Want to surf in an empty tropical paradise? How about a Solomon Islands surf trip? Here’s everything you need to know about surfing the Solomon Islands!
Surfing the Solomon Islands is one of those rare off the beaten track surf trips where you can find reeling reefs and genuinely empty lineups.
So if you’re looking to escape the crowds and are prepared for a bit of adventure to do so, then a Solomon Islands surf trip should be high on your agenda.
After a week of the best surf sessions I’ve had anywhere in the world and some seriously stunning island vibes, here’s everything you need to know to score the trip of a lifetime for yourself too…
Surfing The Solomon Islands – Your Guide To Off The Beaten Track Perfection
Where Are The Solomon Islands and How To Get There
The Solomon Islands sit just to the right of Papa New Guinea, a short 2 hour flight North West of Fiji or just under 3 hours direct flight from Brisbane in Australia.
The easiest way to get there is via the direct flights into the capital, Honiara, which run from: Nadi (Fiji) and Brisbane (Australia)
Airlines such as Solomon Airlines, Air New Zealand, Fiji Airways, Virgin Australia and Nauru Airlines all offer a range of routes. In terms of pricing expect to pay around $800AUD for a direct return from Brisbane.
Getting To The Waves
From Honiara you can then head out to the surf islands on a domestic flight, with surf camps then offering boat transfers to the camps themselves. It can be a long journey in total but it’s well worth the effort, plus the flights over the smaller islands are absolutely stunning!
Internal flights can be pretty pricey (as there’s only one airline operating the routes – Solomon Airlines) so be aware of that.
Our return flight from Honiara to Suavanoa, for example, was only an hours flights but would set you back around $600AUD return per person.
That being said though, many of the surf camps offer package deals which get discounted rates on your internal flights, so make sure you ask about that.
If you’re organised enough to book both flights combined with Solomon Airlines you can get Brisbane > Suavanoa from around $979AUD return – which certainly brings the costs down as well.
Our stay at Vavaghio for example, involved a Brisbane > Honiara flight, one night in Honiara itself (I can highly recommend the Heritage Park Hotel), a 1 hour domestic flight from Honiara to Suavanoa (complete with grass strip landing!) and then a 2 hour boat ride to the camp itself.
But once we arrived, a number of epic surf spots were just a short 10 minute boat ride away, offering both lefts and rights – well worth the extra travel time and costs.
Also be aware that the luggage allowance for internal flights is around 16kg so travelling light is the key here.
It’s also worth pointing out that getting boards onto the smaller internal flights can be a bit of a juggle and is subject to space. Some pilots are happy dropping down some seats inside the cabin (you’ll be on a 16 seater Twin Otter plane) to accommodate boards. However on packed flights you might run into some trouble – in fact one of our group had to leave his board in Honiara for 2 days before it arrived.
You have been warned!
Solomon Islands Surf Season
Surf season in the Solomon Islands runs from November through to April with peak surf season in January and February when the big swells roll through.
Their position in the Pacific means that a lot of spots benefit from the same big Pacific swells that Fiji and Hawaii enjoy – so get ready for some big pulses which will light up lots of reefs.
The Solomons also get some epic swell from the typhoons that hit the Philippines and Japan too.
Generally speaking though, the swell in the Solomons is around the 3 to 6 foot mark – providing a good range of spots to choose from.
Surf Camps & Costs
Vavaghio Surf Camp (Santa Isabel)
This was my base for the majority of my stay in the Solomon Islands and honestly Vavaghio was the off the beaten track adventure I was looking for.
Nestled amongst the beach front rainforest, you’ll sleep in open plan cabins catering for only 8 guests just a short 10 minute boat ride to two incredible breaks – a left and a right hander.
With it’s gorgeous sunrise jetty, wholesome island meals and friendly staff you’ll instantly feel at home here.
Sure Vavaghio lacks some of the creature comforts of home – but they’re all worth the trade for the empty lineups you’ll get to surf!
Some people might be put off by the lack of wifi and phone signal, but I’d highly recommend embracing the forced digital detox – disconnect and enjoy a simpler way of life.
Approx $176AUD per night
Capacity = 8 guests
Papatura (Santa Isabel)
The most well known surf camp in the Solomon Islands, offering space for up to 27 guests, but capped at 14 surfers. Situated just a 10 minute boat journey from Suavanoa airport there are over 10 breaks within a 20 minute boat ride of the resort, catering for most levels of surfer.
Papatura certainly fits the bill for those looking for the same style of surf resort you’d find elsewhere in the world – with a range of room types, beach front bar and is ideal for those travelling with non-surfing partners too.
Approx $250AUD per night (inc return flights)
Capacity = 27 guests, max 14 surfers
Kagata Village (Santa Isabel)
The sister camp of Vavaghio, Kagata is for those who really want to immerse themselves in Solomons life and kick back amongst a small local village between surfs.
Accommodation is comfortable but basic and you’ll enjoy your own private guesthouse next door to the family village – which you’ll be welcomed into.
Situated about 4km down the coast from Vavaghio you’ll usually surf the same breaks due to their consistency.
Approx $150AUD per night
Capacity = 8 guests
Solwata Surf Camp (North Malaita)
Situated in the spectacular Lau Lagoon, at Solwata Surf Camp you’ll be guests of the “Saltwater People” who will be more than happy to welcome you into their village – a series of stilted houses surrounded by both ocean and mountain views.
Within a short boat ride of the camp lie plenty of world class reef breaks – a good mixture of lefts and rights – and spots like Kofiloco and Piccininies are suitable for both longboarders and shortboarders alike, but there are also plenty of fast hollow spots too.
Approx $270AUD per night (inc return flights)
Capacity = 6 guests
Gizo also has a few breaks but currently no surf camps. It’s easy enough to stay there though (at spots like Fatboys) and grab a local boat out to the waves, but is a bit more fickle than spots around Santa Isabel
Top Surf Spots
As with all surfing destinations, the level of waves really does fluctuate with the swell. Many of the below spots absolutely pump during peak surf season and are expert only, but during the start and end of the season they can be super fun and suitable for intermediate surfers as well.
It’s not a place you’ll be heading to learn to surf but intermediate and above surfers will be stoked on the range of reef breaks the Solomon Islands has to offer.
Out of the main surf areas Santa Isabel is certainly the most consistent, catching the north Pacific swell stream and with the trade winds it’s offshore about 6 months of the year!
Solomon Islands Surf Spots
- Anchovies – the favourite home break of Papatura providing fast, barreling right handers
- Dolphins – another Papatura favourite, but this time a left
- Kummas – one of the best waves in the Santa Isabel area with a picture perfect backdrop too
- Donuts – long, mellow right hander ideal for loggers and those looking for something more playful
- Kologhose – my personal favourite from my trip to the Solomons! This long left hander by Vavaghio was super playful and held up well in a range of swell. Can get a bit blown out if the wind picks up though.
- Marista – this fun little right hander near Vavaghio hoovers up heaps of swell and is well sheltered too
- Skull Island – the longest right hander in the Solomons but a solid 2 hour mission from Gizo. Can be fickle
- PT’s – can handle some BIG swell, so experts only when it’s pumping!
- Tai – an epic swell magnet which breaks even when most spots are flat. Offer both left and rights
- Gnali Nuts – a super consistent left hander which can be surfed by most levels and surfboards
- Kofiloco – very similar to Noosa Point in Australia, it’s ideal for loggers and super fun
- Piccininies – another super consistent right hander close to a local village. Be prepared for some fun locals in the lineup when you surf here!
…and of course there are plenty of secret spots and unsurfed breaks all over the country – so keep an eye out!
What’s The Weather Like?
The weather in the Solomon Islands is pretty freaking epic year round due to their position near the Equator – with an average temperature of 27 degrees.
And a more than comfortable water temperature in the high twenties too!
When it comes to seasons, the surf season from November to April is technically wet season and dry season is generally May to October.
Solomon Islands Travel Tips
Malaria – the Solomon Islands is a malaria zone so I’d highly recommend stocking up on anti malarials for your trip and give yourself enough time to get the dosage started before arriving.
On that note too, pack plenty of mozzie spray as you’ll be out in the jungle!
Spare surf gear – don’t expect to be able to find anywhere to grab spare surf gear, so make sure you pack a spare set of fins, at least one leash, plenty of wax and a ding repair kit just incase
Sunscreen – make sure you have plenty with you as the sun can be pretty fierce. Go reef safe and a decent organic zinc too.
Visas – many countries get a free visa on arrival in the Solomon Islands (including the likes of Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom) but make sure you double check with your embassy as visa regulations change all the time.
Currency – The Solomon Islands use the Solomon Islands Dollar ($SBD), you can exchange money at hotels in Honiara and there are plenty of ATMs there too. Don’t expect any such amenities on the outer islands though so bring enough cash for those post surf beers!
Wifi – internet in the Solomons is pretty slow at best in Honiara and many surf camps don’t have it on their islands yet, so get ready to kick back on island time and enjoy a digital detox!
Religion – the majority of the Solomon Islands is Protestant, however around 12% of the country are Seventh Day Adventist, so be aware of changes to opening hours, transport times and even surfing on Saturday as a result.
Planning your own Solomon Islands surf trip?
Anything else you’d like to know or any tips you’d like to share?