If you’re looking to get away from it all and surf hollow, uncrowded barrels, Caroline Islands is the place for you.
The Caroline Islands are often compared to Tahiti or Hawaii without the development. The Carolines are located southwest of Hawaii and northeast of Australia. The main island for surf, Pohnpei, has a population of only 8,000 people, and receives only about 100 – 150 international tourists per year. Talk about the last frontier.
The Caroline Islands is known for its picture perfect barrels but tubes are not the only resource on offer for visitors of these majestic islands. There are so many stunning waterfalls, mountains and trails to explore; the island is also home to some magnificent flora and fauna, reefs and marine life with out-of-this-world diving. You can also visit WWII relics, which lay scattered amongst the tropical forests.
Caroline Islands Favourites
P-Pass - A perfect right-hander, short for Palikir Pass. P-Pass is the number one wave in Pohnpei and can work on most conditions with most trade winds being offshore or crosshore. Any swell from the NW - NE will hit the reef nicely, but the best swell direction is direct north. Most swells that hit Pohnpei are from the North in the 2 - 6ft range with the occasional bigger day.
When the swell is small, P-Pass is well suited to novice and intermediate surfers all the way up to advanced levels. Anything from 4 - 5ft and above requires experience, because even though the wave is predictable and often so ridiculously perfect, there is also the chance you may come off and get held down.
P-Pass can hold up to 10ft Hawaiian size but more often than not it is quite consistently in the 3 - 5ft range.
Where to stay
Caroline Islands Surf Tours guide surf guide, Matt, is one of only two surfers that currently live permanently on the Kosrae island. Even better news is the number of visiting surfers is limited to only 12 at any one time by a surf permit system to avoid crowding on the breaks, but they are limiting their surf tour packages to maximum 6-8 surfers to ensure the crowd numbers are even more ideal.
If you want to surf P-Pass, then make sure you are staying as close to the break as possible. P-Pass Surf Camp is that place, it is only a 10 minute boat ride away. The surf camp has newly built, self-contained bungalows, which lay at the foot of the Palikir Hills. These hills are in constant view of the famous P-Pass surf break and the surrounding waters. With amazing foothill rainforests as a backdrop to the camp, trickling streams meet the lagoon where you will find the bungalows sitting in alignment.
They have a brand new 30ft surf transfer boat to get you to the breaks as fast as possible, it is equipped with dual 90hp 4 stroke engines. This boat ensures that all your water activities can be done in a safe and secure manner.
There are several other world class waves in Pohnpei. Your surf guide knows numerous secret spots around Pohnpei, which we aren’t allowed to advertise openly! You will just have to wait until you get there to surf them.
With some of the world's best diving you can spend all day under water and be as happy as riding waves, well not quite. So the snorkeling and fishing are world class and with rainforest treks and waterfall climbs you have plenty to do out of the water as well. The Perfect Wave team travels here yearly so just ask us for more info.
Land temperatures are quite uniform year round: The dry season is between May and October, and the wet season from November to April is surf season. The average annual temperature is 28 degrees with only minor seasonal variation. Although humidity is usually quite high, the even temperature and fresh sea breezes mean conditions are never too uncomfortable.
Trade winds blow predominantly from the northeast and the most consistent time for swell is between October and March. NE, N, and NW swells hit from out of Japan/North Pacific, similar to Hawaii. When there is a big swell forcast you will find the world’s best getting some massive barrels.
If you want to surf quality reef passes and get away from the crowds – you won’t find anywhere better than the Caroline Islands. Kolonia the capital of Pohnpei and can be a busy town, with even the odd peak hour rush. There are a few locally owned restaurants and bars around town that offer great traditional cuisine.
Kosrae Surf Breaks
Note - High level of experience is recommended
- P1 - series of right hand reef sections ranging from rip-able walls to barrels. Faces offshore/ side-offshore in the trade winds. Handles swell from 2-8 foot
- Sidedish - Intense and extremely hollow reef break providing a 2-4 second righthand barrel. Faces straight offshore in the trade winds. Breaks from 2-6 foot
- Snoop Dogg’s - Fast, hollow lefthand reefbreak. Faces offshore/side-offshore into the trade winds. Fun and rip-able when wind affected. Flawless 4 second barrel when offshore (comparable to Pipeline in Hawaii, but more perfect!). Handles from 1-6 foot
- WC’s - Extremely heavy Righthand slab reef break ala Teahupoo, Our’s, or The Box. Sideshore in the trade winds. Surfable by those who dare whenever the wind is good. Handles from 2-10 foot
- Airports - Right hand reef/pointbreak with multiple sections. Picks up wraparound wind swell when there is no N groundswell. Extremely fast, heavy righthander when ground swell is running. Sideshore in the trade winds. Handles from 1-8 foot