Cloudbreak: make it or break it

For many surfers, it's the ultimate wave. Welcome to the small island of Tavarua, in Fiji, where you won't find many things to do. That's it, you'll have to ride Cloudbreak.

Forget museums, historic buildings, and night life. You've probably traveled a long way to get to the Fijian island of Tavarua and enjoy the splendorous natural surroundings. There's blue water everywhere. And waves for all tastes.

But the truth is that if you're not an intermediate, skilled surfer, you should stay away from Cloudbreak. Even in its medium sized days, this wave hides many daunting secrets. The worst variable is, without a doubt, the shallow and sharp reef, which will rapidly tattoo your skin.

Fortunately, Tavarua offers eight main breaks: Cloudbreak, Restaurants, Tavarua Rights, Kiddieland, Swimming Pools, Namotu Left, Wilkes Pass, and Desperations. There are waves for all levels of experience... and fear.

Tavarua: home to eight magic surf breaks

Cloudbreak attracts surfers from all corners of the world. If it's pumping, a European big wave charger may well book a flight to enjoy the insatiable vice of waves. Only in Fiji you know the feeling.

Cloudbreak breaks on all tides, but for pristine surf opt to paddle out during low tide. The best swell comes from south/southwest, shaped by eastern trade winds, between March and October.

With waves breaking in the 10-20 foot range, you must pick the right rides. Don't hesitate, show commitment. Cloudbreak's speedy left-hander will hunt you down the line. In this place, information is power. Ask the local boat drivers where you should sit before scoring the first Fijian barrel. It's pain or gain.

Fijian reef: sharp and shallow | Photo: Tavarua Island Resort

Dave Clark and his cousin were the pioneers of surfing in Tavarua, in 1983, after being informed of the quality waves found in the spot by American sailor John Ritter. One year later, Clark and Scott Funk built the Tavarua Island Resort.

You are staying in a natural sanctuary. The water you'll drink comes from collected rain, and every waste is recycled. Sea level near Fiji has risen and will continue to rise throughout this century. The country is seriously affected by global warming, so do your best to protect it.