The waves on offer in Vanimo make it an idyllic location for surfers who are looking to surf without a couple of hundred “mates” in the water. On most days you would be lucky to have in excess of 6 surfers at any break and more likely 3-4.
Foresight and planning is the secret to low numbers here as the Surfing Association of Papua New Guinea has introduced a global first to maintain and limit the crowds for the benefit of all. The various locations around Papua New Guinea have a limit on the number of visiting surfers and at Vanimo the current limit is 20 visiting surfers spread over 8 breaks.
The ability to travel to the different local breaks by foot, land and sea provides great variety. All breaks are easily accessible and don’t require any marathon paddling efforts in distance or through board smashing shore breaks. In saying that the range of waves varies from the easy Town Beach to the freight trains at the right at Log Point and Lido’s Left. Immediately out the front of the Vanimo Surf Lodge within easy view from the restaurant deck area is Lido’s right which peels endlessly over a mostly sand covered rock bottom with enticing backdoor sections similar to Australia’s famous Angourie Point. The size and direction of the surf means that Vanimo’s breaks mostly all turn on at the same time providing plenty of selection. The swell charges in from any northerly direction with nothing to block its path so it breaks from 2-10 ft all season.
The local surfers can always be seen to be having a fun time with smiles from ear to ear a real contrast to other countries big name surf destinations. The local surfers are made up of all ages and both boys and girls and it’s encouraging to see that the girls are on equal footing for once in our surfing world. It is a little like what you could imagine or remember what surfing was like in the early days when you looked for someone to go for a wave with to share the good times and witness each other’s barrels.