The French Polynesian islands not only have stunning land areas but also charming waters inviting travelers to plunge in. Whether you want to snorkel to explore rich marine life or do other water activities like surfing, these islands won’t disappoint you.

While surfing in Moorea isn’t the most popular thing like its big sister Tahiti, its waters have enough spark to satisfy both novice and experienced surfers.

Moorea has bright turquoise water surrounded by a barrier reef. The water around the surf spots of Moorea usually goes from 5 to 10 feet deep providing great surfing opportunities for surfers of all levels.

What is it like surfing in Moorea?

Moorea Island is in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean between Australia and South America. Because of this location, Moorea receives both ground swells and wind swells all year round. These swells are typically from S and SW directions, with some N swells mixed in.

The waves near the beaches in Moorea are generally mellow, so surfing isn’t great there. But if you go out in the ocean towards the reef break, you will catch some epic waves that will get your adrenaline pumping.

man surfing a big wave in Moorea

Moorea’s surfing scene is mainly suited for experienced surfers because of its strong currents and waves, especially in Haapiti where most of the Moorea surfing happens.

However, beginners need not to worry. Moorea has all sorts of waves, so there’s something for everyone. You just have to find your perfect spot and wave.

On weekends, many locals come out to the beaches and waters of Moorea. You’ll even see kids surfing with their bodyboards and having fun in their own way.

Swells in Moorea

Swell is a series of waves that are generated by distant weather systems, such as storms or strong winds, which transfer energy to the water. These can travel long distances across the ocean, sometimes thousands of miles before reaching a coastline.

Swells can vary depending on several factors such as the time of year, weather conditions, and the specific surf spot. Here’s some general info about different swells in Moorea:

S / SW Swells

The S and SW swells in Moorea typically vary in height, ranging from 2 to 6 feet. Sometimes you can catch even bigger sets reaching up to 10 feet or more at best breaks.

These south and southwest swells are ideal for intermediate and experienced surfers as they have more power in them.

N Swells

Moorea’s north swells are usually smaller, about 1 to 3 feet tall. These swells are more consistent in the wet season and are suitable for surfers of all levels.

These swells usually don’t get big, they are good for beginners and often considered ideal for learning. But sometimes you do get some strong swells pushing through.

Best Surf Spots in Moorea

waves breaking and sunset scene in Moorea

Moorea has very few good surf spots because of its geography which limits their number. Reef breaks here are a bit hard to access and if you go way out in the ocean, you can definitely find other better surf spots but then long distance from the shores makes it dangerous.

Another reason is that Moorea is often overshadowed by its neighboring islands like Tahiti and Bora Bora where it’s more invested in this activity, so not many breaks have been discovered or made easily accessible yet.

However, against all that, you can still find great surfing opportunities in Moorea that can quench the thirst of your inner surfer.


If you’re looking for the less challenging version of Teahupoo, then Haapiti is your place to go. It’s the most popular surfing spot in Moorea and is also ranked among the best in French Polynesia.

Haapiti produces both casual and hefty SW swells, making it a great spot for intermediate and advanced surfers. Beginners can join too but don’t consider this place exactly beginner-friendly.

The area where most of the surfing happens gets some powerful left waves that can break up to 8 feet tall. The large waves can be a bit hollow, and small waves under 6 feet are kind of mushy but still fun to ride surfboards.

Besides that, you may face strong currents there that can suck you out to the ocean. If this happens, it can be dangerous and you’ll need to paddle hard to get back into the channel.

The good thing is that the water is deep, so if you fall, you won’t be hitting the underwater reefs. But it’s still a good idea to take safety precautions.

All in all, this break isn’t recommended for beginners, they should find a subtle spot for themselves away from that barrier reef.

How to get to Haapiti?

Haapiti district is located on the west coast of Moorea, about 20 minutes from the Moorea ferry dock. To get to the Haapiti break, book a boat from Haapiti Surf Lodge which will cost around $50.

The break is at southwest about a mile away from the shore and you can reach there in 5 minutes.

You can also get a guide from the surf lodge who won’t not only take you to the break but also help you with surfing.

a surfer in Haapiti

Cooks Bay Pass (Irihonu)

Cooks Bay Pass is a lesser known surfing spot suitable for intermediate to experienced surfers. Here you can get a mixture of left and right waves on opposite sides of the channel.

The wave quality depends on the wind, sometimes it can be challenging and other times rewarding. The area is subject to S, SW, N and NE swells depending on time and conditions.

East trades usually make the lefts choppy and hard to surf. But south and southwest swells usually make up for good waves. North swells, which are more common in the wet season, are smaller and offer good surfing.

The waves here are consistent, but the shallow reefs can cause injuries, so be careful.

Getting to Cooks Bay Pass

Cook’s Bay is a 3 km long bay with a width of 170m situated on the northern shores of Moorea near the Cook’s Bay Hotel & Suites. The bay pass is past the outer reef and is marked by buoys.

You can reach the pass by boat and will take more or less 5 minutes. Once there, drop the anchor, grab the boards, and enjoy your surf of Moorea!


Temae surf spot is a great option for tourists residing on the west side of Moorea. Surfing here can be quite challenging, especially for beginners but with some patience you can find the right waves and get the hang of surfing at Temae.

Offshore winds from the south are usually responsible for some great S swells that are very pleasant to ride. Temae’s right hand break is shallow and choppy and can produce heavy waves that can lift high up to 6ft.

In short, Temae isn’t the ideal spot for beginners but they can find some smaller waves that can work for them. Swells from S, SW and SE directions are considered good for surfing at Temae.

Getting to Temae

Temae surf spot is located at the northeast shores of Moorea near the famous Temae Beach. It’s within walking distance from the airport and about 2.5 miles away from the ferry dock.

You’ll need to book a boat to reach the surfing point or you can paddle straight from the beach to the point which takes about 15 – 20 minutes.

Hauru (Club Med)

Surfing at Hauru point is suitable for surfers of different skill levels. The spot is known for its left and right hand consistent and smaller waves, but still, you can find good waves that can be as high as 6ft.

The best time for surfing at Hauru is during the dry season when the S swells are most common. These south swells produce clean waves that are typically smaller and great for beginners, but you can still catch more enjoyable swells sometimes.

In the wet season, N swell are more common and are appreciated by experienced surfers. These swells can be powerful and painful for the inexperienced, so take care of that.

Overall it’s a great spot to surf in Moorea that gets S, SE and N swells, and depending on the conditions, both beginners and experienced can find their ways to enjoy it.

Getting to Hauru Point

Hauru surfing point is located on the north coast of Moorea near Tiahura village. It is close to Opunohu Bay and is 7 miles from the Moorea airport.

To get to the surfing point, take a boat or canoe from the nearby hotels, it’ll only take about 5min to get there.

several poeple at Tiahura beach
Tiahura Beach

Moorea Surfing Map

Moorea surfing spots map

What’s the best time to surf in Moorea?

Moorea offers good surf opportunities all year round, but the best time to surf is during the wet season, from November to March. This is when N and NW swells are most common, they’re typically powerful and can range from 2 to 8 feet tall.
This season is not only suitable for experienced surfers but also for beginners.

However, during the dry season between April and September, more consistent S and SW swells fire up the reefs on the south coast of the island. This season is more suitable for intermediate and experienced surfers. Haapiti, the most famous break in Moore also gets better during this time of year.

It’s important to note that swell direction, wind conditions, and location can all affect the quality of the waves at any given time. And of course, your skill level also matters when choosing the surfing time and spot.

Surfboard rentals in Moorea

One thing that would concern surfers is that there are little to no places to rent surfboards in Moorea. If somehow you find a rental place, they probably won’t have a great selection of boards.

Tahiti is another place to look for surfboards, but it’s not great either. It’s still better than Moorea, though.

Renting a surfboard in Moorea or Tahiti costs around $50 a day, which is a lot for a board. But prices on these islands are generally high, so it’s no surprise.

Therefore, when traveling to Moorea with surfing in mind, I’d recommend bringing your own board, it’s by far the best option!

surfboard facing Moorea island

Where to stay when surfing in Moorea?

Whether into surfing or not, down below are some of the best places to stay near the different surfing spots of Moorea.

Linareva Moorea Beach Resort

Linareva Moorea Beach Resort is a beautiful lodge located right along the west shores of Moorea in Haapiti. This is definitely a great place to stay for those looking to stay close to the Haapiti surf area. You can take a boat ride from this place and go surfing at the Haapiti break.

Moorea Beach Lodge

Moorea Beach Lodge is a gorgeous lodge situated in a great location on the northwest coast of Moora between Haapiti and Papetoai. This place is about 5 minute ride from Haapiti and Hauru breaks of Moorea.

This is a nice, stylish hotel with a wonderful beach reserved for guests only. They also offer free kayaks and bikes among other amenities.

Hôtel Fenua Mata’i’oa

Hôtel Fenua Mata’i’oa is an amazing place to stay located on the north coast of Moorea in Tiahura. From this place, you can easily access the northern breaks of Moorea such as Hauru and Cooks Bay. The hotel is near the sunset beach which is known for its great views.

This hotel is nicely decorated and has comfortable and spacious rooms. The staff is amazing and provides you with all the necessary amenities and more.

Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea Beach Resort

Sofitel Kia Ora is a popular 5-star hotel in Moorea located on the eastern side of the island near Temae Beach and 1.6 kilometers from the airport. The resort is within walking distance to Temae surf point.

Things to know

When you catch a big wave, it’s definitely fun to surf on it. But you should beware that waves here in Moorea have got more power and you might end up getting some beatings.

You might also face strong currents that could push you out to sea, which would be gnarly. So I’d recommend not surfing alone even if you know how to surf.

While you’re out in the ocean, there’s a risk of running into coral reefs. They are generally 1-3 meters deep and can lead to injuries or rashes. So keep some antiseptic ointment on hand when planning to surf in Moorea.

And don’t forget reef-safe sunscreen for yourself and surfboard wax for your board to have the best surfing experience!

Answers to the questions you might have

Can you surf in Moorea?

Yes, you can surf in Moorea whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer. However, it’s important to note that Moorea is not entirely beginner friendly.

Is Moorea safe?

Moorea is a completely safe island as the majority of the French Polynesian islands are. Crime rate is very low, it’s a very safe destination for travelers.

Are there waves in Moorea?

Yes, Moorea gets all kinds of waves ranging from 1ft to 15ft high.

How many days do you need in Moorea?

I’d say 5 to 7 days are more than enough for this small island if you don’t want to get bored.

Which month is best for Moorea?

May to October is generally cooler and are the best months to visit Moorea.

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