Surfing Aganoa Lodge in Samoa with a Long Layover in New Zealand
When we originally planned this trip, it was only for Samoa, but when we realized we had to do a long layover in either Hawaii, Fiji Australia or New Zealand, we decided to make it a two week trip and spend a week in New Zealand as our 'layover'.
We decided to rent RV's in NZ since a couple in the group had done it before and said it was the proper way to chase swell and wind. They were right! We ended up driving up and down the Western coast of the North Island looking for the perfect wave. We had a few mediocre sessions, but an amazing session if both Raglan and Piha. Raglan was such a great, long point break and we lucked out with only a couple people on it. Piha was a breach break with some pretty good rides as well, and it was such a cool little town that I would like to visit again. We wore 4/3 wetsuits with booties the whole time and were pretty toasty. **We actually surfed Piha on the way home since we still had half a day layover in NZ again.
I had not done much driving on the 'wrong' side of the road and I was baptized by fire since we were doing it on winding mountainous roads in an RV!!! It ended up being alright and by the end I felt like a pro on the left side of the road.
There were little bakeries where we could get flat whites and meat pies all over the place. Overall, it was a little more expensive than I had heard with beer not being a bargain at all coming from America, but overall the food experiences were good and we were happy with full stomachs at all times. Price-wise, I was mostly unimpressed with the cost of the RV parks. We avoided them when we could, but when we had to use one they were expensive and didn't even have free internet. Speaking of internet, my new Google Fi phone worked pretty well everywhere and my T-Mobile phone was ok. I only have faster than 3g speeds a couple times, but overall was just happy to be able to use the maps and some texting.
Another NZ-thing I was impressed with was their airline! Very well run, clean, comfortable, no surfboard fees (if you only check one bag), I was so happy with these guys all around. Why can't all airlines be like them? Delta and United need to take a hint...
After a great time in NZ we flew over to Samoa where we hopped on a ferry to go to the island of Savaii. I always judge a place by the taxi drivers at the airport (I know I shouldn't) and Samoa started with a bad taste in my mouth due to the scamming Taxi drivers who would charge more for a surfboard than for a passenger. That was only the tip of the iceberg, I'll leave the rest to your imagination but we felt like we were trying to get screwed all over the place. Once we were on Savaii, I felt much better. It had a better vibe with less hustle and bustle. We got to our surf camp (Aganoa Lodge) and we were amazed from the start.
Each one of us got our own little bungalow right on the beach. As I layed in bed I could watch the waves breaking! I have been to some great places, but never anything this cool! Each one also had it's own outdoor lava rock shower that opened to the sky. It was truly amazing!
The food the whole week was quite tasty and the staff was super nice. The surf guides seemed to know what they were talking about and would get us to the breaks with the best waves. One of the best parts was the lack of crowds. The lodge only allows 8 surfers (kinda), and there are no other surfers on the island (kinda) so that meant we had picture perfect waves for just our little group! Plus, when your friends got tired, you could have the wave all to yourself!
I've been to some pretty famous surf breaks, but I never seem to get them at the best conditions. Until this trip!!! I have never seen magazine type waves all day, every single day. It was the most epic surf trip ever! The guides told us that we lucked out and the previous weeks were not that great with the winds. We thanked the wind and wave gods and caught as many waves as our arms could handle.
The break right out front of the resort is a barreling left with a couple other peaks as well. The reef is shallow and sharp and the wave is a hard one to catch. We all got scratched up by the reef, but it was all worth it for the great rides. A 45 minute drive away, we surfed a wave called Middles that is an A-Frame and the left is pretty long and easy to catch. We caught some pretty good waves there as well.
After getting surfed out for a week, the camp entertained us with a local dinner and show and we all drank and celebrated a great week.
This trip will be one for the books.