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Island News

Matuku a new surf haven

May 22
12:00 2010

image Written By : MAIKA BOLATIKI. A release from Tourism Fiji says: “Fiji offers some truly awesome surfing and an array of amazing accommodations to suit any budget.
Most of our over 300 islands are surrounded by barrier reefs, so the water is quite calm. But there are some amazing breaks that allow the raw power of the Pacific Ocean to come crashing in.
Fiji has a renowned reputation amongst the international surf community and is famous for its exciting reef breaks (not for beginners), secluded locations and the traditional Fijian hospitality.
Most reef breaks around the islands are accessed only by boat which keeps the crowds down. Specialist Fiji surfing resorts can be found around the islands.”
Now a new surf haven has been identified and it is Matuku.
The island of Matuku in Fiji’s Lau group has been identified as one of the best surfing spots in the world.
Matuku is a volcanic island in the Moala subgroup of Fiji’s Lau archipelago. Located at 19.18° South and 179.75° East, Matuku covers an area of 57 square kilometers. It has a maximum elevation of 385 meters.
History said that Matuku was the only island in the Lau Group that was not conquered by the Ma’afu regime that swept through the Lau group.
“This is why people of Matuku do not wear the tawala in any formal occasion unlike other Lauans as a sign of bravery.”
There are altogether seven villages in Matuku namely Yaroi, Natokalau, Qalikarua, Levuka i daku, Makadru, Raviravi and Lomati.
The Government said – “Matuku Island in the Lau group could become a potential surf spot.”
Deputy Director for civil aviation Joeli Koroikata said: “Government hopes to increase the number of tourist arrivals. We need better infrastructure in place before we can start attracting surfing tourists.”
“We have had reliable people who have rated the island as one of the best in the world. This has prompted Government to act in terms of developments on the island for future tourism and surfing competitions.”
As of now Tavarua Island is the best surfing destination in Fiji.
However, Mr Koroikata believes if all goes well, Matuku could see some big names in the surfing world riding Matuku waves.
“This would mean more economic activities and improved infrastructure for nearby islands.”
In fact surfing had already started in Matuku.
Mr Ian Ravouvou Muller began visiting the island in 2003 with some renowned world surfers.
He also organised tours to other islands like Totoya and Gau. In a write up about his trip he said: “I decided late in 2003 to take the risk and explore these areas where not many boats have been before due to restricted access into the Lau Island group with only few permits granted.
I have flown over these Islands many years ago and saw the potential but did not have the means to search for the waves that I began dreaming about.
Now with the Tour running we are providing you with the opportunity that only a small fraction of the surfing community has had the chance to experience. “
During the tour Mr Muller identified different waves in Matuku.
They are:
1) Vinaka’s : is a fast barreling left that once you get locked in you can have the ride of your life. Gets very shallow and is best at 3 – 2 hours either side of the high tide and is Offshore with the trades. Works best on S –– S/W swells.
3) Ratu’s : has a quick barreling right that works best on S/W swells and is side on shore with the trades. At times when the trades are blowing it is still sheltered enough to perform. Only surfable at 3 – 2 hours either side of high tide.
4) Deepers or chuckies : is a punchy short right barrel that can be surfed at all tides except extreme lows and is offshore to the trades.
5) Kanaka’s : a short left that has a few sections with an end bowl that lets you off into a channel. Can be surfed at any tide and is side on shore to the S/E trades but side offshore with east trades.
6) Bogle’s: it is a small break in the reef on Matuku that builds a short, hollow left that has fun rippeable sections as well. Side off shore with trades and can only be surfed at mid- high tides.
Mr Muller had talks with the Matuku Development Committee in Suva on the development of the infrastructure on the island so that surf becomes a big income earner on the island.
The response has been very good and discussions are continuing.
Mr Muller had also had discussions with Matuku chief, Ratu Alipate Baleilakeba Mocevakaca and he is also given his support.
Ratu Alipate said that surfers who had surfed on the island had rated Matuku highly said -”it’s one of the best in the world”.
Surfing is already carried out in Gau, Totoya and other islands in Fiji.

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