Six waves that will keep you enamored until the end of your days

| posted on October 15, 2012

Photo: Glaser

The love affair with the heart-shaped island of Tavarua began in the early 1980s, when an American yachtsman sailing through the isles of Fiji saw a reef pass lighting up without a soul in sight. The gossip about this tropical beauty spread fast, and in little time the island had suitors flocking from every corner of the world to sample her offerings. It has since become an exotic nymph for touring surfers, a trophy wave flaunted in mags, brags, films, and contests. The temperamental mistress draws them in, giving worthy beaus the barrel of a lifetime and grilling overzealous expats on the shallow reef at Shish Kebabs.

Jon Roseman first surfed Tavarua in ’89, and he fell in love, hard and fast. “I came down for a week back when it was a rustic surf camp,” says Roseman, “and I realized very quickly that I didn’t want to leave.” This warranted a move from Southern California to the Southern Hemisphere, from condos to tree houses, Bud Lights to Fiji Bitters. Roseman is the co-founder and managing director of the Tavarua Island Resort, but he’s first and foremost a goofyfooted saltwater addict whose nirvana exists in the hollows of Cloudbreak and Restaurants.

“A lot of people envy my setup, and I imagine that is easy to do looking in from the outside,” he says. “In reality, there are good days and bad days—you see a lot of raw life, with the life-threatening injuries, high local-mortality rates, cyclones, tsunami alerts, floods…but it’s all part of it, right in there with the sun and great surf.”

“After 24 years, it’s become home,” he says. “It was the easiest call I have ever made. I immediately fell in love with Fiji, the waves, and the people. The staff and villages have completely become my family; they are truly what make Fiji paradise. Of course, the wave is amazing too.” —Josh T. Saunders

  • Mange mongland

    I live in Hossegor and you really can’t compare it to desert point or cloudbreak! Seriously! It looks like the picture once every other year. It’s crap more often than not

  • Whamo

    “Freedom has a 1,000 charms to show, that slaves, however contented, never know.” — Mickey Dora —

    I have a lot of respect for Jim Banks and the hotel night manager at Mundaca. Not many people pursue their dreams like these two did.

  • gannysesh

    Does Banks have some family cash keeping him going? Or does he take jobs that give him just enough to get by? or what?

  • Meatball

    Hello to all,,,some of us from S.Fla. in 1978 flew into Acapoco,,then took 14hr. bus ride south to get to Puerto,,,the lack of people,the offshore winds in the mornings,the sound of the police band music in the line up & those XLg. Barrels rides !!!! Just spectacular views,times & memories for all of us !!!!!

  • Eric

    Putting ‘Rifles’ on that list is asinine….Great wave, but hundreds of better waves that people try and score, and return to year after year. There are 50 waves in Indo alone to hit before that one.

  • http://any mark connolly


  • Freddy

    @Eric if you scored this wave you would know why its on the list. One 12 day boat trip to the ments ain’t going to do it. I have been to the playground area of the ments 10 times for months at a time and have scored riffles one time. It went off for 10 straight days best waves I have ever seen and surfed. Its 600+yard backdoor barrel every wave. Surfed it other trips but not proper. If you go to this area thinking your going to score riffles think again. It is a VERY fickle wave and any signs of it being good you can assure the resorts are on it dumping on average 20-40 guys in the line-up. But dont worry there are several other world class waves very close by.