Tavarua, known as the “heart-shaped island” in Fiji, inspires love at every turn. To me, as a surfer and photographer, it’s a tropical heaven on earth. I had the chance to spend 10 epic days there this Spring! I packed several surfboards, a whole lot of camera gear and even my drone.
Here’s a shot from above, showcasing that crystal blue persuasion, alongside the soft sand and comfortable bures at Tavarua Island Resort. Here are some of the many highlights of this unforgettable trip.
Cloudbreak at the End of the Rainbow
Tavarua is widely considered one of the top surf destinations in the world. It entices surfers of every level with eight different breaks to choose from, however a handful of them are known to be HUGE.
Check out what’s at “The End of the Rainbow” above! On that particular morning, Cloudbreak was thundering with 12 to 20 foot faces. Behind the terror? An amazing sunrise rainbow.
Tavarua Island Resort, an incredible place to stay and surf, explains Cloudbreak like this…
“Cloudbreak’s reputation is known throughout the surfing world as one of the best left hand barrels on the planet that can break from anywhere between 2ft – 20ft. Located just a mile and a half off of Tavarua Island, Cloudbreak is just a short boat ride away. This open-ocean reef break has three main sections that can link up creating multiple barrel opportunities. Regularly 4ft – 6ft, this wave can intensify with size.”
Restaurants Serves Up Intense Surf
I call this a “Fiji Traffic Jam!” Giant racing tubes breaking over razor sharp reef, in just two feet of water with two dozen surfers out. Want a consistent, beautiful left break? Order up at Restaurants!
When you’re not surfing it, this wave remains mesmerizing to watch. Here’s how Tavarua Island Resort describes this awesome surf break, accessible right from the beach…
“Restaurants is a superior left that breaks over shallow reef directly in front of the restaurant of Tavarua Island Resort, hence the name ‘Restaurants.’ It’s normally smaller than Cloudbreak and can offer a machine-like generated wave of perfection that screams down the line. Hollow and fast, it can break in the 2ft – 6ft range and is surfable at all tides dependent on your skill level.”
Early Mornings on the Island
The dawn patrol boat would head out every morning at 6 a.m. sharp. Sometimes, I was on it and would surf for hours on end, getting burnt to a crisp in the powerful sun. Other times (when I needed a rest from surfing for hours on end!), I kicked back, enjoying the sunrise and coffee with new friends. I would also comb the beach, looking for interesting foregrounds while observing the changing light. Both sunrises and sunsets can certainly be stunners in Fiji.
Unforgettable Evenings on Tavarua
Here you see native Fijian Elenoa standing beneath Cloudbreak watch tower, peering out towards Namotu island, enjoying the afterglow of another spectacular Tavarua sunset.
“Small Island, Big Heart.” That’s the famous Tavarua mantra. The saying completely embodies the experience on this island. The staff, managers, lifeguards, native Fijians — are some of the kindest people I’ve ever met.
The Water Welcomes in Other Ways
If the waves don’t get you smiling, the snorkeling sure will. Purple coral is a real thing! With clear waters and vibrant colors in all directions, snorkeling is incredible in Fiji’s Mamanuca island chain.
The marine biodiversity below the surface in Fiji is seriously jaw-dropping. There are even stunning, behemoth clams in psychedelic colors that grow massive in size. Tavarua staff help to raise and protect these unique ocean creatures.
I played around with some “split shots” while I was in the water too! Here’s one with coral at the bottom, Tavarua up top! And those schools of bright blue fish kept wanting to be in the spotlight.
Another Tavarua Journey, Please!
What an incredible time. Tavarua Island Resort is an exceptional place to stay — the surf, the sights, the sunrises and sunsets, the service, the food, the people, the activities — all totally top-notch. The locals are such warm, genuine people; I feel grateful I got to spend time with such a welcoming group! And make no mistake, I’ll be back to share more of the love for this exceptional island.
I even got a few opportunities to be in front of the lens while out in that wild surf, thanks to water photographer Sarah Lee. BULA!
And if you’re curious about other remarkable surf experiences, check out my blog on “Getting to GO: The Eddie Aikau Surf Contest.”