(All photos by @fijichili Scott Winer)

Tavarua Island Resort in Fiji is what I consider a “fantasy island” for wave riders. If you haven’t heard of it, you probably haven’t been riding waves for very long.  As surf resorts around the world go, Tavarua was one of the first, and is recognized as the gold standard.  

Why?  Imagine this-  A 25-acre heart-shaped tropical island with white sandy beaches, coconut trees swaying in the breeze, crystal clear 85-degree water, perfectly positioned reefs, and a slew of different spots to suit all ability levels. 

Combine that with upscale accommodations, all-you-can-eat meals with hearty world class cuisine to fuel you before and after your surfs, and a gathering place/restaurant/bar that overlooks one of the 7 surfing wonders of the world- Restaurant’s with one of the Pacific’s iconic spots, Cloudbreak just 1.5 miles offshore, and a pool and hot tub right next to the bar.  

(The meals are epic!)

There’s nothing NOT to love about this place.  But as if that weren’t enough, the true magic of Tavarua is the staff.  Fiji is known for it’s welcoming, good-natured culture and the staff on the island is a perfect example of how we should all live life- with a smile and a good heart. 

(Fiji Night is an amazing experience)

2020 was the third year for the Tavi Tube Tour, our little brainchild that has become a sort of a fantasy camp for bodyboarders and offers a wonderful getaway for their families at the same time. 

We invite bodyboarders and surfers and their families, most of whom are over 30, to spend a week here with a well-known pro bodyboarder riding waves and shooting the breeze and getting the odd riding tip with professional photographer Scott Winer capturing everything on his camera- surf shots and lifestyles.  This year’s special guest was 8-time World Dropknee Champ Dave Hubbard who naturally tore the daylights out of every wave he rode. 

(Dave gives a tutorial on how to dropknee.  Click THIS LINK to the video on our Youtube Channel)

We had a crew that featured several families from our hometown here in California that mainly consisted of novice surfers, and the other half of our guests were a fantastic group of bodyboarders including ex-pro female bodyboarder France Hazar and Aussie Champ Britt Kennedy, as well as riders from Puerto Rico, New Jersey, California and elsewhere.  Many were returning from prior Tavi Tube Tours.

(Returning guest Danny Clark shows that Cloudbreak isn't always giant and terrifying)

(Former pro charger France Hazar is a pioneer for women bodyboarders)

We arrived on Saturday, March 7th to a rapidly increasing swell and good weather.  We were essentially thrown right into the maw with solid overhead Cloudbreak- one of the world’s most intimidating and powerful left-handers.  Our crew took to it right off the bat with some solid barrels from the crew and Dave finding his groove. 

(San Diego's Aaron Reisner finding shade at Cloudbreak)

("Jersey" Mike Formisano pushed personal boundaries this year)

By Sunday, the swell was peaking with solid double overhead pits hissing down the reef. 

(Dubb and Cloudbreak- a match made in Heaven)

(Vicki snagged some round ones again this year)

(I surfed a minimum of 3 sessions nearly every day)

Everyone got a taste of southern hemisphere juice with this swell while trying to avoid copping a vicious beating.  Abe Arrigotti from San Clemente was the first casualty driving his knee into the bottom after one particularly heavy one.  Flesh wounds really, and not enough to keep him out of the surf. 

(Abe got some "Tavarua tattoos" on this wave)

Restaurant’s out front even provided some rideable (albeit small) peelers for the crew!

(3-peater Aden Watts scores a Restaurant's screamer)

Monday saw the swell drop in half, making the waves more manageable for everyone with another Cloudbreak mission. Mind you, we were all getting 2, 3 and sometimes 4 surfs a day at various spots, maximizing the froth levels. 

By Tuesday, the weather took a turn on us with heavy rain squalls moving in, while the winds swung around to the north.  We still managed a few Cloudbreak sessions, but the size was under head-high, so even our absolute novices were able to grab a few out there.  The other spots like Tavi Rights, Pools, Namotu Lefts, Wilkes and Despo’s all provided moments of fun over the next 4 days, but we never got the right winds or the larger surf to test our mettle at Cloudbreak again, but instead we enjoyed fun-sized waves that most would consider a really good day at their home break, with water warm enough to rival your hot tub. 

(Our daughter Saige has taken a liking to the longboard and there are spots that are ideal for it just ten minutes away)

Despite the less-than-ideal weather the last 4 days, our crew embraced the “liquid sunshine” and enjoyed SUP sessions over to Namotu Island across the channel, a trip to the sandbar, excursions to other islands, drinking kava on Fiji Night, card games, apps and drinks by the hot tub, soft top surf sessions, and amazing snorkeling. 

The kids ran amuck (in a good way) and the parents were able to “escape” amidst the growing COVID-19 coronavirus crisis back at home.  We all felt like we were in another world where that growing nightmare didn’t exist, and we all needed that! 

Want to join the magic in 2021?  Stay tuned to our social media for announcements. This trip books out FAST! 



March 27, 2020 — Jay Reale