transport and someone to
know where to go in what
conditions. In short you’ll
need Matt. He will take you
either by boat or by car
to the best spots for the
day. We have spent days
on end roughing it on off
road 4 WD tracks around
plantations finding ac-
cess to the water. A lot of
Tonga’s coast line is sheer
Words and photos by Frans and Sylvia cliffs, and finding beaches
facing different wind direc-
tions calls for time-con-
It’s hurricane season in Tonga and the normal- nuts. Given that during the trade wind sea- suming expeditions. If not
ly hot sunny weather has gone wet, grey and son the wind never stopped blowing for the by road or 4wd track, he’ll
windy. A blustery westerly wind has been blow- 3 months that we were here, that shall prob- take you in his inflatable
ing for over a week now, the result of a station- ably not last much longer. With many lush to outer islands like Ke-
ary tropical low west of Fiji. With rain and steel tropical islands and white soft beaches, surf, nutu, Mounu, or Taunga.
grey skies it looks more like Western Europe than sunshine, warm clear water, great tidal flats,
a tropical paradise, except for the humid heat. and circular soft-sand islands appearing like Another possibility for vis-
magic at low tide, Tonga is a kiter’s paradise. iting kiters is to stay at long kiting feast will be staying at Mounu
We are packed up in Matt’s beat up red se- Mounu Island Resort, where Kirsty, the only oth- and on rented Moorings yachts in October.
dan, sweating under a mountain of kites and Matt (Owner of Tonga Bob’s Cantina in Neiafu, er resident kiter in Vava’u, will look after you.
boards, looking for spots to launch in a west- Vava’u) has just started the first official kite surf- Blessed with a soft white sandy beach Another great spot is Kenutu, where at low
erly. Spots none of which have ever been kit- ing centre in Tonga. To kite in Tonga you’ll need right round this tiny ‘bounty style’ tide during 6 or 7 hours a soft round sand is-
ed before, we know that for sure, since we island, at Mounu you will kite whenever the land appears, surrounded by shallow water and
are the only kiters here. At Ano beach, a small wind blows, no matter fronted by the best, biggest and most consis-
village along a nice sandy beach, a westerly what direction. A knee tent surfing spot in Vava’u. Southeast winds
swell is breaking into shoulder high surf. “Look to shoulder deep (de- blow side shore (about 80 % of the time) along
at that!”, says Matt. “It must be huge out- pending on the tide) a gentle sloping 4.5-mile long reef, where big
side for waves to break all the way in here!” lagoon stretches out peaks break in perfect A-frames for some se-
at the east, south and rious wave riding. More on the inside towards
As we get out of the car and frantically start west side of Mounu, Kenutu, the reef shallows and the waves are
pumping up kites we are surrounded by hordes bordered by reefs at more hard and hollow. The problem is that
of local kids. They all want to help and grab lines the south side which there’s nobody ever out there! No one to ride
and kites. I decide I have to learn to say in Ton- can have epic waves. those beauties and no one to go out with. And
gan; ‘stand back please, dangerous!’ The adults Kirsty is about the most it’s scary to be all the way out there all alone.
hang back a bit watching what these ‘Palangis’ stoked person you will
(Tongan for foreigner) are up to now. When the ever meet, and totally We spent weeks on end here on anchor surfing
first kite gets launched the children start yooping dedicated to kiting. and kiting. Never during that time did any other
and jumping up and down. When I take off on She’s doing back loops people come to join us, except ‘Moses’, a local
the board I can hear them screaming behind me. and handle passes af- spearfisherman who took me on a ‘tour de con-
ter only 6 months! naissance’ along his favourite holes in the reef.
The waves are soft and crumbly but fun. The wind “Here check out this hole”, he said. “There’s always
soon lets us down and we hope the next squall Speaking of champs, a big lobster in there!” I thought he was pulling
will arrive soon with more wind. We drive around Cindy Mosey was here my leg, but there it was in the hole, a big lobster
some more looking for more windy spots, but scooping out spots soon on the tip of my spear. “Tomorrow there will
the wind drops even more and we call it a day. for the next all fe- be another one there, always big ones!” Moses
male kiting clinic. Thir- said. And so we had our own fresh lobster supply.
Kiting in Tonga is a completely new phenom- ty of the top women
enon and every time you launch the locals go kiters on a 2-week Following the eastern reef towards the south,
You can go whale watching
and swimming with whales
on rare days of calm. Or
you can go on a kart sa-
fari going in a self drive
off road kart, with ‘Vava’u
Adventures’ based at the
Aquarium café. They also
rent sailing dinghy’s, offer
scype, and organise any
other activity available; like,
sea kayaking, rent a motor
boat, scooter rental, taxis.
In Neiafu there’s great
backpackers (10,- US a
night) as well as more up-
scale accommodation. Also
importantly the hospital
is relatively well stocked,
We have spent the last 8 years sailing around the islands of the south pacific
clean and very well staffed.
looking for surf and kite spots on our 39-foot yacht “Moet”. Every year we take
there’s 7 more uninhabited reef islands, all with I went there with both feet
people onboard as contributing crew, sharing the adventure. For more infor-
white beaches and surrounded by waves at the full of sea urchin spines, and they helped me mation about us and being part of the crew see our website www26.brinkster.
ocean side and perfect flat water at the lagoon side. well (loads of morphine!) and free of charge! com/moet or email us on Fransandsylvia@hotmail.com We try to reply to all
All of them unexplored and un-kited paradises. queries personally whenever we have access to the net (can take a while!).
Compared to other countries in the south pa-
Our 07 plans are to revisit Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and New Zealand.
Vava’u has it all; perfect beginner’s spots (the cific where I have been kiting, Vava’u rates
Causeway), and perfect wave riding spots and right up there with New Caledonia and Fiji,
most importantly; lots and lots of wind every and surpasses Vanuatu and New Zealand.
day during winter. You need a boat for most Plus you’ll be one of the first kiters up here!
spots. Although overland, both excellent shal-
low flat-water spots (south side of Koloa and
Ano beach) and good wave riding Some friendly faces:
spots (Ketahi, Botanical gardens
and Canoe passage) are accessible. Matt, Owner of Tonga Bob’s Cantina, and Vava’u Kite Centre Catering to kiters
with complete packages including: gear hire, instruction, retail, repair, trans-
The best time for wind is winter port, boat trips, accommodation, food, and even a bar discount for kiters!
from March to November. Although
we had non-stop strong winds well Kirsty, tel. +676-54331, of Mounu Island Resort, Accommodation including
into February. Southeast to East food. Professional kite instructor on site. Possibly the best spot around.
trade winds predominate for 80%
of the time, averaging about 15-20 Vava’u Adventures: Ben and Lisa, kart safaris, sailing dinghies for rent, and
more… Tel. +676-70493, firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.vavauad-
knots, often 30 knots or more for ventures.com
days on end, so definitely bring a
small kite! Also bring all repair ma- Rent a boat, at the Coconet Café. Tel. +676-71331
terials you might need, and booties
to walk on the reef. There are abun-
dant seas urchins in some spots!
Besides kiting Vava’u is famous for
the whales that visit here during
winter to give birth to their young.