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Best Tahiti Surf Spots (French Polynesia)


Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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Surfing in Tahiti, French Polynesia

Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia, which is a set of islands located in the South Pacific Ocean, approximately halfway between Australia and California. Tahiti is home to the city of Papeete which is the capital of French Polynesia.

While Tahiti is popular among newlyweds, no matter what sort of traveler you are, there are plenty of fun things to do in Tahiti. Tahiti is also great for travelers interested in diving & snorkeling, gastronomy, and fishing. If you like surfing, Tahiti is great too!

If you are interested in surfing, French Polynesia – Tahiti won’t disappoint. This Tahiti Surf Guide gives information and our best tips about the best surf spots Tahiti has to offer. After reading this quick guide, you will see that planning a Tahiti surf trip is straightforward!

Vaihiria Lake - Papenoo Valley Tahiti

Tahiti Surf Holidays

Morea - Haapiti

Surfing in French Polynesia, particularly surfing in Tahiti, is great for surfers with all levels of experience – nothing beats a Tahiti surf trip! While Tahiti is famous for its legendary Teahupoo wave, across Tahiti’s coastline you’ll find waves of every length, size, and difficulty. This makes surf in Tahiti excellent no matter whether you’re a beginner or a serious pro surfer.

There are so many factors that make Tahiti surf holidays the best! The setting is spectacularly stunning, the water is warm, and you can pretty much find perfect Tahiti surf vacations year-round. Also if you want to better your surfing skills, there are also plenty of great surf schools around too.

Tahiti Surf Season

If you’re planning a surf Tahiti trip, be aware that there are two surf seasons – summer (November to March) and winter (April to October). For those looking for beginner-level waves, the best time to visit Tahiti is during the summer season, while the professionals are probably best to visit Tahiti during the winter months.

In fact, during the Paris 2024 Olympics, which corresponds to the 2024 winter Tahiti surf season, Tahiti is going to host the surfing events! The events will take place in Teahupoo (Teahupoo 2024) which is home to some of the biggest and most powerful waves in the world – Teahupoo is often referred to as the most beautiful wave in the world.

Best Surf Spots in Tahiti (+ Tahiti Surf Map)

This is the list of best surf spots in Tahiti, French Polynesia. For your convenience, we have included a Tahiti surf map so it is easier to locate them. For tips on where to surf in Tahiti, keep reading our brief guide to surfing in Tahiti.

1. Teahupoo Surf Spot 

Big Barrel Wave - Teahupoo Tahiti
  • Surf Season: May to October
  • Surf Skill: *****

When you think of the best Tahiti surf spots, you no doubt think of Teahupoo. Located on a reef break on the island’s southern tip, Teahupoo is home to the world’s heaviest wave and hosts surf competitions such as the Billabong Pro and soon also Teahupoo 2024, where the 2024 Paris Olympic surf events will be held.

The Teahupoo surf spot is world-famous for consistently producing some of the world’s biggest, most powerful, and challenging waves. This Tahiti surf break has a left break direction which is best with a gun, semi gun, or short boarder.

To access the Tahiti surf spot Teahupoo has, you will need to be prepared for a 30-minute paddle out into the reef or better yet have boat access to get you to the Teahupoo surf spot. To get the best out of these waves, visit during the winter season and leave the waves to the professional surfers.

Click here for the best hotels near Teahupoo

Teahupoo Wave - Tahiti
Teahupoo Wave!

2. Maraa Surf Spot

  • Surf Season: May to October
  • Surf Skill: ***

Located just south of Taapuna; Maraa is an exposed reef where the waves break quite a distance out and wrap around into the pass. The waves at Maraa are shallow left-handers, which do require surfers to have a good level of experience and it is recommended to use a short boarder.

While you can surf at Maraa right from the beach, you do need to paddle around 20 meters out when the tide is high or a long walk if the tide is out. In fact, surfing here is not recommended at low tide.

Conditions in this Tahiti surf spot are best during winter, when you can expect a relatively quiet surf spot, with a cool local vibe.

Click here for the best hotels near Maraa

3. Papara Surf Spot

Papara - Tahiti
  • Surf Season: May to October
  • Surf Skill: **

If you’re looking for Tahiti surf spots suitable for all levels, then Papara is a great spot to check out.  Papara is located on a gorgeous black sand beach, on the south side of Tahiti and the wave is pretty standard of a beach break. Just take note that given its easy access and being suitable for all levels, Papara is one of the more popular spots to surf in Tahiti.

The surf in Papara is best during the winter months, where you can expect both right and left-handers, ranging from small and gentle to fast and powerful. To get the most out of surfing in Tahiti, Papara, use either a funboarder or short boarder.

Given Papara’s gorgeous beach location, this is a great place for surfers to come with their non-surfer family and friends who are looking for a relaxing holiday.

Click here for the best hotels near Papara

4. Papenoo Rivermouth Surf Spot

Papenoo Rivermouth Tahiti
  • Surf Season: January to April and November to December
  • Surf Skill: **

If you plan on surfing in French Polynesia during the summer, then Papenoo Rivermouth is a great place to check out. Located on Tahiti Nui’s north shore, Papenoo Rivermouth is another gorgeous black sand beach, which offers surfers both beach and reef breaks.

At Papenoo Rivermouth surfers can expect both right and left-hander waves around 2-3 feet. Low tide, during the summer months, offers the best conditions and it’s recommended for short-boarders.

Keep in mind this Tahiti surfing spot is very popular, so can get relatively crowded at Papenoo Rivermouth.

Click here for the best hotels near Papenoo Rivermouth

5. Taapuna Surf Spot

  • Surf Season: May to October
  • Surf Skill: ***

Located near the capital of Papeete, Taapuna is an exposed reef break that has fast, powerful, and hollow left-handers which are suited to surfers with a reasonable level of experience.

To access the surf at Taapuna, you will need to paddle around 20 minutes out from the shore or have boat access.  The surf has the best conditions in the winter and for the best experience, use a semi gun or shortboard.

Given Taapuna is so close to Papeete, it can get hectic here, particularly on weekends. For fewer crowds, visit during the week, outside of school holidays.

Click here for the best hotels near Taapuna

6. Vairao Surf Spot

  • Surf Season: May to October
  • Surf Skill: ***

If your Tahiti surf trip happens to be in winter, another great surf spot is Vairao. Considered one of the best Tahiti waves, Vairao is a great Tahiti surfing spot for surfers with a bit of expertise.

To reach the break, you will need to paddle out for around 20 minutes, or better yet have a boat take you out. Once you’re out there, you can expect great left-hander waves best experienced with a gun or short boarder.

Given Vairao is best with a boat, this does tend to keep the crowds away, which gives the area a great chilled vibe.

Click here for the best hotels near Vairao

And there you have it, some of the best Tahiti surf spots for beginners right through to the professionals.  Where will you choose for your Tahiti surfing trip?

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