The Best Surf Breaks in Rarotonga + A Surf Break in the Outer Islands!
Rarotonga offers some of the best reef surfing in the South Pacific, not for the faint of heart with powerful point tubes and hard-hitting reef waves being the only type of breaks you’ll encounter. With surf hire, surf shops and surf guides on-island to get you kitted out, Rarotonga is the only one of the Cook Islands with established surf breaks… With the exception of one outer island that we mention at the end of this list of the best places to surf in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands!
For more advice on planning a surf trip to Rarotonga, take a look at The Ultimate Guide to Surfing in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
1. Socials (Black Rock, Golf Course, Nikao Social Centre)
Going by many names, this surf break on the leeward (west) side of Rarotonga is a curve in the reef that bends prevailing swell into both right and left-hand waves. Waves are fast, hollow and powerful, breaking over a shallow coral reef. Due to its consistency, Socials can be one of the rare surf breaks in Rarotonga that gets crowded. Favourable winds include easterlies and southeasterlies.
Location: Off the shore of the Nikao Social Centre, Black Rock and the golf course, Nikao, northwest coast of Rarotonga.
2. Matai Wreck
A long-standing favourite surf spot on Rarotonga, Matai Wreck is just in front of Trader Jacks in the Avarua Harbour. It’s one of the best surf breaks in the Cook Islands for intermediates looking to hone their surf skills on coral reefs. The surf is relatively inconsistent, but you will find more favourable conditions in summer with swells from the north and tradewinds from the south. Learn more about when to surf The Best Time to Surf in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Location: In front of Trader Jacks, east end of Avarua, northern end of Rarotonga.
3. Club Raro
Some awesome right-handers can be found on the northeast coast of Rarotonga at Club Raro, better suited to bodyboarders than surfers due to the slab-type waves produced. The best conditions are at high tide with a small north swell.
Location: Off the coast of the Club Raro Resort, Tupapa, northeast coast of Rarotonga.
4. Rutaki Passage
This 50m (164ft)-wide passage on the south coast of Rarotonga creates more of Rarotonga’s best surf breaks. Best at mid-to-high tide with northeasterly winds and southeast to south swell, Rutaki Passage is an awesome left-hander surf break which is often hollow. The waves on the passage are ideal for intermediate to advanced surfers alike.
Location: Ruataki, southwest coast of Rarotonga.
5. Avaavaroa Passage
Determined tube riders will definitely want to keep an eye out for moderate southwest swells and summer northeasterly winds for the thick and ferocious right-handers of the Avaavaroa Passage. The break is best at mid-to-high tide and is a favourite spot for guided surf tours with Go Local Cook Islands and Rainbow Villas. Avaavaaroa Passage is also a hotspot for turtle swimming tours.
Location: Vaimaanga, opposite the blue YWAM building, south coast of Rarotonga.
6. Norrie Park (Matavera Point)
On one of those rare days when the winds aren’t chopping the waves to pieces on the east coast of Rarotonga, Norrie Park, also known as Matavera Point, is hold a decent right-hander at high tide.
Location: Off Norrie Park (opposite Takitumu Tua II Primary School), Matavera, east coast of Rarotonga.
Right in front of the Edgewater Resort & Spa, the aptly named Edgewater is a consistent wave that is on with easterly winds but gets saturated when the swell goes beyond 2m (6.5ft). It can be a righthander or lefthander wave depending on the season.
Location: In front of the Edgewater Resort & Spa, Arorangi, west coast of Rarotonga.
8. Avana Passage
A passage at the northern end of Muri Beach, Avana Passage short waves that break off the tip of Motutapu. A little patience is needed to enjoy these waves, not only because the surf break is on the windward side of Rarotonga but because waves need to be selected. With the surf being unreliable and not all that challenging – yet still too dangerous for beginners due to the shallow reef the wave breaks over, Avana Passage can definitely be put at the bottom of the priority list.
Location: Between Avana Point and Motutapu, north of Muri, east coast of Rarotonga.
Last of all, mainly because is the surf spot in the Cook Islands that you’re never going to get to, Takutea is an uninhabited island with two epic surf breaks off its coast. Only a handful of surf expeditions have made it to its one break off the west corner and the other break over the shelving reef, projecting 200m (656ft) off the southeast corner of the island. It has been noted (by a pilot of the local airline that is also a keen surfer) that the best conditions are when storm waves come from the east-southeast and a northwest trade wind blows. This creates waves where 400m (1,300ft) rides are possible for the expert surfer.
Location: Takutea. Find out more about the ways to get to this island in The Complete Travel Guide to Takutea.
More About Where to Surf in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Now that you know the best surf breaks and places to surf in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, plan more of your surf excursion using the guides below:
- The Ultimate Guide to Surfing in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- The Best Time to Surf in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- 10 Best Water Activities in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
Finally, check out more epic experiences between surfing in the 101 Best Things to Do in the Cook Islands: The Ultimate List, as well as plan all the logistics with The Best Cook Islands Travel Guide.