Featured in many surf movies. French Polynesia, actually 118 islands spread across five archipelagos, is one of the world’s most expensive tourist destinations, and the tight Tahitian lineups can be crowded and hostile, but aside from these pitfalls, the island is one of the world’s most exotic and beautiful places to surf if you can swing the funding and good chance of reef rash.
Notoriously, when people think about surf in Tahiti they think of the world’s heaviest wave, Teahupoo.
Fortunately, surf in Tahiti offers many areas for visitors and locals to ride amazing waves.
The island is a paradise for water sports of all kinds, including SUP, kayaking, diving, snorkeling, and body boarding. Of course there is plenty of surf in Tahiti as well.
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 made up of a larger part of the island, called Tahiti Nui and the smaller area called Tahiti Iti.
No matter where you're travelling from in the world. All international flights land at Faaa Airport. Which is right outside Papeete. The airlines who fly to Tahiti the most frequently include Air New Zealand and Air Tahiti Nui.
Surfing the islands of Tahiti
May to August is the best time to surf in Tahiti. The surf breaks along the south and southwest coasts are reef breaks. The waves are very similar to the hollow characteristics of the waves in Hawaii.
October to March is another great time to surf in Tahiti. This is a better time to surf in Tahiti if you're a less experienced surfer. Stay aware, there are strong waves all year round.
As you would expect the tropical water stays between 80 degrees year-round.
Tahiti Surf Spots
Most of surf in Tahiti is crowded. With locals and visitors taking up a lot of space in the surf.
Taapuna is one of the most crowded surf spots. Due to it's close proximity to Papeete.
There is also a black-sand beach break at Papara. Which is also known for becoming crowded.
Then there is Teahupo’o, which is only crowded when WCT is visiting.
While Teahupoo is the most well known surf in Tahiti, it's for the pros. Don't fret, you can find plenty of great surf in Tahiti. In fact, it's all over the island and also on the sister island of Moorea.
If you're looking for beach breaks, stick to the northern part of Tahiti. The black sand beaches of Papenoo are for you. In Papenoo the surf if about 2-3 feet.
For more advanced waves, check out Papara. In Papara the surf is around 4-6 feet.
Another great spot is Passe de Maraa. Here you'll discover waves that are fast, hollow, shallow at generally 4-7 feet high.
Definitely check out the island of Moorea. You can get there by taking a quick ferry ride from Tahiti. In Moorea you can find more additional surf spots.
At Haapiti beach, you can enjoy gentle waves no higher than head high. The water is incredibly clear. Most surfer hire a boat to reach this spot. Otherwise its a 40-minute paddle.
Also on Moorea is Temae. Temae is a local surf spot known for barrels. Near the InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa on the island of Moorea is another spot called Hauru. Hauru is a narrow break on the northern coast. Beware, the currents are strong here and there are frequent shark sightings.
Tahiti surf repot by wave height
- Papenoo, Tahiti 2-3 ft
- Taapuna, Tahiti 2-4 ft
- Papara, Tahiti 4-7 ft
- Papeari, Tahiti 4-7 ft
- Passe de Maraa, Tahiti 4-7 ft
- Teahupoo, Tahiti 6-9 ft
- Hauru, Moorea 1-2 ft
- Temae, Moorea 3-5 ft
- Haapiti, Moorea 3-4 ft
- Maharepa, Moorea 2-3 ft
Tahiti Surf Teahuapoo: Surf Festivals and competitions
Every August, Tahiti Iti becomes the home to the Tahiti Pro Teahupoo surf event hosted by the World Surf League. Probably the businest time for surf in Tahiti. Due to the overwhelming amount of professional surfers who visit to compete. Teahupoo is located on the southeast coast of Tahiti.
Infamously revered as the heaviest wave ever ridden. Teahupoo is for advanced professional surfers. A heavy wave with extremely shallow. Reserve this wave only for the most experienced and advanced pro surfers.
The Islands of Tahiti has a rich water sports culture that prevails across all the islands.
Surf camps in Tahiti
Looking to learn how to surf? Tahiti have several good surf schools that you can visit.
Mo’o Surf School offers personalized surf lessons with a surf instructor. Usually getting you to stand up in 1-2 hours. 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.
Tahiti Surf Hazards
Beware of the sharp coral reef right below the surface. Paired with powerful waves, stick to surf spots suitable for your skill level as a surfer. Other than the sharp reef paired with unfamiliar surf, the sun is extremely powerful, along with rips.
Tahiti surf forecast by seasons
From March to June, the southern hemisphere awakens, providing numerous south swells to hit the surf in Tahiti. The WCT’s big Teahupo’o contest happens every May. Which clues you in that fall is a great time to surf in Tahiti. Also, fall is the dry season, and there are more offshore winds as well.
The southern hemisphere is active during the winter. Creating consistent swells until October.
Becoming calmer towards the end of October. Remaining this way until March or April. This is the rainy season, which means a TON of rain.
Generally, surfing isn't great in Tahiti’s summer season. November to March is the off-season, which means you might get lucky to find some surf in Tahiti’s north coast. You also have to deal with onshore winds.