pm

Ah you've mis-understood my comment.

I was talking about Rote.

Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel's picture
Chris Peel Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 3:58pm

Ahh your completely right! My apologies, I've seem to have gotten lost in the comments!

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 3:59pm

No worries :)

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell Monday, 4 Apr 2022 at 9:45pm

Yeah Rote needs a lot of west in the swells, best in July imo although off season you could get lucky as there are many long righthanders offshore in the monsoon winds in our summer. Just spend at least 3 or 4 or more weeks there off season to increase your chances of scoring.
You might be better off going to Aceh in our summer months. Good winds then but again, not much swell.

Troppo's picture
Troppo's picture
Troppo Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 9:33pm

Spent a few "off seasons" at Rote - mid 90's.
Got some good waves, but not a glimpse of what the area offers when "real" swells hit. The main left at Nembrala breaks, but is weak and not a shadow of what it is in the main swell season. Look at maps etc its just a long way for swell to travel to get up to that region.
Really nice place to just chill and spend time and take whatever waves present for sure, I really loved the place - nearly moved there- but not quite enough for me.
I've also been to Fiji lots of times. Off season included( same number of times as on season).
Hard to decide which i would choose. When it's firing, nowhere beats the waves around Cloudbreak. But for variety and low key mellow vibe with heaps of untapped waves, Timor and east indo offers a lot.
Don't intend to change this story about Fiji at all, but saw a valid question and have answered it.
Good luck out there in perfect wave land...

akthommo's picture
akthommo's picture
akthommo Saturday, 19 Mar 2022 at 5:53pm

We're in the same metaphorical boat. I'm the goofy but with the right handers on the Sunny Coast at least your backhand doesn't get neglected. Only wish my knees weren't so -ucked that I could pig dog on those rights.

dewhurst's picture
dewhurst's picture
dewhurst Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 1:53pm

I celebrated my 30th birthday in Fiji with my wife in February 2016. We landed at the resort with dark clouds and rain and no surf. I went windsurfing and had to get rescued (embarrassing) as I couldn't hold the boom in the increasing wind.

The next day the cyclone warning came and employees boarded up all the windows. Boats stopped running as they all headed to Denaru to moor upriver or were dragged up the beach and chained to palms, while all we could do was drink cocktails, swim in the pool in the rain and get 30min updates of the cyclones path.

Northern Fiji got smashed by the wind but despite a hectic 24hrs the resort, and most resorts in Momi Bay, were spared. They still had lots of cleaning up to do so we arranged a flight and they let us go home three days early with credit for a whole week.

9 months later we gave our little boy the middle name Winston.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 2:05pm

Epic!! Great story ;)

Thegrowingtrend.com's picture
Thegrowingtrend.com's picture
Thegrowingtrend.com Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 9:27pm

with a y ?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig Thursday, 17 Mar 2022 at 8:20am

Ha!

getbarrelled99's picture
getbarrelled99's picture
getbarrelled99 Thursday, 17 Mar 2022 at 10:23am

yessss!!!

Rolysea's picture
Rolysea's picture
Rolysea Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 4:42pm

Fiji is epic during "off season". A definite bucket list trip. I went during February, good waves every day + had a 10ft+ swell as well, which some internationals flew in for and said was proper cloudbreak ledge. Plus the winds are usually really good, light and variable. The best thing about Cloudy when its good is that anyone can get a wave, there is a local kind of share vibe (at least when I was there!) perpetuated by the good surfers, unlike other world class breaks where the mob rule is out of hand. If you want to get the best wave of your life then this is the spot!

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 8:08pm

My profile pic is January. Surfed it like this a few times in the 'offseason'.
One thing people don't realise is Fiji is incredibly windy with the trades most of the year..can be a real headache unless you're at the right breaks.
The offseason can have better winds...lots of glassy days.
If there's swell you'll score. You have to like rain.
And there's normally a swell a week coming up out of the vast Southern ocean.
Huge swell window.
Same as Vicco and WA.

mickseq's picture
mickseq's picture
mickseq Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 8:29pm

I stayed on plantation island back in 1992, was quite the experience, had never been on a tropical island before and the amount of fish that were right on the front door reef was mesmerising, like an aquarium on steroids!. Similar experience when I was at the red sea around 2000, not sure if these places are still like this. Was in Thailand in 2004 and most of the reef we dived at was dead.

Plasticspastic's picture
Plasticspastic's picture
Plasticspastic Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 9:03pm

you guys are on crack. there is a couple of mainland places to stay that motor out to all the breaks twice a day, or you can rent a boat for the day easily enough. I have been doing that for years. cost per night is like $50 and includes all your food. find a good boat man, make sure he has food and water and a beer at the end of the day and they will come and find you and tell u when it is pumping (they all talk to each other)... surfed the waves heaps and never stayed at the expensive places...

Troppo's picture
Troppo's picture
Troppo Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 9:39pm

Was waiting for this comment haha.
Bang on.
Employ a local boat man, and go surfing.
Simple plan. Love it.

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 10:07pm

I imagine one thing that never changes is the supreme underwater violence of Cloudbreak. It loves to dish out a flogging. Hate to experience its wrath anything above 8ft.....

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bluediamond's picture
bluediamond Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 10:38pm

The Fijian people, as i'm sure most have heard or experienced are very special. I never experienced pure love from humans and community like i have from these legends. As good as the waves were, and man they were amazing, having some of the greatest surf breaks on earth to myself for long periods of time, it's the energy from these amazing humans that has endured. To all the crew on here, if you're ever feeling like you're in a hole in life, and need to reconnect with the good of humans, the Fijians will fill you full of love, and remind you of what love really is. Something i get occasionally lost in back in the western world.
Big Bula!!!!!!

greg-n.williams's picture
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greg-n.williams Wednesday, 16 Mar 2022 at 11:41pm

Been to Fiji twice. First trip was with a couple of mates(in Jan) & we surfed a sharky as all fuck rivermouth & unknown reefs(way back when). The Fijians are nice cool friendly dudes but the Fijian indians can be a totally different vibe all together! 2nd trip was in June1990 stayed on Plantation @ Musket Cove , boat ride was expensive & Fiji rubber time was rampant! Namotu wasn't developed, came in on the back of a solid south swell & got a couple of good days @ Wilkes & Namotu lefts B4 side shore winds & 2ft days for the nxt. 2 weeks! Then spent 2 weeks on the Coral coast which produced average surf to about 4ft! Indo is far more consistent if you know where to go to beat the Euro hordes!

Bustard's picture
Bustard's picture
Bustard Thursday, 17 Mar 2022 at 1:19pm

Plenty of quality untouched breaks in the remoter islands that rarely see a surfer - pretty dependent on the key factors being right. Spent a short amount of time on a supply vessel that serviced some of these areas, sailed past many firing completely empty breaks and managed to jag a few sessions at the odd one I often reflect and consider how many people have surfed it before as I never saw another surfer in some of those parts

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond Thursday, 17 Mar 2022 at 4:21pm

So keen to go back and do that. Theres literally hundreds of islands.
Have a mate living on one of them thats a fair way off the main island. He grows kava there. Sends the odd pic of the setups there. World class qnd empty. Lucky bugger you got to suss a few out. Mustve been an awesome time

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond Thursday, 17 Mar 2022 at 4:24pm

something else to consider in the offseason is those cyclones that fire kirra up can send straight WNW mid period swells back to Fiji. Plenty of novelty waves fire uo in these rare swells. I surfed a right like Kirra over reef for nearly 2 weeks all to myself while TC Gita meandered down the Oz east coast swell window. Was mental!

evosurfer's picture
evosurfer's picture
evosurfer Friday, 18 Mar 2022 at 4:58pm

Fantastic waves some of the best world wide beautiful friendly people and super relaxing
only problem is that its a expensive chore to just get up and go for a surf infact its a mission
to go for a surf.

Chaz's picture
Chaz's picture
Chaz Sunday, 20 Mar 2022 at 7:41am

going to fiji late july a week at shangri la resort a week castaway ,i know how to get to surf from castaway but can anyone give me some links or info about getting to waves from mainland frigates,sigatoka,hideaway be much appreciated.

Bisho's picture
Bisho's picture
Bisho Wednesday, 23 Mar 2022 at 9:27am

There's a wave we surfed out off the reef opposite Shangri La. Wasn't bad at all. Easy access. Boat from Shangri La took us out.

seeds's picture
seeds's picture
seeds Sunday, 20 Mar 2022 at 9:24am

Hideaway just take a taxi yourself to the resort. Paddle out. Arrange taxi yourself outside of resort half the price. Waidroka Bay resort do boat trips to inner reefs and out to Frigates. Long taxi ride from Shangri La. Sigatoka close by. See if there is other surfers at you resort to share the taxi costs.

Chaz's picture
Chaz's picture
Chaz Tuesday, 22 Mar 2022 at 6:40pm

Thanks Seeds, i figured similar and have been told hideaway is good on high tide and Sigatoka can be good with right winds but also can be dirty

Bustard's picture
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Bustard Wednesday, 23 Mar 2022 at 6:30am

You will want at least and hour or 2 each side of Low for hideaway, and it can still be fun in the cross shore trades, may not look like it from the beach but still worth the paddle out to check it if there is swell. Sigatoka, just a beachy / rivermouth ...yep dirty...there used to be a Fijian ( "matty" i think his name was ) that would drop you out to the entrance by boat for $5...probably $10 now..I just googled his place and it now shows as KuluKulu Surf club its pretty much at the end of the road to the rivermouth...would only save you a 15 minute walk

Bustard's picture
Bustard's picture
Bustard Wednesday, 23 Mar 2022 at 6:30am

You will want at least and hour or 2 each side of Low for hideaway, and it can still be fun in the cross shore trades, may not look like it from the beach but still worth the paddle out to check it if there is swell. Sigatoka, just a beachy / rivermouth ...yep dirty...there used to be a Fijian ( "matty" i think his name was ) that would drop you out to the entrance by boat for $5...probably $10 now..I just googled his place and it now shows as KuluKulu Surf club its pretty much at the end of the road to the rivermouth...would only save you a 15 minute walk

tip-top1's picture
tip-top1's picture
tip-top1 Sunday, 20 Mar 2022 at 9:32am

been over twice , my oldies have time share in wyndham which is on the mainland , went out with fiji surf co , surfed c/b a couple of times , once around 3ft on a dropping swell about 10 guys in the water butter conditions , another time around the 4-5 ft mark more crowded but still managed to jag a couple of set waves , super fun

Chaz's picture
Chaz's picture
Chaz Tuesday, 22 Mar 2022 at 6:51pm

Thanks Tip-top

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher Monday, 4 Apr 2022 at 9:11pm

24th March > Update on the sister link site...hope ya don't mind Chris...
Site looks great & does promote links to this swellnet feature.
https://www.namotuislandfiji.com/blog/the-offseason-in-fiji-might-surpri...

[f] Link (Current)
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Namotufiji/posts/

Link for swellnet Surf Sisters...
https://www.namotuislandfiji.com/blog/eryn-lias-girls-surf-trip/

&t=9s

nicko74's picture
nicko74's picture
nicko74 Thursday, 7 Apr 2022 at 10:26pm

Such a great article!! Thanks for sharing Chris. There’s never a truer word said about the spirit of a strike mission.
Fortune favours the brave .