Why not set off on a completely fresh surfing and cultural experience only a couple of hours north of Australia in Papua New Guinea. You will be pleasantly surprised.
We asked 2 surf travel experts, a surf travel photographer Chris Peel and the Coastalwatch chief surf reporter Johnny Charlton, about their favourite PNG surf option. They offered us two unique, though contrasting options.
John Charlton: Nusa Island Retreat is situated on Nusa Island, just south of the equator, 5 minutes by boat from Kavieng, in the New Ireland Province of Papua New Guinea. It is a small, charming Island with no roads or automobiles.
- One of NIR’s finest options. – Photo Chris Peel.
The surf season runs from late October until the end of April, when a variety of swell variations from the north light up the numerous reef breaks in the area close to the Retreat.
The Retreat is owned and run by Shaun Keane (a good surfer) and his sister Shannon. Your needs are personally catered for at NIR. The management team work closely with visiting surfers to ensure that you achieve maximum water time and access the best waves and most of all, have plenty of fun.
The PNG Surf Management Plan only allows for 20 surfers to use the area at a time, and that not only keeps the crowds down, but also reduces the impact of surfers on the local culture.
- The quintessential PNG image right there. – Photo Chris Peel.
Lou schedules different boat departure times to different variety of breaks to keep the groups small, at up to 6 to 8 at the most at a time.
The team educate you regarding the different variables of each break, stand by while you enjoy your surf and even come out and share some of the session with you.
The range of breaks is impressive and suits all levels. The food is better than excellent and the service warm, personal and friendly.
The rooms are serviced daily and they’re unique in design, clean and very well maintained. This place is not your usual surf camp or tourist destination, it is a much richer experience than that. It is sustainable surf tourism at its finest.
Chris Peel: The PNG Explorer is Papua New Guinea’s best surf charter vessel dedicated to exploring the country’s outer islands and reefs.
When: The up coming period from October through to April is the prime time to surf in Papua New Guinea.
Max numbers: The accommodation is for a max of 8 surfers with two single/double cabins plus four twin cabins.
Waves: Expect everything from cruisy point breaks to hollow tubes and even beach break style peaks and a lot more options than you see in the general promotional photo packages.
- Tim Forest slotted at the Slab. – Photo Chris Peel.
No Crowd Guaranteed: Surfing in PNG is of the highest standard, i.e. there are no crowds as the number of surfers is set at a level that makes sure the surfing experience is perfect.
Surfing fees flow through to the local communities who are the resource owners and the whole system is transparent at every level and everyone is stoked.
Quiver recommendations: Of course this varies depending on the riders ability and chosen style, but, generally speaking, I would throw in a couple fun boards for shoulder to head high workable walls. Also I would throw in a board with a little more rocker for hollow tubing waves. My bread and butter quiver is a 5’4 KJA Fanged Hornet, 5’5 KJA Hybrid, 5’6 KJA Pro-former and a 5’9 Serpent Sled Hekkas Tekkas. The Captain Undies’ 2 favourite boards are 5’7 KJA Pro-former and a 5’6 KJA Fanged Hornet.
There are also a few pretty insane longboard points so if you want to haul a log up here, you can get to the glean point surf they fire in.
words by John Charlton and Chris Peel.
All below photos by Chris Peel c/o PNG Explorer