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Old 17-11-2011, 23:00   #1
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Route from USA (LA) to Australia (Sydney) with the Purpose of Surfing

Just wondering if anyone has can suggest a route that would take in some great surfing and locations. It's long been my dream trip.

It has been sugessted that I forget such an open water trip and head up to Indo. So I'd be interested on ideas on that too.

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Old 18-11-2011, 19:43   #2
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Re: Route from USA (LA) to Australia (Sydney) with the Purpose of Surfing

My understanding is that it is hard to find surf and a place to anchor. Now that I think of it check out this website Liz Clark and the Voyage of Swell she started in CA and last I heard was in Tahiti but that was months ago.

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Old 18-11-2011, 21:07   #3
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Re: Route from USA (LA) to Australia (Sydney) with the Purpose of Surfing

I don't surf, but had hitch hikers on board that do from Mexico to Galapagos, and another friend who surfed traveled with me from Galapagos to Samoa. I hesitate to reply since I obviously know so little about this, but since no one else has...

The first set of friends seemed to find plenty of surf on coastal Mexico, between Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco. We visited a few beaches that were very well setup for it-- there'd be a taco shop on the beach, and people who were camping on the beach to surf and then eat tacos all day, every day. It seemed ideal. These were not generally good anchorages from a sailing perspective-- not the kind of place that I'd leave the boat and then take a cab into town. And definitely not anchorages that'd be in any guide book, so you'd have to be confident. I'd want to have the boat in sight in case the weather started to change.

There was no surfing in Galapagos or the Marquessas, at least on the places we stopped.

My friend surfed a few times in the Tuamotus, but the problem is that the places we anchor tended to be on the opposite side of the atoll from the prevailing set of waves. I believe there's some detail where the reef passes tend to form on the leeward side of the atoll, so to get to the windward side would be quite an expedition. You'd need a super dinghy to go ~10nm around the outside of the reef in the ocean, and then... I don't know, basic safety would be difficult. If you pop the dinghy on the reef that far from the mothership, or it's anchor chafes on coral while you are gone and it floats out to sea, you may not even be in handheld VHF range to range to communicate with the mothership and be picked up. I'd take crew who'd stay on the boat and have a system so they know if you run into trouble, and have a super dinghy to boot. Or you could go more active and they could heave-to and hang out while you play for a few hours on the windward side of the reef. My friend made do with surfing on the leeward side, just around the corner from the pass, not far from where we anchored, and this apparently was good but not 'orgasmic' waves.

The back side of Tahiti has amazing, scary surfing. Tuapoa or something like that. My friend thought this was way out of his league. The waves were enormous and over coral. Pro surfers were there with video crews and jet skis to pull them out of the big waves.

The islands just North of Tahiti, I think Huahini but am not sure, had some kind of amazing surf thing going on. We met surfers who had flown to Tahiti, then taken a tramp freighter to these places just to surf. They talked to me like I was some kind of retard for being there and not knowing how to surf. Apparently it is that amazing there. These islands are 'medium age' -- there's lots of passes, the fringing reef is kind of tight around the island, so I can see how there'd be a lot of different places to find waves.

I went through Indonesia, but didn't have a surfer with me at the time and so did not pay attention to the waves in that way.
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Old 21-11-2011, 18:52   #4
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Re: Route from USA (LA) to Australia (Sydney) with the Purpose of Surfing

There are surf breaks all the way across the Pacific, it just depends on what time of the year you intend travelling. A lot of the breaks can be very isolated, so you need to be carefull.
I have surfed in New Caledonia, Tonga, Solomon Island, Samoa as well as New Zealand and Australia.
Earlier this year we sailed from Aussie to New Caledonia and had a month surfing the breaks around the southern reefs of the main island. Some days there were only two of us in the water, other days we were joined by other crew from yachts and a few locals.

Surfing web sites have a lot of information on locations and Google Earth is great for checking out potential sites.

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Old 21-11-2011, 20:48   #5
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Re: Route from USA (LA) to Australia (Sydney) with the Purpose of Surfing

As already described often "surfing spots" and "good anchorage" are mutually exclusive unfortunately! But not always, I am sure there will be some examples that can be given by more experinced hands than I!

My suggestion would be that in many cases your best bet would be a big/fast/seaworthy enough dink that you could travel from anchorage to surfing spot and back. This obviously brings up other issues like who is going to stay with the boat in case it breaks free or is broken in to etc etc.
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