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Teiki Mathieu Baillan surfing a self-made Alaya surfboard in Macaroni, MentawaÃÂ¯, Indonesia. Photo by C. Naslain, 2009.
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By Jon Long ex manager Salani Surf Resort and now best job in the world self employed watersports cente
Get off your computers and get in the water - It seems to me that there is a lot of things going on in cyberspace and not much surfing because you guys sound like a bunch of people who have not been in the water enough lately or in there lives. My advice is to get back in the water and learn a little more about life and surfing. If you have ever lived in Samoa for a while you understand it is different and these people that have surf resorts will not do anything spectacular becuase there are many factors that do not line up for these people to do all the things that you people say. When myself and George Danellis ran Salani we did not want exclusive but you know what the village offered it to us and we said NO because we do not feel it is appropriate for Samoa. It is very complicated and will in my opinion never happen anywhere in Samoa. Samoa only shines for those who deserve it and all the people who come here and have been here should look at themselves and see if they deserve it or did not deserve it. Life is bigger than what we have on vacation, we being sufers. Samoa is more than waves and vacation it is a way of life cheesy but true. The surf is not good every day but when you live here you have other things to do such as spend time with family, create oportunities of work for locals and yourself, and if your lucky remember what a beautiful place it is and how special we are to be here while all you people are in terorists threat. Again look at yourself and see if you deserve to come here as I and every one else who lives here does. After not surfing for a while and it jumps to 8 foot ask the question- Can you handle it?
Salani - I am going to Salani in the next month and will be interested to talk to locals and see how they feel about the STI in their land. My friend is also a boatman there so we will see what he has to say too. Yes, if I could, I would not use a resort. I have been to Indo, mainland Mex, baja, etc. and done it adventure style with no plans but to show up and see what happens. But I only have 1 week, and I want all amenities right in one place. If there is waves I want to surf all day and have a boat take me right to it. All these people are talking about wealthy this and that. I am not rich, and have planned this trip on a two week notice. Try and find airfare under $1800 US from LAX to Apia right now. I couldn't. For $1800 you get everything at Salani including airfare.
By :) Is everybody happy?
In Love With Salani Colonialism - I just love Salani's surf camp, and the fact that he had the audacitiy to name some nearby reefs after himself. The Samoans just love it when a white man comes and really digs in and starts a business on their island. Too bad more people can't go out there, pretend they discovered the place, build a resort, market the place big-time, then shuttle wealthy travelers out to the surf. Yea- Salani is a real pioneer.
In Love With Samoa - I've had many positive experiences in Samoa and at the Salani Surf Resort. As an older woman (almost 50) it is comforting to feel safe when traveling alone. During my multiple stays at Salani over the last few years I've had a clean bed, excellent food, good company (staff, villagers, and other guests), and a worry free/no hassel vacation. Because I surfed when I was younger I really enjoy seeing the amazing swells/waves come through both Salani Right and Lefts. I don't know about politics and I don't care for gossip so all I can tell you is - if you want warm water, great weather, good surf, and friendly people go to Samoa. Surf resorts certainly aren't for everyone; but for these old bones a little bit of comfort goes a long way and I'm willing to pay a bit more to truly relax and enjoy my much earned vacation. I've always left Salani with a good feeling, but I think anyone would feel that way about Samoa no matter where they stayed.
Scott - Thanks to Not A Wuss for the great idea. I'll definitely take some, plus sparkly pencils and lollies.We're spending next to no time on Upolo. We're going to adventure and explore, not have locals wait on us.
Contention on Salani - Interesting reading about Salani. I was there for a week in fall 2002 and had a pretty good go. Not on par with other South Pacific destinations like Fiji or Tahiti but worth a visit if you plan on multiple visits to the South Pacific. Low points - inconsistent surf, shallow reefs, complex (in a good way) culture. Specifically on Salani, cool staff and great food. Boatman like to surf too so they add a bit to the crowd at Salani Right when it's good. Generally a good experience but I'm not going back. Stay clear of the FaFas
By Not a wuss surfer!
Ballons! - Advice for anonymous. May sound trite and silly, but take balloons for the kids! Cheap, easily packed and the Samoan kids just love them beyond belief. But take a lot as you will go through them quite quickly. And to the satisfied Salani customer, you are a wuss and a wanker! You just can't deal with Samoan surf conditions and need someone to hold your hand the whole time. You are a cry baby and a wanker. The reason you didn't see any independents out in the water is because they know anough to stay away from Salani. Great wave but way too many holiday and kook surfers there. The real surfers were off exploring, surfing more remote breaks, staying in villages, doing it more or less on their own thank you very much. But hey, if you need babysitting while you surf some heavy waves (you probably actually sat in the boat or channel the whole time) then more power to you! Glad you enjoyed your holiday.
satisfied salani customer - What a load of self-righteous bleating. I just got back from 12 days at Salani. Great food, great accommodation, good surf but frustrating winds - would be epic beyond epic if you got it on the right day. All in all a great holiday - and I sure as hell appreciated having a boat in the channel while surfing those reefs - heavy, HEAVY water...Highly recommended for those who want a surfing holiday that doesn't involve sleeping on the beach and shitting into a hole in the ground.And no, I don't agree with "exclusive access". I didn't actually see any of that in Samoa. It seemed that anyone who wanted to launch themselves into a crooked reef pass with a 10 knot outward current even at slack tide was welcome to. Personally I'd rather shell out the dosh for a support crew. And to all those who rant against the surf travel industry and advocate going it alone without a package like Salani offers - why didn't I see any of you in the water?
Goodies - Hi all, any tips on unusual things to take? Things that made your trip to Samoa that much more enjoyable? Thinking about binoculars, video camera, treats for the kids etc. Any help appreciated.
Listen to AMSAMSURF - Stoked to see some people share my views regarding Samoa. Waterways/Salani is trying to take over the place, telling lies they think will stay under the radar, but thankfully people like "amsamsurf" will speak the truth. Read Waterway's post by Murph, then try and tell me these a-holes are a positive mainstay in Samoa. Oh, and just so you all know, they do attempt to keep people away from "their" waves by force. Murph, can you say that your boatman didn't go harrassing visiors trying to surf Salani last year? There was more than one incident so I have witnesses. Oh, maybe now that people are over your intimidation tactics they paddle out anyway, but we saw your true colors. ANYONE who supports waterways should realize many of the places they run resorts at have sucessfully applied these tactics, keeping low-key traveling surfers from the best breaks(Fiji,Ments,& attempts at Tuamoto's, New Cal, and now Samoa). Philosophically speaking, do you think surfers with the most money, regardless of their skills, should have exclusive access to the best, most consistent waves in the South Pacific? Check out cloudbreak/surrounding waves, now entertaining fat longboarders, networking chicks, and resort CEO's ONLY. Do you really want that in Samoa? Maybe the comparison is a stretch, but buisness is buisness, and Waterways promoted resorts will absolutely do everything to make us all pay to paddle, even if they project an ecotourism friendly "safety first" aura.
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