The Perfect Wave - Surf Travel - Micronesia Surf boat charters, Surf Camps & Surf Tours – Papua New Guinea

By: The Perfect Wave  06-Dec-2011
Keywords: Surf

Located near the equator, Papua New Guinea (PNG) is the second largest island in the world. Only 5.5 million people call PNG their home, but this consists of 850 different tribes and more than 800 languages that are spoken. Parts of Papua New Guinea can be dangerous, but it is not nearly as bad as commonly perceived and these areas are away from the main tourist areas. By using a little common sense you’ll more likely be smothered in smiles than encounter any problems. One government official has stating saying there is still tribal flighting in the Highlands, but they stop flighting and pose for you when they see you have a camera!

The geography is as diverse as it is unique. The country is an island, nearly the size of a continent, which is divided down the middle east from west. The eastern half, called Papua New Guinea, has been independent for a dozen years, while the western half is the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya. There is a spine of mountains that run the length of the island forming the populous highlands region with the highest point being Mt Wilhelm (4,500m). Rainforests are dense and located around the lowlands and coastal areas which have made it difficult to create a transportation infrastructure, so in some areas the only way to get from one point to another is by air. Coastal plains, flooded delta regions, and mangrove swaps are found next to sandy beaches making it one of the most unique environments on earth.

PNG is not only renowned for its surf, but also the spectacular diving, offering those looking for more than just surf a playground of WWII wreck dives and an amazing array of sea life.

The Surf Association Papua New Guinea (SAPNG) has successfully controlled the tourism and environmental impact of surfing in the region. The Surf Association Abel Reserve spiral management scheme has uniquely created an approach to surfing as a sustainable tourism model that can be applied to other niche tourism sectors around the globe. This means the number of surfers to the area are restricted which is great for keeping the crowd factor low.

PNG is a relatively new destination for surf enthusiasts.  The areas of New Ireland and New Hanover are the main regions currently being commercially surfed.

Kavieng in New Ireland Province has numerous reef breaks which have several good options for surfers who are after a bit of variety. The waves you find below are the well established ones which are known in international surfing communities.

  • PIKININI - Extremely fast, heavy barreling, very shallow right-hand coral reef break. Given the right conditions and swell direction, waves can peel for up to 200m. Works best on a low to mid-tide, with a west to north-west swell direction. A mini Kirra. Reef boots are a must.
  • NUSA LEFTS (also known as KARANAS) - Situated across the harbour from Pikinini, Nusa Left is a fast breaking, very reliable barreling left-hander that jacks up out of deep water, with a very shallow end section. It works best on mid to low-tide with a westerly swell direction and an easterly wind. Keep an eye on the outside bomby, as this can also be ridden on the right conditions.
  • NAGO ISLAND - This picturesque little island has both a left and right-hander. The left-hander is a bit of a wave magnet and very consistent. A great hotdog, fun wave that has a nice tubing inside wall section. Likes low to mid-tide as it can be a bit fat and break too close to the inside ledge on high tide. It does not like too much swell, but can still be fun on a light onshore. This is one of the most surfed breaks in the area. The right-hander on the other side of the island has a very fast, long wall. It likes a mid to low tide, is a little inconsistent, but a great ride when it’s on. Keep an eye on this break when the swell comes up.
  • EDMAGO ISLAND - Edmago is a smaller island situated South West of Nago, in between Nago and Ral. It has a very good quality left-hander, given the right swell and wind direction and is best at mid-tide. The right-hander is also best at mid-tide and can pick up more swell than the left.
  • LONG LONGS - A right-hander, good on a big swell, works best on a mid-tide with a north wind. Long Long is a more forgiving wave than most of the other reef breaks. The water is deeper and long rides, with a nice wall, ending with a hollow bowl section can be had. Good for long boards and mid size fish fun boards and twin fins.
  • RAL ISLAND - A small, uninhabited island situated further out to sea. A great place to go if there is no swell anywhere else, Ral attracts more swell than the other breaks in the region. Best surfed on small, clean swells, the right-hander can at times be peaky like a beach break, and sometimes can line up like a point break. The left is not as consistent as the right, but worth checking. Both waves pack a bit of punch once the wave height gets bigger. Ral can also handle more surfers than most of the other breaks.

There are uncountable more breaks on offer in PNG, you can discover these by getting out of the Kavieng area by land or by sea.  The other areas have similar surf management systems to Kavieng, so restrictions on surfer numbers are still imposed. Boat charters can often get you to the Islands of St Matthias, the east coast group of islands of New Ireland, and to the Admiralty Islands to the far North West of Kavieng.

  • SP'S - A right hander anything from 3ft plus this is definitely a more challenging wave. No bottom turns required take off in the barrel and get spat out into the channel. No more said.
  • GABE'S LEFT - A quality rip able left hander, either log ride on the nose or line up for about 5 turns on a standard ride. A mellow option to SPs which is nearby.
  • FEEDING GROUND - A swell magnet looks smaller from the boat until you are in the line-up and a huge set comes through. A deep water left hander, a 50 m ride that has a lot of double up and link up sections to produce a gnarly barrel section or a carve able face. If you end up on the reef there will be plenty of kids on hand to offer a refreshing coollah (young drinking coconut).
  • LOOKOUTS- A left for the more adventurous surfer- a not to challenging take-but then time the horse-shoe that bends around the knuckle in the reef, pull in and aim for the tender in the channel.
  • RAINBOWS - A classic long walled left hander that has the best of both worlds with a big long face to tear apart but a quick stall and your locked into a smoking pit. This wave needs a little bit more bite in the swell that many of the other breaks but is a quality left that will impress the most travelled surfer .
  • BONSAI - A fast hollow right-hander, that has a friendly weedy bottom. Good for all abilities sit deeper around the point and challenge the fast section or sit a bit wider and pick off the easier ones.

The seasons in PNG are not as black and white as other countries in the Asia region. Majority of the year it is hot and humid, the rain season changes depending on province, however in general the dry season runs from May to December.

The wet season’s rains are heavy but vary, for example Port Moresby the annual rainfall is 1000mm and falls for a short period and then is dry and dusty for the majority of the time.

Once your out on the islands, there is a steady climate with the dry season from December to late May having milder temperatures (21’C – 28’C during the days) and infrequent, light rainfall. The heat and humidity rise during the wet season from May to December and cyclones may be experienced between January and April.

Surf season in PNG are from November to April.  The operators do not run their operations for surfers out of these season to ensure you have the best chance of great surf when you do go.

Keywords: Surf

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