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Surfing in Samoa – A Ride of a Lifetime

Have you ever risked injury to grasp that ride of a lifetime? If you try surfing in Samoa, then you will never forget stepping outside your comfort zone.

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Surfing in Samoa

The outboard motor coughed, spluttered then died as the anchor was thrown overboard. For 10 minutes we had motored along the shoreline as we searched for the perfect spot to go surfing in Samoa.

Surfing in Samoa

Silence descended around the small rubber boat as the first line of the swell marched in across the open expanse of water before our eyes.

From the deep blue trough the first wave began to rise. Slowly building in height as the swell met the shallow coral seabed. As the lip of the wave folded over to crash into a churning blue and white foam, a cheer from one of the guys was quickly swallowed by the deafening roar reaching our tiny boat floating in the safety of the channel.

Diving into the crystal clear blue water, still chilled from the night, I threw back my head and eyed up the surfing takeoff spot.

Samoa Surfing

Fresh surfboard wax clung to my torso as I paddled closer to the only spot you could launch from. My fingers felt as if they would scrape on the razor sharp shallow coral filled water below.

I was glad I was wearing my thick soled rubber surfing booties for when I would have to inevitably stand on those same jagged corals.

Surfing in Samoa coral reef

Squinting into the rising sun I tried to gaze through the glare. Every ripple danced across the ocean surface and glistened from the early morning sunshine.

As the first swell pushed underneath my shortboard, I could feel the power tugging at my legs beneath the surface. Each wave ready to throw itself against the coral seabed and dash its beautiful form into a churning mess.

Giving a surfer only a few seconds to pounce to their feet to grasp onto an unforgettable experience.

Pointing my surfboard back towards the beach I dipped my arms in. The swell reached my toes.

Once, twice, three times I stroked. My muscles coiled inside as my board became as light as a feather. It was now that I had to spring.

Planting my rubber covered feet and grabbing the outside rail of my surfboard I leaned against the rushing wall of water. The power of the wave threatening to tear me from my stance and throw me onto the coral reef just 2 feet below the surface.

A fall that would not leave me unscathed.

Broken Boards Surfing in Samoa

The surfboard bucked once as I found my balance. As the wave pitched higher I tried desperately to coax more speed out of the surfboard.

A shadow loomed up over my left shoulder before pitching down over my right. The barrel of the wave fitting perfectly over my hunched torso. My eyes fixed on the point of safety just a few short seconds away.

Bursting into the sunlight I ripped one last turn with a quick glance behind. A grin splitting my faces as I realised I had done it. I had pushed my limits and succeeded.

I was surfing in Samoa.

A ride of a lifetime.

Maninoa Surf Resort in Samoa

Extra Travel Information

We stayed at Maninoa Surf Camp (pictured above), for our surfing in Samoa trip. It is a dedicated surfing resort with beachfront fales and delicious food to keep you fueled.

You can fly direct to Samoa from New Zealand or Australia with a number of different airlines.

Surfing in Samoa is good all year round but the peak swell seasons are from April – November on the South Shore of Upolu Island. Not really recommended for beginners as the waves can be very fast and hollow for those who want a challenge.

If you want a slightly more relaxing experience then try snorkelling with turtles in Samoa.

Have you ever surfed before? What did it feel like?

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55 Comments

55 Comments

  1. Peter Lee

    October 8, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    It’s an incredible feeling of being part of the ocean, really riding on top of the world. It’s easy to see why surfers love surfing so much as it gives the inner peace. There is only one place I get that feeling and it’s in the surf. Surfing is just an amazing activity something I don’t normally experience in a lot of other outdoor sports.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 8, 2012 at 4:40 PM

      Totally agree with you there Peter! Cannot get enough of it 😉

  2. D.J. - The World of Deej

    October 8, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Felt like I was on the board with you. Although, there’s no way I’d have tried it:)

    • Cole Burmester

      October 8, 2012 at 1:22 PM

      Probably not the best place to start as a beginner 😉

  3. Jennifer

    October 8, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Fantastic writing — I could almost feel the salt water spray on my face.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 9, 2012 at 9:23 AM

      Thanks Jen 🙂 Was a fantastic experience. Can’t wait to head back down-under in a few weeks to get some more surfing in.

  4. Marlys

    October 8, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    Love that corals shot. *sigh* Miss my diving days. But I never tried surfing though.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 9, 2012 at 9:24 AM

      The coral is not so fun after you have taken a fall onto it from a surfboard! Luckily I only sliced my side up a little bit 😉

  5. Mariana Calleja / TravelThirst

    October 8, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Passionate surfer from the heart here! Not that I am an expert but I try to keep practicing. Passion born in Costarican waves back in time a few years ago. Seems like Samoa deserves a sip!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 9, 2012 at 9:25 AM

      I have dreamed of surfing in Costa Rica since I saw the movie Endless Summer II. Such a beautiful spot and warm water!

  6. wandering educators

    October 8, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    gorgeous!! i’d do the snorkeling, just saying…

  7. Jeff Titelius

    October 9, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    So poetic my friend…such vivid expression of your experience on the water from the waves to the thrill coursing through your veins as the approaching wave drew nearer and nearer until you finally conquered its crest rode to glory. Wow, I loved every word of this post! Beautifully done my friend…you certainly have a new fan in me!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 9, 2012 at 9:27 AM

      Great to hear Jeff and thanks for your kind words!

  8. bronwen burmester

    October 9, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    Great description – and loved the photos.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 9, 2012 at 9:27 AM

      Was one of the best family holidays so far Mum 🙂

  9. Jade - Ouroyster.com

    October 9, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    I dont even like swimming near Coral – let alone surfing with coral around… im tooscared of getting cut up. Ill keep to snorkelling with turtles for now 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      October 9, 2012 at 9:28 AM

      Snorkelling with the turtle is a good idea! They are so cute 🙂

  10. Terry at Overnight New York

    October 9, 2012 at 4:42 AM

    Loved your ride. And three cheers for surfing booties. That coral looks killer!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 9, 2012 at 9:29 AM

      You could still feel it when you stood up on the corals. So sharp! Would never surf without booties above coral reefs!

  11. Laurence

    October 9, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    I used to do a lot of canoe surfing on the reefs of Seychelles when I was growing up. All fun and games until you come off.. and either have a kilometre long swim to retrieve your canoe (none of that ankle strap stuff for me!) or do battle with the coral. We used to say it wasn’t a good day unless you got back to the beach bleeding. Ah.. youth 😉

    • Cole Burmester

      October 9, 2012 at 8:27 PM

      Oh just when you “lived in the Seychelles” aye ;). Would love to venture down that way sometime. We just grew up on beach breaks back home. No reefs for us.

    • Micki

      October 9, 2012 at 9:12 PM

      Honestly, I’m not too sure whom I’m more envious of right now – Laurence for growing up in the Seychelles or Cole for surfing in Samoa! 🙂

      Love this – made me want to rush out and book tickets for somewhere warm.

      • Cole Burmester

        October 10, 2012 at 10:24 AM

        Well our adventure was only for a week and we didn’t get to grow up there 😉

  12. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    October 9, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    An adventure well done and compellingly re-told. And I don’t even surf!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 10, 2012 at 10:24 AM

      Thanks Karen. We love being able to write about the stuff we are really passionate about!

  13. bronwen burmester

    October 9, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    Working toward another family holiday – we gotta do the snorkelling/swimming with whales as a family, a sureal incredible moving lifetime experience. Cant wait to see you Cole B!!

  14. Meg from LandingStanding

    October 10, 2012 at 6:30 AM

    Great story! Tony and I just learned to Surf in Bali last week and we had a blast… Although, we learned on a nice sandy beach with baby waves-Your experience sounds MUCH more intense!

  15. Cam @ Traveling Canucks

    October 10, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    Awesome photos! I’d love to catch some waves in the South Pacific!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 11, 2012 at 9:49 AM

      Blog trip? 😉 I am keen to arrange it if we can haha

  16. Jeremy Branham

    October 11, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    I’ve lived in California for 11 years now and have never surfed. No real interest in it. I guess that comes from growing up on the east coast of the US where there isn’t much surfing. And then there’s that shark thing. However, I love the underwater photos in this post! 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      October 11, 2012 at 4:48 PM

      Haha sharks are not going to get you 😉 Well, Adela doesn’t believe me either.

  17. Cipri@Travelocafe

    October 13, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    I have never surfed before. Although we live by the beach, it is by the Mediterranean Sea and the waves are not high enough for surfing. Maybe in one of our travels…

    • Cole Burmester

      October 14, 2012 at 11:23 AM

      Yea the Mediterranean isn’t a great surfing spot. Try it next time you head to a surf beach in Spain or France 🙂

  18. SandInMySuitcase

    October 13, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    Yes, we’ve tried surfing. On the wild and wet west of Vancouver Island. And San Jose del Cabo in Baja, Mexico. Not easy! We think we’ll stick to SUP – at least we can get up on those boards!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 14, 2012 at 11:25 AM

      Believe it or not, we have never been SUP! Really need to do that sometime. Would love to surf in Mexico or Vancouver Island. We didn’t make it there on our travels around North America unfortunately.

  19. Angela

    October 13, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    Wow gorgeous place, fantastic adventure you’ve had!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 14, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      Would love to spend a summer there working and just chilling out! Maybe that can be our next adventure.

  20. cheryl

    October 15, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    BEAUTIFUL photos. I’d love to try out surfing there! 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      October 15, 2012 at 6:23 PM

      Cheers Cheryl 😉 Warm water, good waves and sunny weather. Can’t ask for much more when surfing!

  21. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    October 15, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Sounds like you had an amazing time. Doesn’t falling on the coral damage the reef as well as your body?

    • Cole Burmester

      October 15, 2012 at 6:30 PM

      The coral is actually just rocky under where the waves break Mary, so while still sharp, they are not really the ones in the pictures 🙂 Don’t worry, we are huge believers in protecting the coral reef ecosystems when we are diving and surfing!!!

  22. Ali

    October 18, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Surfing doesn’t really appeal to me, but it is pretty cool to watch people doing it. Sounds like an awesome experience! Great photos!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 19, 2012 at 10:02 AM

      Yea it isn’t for everyone to try. But when someone does try it, they are hooked 😉

  23. Reena @ Wanderplex

    November 6, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    I haven’t surfed since I have no upper body strength to speak off and I’m pretty sure I’d either injure myself or make a fool of myself (if not both!). However, the ocean there in Samoa looks positively inviting, so I’d definitely find some kind of water activity to make the most of it!

  24. Muhammad Talha

    November 15, 2012 at 6:16 AM

    I found it relaxing… 🙂

  25. Jaryd Krause

    March 10, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Awww I am well Jealous! Samoa looks amazing and as they say “only a surfer knows the feeling”. Surfing is definitely my favorite sport and a huge part of why I travel. If you both liked Samoa, not far from there or NZ is Tonga, I stayed at a surf camp there right by the waters edge but protected by the tropical jungle. A very nice a quiet place to relax and surf, worth checking out.

    Cheers, I hope you keep on surfing 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      March 11, 2013 at 2:35 PM

      Definitely keen to lock in Tonga for a surfing trip. Would love to tie it in with swimming with the Whales there.

  26. John R

    March 27, 2013 at 2:50 AM

    Very Amazing. I love surfing, done it in Hawaii and Australia, hope to visit Samoa one day.
    Thanks
    John

    • Cole Burmester

      March 27, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      Thanks John! I haven’t had the chance to go surfing in Hawaii yet but it is on my list 😉

  27. True Nomads

    April 19, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    I don’t have to be into surfing to appreciate this post and the pictures. I want to get to Samoa bad. And Palau, and Micronesia, and Tonga and and and…. Keep up the good work!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 19, 2013 at 11:30 PM

      If you go to all those places can I come too 😉

  28. northierthanthou

    May 31, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    Gorgeous pics.

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Adventure Travel

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Stay Inside For One Day:

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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