by Peter Curilla


Lying just 160 kilometres north of Australian shore in the south-western Pacific Ocean and comprising more than 600 islands, Papua New Guinea (watch video here, find country profile here) is an undiscovered world of vibrant culture, traditions, adventure and great surf conditions. Despite its image of an underdeveloped and perhaps dangerous country, it has been attracting tourists in the recent decades and there is no wonder – unlike other prominent tourist destinations, it offers absolutely uncrowded and sustainably protected waters for some phenomenal surfing, diving, fishing and kayaking. It also leads the way with sustainable surfing by protecting its waters from overcrowding (see the video here).
When it comes to surfing, PNG is characteristic with short second interval which means the swell is less powerful and it is an ideal place for low intermediate to advanced surfers. As for seasonality, Papua New Guinea’s surf potential is there all year round. During the monsoon cycle (wet season), the North side of PNG has great surf locations with offshore as well as mainland waves from mid November until the end of April. The swell is brought in by the monsoon and some consistent waves are to be discovered and scored in Vanimo, Wewak, Kavieng and Madang and the breaks range from 3 to 6 feet with some 8-footers on a great day.

This country has recently become a new frontier in regards to discovering new breaks – literally by the day! As Andrew Rigby of PNG Explorer put it, “Somebody needs to come up with the formula to name new surf breaks we discover as I’ve run out of names! We are discovering, on average, eight new breaks per trips.” On our most recent trip to PNG in January 2011, we were certainly witnessing this and scored some of the best waves ever!

The PNG Explorer is the best surf charter boat in the region, and probably in the south Pacific. Rewriting the record books in discovering new surfing spots, they take surfers to New Hanover, St Matthias, east coast islands of New Ireland, the Admiralty Islands and beyond. It gives you the flexibility of being on a boat and the knowledge of your experienced skipper/surf guide, who will always take you to the best possible locations. Well-built, this spacious 23-metre charter boat has been custom built to ensure the absolute comfort and functionality for the ultimate uncrowded surf experience in the perfection of tropical PNG. Providing excellent service is a top priority for PNG’s most experienced duo in surf exploration with Captain Andrew Rigby and wife Jude. Together with their experienced crew, they aim to maintain and expand on the great hospitality & PNG experience they have provided over the past three years of surf charters.

Another great charter boat, best for small groups of 4 or less, is 10-metre sailing catamaran, Tiki Tu. They also keep discovering new breaks and will take you to places untouched by mass tourism, untroubled by 5-star resorts and package tourists not interested in the culture of the country that they are visiting. Every experience that you have will feel like you are the first to experience it, the first person to visit this island village, surf this wave or snorkel on this reef.

Both of these charter boats that we offer have some great service, very experienced crew and know the area as good as the locals. The best choice you can make when thinking of going on a boat charter in PNG!

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As for the land-based resorts, the Nusa Island Retreat in New Ireland province (north part of PNG) with eco-friendly accommodation, food and boat transport to the surrounding islands is an excellent choice. All the breaks in the area are easily accessible from the resort and can be surfed on any tide. They have simple, high quality traditional island-style bungalows that can cater for up to six people. The Premium bungalows are built over the water and have ensuite bathrooms, and the Standard bungalows are built right on the beach or just back from the beach and have the use of shared bathroom facilities.  They also have a large 2-storey house with it’s own bathroom that is perfect for large groups or families.

Rubio Plantation Retreat is in the remote central northeastern coast of New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea. From here you can search the remote coastline and offshore islands for an undiscovered wave. Rubio’s accommodation consists of 6 separate bungalows. All bungalow’s are made from native materials and are located along the beachfront. Rubio has a good, consistent break right on the beach directly in front of the retreat. There are also many other good breaks in the local area. Surf spots range from mellow longboard waves (depending on swell size and direction) to fast and hollow reef passes.

There is still lots to discover in this beautiful and mystical country – absolutely remote, secluded regions, beautiful mountains, virgin forests and unsurfed breaks without the crowds, untouched by mass tourism and commercial resorts. Be the first one to visit these places and give Papua New Guinea a try!

To enquire about your next surf holiday in Papua New Guinea, beat the crowds and surf the breaks that could have been discovered just a few days before your holiday, please call us on 1300 00WAVE to speak with one of our friendly consultants or click here to send us an e-mail!


Written by:
Ben Horvath

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