Known worldwide for the curious stone heads (moai) that sprout up from the earth as if they were craggy hedges, Easter Island – or Rapa Nui – is the most remotely inhabited island on the planet. Around 75,000 adventurers make the journey to this Polynesian island each year to examine these strange sculptures, but few people know that the sport of surfing has played just as significant a role in the island’s history.
When the early settlers sailed to Rapa Nui from Polynesia, life on the lost island was all about living off the sea, and evidence indicates that crude surfboards were constructed for travel and fishing. But it was only in the early 1990s that the island found its way onto the surfing radar. In-the-know pros have been coming ever since to try their luck on some of the largest and most gratifying waves in the world.
The best time of year to surf on Rapa Nui is during the island’s winter months – January and February – when the crystalline sea rolls in under a cloudless sky. You can, however, have a brilliant wave-riding experience at any time of year; just be mindful of shifting winds and the occasional rain cloud. Tracking the tides is also essential: the rocky shoreline is exposed during low tide, so it is best to “hang ten” when the seas are high.
For the uninitiated, the shallow bay at Pea Beach near Hangaroa’s town centre is the optimal how-to locale. The gin-clear waters tumble in perfectly at high tide, and friends can watch from shore as you ride your first wave. This is also a good place for more experienced surfers looking to perfect their flips and tricks.
Surfing classes – much like the rest of the island’s activities – are fairly informal. The best place to saddle up with a board is at the thatched shack beside the tourist information centre in Hangaroa, easily spotted by its bright orange walls. Once you have your sea legs, Rapa Nui is a choose-your-adventure kind of place, where you can tailor your surfing experience to your skill.
Do you like surfing? Does the idea of surfing in Easter Island with moais guarding appeal to you? Tell us what you think of this experience!
Source: BBC Travel
Image: Travel Pod