I Hear that Wind a Blowin


Advertisement
Kiribati's flag
Oceania » Kiribati » Kiritimati
January 17th 2011
Published: January 23rd 2011
Edit Blog Post

London BomboraLondon BomboraLondon Bombora

12 foot plus - anyone got a jetski?
Before leaving, certainly in Australia at least, if I mentioned to someone I was going to Christmas Island, the inevitable responses revolved around asylum seekers. Eventually I had my stock standard repost down pat: "Mate, if we manage to spot any Tamils, Afghans, Iraqis or any other boat people for that matter, on the Christmas Island I'm visiting, then they've boarded a boat that's overshot the mark by about 10,000 klms.

Pull out an atlas and you'll find that Christmas Island Part 2 is one dot in the mighty nation of Kiribati, smack bang in the middle of the deep blue Pacific Ocean.

Then again, even sprouting the word Kiribati would usually lead to some puzzled looks, maybe because they had never heard of it, had no idea where it was or perhaps more realistically they were wondering why the hell anyone might be tempted to go there in the first place.

Of course, at the other end of the equation, there are plenty of informed folk out there who were able to rattle off some impressive stats on this place, such as:
(1) Isn't Kiribati the 1st place on the planet to see the sun rise each
Torpedos from the beachTorpedos from the beachTorpedos from the beach

Nasty paddle out over the reef
day?
(2) I've heard Kiribati, along with the Maldives, are the lowest nations on earth (in altitude readers, let's not be nasty now) and will thus be the first nations to go under when the world's water levels rise.
(3) Don't those islands stretch for a few thousand klms east to west?
Yes, yes and yes on all accounts. Kiribati IS the first nation to see the sun rise although they have tweeked the rules a tad by bending, quite significantly, the international dateline around the Line Islands (which includes Christmas Island) in order to keep the entire country on the same calender day. Remember the part about stretching 3000 or so klms east/west? No point having one part of the nation a full day behind the rest.

Now for that sinking feeling. Many of us have witnessed video footage on the downside of owning water frontage in Kiribati, people shovelling the encroaching ocean from their living rooms. Snorkels could become a handy accessory in many Kiribati homes in the future. Christmas Island, however, is bucking the trend of a drowning nation and is inadvertently fighting back. How so prey tell. Well, the locals proudly informed us that not
BuraingBuraingBuraing

145 kg of lovable local with 20 kg of giant trevally.
only is this the world's largest coral atoll but also the fastest growing. Yep, growing fast enough to keep those nasty rising waters at bay.

Christmas Island, 2 degrees north of good ol equator. You're probably visualising a Gilligan's Island sweltering in the high thirties with a humidity that would cause Darwin's toughest to blanche. NOPE! Visually this place is unique, a thin strip of lowland punctuated with scrub and palms and bending around for about 150 klms in the shape a lamb chump chop that surrounds a multi-coloured lagoon with an average depth of around 1 and half meters. Sound confusing? Well it is. It's kind of beautiful in an atypical tropical kind of way, even if the "architecture" and the local's dearth of environmental preservation savvy doesn't help. But whilst the locals may be prone to discard their wast willy nilly, they sure are a smiling, friendly bunch. You can't help but love them, particularly the younguns.

The aforementioned weather also defies all equatorial logic. The water temperature is pleasantly refreshing and the air sits comfortably in the dry twenties. The locals wear as a badge of honour the fact that this is the coolest corner
MilleniumsMilleniumsMilleniums

Main London stretch - an occasionally makeable closeout.
of the tropical world. It stays that way because of the around-the-clock trade winds that rarely dip below 10 knots and, judging by the howling that whistles through the flyscreens, regularly nudges 25+ knots.

Sounds like perfect weather for windsurfing, kitesurfing or any wind driven sport for that matter. Pity our wee group are simply a rag tag bunch of garden variety surfers whereby such winds would normally signal a recipe for disaster. Not so much here. Whilst some lighter winds would indoobedebly be a bonus and open a whole new array of options, the easterly trades are generally the perfect direction for this west facing surfing coastline. You are spoilt for choice in terms of setups (although strong winds reduce dramatically the number of surfable reefs), the crowds are minimal and basically all that is required is some swell.

Did I mention the tides? The variations aren't extreme but are significant enough to chase you out of the water towards the lower end, unless you're of the ilk that ekes some form of enjoyment tap dancing on exposed coral heads.

Oh, whilst I'm on a roll, the names of the breaks. Whoever monicored these reefs must
Our boat again.Our boat again.Our boat again.

Nice colours huh.
have been born at the far end of the creative queue. The two main surfing areas are London and Paris. A gift horse if ever there was one. But do you think we got to surf Big Bens, The Eye, Trafalgars or Westminsters? Nope, just plain old London Point. Then over on Paris we surfed Paris Rights and Paris Lefts. PLEASE! It's not too late. Give anybody the shot at surfing Sacre Coeurs, Notre Dame, Eiffels and Louvres all on the same day and the punters will flock in.

So is Chrissy Island the next big thing on the surfing atlas? In a word, negatory. No question there are some good waves here but realistically, when describing the surfing experience here you tend to throw in way too many "as long as" or "buts". Look, if you have any queries, drop me a line and I'll fill you in as best I can. Take those offerings as you like then go decide for yourself whether you consider a Kiribati surf trip worth the effort. By the way, don't forget the rod, if the surf is not co-operating, the fishing absolutely will be. Mauri.

More images at:

www.colvinyeates.zenfolio.com


Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


Advertisement

Yellow fin tuna catch - sort of.Yellow fin tuna catch - sort of.
Yellow fin tuna catch - sort of.

Seems the sharks like sushimi as much as us humans.
Kiribati kidsKiribati kids
Kiribati kids

Push harder lads, we're stuck.
No Guts No Glory.No Guts No Glory.
No Guts No Glory.

A rather trecherous right hander.
Anchorage LeftAnchorage Left
Anchorage Left

A tad sketchy for us natural footers.
Milleniums.Milleniums.
Milleniums.

Nice wave Mike but should've waited for the outside set.
Surfing in London?Surfing in London?
Surfing in London?

Who would've thunked it.
SunsetSunset
Sunset

Never look a photographic gift horse in the mouth.
Have you got the cajones?Have you got the cajones?
Have you got the cajones?

Triple overhead and grinding onto bare coral.


2nd February 2011
Big Al at medium Milleniums.

barrel time
hey there yeatesy...big al here...mate we got london pumping unfortunately after you flew south..we had nice grinding 6 to 8ft right handers...man you were travelling so fast but really makeable..paddled over some had to be 10ft plus bombs to avoid certain death..london was by far my best waves..i had two waves solid 4ft where i travelled at least 150 metres..the swell angle was really coming from the north..thats what lights up london..dont give up just yet on london...oh ..hang on shissh...no one really needs to know. haha...ps i will try to get you some footage of london at a nice grinding 8ft..chow
14th April 2012

Surf info
Hi mate, Just making some enqueries on Xmas island. Have been reading everything i can find on the place RE; the surf. Your blog sort of sums up where im at. Uncrowded , positive. Swell seems pretty consistant. Offshore Yes. But are they real reef breaks, ie. Indo. From what i can gather so far , allthough they claim to have 20 plus surfable breaks , how many of them actually do break or are surfable quality? Have seen the footage of Fannings which looks good but apparently its to far to get to there from xmas. Is there anything similiar to Fannings on xmas?
14th April 2012

Surf info
Hi mate, Just making some enqueries on Xmas island. Have been reading everything i can find on the place RE; the surf. Your blog sort of sums up where im at. Uncrowded , positive. Swell seems pretty consistant. Offshore Yes. But are they real reef breaks, ie. Indo. From what i can gather so far , allthough they claim to have 20 plus surfable breaks , how many of them actually do break or are surfable quality? Have seen the footage of Fannings which looks good but apparently its to far to get to there from xmas. Is there anything similiar to Fannings on Xmas? Any info would be appreciated. Thanks Jamie

Tot: 0.235s; Tpl: 0.021s; cc: 40; qc: 143; dbt: 0.0522s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.7mb