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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

Tips Before Sending Christmas Photo Cards

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Finally, it is that time of the year! You are excited that you can gift shop for your family and friends, and maybe even spend time with them. Sending them a Mixbook Christmas photocard is a unique way of letting them know how much you value and care for them, especially with the Christmas spirit.

Below are some tips to keep in mind before mailing them the photo cards.

Take a Photo-shoot

Nothing beats the joy of a casual and fun family photo-shoot in matching outfits for the holiday season. You can also play around with different fun themes and ideas for your family photo card. For instance, you can have a matching pajama party theme and take amazing photos.

On the other hand, you can also try out a Santa theme photo-shoot, with matching red trousers, complete with the white beard, black boots, and red hats. Have fun while at it! Remember, a high-quality photo with happy faces can spruce up your holiday cards. Plan the shoot in advance to avoid the last-minute rush trying to capture a perfect angle.

Confirm Addresses

It will be sad to go the extra mile, customizing holiday photo cards only for your friends and family not to receive them. Before mailing the photo cards, kindly ensure you have the right address on the envelopes.

Additionally, you can include a mail-back address for your recipients if they need to send one to you. Seal up your envelopes and also include holiday stamps to add a unique style.

Find Your Design

Your Christmas card design plays a significant role in the general outcome of the card. The plan includes different aspects such as size, colors, format, and foil options. You can also play around with different trim options and photo orientations before settling on the final outlook. Mixbook photo cards can help you create suitable, fun, and engaging designs for your loved ones. Plus, you can experiment with different designs.

Return Favors

Have The Joneses been sending you holiday photo cards for the last three years and you haven’t mailed them one? Now it will be a perfect time to return the favor. It’s courteous and mindful of people who appreciate you and your family. Let them know that you also love and think about them.

Be Unique

Many people will send out holiday photo cards. However, what will make yours stand out? Select your photos and incorporate a unique design to complete the look. Additionally, you can also hand write the address of the envelopes with your recipient’s names.

You can also include a special event that happened during the year. Share the moment with your family. Moreover, let every personality in your family stand out in the photo.

Additionally, think of the personalized messages you can send to your family. Think outside the box and let your photo card express what you feel. However, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, ignoring limits of your budget. Be you: that is all that counts in the end.

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Adventure Travel

Your Top Destinations For No-Contact Water Sports

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While it can be hard to stay cooped up inside throughout a beautiful summer, there are plenty of other places you head to for some fun in the sun before colder temperatures set in. The best news? If you’re an American, you don’t have to leave the continental US or mess with self-quarantining.

Lake Tahoe, California

A classic vacation spot, Lake Tahoe has it all for visitors. Great climate, little rain, a background of mountains, and one of the largest, most serene lakes in the US. This makes Tahoe not just a great place for spring break partying, but also for some amount of isolation, or at least a bit of peace and quiet. You can find yourself reflected on the water and reflect upon the world around you while out on the lake. Because of the still waters there, it is also a wonderful place for paddle boarding. In case you are looking for quality gear for water sports, you can look into Gili Sports.

Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

The Outer Banks of North Carolina are another classic vacation destination, especially for anyone who loves water sports. The weather remains mild in North Carolina all year round (with the notable exception of hurricane season), so it makes for an outstanding destination through any season. Kitty Hawk, famous for the Wright Brothers first flight, is an outstanding destination, as well as smaller towns like Currituck. You will find slightly rougher currents out in the Atlantic Ocean. However, paddle boarding is also popular here, as is windsurfing.

New Braunfels, Texas

The city of New Braunfels has a river entirely within its limits, the Comal River. This allows for many water sports activities, with tubing as one of the most popular choices. In these times, tubing is a popular choice, as it is a great activity for families that doesn’t involve a lot of contact with strangers. New Braunfels has a huge German influence, with its largest water park named the Schlitterbahn.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Although there is a city in Florida named Venice, the city of Fort Lauderdale is often referred to confusingly as the “Venice of Florida.” This nickname was won because Fort Lauderdale has nearly as many canals as its famous Italian counterpart. Fort Lauderdale boasts 23 miles of beach coastline, but if you add in all the city’s canals and lakes, that puts it at 300 miles of coastline. Fort Lauderdale is also a magnet for yachts, so you can paddle board or kayak past boats in the harbor you’ve only dreamed of. Summers in South Florida can swelter, but there’s also a reason that old folks go down in the winter.

Seattle, Washington

Although it is a huge metropolis, Seattle also offers some of the most pristine coastline in the country. Although it gets colder in the PNW than it might get anywhere in the southeast, the climate in Seattle stays relatively mild. One advantage of Seattle over more southern spots is its glacial lakes, which offer a beauty that few islands can replicate. Even as the summer wanes, there are so many places in the continental US that you can get out and enjoy the water.

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Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

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Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
  • www.middleearthtravel.com

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

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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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