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Teiki Mathieu Baillan surfing a self-made Alaya surfboard in Macaroni, Mentawaï, Indonesia. Photo by C. Naslain, 2009.
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By Sorry to be harsh
If your thinking Samoa think hard - The comments below by over and out are very accurate, Whilst i have fond memories of Savaii and got some very good waves there I can honestly say that even with crowds etc a quick trip to the gold coast will give you a hell of a lot more fun for your dollar. the real issue with a trip to Samoa isnt that the surf is often bad, hard to get to, difficult to surf etc etc. the problem is that the locals just arent interested in tourism, surf or otherwise. the place has a really unfriendly vibe to it, Fiji and indo may well be sold out but the locals their appreciate the visitors, in samoa they rip into you for fees and still break into your car if you leave it locked. and as for taking your girl... forgetaboutit!!!! unless your looking to go home single. the fanatical christian beliefs will have her feeling like an lepper if she so much as wears shorts & a Singlet. after many trips to Hawaii i can tell you that the vibe on the north shore, even at spots like V-land is better than the best vibe in Samoa. great if your just passing through on the way to somewhere better. all samoans should head to Rarotonga in the Cooks to learn a little about Hospitality before they start a tourism industry. This will surely ruffle a few feathers but anyone who has been there and is honest with themself will know deep down what i mean.if you only have a short time or limited funds, steer clear and spend your money where it will be appreciated! remember there are a lot of pacific islands with good surf but only a few with bad vibes!
Maninoa Surf Camp - Spent 3 weeks in Western Somoa, staying at Maninoa Surf Camp. During this time we found the surf to be average with some epic days and several days of crap in-between. Scored Boulders and Coconuts at 6-8 foot, hollow and not to crowded (5-10 guys, dropping in numbers as 9 ft sets starting rolling through). But also a lot of days with nothing to do (no womanising possible, so bring your own) but drinking. The waves are also a fair bit heavier than expected, managed to snap 3 boards, so not the faint hearted. Maninoa surf camp was a good cheap option, food was ok to good (esp the fish) and there was heaps and heaps to go around, accomodation was basic but what you paid for. However, if you plan to stay hear (propably the best surf camp on the island) do NOT book through LineUp Surf in Australia. This surfshop/tourist agency is a joke, they are sure to either book the wrong flight, destination or day and over charge you. In the 3 weeks we stayed at the camp about 50% of people had a serious problem with Linup Surf (wrong travel days, wrong days paid for at the camp, overbooking, connecting flights with the wrong days so you have to buy another plane ticket to get home, etc) and the majority of the time Lineup Surf would not refund or correct the problem. However, Maninoa Surf Camp is still great especially the people who work at the camp, so if your going to stay at a surf camp, stay at Maninoa, do not book through Lineup Surf, there's heaps of other you can use on-line. Note: bring your own first aid kit as the camp does not have one.
By Over and out!
Samoa: It's all about the money... - I just came back from my umpteenth trip to Samoa over the course of many many years. Although it used to be an offbeat and off-the-track surf trip and it is still possible to get some great waves there, I agree that it is now overrated, oversold, and overpriced (especially if you go through a surf resort) as a surf destination. For example, I've been to Satuiatua Beach Resort (on Savaii) 5 times since 1998. Even though the place was supposed to have some 'world class' waves all I ever got were some fun head high waves at a place called Middles (so named because it is in the middle of Salailua Bay). Fun but nothing spectacular (although the resort at Satuiatua is a nice place to stay). On previous trips a local Samoan surfer (Lee) told me that when it got big the point was really really good. I had also seen some pictures and it looked like it had potential. Then I happened to be there this past July. The first few days it was small and totally blown to shreds (not untypical for Samoa in the Trade Wind season). Then we got a real big serious swell courtesy New Zealand and the winds finally died down. Solid 8 foot and glassy! Problem was, it just couldn't handle it. It looked just like a big closed out California beach break even though the wave comes off a point and sort of wraps into Salailua bay. Some waves would start to peel off the point OK and start to wall up into the bay until the whole thing would suddenly completely shut down when they hit the bay. It was about a 50/50 proposition as to wave selection but there was no way to know which was going to peel off nicely and which was going to shut down, and once you committed there was no escape as they very thick, hard to paddle into, and you had to sit right in the impact zone to catch anything. By the way Lee was out and I saw him take off on close out after close out after close out and just get pounded the whole session, practically every wave! He might be a 'hard charger' but other than the fact that he will paddle into anything he hás absulutely no wave judgement skills at all. Supposedly he is offering surf tours but I'm not sure I would trust him as a surf guide. Over the years I had the good fortune to surf some pretty good waves at Salani but now you have to deal with the surf camp crew running the show. They can't stop you from surfing there but they may or may not hassle you. IMHO the people who run Salanis have their collective heads so far up their a**es they can lick their tonsils. It's quite sad but Upolu now seems to be suffering from an ongoing turf war between the various surf camps as well as some of the local expats. Also even though there are no local Samoan surfers on Savaii (other than Lee) and only one surf camp all of the villages will hit you up for something like $10 tala a day if you surf in front of or even close to their respective breaks. Some villages on Upolu are also starting to follow suit. Savaii Surfaris (run by an Aussie married to a Samoan) started this unfortunate trend in the 1990s as a way to appease the local villages who tended to look askance at surfers (they said their behavior was oftentimes 'culturally' offensive but I guess the lure of easy money smoothed that one over). For example, there is a really good wave at Aganoa on Savaii. In the 90s you used to pay a small fee (something like $10 for a carload?) to go down the access road. This is actually quite common in Samoa, paying a small fee to go down an access road to a beautiful beach, scenic spot, etc., but everyone paid the same fee. Nowadays surfers are being ripped just for being surfers. Anyway, Aganoa is a beautiful little bay and there was no village there, so you could surf, snorkel, hang out, relax, whatever you wanted to do, but you couldn't stay there overnight. At that time there was no surf camp there, just some little fales to get out of the sun, take a nap, etc. Somehow a couple years ago Savaii Surfaris got exclusive rights to the place for their surf camp (they were originally based in Vaisala on the north coast) and they now charge $20 per person per day to surf it, whether you are staying at the surf camp or just surfing there for the day! Samoa used to be a nice laidback place to go surf, see the sights, enjoy the culture, etc., but now they are really into the tourism thing and as a result it is all about MONEY and the place is turning into a surf whore! Very sad to see so I'm never going back. Oh well, I guess all good things must come to end (the same thing happened in Fiji and Indo). And of course all those pictures on Salani's et al web sites show world class perfection! Who would pay a small ransom to surf blown out slop for most of their trip? My suggestion if you want to surf a world class wave on Upolu check out the aptly named Dragon's Breath located on the reef in front of the village of Leusoalii on the north coast of Upolu, about a 20-30 minute drive east of Apia. You won't find this wave listed in any surf guidebooks or on the internet but it is there nonetheless. This wave works on decent north swells only and is a very heavy hollow wave that will hold pretty much any size, double overhead easy. It is a long paddle out but as a result very few people surf it as no one wants to make the paddle out, especially not the wusses who tend to patronize the surf camps and demand a boat ride for any breaks that require more than a 5 minute paddle and since this wave is suitable for experts only the typical surf tourist would most likely get badly hurt here (but there is a channel you can safely watch the action from), so Salani's and the other surf camps as well as most of the locals steer clear of the place. Also Leusoalii village will not try to extort money from you for surfing there. Be sure to be cool to the villagers, ask them where you can park, change, etc., maybe buy them a soda and they will watch your car for you (you can't see it from the break as your too far offshore).
poo!!! - Hi this is my first time in Western Samoa. I figured to really experience new breaks you have to stay there 4 at least three weeks. This is my last day and I have been here for three weeks and had two sessions which were smaller than my local break. This is my first and last time here; if I do come back I will definitely remember to bring my windsurfer.good luck I know I didnt have any
Waves, what waves. - Waste of time and money, you need the luck of the irish to score here.
By Bummed out
Hoax - Just got back from two weeks in Western Samoa, absolute hoax. I have only heard of one person who has had waves here consistanlty on a trip. You will probably get 1 day in 14 that is surfable, the rest is going to be blown out or flat. I am only warning you because this is not a surfing destination in spite of the photos you will see which are taken of good waves once in a blue moon. If you think this is the last "unknown" surf fronteer, you will be sadly disspapointed. Sorry to be a downer.
By Outta here
I agree - I am sitting here in apia writing Emails because the whole of this week has been howling and raining.The sun is out today and it`s flat.I`ve only had one surf at about 2ft and inconsistant.The only positive thing is the profit the brewery has made from me.
windy - I can safely say Samoa is windy.Only one clean day and all 20 of us at the same spot.Samoa is beautiful,wonderful people but onshore with the consistant trades,bring your kiteboard.Indo is a better option if you want surf.
Hum.. - Hey, have a break dude...Now the community is "on" Thanks
Take it easy - hi guys...The surf Atlas is not dedicated to personnals objections.the Wannasurfers forum is available : www.wannasurf.com/communityThanks
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