Rumours of surf breaks on the southern side of Qamea Island were confirmed in 2006, when one of Maqai’s owners/directors had a chance to survey the outer islands of Laucala in a helicopter – the quality of the breaks were confirmed with a flyover (including what is arguably the best right-hander in Fiji), and the rest is history!
An amazing surfing experience is offered directly out front of Maqai Beach (pronounced as “Munguy”). Whether you’re a weekend surfer, beginner or advanced level, Maqai has waves for you in Fiji!
The advantage of Maqai Resorts location is that you can see the main breaks anywhere from the resort; kick back in the Sandbar or on the deck of your bure and choose the best time of the day to hit the waves – when the weather is changeable, you can score the best session of the day.Staying at Maqai Resort you can’t stay any closer to the breaks, they are directly 1500m offshore – no long boat rides to cut into your surf time – a 10 minute boat ride will have you surfing Maqai, Kavas or Bula Bowls.
Surfing is possible year round in Fiji, with two distinct surf seasons – at Maqai we are lucky enough to be able to surf through both seasons, which is not the case at many surfing areas in Fiji. The southern hemisphere summer provides calm and glassy conditions with more northerly quarter winds and consistent long-period swells, while the winter season sees the big Southern Ocean-generated swells grinding through and southeasterly winds are more common.
The 3 main breaks in front of Maqai are (from left to right looking out to sea) Kavas, Maqai and Bula Bowls, while there are also 3 more surf breaks in the area that are within 10-20 mins of the resort; Purple Wall, Black Rock and Mulomulo.
Maqai is the jewel in the crown of this part of Fiji. A long right-hander that breaks through all tides – the reef doesn’t go dry at low tide like many breaks in the tropics, and if you get washed through on any tide, it’s into deepwater and an easy paddle back round to the take-off – that is surfable from waist high (still has punch enough to have fun) to just about anything that Huey can throw at it. It is at its best in northerly quarter winds, and even though it changes character with different wave heights, directions and periods like any other break, intermediate through to expert surfers can enjoy it in all its moods – get in deep and find the barrels that can go the whole length of the break on a good day, or hang wide and inside and have a blast carving up the big walls for the taking.
Kavas is located just 600 m across the reef pass from Maqai. It works in winds from the southeast (a common wind in the winter months) through to the north and is best surfed from mid to high-tide. It is a winding, walling left for competent to expert surfers, that peels for 150 m with occasional barrel sections and fast walls for carving. Hollow and fast off the take off, the wave then opens out to quick racing walls with nice rip-able sections. A shallow spot, surfable at high tide only with great barrel opportunities in the right conditions
Bula Bowls is located on the other side of the reef from Maqai right (also straight offshore from Maqai). Also a left-hander that works with winds from the southeast through to the north, it is a slightly softer breaking wave than Kavas and suitable from intermediate surfers up. When the swell is smaller, it’s a friendly left hander that can offer up shorter, but fun, waves. On big swells another heavier wide peak starts firing, which swings into the breaks at the end of the first section and can offer up back-door barrels and big carves for the experienced.
The Purple Wall is a 15 min boat ride to a shallow reef off the coast of Taveuni. Purple Wall is a thick fast right-hander that is a heavy wave in long-period swell and only for the competent to expert surfers due to both the heavy wave and the shallow reef; surfed at mid to high tide. It comes in as an A-frame take-off that throws up deep barrels and solid walls for the experienced surfer that enjoys to be challenged.
Around the corner at Black Rock (10 mins west of Maqai), is a left-hand ledge known as Black Rock or Left-Overs; it is part way up the channel between Taveuni and Qamea, so picks up waves during big swells and is very sheltered from most winds. It is a short fun wave that breaks down the edge of Black Rock during larger south to southwest swells; it doesn’t get big, and is 40-50 m long, but ruler straight when the conditions are right, with gentle to no winds.
Similar to some of the breaks in the Mentawai’s, at least with respect to discovery, it had been sitting under our noses for over 10 years, but only surfed in the past year. Mulomulo is 5 mins past Black Rock, a left-hander that is very sheltered
There are small fun learners and long-board and bogey-board waves right in front of the resort at high tide either in front of the sand bar on the artificial sand bag reef or down to the western edge of the resort, as well as a nice little right-hander on the eastern point (some 500 m west of the resort beach). These waves are used for lessons, and occasionally when the conditions are right (small waves and tides), learner surfers get the chance to try Maqai itself.
Recommended surfboards are a short board/fish/long-board for the small fun and medium days, and a larger semi-gun for the bigger days in the winter months. Board shorts can be worn year round, while a rashie, (wetsuit top) & sunscreen/zinc are needed for sun protection. Booties are optional to protect the feet from the reef while surfing, but imperative for coming back to the resort during low tides.
Boat to surf F 50 per person per trip. Boat departs whenever the surf is up.
Luke Kewming – Maqai, Fiji
January 19, 2017 By Tim Baxter
It is no secret that Fiji is home to some of the world’s best waves. Cloudbreak and Restaurants, Fiji Pipe and Frigates are names that are synonymous with surfers from around the world, and these locations have become a Shangri La for surfers since the early 1980’s.
However, the Fijian archipelago consists of 300+ islands scattered through the South Pacific Ocean and a large majority of these islands are mostly unexplored by surfers.
In the age of Google Earth and swell forecasting websites, it’s extremely rare a surfer would ever feel like they are exploring uncharted waters or have discovered a new treasure. My last surf trip to Fiji I felt like I was the only surfer for 100kms and maybe I nearly was.
I first heard about Maqai Beach Eco Surf Resort 12 months ago. A small surf camp set up by an intrepid bunch of surfers looking to escape the crowds and find their own slice of surfing paradise. Consistent quality waves; uncrowded; affordable; relatively easy access…..I found it hard to believe that such a place could still exist these days!
I scoured maps, studied swells and discovered the prime wind/swell window November to April coincidently aligned with my annual leave, I had to check it out.
Family holidays based around surf trips are nothing new for my wife and 3 year old son and the promise of a secluded beach surrounded by tropical rainforest with 24C+ degrees crystal clear water meant they were easily persuaded.
From Australia we flew overnight from Melbourne to Nadi (flights leave most Australian cities daily); once at Nadi Airport cleared customs, collected luggage and walked over to the domestic terminal.
At the domestic terminal a 20 seat Twin Otter plane was waiting for a one hour flight over to Taveuni Island where we were met at Matei Airport by the Maqai Beach Resort representative. Luggage loaded into the 4×4 van and a short scenic drive along the coast brought us to a small cove where we jumped on a boat for the 30 minute trip over to the resort.
On the trip over to Maqai we passed all the main surf breaks and got an idea of how the setups looked; I was getting pretty amped by this stage.
My first trip out to the Maqai Right reef it was easy to see why this is one of Fiji’s best kept secrets.
It felt surreal surfing in mirror conditions with perfect waves barreling down the reef with not another surfer in sight. I can’t even remember the last time I got to pick and choose waves.
I was the only guy surfing for six out of the eight days of my stay at Maqai.
You quickly familiarise yourself with how the wave works.
There is a defined easy entry point mid-way up the reef giving you a long wall to work with, however the further you move up the reef the hollower and longer the wave becomes.
From right up the reef you can get a great barrel and as the wave bends down the reef you can open up and lay down some turns.
Bigger waves have a long easy going wall, the mid size waves run down the reef a bit quicker giving the wave a “better” shape for faster barrels and sharper surfing through your turns – I enjoyed these conditions the most.
Apart from Chad the surf guide and young Uli; Maqai Beach Resort’s Fijian boat guy; I only surfed with one other surfer being an intermediate level surfer who rode down the end of the reef taking off on the wide rollers and riding them until they faded out into the deeper water.
Maqai Right is one of those rare waves that is perfect for every level of surfer; barreling from out the back but gently rolling way down the reef at the end.
There are a few other breaks in the area that I checked out but Maqai Right is the pick of the bunch and it was firing for my whole stay so just racked up a massive wave count on my own out there.
Resort Accommodation & Facilities.
Maqai Beach Resort advertises their bures as “glamping” (glamour camping) however we were pleasantly surprised with how good these simple bungalow style beachfront bures were.
Spacious: Our bure had a queen bed and a single bed, a bathroom with shower and toilet, and plenty of space to store our luggage.
Stylish: Louvre windows let the breeze through and bure tastefully decorated.
Practical: Mosquito proof as all the louvre windows had fly wire and the beds covered with mosquito nets.
Comfortable: A large deck area with sun lounges right on the water’s edge so you could jump straight into the lagoon. Also new comfy beds – I could even check the surf lying in bed.
Fortunately I didn’t need to check the surf because Jeff, the resort manager assured me it was going to be good for the duration of my stay.
Sandbar Restaurant: Hearty meals were served up each day and the beer was ice cold which was perfect for the evenings; or gin & tonics and cocktails were also favourites.
There was plenty of the usual tropical island activities; snorkelling, kayaks, fishing, village tours, rainforest and waterfall walks.
I’ve travelled in many countries and surfed some of the world’s best locations in Europe; Indonesia and the Maldives but our trip to Maqai Beach Resort was one of the best surprise gems of my travels; beautiful tropical beachfront location, an awesome break and no hordes in the lineup!
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