Fijiguide.com editorial staff recently returned from an epic trip to Fiji this Christmas. While there we had the opportunity to hang with Stu Johnson, surf photographer extraordinaire and surf guide with FijiSurfCo.com, one of the most experienced surfing companies in Fiji. Stu and his lovely wife Malia are regular contributors to Fijiguide.com and, put together their own Fiji Surf Blog.
Since it's been raining and windy lately in Nadi, Stu took some time to put together a Q&A that answers every question you ever had on how to prepare for a surf vacation to Fiji.
Here's the second in a series of three blogs:
Q: How do you compare the shape, size and power of the waves in Fiji to the North Shore of Hawaii or other major breaks in California?
A: California is typically fast and weak when compared to Fiji and Hawaii. The famous breaks on the North Shore are made up of a diverse coral bottom and are set up more like a beach break with out a definitive channel commonly found at reef passes and point breaks.
Fiji has all the power of Hawaii but differs in the different wave set ups. Most popular Fiji waves begin breaking toward the end of a long reef shelf. Have a look at Cloudbreak or Restaurants on Google Earth and then look at the stretch of beach from Sunset to Log Cabins and you can see the difference. Waves at Restaurants are predictable in how they break and many will forever marvel at how mechanical and machine like restaurants can look when doing its thing.
Pipe is still arguably the Mt. Everest to master because on a perfect day at Pipe there are lots of close outs, but if your patient and know what your doing you can chase the worlds most perfect and deadly pit.
Fiji is much more user friendly then Pipe!
Not only is the reef safer at Cloudbreak but the crowds in Fiji are mellow and welcoming (to those who keep an upbeat, sharing attitude). If you think you have what it takes to catch a 6-8ft (Hawaiian scale) bomb but dont want to deal with the hierarchy at Pipe then Cloudbreak could be your best bet to get the stand-up barrel of your life!
Q: Can you help me decide what kind of board to bring?
A: Bring a couple shortboards and maybe one wider/fishy style board if the forcast looks small. If the forecast shows for bigger waves bring a step-up. If its your first time dont bring a gun. Get to know cloudbreak with your shortboard then on your second trip bring out your gun if your up for it. Otherwise it will be dead weight in your bag.
Q: How do I plan air/ground travel to Fiji?
There are a number of options for discounted airfares. There are also travel wholesalers such as Waterways.com that have air/land packages. Waterways has some premiums for Fijiguide.com readers that you should ask for.
For a list of airlines and wholesalers in the US and Australia/NZ that service Fiji see list below:
Q: Are surf guides available? How do I find one and how much do they charge?
A: There are several new companies that offer surf charters to Cloudbreak and the surrounding waves but there are only a few that offer surf guides with the tours. At FijiSurfco.com our boat trips come with both an experienced guide and life guard as
well as a personal surf photographer who uses his pro-gear to get you surfing for no extra cost. Check out Fijisurfco's photo blog which show cases daily highlights from every surf trip.
If you are looking for a guide to get you to other spots outside of the normal reefs of Cloudbreak and Restaurants simply inquire at Fijisurfco.com. There are lots of other waves for you to discover only hours away from Cloudbreak and they will most likely be empty! (Cost estimates would be available upon knowing more info duration,car rental fees, boat fees, etc).
Q: Can I pull up an online surf report in Fiji?
A: We reference many sites to get a more accurate swell reading, some of our most used are,
All of the photos featured in this series are by FijiSurfCo.com. Stay tuned for more of our exclusive interview with Stu Johnson.