Tahiti surf

Surfing in The Islands of Tahiti

August 10, 2022 in Experience

Surfing in Tahiti

Most well-known for being home to the world’s heaviest wave, the famed reef break of Teahupoo, Tahiti offers many surf spots for visitors and locals alike to find the perfect waves.

Located in the South Pacific about an 8 hour direct flight from Los Angeles or San Francisco, Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia. It is actually made up of two parts, the larger part of the island, called Tahiti Nui and the smaller section called Tahiti Iti. The island is a paradise for water sports of all kinds, including stand up paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking and body boarding, but the surfing here is a second to none, especially if you like your waves heavy!

Tahiti surf spots

Shortstache Co.
Garrett King

Surfing The Islands of Tahiti

The best time to surf in Tahiti is from May to August during the dry season. The surf breaks along the south and southwest coasts are reef breaks, with large hollow waves similar to those found in Hawaii. Another popular season for surf is October to March when swells from the north and are generally better for less experienced surfers as they are less heavy and more wall-like than the hollow waves that hit in the summer. Powerful waves can be surfed all year round and you’ll find plenty of barrels here. The water stays between 80 degrees year-round.

The Best Surf Spots on The Islands of Tahiti

While Teahupoo is definitely the best spot for the pros, you can find good surfing all over the island of Tahiti and the neighboring island of Moorea. For beach breaks, you can stay in the northern part of Tahiti and scope out the black sand beaches of Papenoo, Orofara being the most popular beach for surfing and for visitors who looking for “easy” rides. Here the locals and visitors ride waves which are about 2-3 feet. For something a little more intense visit Papara where waves are rolling in at 4-6 feet.

You can reach the nearby island of Moorea from Tahiti via a short ferry ride. There, you can find more great surfing options recommended for intermediary or advanced surfers. At Atiha and Haapiti district, you can find more gentle waves reaching about head high. The water is crystal clear, and you can see the coral breaks, dolphins playing in the middle of the channel.

Surf Spots on Tahiti and Moorea By Wave Height

  • Papenoo, Tahiti 2-6 ft; Beginner, intermediary, advanced
  • Taapuna, Tahiti 2-8 ft; Intermediary, advanced
  • Papara, Tahiti 4-6 ft; Beginner, intermediary, advanced
  • Teahupoo, Tahiti 6-10 ft; Intermediary, advanced
  • Haapiti, Moorea 3-8 ft; Intermediary, advanced
surfing in Tahiti

Shortstache Co.
Garrett King

Top Tahiti Surf Competitions and Surf Festivals

Every August, Tahiti Iti becomes the home to the  Tahiti Pro Teahupoo surf event hosted by the World Surf League, a favorite among renowned surfers such as Kelly Slater, John John Florence or Gabriel Medina. Professional surfers come from all over the world to compete in the crushing swell and ominous coral reef of Teahupoo, located on the southeast coast of Tahiti. Known for some of the “heaviest” waves ever ridden, Teahupoo or “Chopes” as it is sometimes called, is an ultimate surf spot for many professional surfers. It is well known for consistent barrels and while the waves are heavy, it is also shallow so this spot is considered too dangerous for all but the most experienced surfers.

The Islands of Tahiti has a rich water sports culture that manifests in sports events across all the islands. 

Plan your surf trip! There are many lodging options on the island of Tahiti that are near enough to the surf including 4-star resorts and Tahitian Guesthouses such as the well-known Vanira Lodge in Teahupoo and brand new A hi’o To Mou’a guesthouse.

Looking to learn how to surf? Tahiti have several good surf schools that you can visit. Tahiti Nui Surf School & Club Training offers personalized surf classes with an experienced and qualified surf instructor that start at about 1-2 hours in duration. Check out Aloha Surf School near the capital city of Papeete or Tama He’e Surf School near Paea. Many schools will offer equipment or you can rent them from a surf shop or you can buy a custom made Tahitian surfboard from Teva Surfboards Tahiti, Stonefish Surfboards or Somo Surfboards to support local shapers.