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Teiki Mathieu Baillan surfing a self-made Alaia surfboard in Lances Left, Mentawaï, Indonesia. Photo by C. Naslain, 2009.

Surf spot atlas made by surfers for surfers
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 American Samoa

Australia & Pacific

Plus: consistent south swells, powerful surf waves, uncrowded reefs, warm water

Minus: for experienced surfers, sharp and shallow reefs, expensive travel, rain during summer, no surf spots on the north coast.

Pago Pago has one of the best natural deepwater harbors in the South Pacific Ocean, sheltered by shape from rough seas and protected by peripheral mountains from high winds

American Samoa is very sensitive to the tides as all the breaks are fringing coral reef or lava rock and even at high tide the water may still be only a few feet deep while at low tide the reefs may be totally exposed! But it is not a ‘high tide only’ place as some would have you believe. In fact, your best bet is to check it out as much as 3 hours before peak high tide as that is usually when it first starts to show. At the very least, you can suss out the situation and make your call, but try not to wait until high tide to show up as it may be over with by the time you can even wax your board. Also, really high Spring tides tend to wash out the reefs, the waves back off and, because the breaks are all fairly close to shore, there may be a lot of backwash making for bouncy rides. Best are neap tides because there is less tidal variation (neither too low nor too high) and high tide occurs mid-day, allowing for maximum water time. Since American Samoa is located close to the equator and is a small island with nothing to delay or buildup the tidal flow (no continental shelf), high tide closely follows and occurs within an hour or so of the moon’s rising and setting (typically true for all South Pacific islands). This means that you don’t need a tidal chart to keep track of the tides if you can see or are aware of the moon’s phases. Also, be careful because the water may be seriously polluted from rain run-off and it rains an awful lot there! This run-off washes crap from the over 35,000 pigs on-island and household toilets (over half of which are not hooked up to the sewage system or even a septic tank), into small streams and the ground water all of which drains, untreated of course, directly into the ocean! Also, tons of trash, including dead animals, have been carelessly strewn about the place. Beware also that surfing in American Samoa has a kinda ‘Wild West’ atmosphere to it and many of the expats tend to be rather aggressive out in the water, maybe because for the most part there are no local Samoan surfers to keep people in line. The funny thing is that the few local Samoan surfers there are tend to be much cooler than the expats!

Fortunately visiting surfers don’t experience this because not too many new faces come through so usually newcomers and visitors alike are treated more with curiosity and friendliness than anything else.

American Samoa is much too expensive a place to just hang out waiting and hoping for the right conditions (unless you are on a yacht) and there are no surf camps there so it will never attract the crowds that plague Fiji, Tahiti, Indo, etc.

There are quite a few other things to do besides surf in American Samoa which you should plan on doing since the surf is often flat or blown out! You can snorkel, dive, fish, hike the National Park (National Park Headquarters in downtown Pago Pago), rent sailboats and sailboards at the Pago Yacht Club. American Samoa is extremely overpopulated with over 60,000 people on a steep and rugged island 57 square miles in area! The majority of native American Samoans (actually less than half the population) more or less live off Uncle Sam performing meaningless do-nothing government jobs, while the tuna canneries provide nasty low wage jobs cutting up fish brought in by the tuna boats for cheap imported labor brought in from nearby Western Samoa and Tonga.

Many times I was just walking down the road board under arm when Samoans would stop to offer me a ride, oftentimes going out of their way to make sure I safely got to wherever I was going!

Location: Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and New Zealand
Geographic coordinates: 14° 12' S, 170° 0' W
Coastline km: 116 km km
Climate: tropical marine, moderated by southeast trade winds; annual rainfall averages about 3 m; rainy season (November to April), dry season (May to October); little seasonal temperature variation
Terrain: five volcanic islands with rugged peaks and limited coastal plains, two coral atolls (Rose Island, Swains Island)
Elevation:
Natural hazards: typhoons common from December to March. limited natural fresh water resources; the water division of the government has spent substantial funds in the past few years to improve water catchments and pipelines
Currency: US dollar (USD)
Population:
Languages: Samoan 90.6% (closely related to Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages), English 2.9%, Tongan 2.4%, other Pacific islander 2.1%, other 2% note: most people are bilingual (2000 census)
Capital:
Divisions:

More details

 
Seasons
Jan/Feb Mar/Apr May/Jun Jul/Aug Sep/Oct Nov/Dec
Best Surfing Season
Typical Swell Size
Surf Equipment Calções de surf Calções de surf Calções de surf Calções de surf Calções de surf Calções de surf
Water temp. 84°F
29°C
84°F
29°C
82°F
28°C
81°F
27°C
82°F
28°C
84°F
29°C
Air temp. 82°F
28°C
82°F
28°C
81°F
27°C
81°F
27°C
81°F
27°C
82°F
28°C
Climate

Seasonal swell & wind variations

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Surf Spots

Surf Spots (7)
Quality Direction Type Frequ Experience
Alofau - / -
Left Reef-rocky All surfers
Asili 1 / -
Right Reef-coral All surfers
CoarlHead 3 / -
Right and left Reef-coral Experienced surfers
Fatuuli (Black Rock) 3 / -
Right Reef-coral Experienced surfers
Matu'u 2 / -
Right Reef-coral Experienced surfers
Pua Tree 1 / -
Right Reef-coral All surfers
Sliding Rock 11 / -
Left Reef-coral Experienced surfers
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Sliding rock
American Samoa

Sliding rock
American Samoa

Sliding rock
American Samoa

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Experience Pipeline avatar
Sliding Rock
By Experience Pipeline
Jan 5, 2007
spooky place - Sliding Rock is a really dangerous wave - if you blow your wave, just in front of the bowl is toothy coral that juts up clear out of the water angling out at you. Super gnarly. But the barrel is amazing - like mini Chopes. No shit. Go and check it ou
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By quinn@haberpacific.com , 22-12-2006

Coming Dec. 29 - Jan 7, 2007. Need lodging. - Two surfers, male aged 38, coming to Am Sam on dates listed above. If anyone can supply us lodgings, let us know. We are coming there to surf and as toursist. We are willing to pay a fair rate for the duration. Please help ASAP.

By surferaina@yahoo,com , 29-06-2006

Going to American Samoa.... - My family and I are leaving to American Samoa for 7 weeks to visit family. We're from San Diego and have been surfing SO Çal for ages. This is our first time to AS and we're interested in hooking up to check out surf spots AS. We'll be in AS from July 9 - August 27. Email us!!!

By white.mk@hotmail.com , 09-01-2006

surf in AS - I have been offered a job in AS and I am wondering what the surf is really like. I learned to surf in the wind chop of texas only getting clean ground swell once or twice a year. I've read that the surf is for very advanced surfers only, and also that ther are several areas where a intermediate person would do ok. could someone let me know

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