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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?

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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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

Skin-Care Rules to Always Follow When You Travel

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With the holiday season nearly upon us, most of us are hit with a bout of wanderlust. Traveling will take us to different places, and these places likely have completely different climates from what we are used to. Nobody wants to have a skin breakout or any other type of skin problem during vacation. To prevent this problem, this article will give you Skin-care rules to always follow when you travel.

Every time you step on a plane, your skin is exposed to a whole different condition. You are plagued by stale, dry, circulated air that can do wonders to your skin (in a bad way, of course). And that is just your flight. Your actual vacation can be a nightmare for your skin. From weird hotel products to bad sunscreen, to stress from forgetting stuff at home or from family members and a host of other problems.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep your skin looking great despite the challenges of travel.

  1. Drink Water…a lot of water

Staying hydrated is extremely important. Being hydrated inside and outside is one of the most important skin routine tips at all times, even when you are not on vacation.

The switch from a hot to a cold climate or from a hot to cold climate can cause skin dryness and irritation among other things. Even the air on the plane is dry and can sap all the moisture from your skin. Therefore, make sure your drink a lot of water. That would keep you hydrated inside.

For your skin, you should liberally apply moisturizers to keep your skin looking radiant and beautiful.

  1. Use Sunscreen

Next to staying hydrated, sun protection is one of the most important routine for your skin type.  While travelling, you should be extra diligent about your sunscreen.

It might sound strange, but you should apply sunscreen even while on the plane. Why? Because you are in a metal container 10,000 feet close to the sun. In fact, you are likely to get a sunburn while in a plane than on the ground. You might want to close the shades, but others might want of view. Hence take precautions and apply the sunscreen.

When you are travelling, it can be easy to forget to use sunscreen, or you might run out of sunscreen. You can go the extra mile by setting a reminder on your phone either to use sunscreen or buying a new one before the current one runs out.

  1. Use Minimal Makeup

During your vacation, leave out heavy foundations and other heavy makeup products. If you are traveling to a location with extreme weather, your makeup will wear off fairly easily. This not only leaves you looking silly, but the heavy makeup can clog the pores of your skin and result in breakouts.

If you choose to use makeup at all, use breathable makeup. Preferably it should be water-resistant and offer protection from hot climates.

  1. Take your facial cleanser and moisturizer along with you

To keep your face looking great even in extreme climates, your facial cleanser and moisturizer are very important. The daily cleanser helps to clean impurities on your face, while the moisturizer will feed your skin with the important nutrients required to keep it healthy during the duration of your trip.

  1. Use trusted products

Trying out new products is fun, but you should be very careful doing this while on vacation. The change in climate is enough stress on your skin. If you add new products to your skin, you might be increasing the stress on it. Invariably, this might lead to skin breakout and other issues.

Therefore, stick to what your skin is familiar with. When you go back home, you can try out new products. To make it easier to keep using your familiar products, you can buy travel-sized versions of your moisturizer, lotion, cleanser and other stuff.

  1. Have a medical emergency kit

This should contain smoothening calamine, aloe vera potion and other things that can be used in case of skin emergencies.

To enjoy your trip, no matter where that might be, follow these skin-care rules. Your skin will thank you for it!

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Adventure Travel

Scottsdale – Come for the Sights, Stay for the Experience

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Scottsdale, Arizona is one of the most popular destinations in the Grand Canyon State. Known for its resorts, natural trails, and association with nightlife, the city has become a must visit for anyone who wants to experience contemporary life in a former desert.

Scottsdale is very famous for its modern hospitality and geographical sights. Keeping this in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to know that finding a Scottsdale nightclub is on the minds of many tourists who pay the city a visit – even those who do so to explore one of its mountainous ranges.

If you are planning to head down to the Copper State anytime soon and enjoy life, then Scottsdale may prove to be a great summer destination.

To help you understand what the city would have to offer in terms of recreation, here are some of the top Scottsdale vacation and dining options that make the West’s Most Western Town, a must visit.

Old Town Scottsdale

Old Town Scottsdale is perhaps the most popular destination in the city. With its unique lineup of culturally rich events, this colorful area has a vibe that defines old West meeting its modern counterpart to a T.

While Scottsdale remains famous for its modern nightlife, club scene, and luxurious resorts, Old Town Scottsdale brings about the old Western charm for tourists to experience firsthand. Old architecture, preserving museums, and cultural activities are just a few of the many things that you could experience at this destination.

With an array of fine dining restaurants that prove to be the best in the state, you could grab a bite in luxury after roaming around in the sun.

And if you feel a bit more adventurous, then you could do that exploration while riding on a Segway instead of using your good old feet. With plenty of Segway tours being conducted each day, you will easily be able to find something that suits your schedule.

Taliesin West

As the winter home to famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin West boasts of an unmatched architectural design.

Now a museum, the destination doesn’t only showcase the building in all of its glory, but also offers insights into Wright’s work and his mind through detailed tours of the facility.

It is due to these reasons that Taliesin West ranks as one of the topmost destinations to visit in Scottsdale among many professional guides.

Since the building or its experience cannot be replicated elsewhere, it remains a must visit for whenever you are in Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Fashion Square

Want to visit the biggest shopping mall in Arizona? You would find it to be located in the heart of Scottsdale.

With around 2 million square feet of shopping space, the Scottsdale Fashion Square is one of the biggest malls in the whole country. Made up of high end, luxury retail locations, it is literally the one stop shop for upscale items that you may not find elsewhere in the city. With that, the mall holds plenty of fine dining locations as well. What more could you want from a shopping destination, really?

Due to its modern inventory and access to high fashion, the Scottsdale Fashion Square could be a must visit before you hit the popular nightclub scene of the city. Whether you are finding some club wear or just want to spruce up your existing outfit with some Loboutins, this mall would provide you with plenty of choices and fun to boot.

Scottsdale Has Something for Everyone

Depending upon your personal preference, Scottsdale has plenty to offer.  Whether you want to indulge in the city’s party scene or just explore its natural history, you would find that the destination has something for everyone.

So the next time that you are about to visit the Wild West, don’t forget to put Scottsdale at the top of your list. You won’t be disappointed with what you get to work with.

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Adventure Travel

5 Fun Adventure Activities in Vietnam

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A stunning country with glorious scenery and an amazing culture, Vietnam offers many attractions for the modern tourist. It would be easy to spend a holiday in Vietnam just sightseeing and immersing yourself in the culture – which thanks to a heavy French influence, is different to its South Eastern Asian neighbours – but why pass up on some of the fun adventure activities in Vietnam?

Sandboarding

Also called sand surfing, sandboarding is an extreme sport, exactly like snowboarding, but on sand dunes instead of snow. Regularly named among the best sandboarding destinations in the world, are the Mue Ne Dunes. A series of red dunes around the resort town of the same name, sandboarding has not yet hit the professional heights here but is more of a fun cultural experience. Women in cone hats rent out boards to everyone from kids to saffron-robed Buddhist monks.

Mue Nie is also home to the magical Fairy Stream. This small shallow river winds through moon-like rock formations and is fun to walk through. You can watch the fish as you walk up to two kms in the water or you might try your hand at fishing. You’ll need some basic tackle including rod and reels. Check out these great options for beginners.

Take on Mount Fansipan

Nicknamed “the Roof of Indochina”, Fanispan at 3,143 metres is the highest mountain in the region. Located in Sapa, a town in the Lao Cai province in Northern Vietnam, the mountain can be conquered via two main climbing routes, one categorised as 2D1N, the other a longer 3D2N route. Both climbs require a guide. For those who prefer an easier way to the summit, the Fanispan cable car takes just 15 minutes to achieve what climbers do in 2-3 days, travelling on cables high above primitive forests.

Ride a Motorbike from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi

One of the enduring images of Vietnam is the streets of Ho Chi Minh crowded with motorbikes, but motorbikes are also popular outside the cities and Vietnam has become known for some amazing motorbike routes. One of the favourite journeys is from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi. There are various routes to cover the distance of more than 2,000 kms, all taking you through gorgeous scenery and fascinating towns and villages.

Marble Mountain Rappelling Tour with Temple and Cave Exploration

You might think that abseiling down a vertical rock face is for experienced adrenalin junkies but not so on a rappelling tour in the Marble Mountains in Vietnam. Located just north of the popular resort city of Hoi An, the Marble Mountains are known locally as the “Five Elements Mountains”. Tours start in the city and once in the mountains, all equipment and instruction is provided to complete at least two rappels (depending on the tour company you choose). Besides the rappelling, the tours have spectacular views of the coast and include trekking through the mountains, visiting caves and temples

Canyoning

Canyoning is a thrilling adrenaline rush of an adventure sport wherein you jump into a fast-flowing mountain stream and allow yourself to be carried at high speed downstream. The most popular place for canyoning in Vietnam is Dalat. Dalat is in the Central Highlands and is a lovely resort town near a lake becoming renown as a destination for honeymoons as well as the adventure sports of cliff jumping, waterfall rappelling, natural water slides, and hiking, as well as canyoning. Various companies offer canyoning tours in Dalat all at similar prices for similar itineraries, so just choose which appeals most.

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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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