Reflections from the Field – Tavarua: Time Flies

Sorry it’s been a few days since my last post. Since the internet here isn’t the best, it takes a long time to put up these posts and I haven’t had internet for the past two days so bear with me.

Jess and I got up at 5am to go surf Cloudbreak on Friday despite the lack of sleep from the Kava ceremony. Sunrise was awesome.

That tower is where the judges sit when there’s a contest.

It was pretty mellow and fun until it got crowded with 30 people all fighting for the same small wave that came ever 45 minutes to an hour. Jess got the best ones of the day which was good because it was his last full day on the island.

View from the boat ride back to the island.

This is where the owners of the resort live…not too shabby.

That afternoon, Weiss came and talked to Jess and I about the Kava ceremony and asked for our input on what to add/change as well as some other cultural interpretation ideas for the island. For instance, the story of how Druku’s ancestors received ownership of the island is really cool, check it out here: ( <– its missing some details I heard from Weiss but this gives you the general idea.

After lunch, Druku started the closing ceremony of the New Year’s celebration. We had prayer and then Kava. The closing ceremony involves throwing people in the pool, the ocean, or just dumping buckets of water on each other. This symbolizes washing off everything from the previous year. It’s pretty fun watching everyone fighting to throw each other in the water or sneakily dump buckets of water on people’s heads.

After a bilo (bowl) of Kava…

I went to lie down and ended up napping for four hours. Jess woke me up for a meeting where we discussed in greater detail with two of the staff who I will be working closely with the next two weeks. They are awesome guys with great ideas and I’m really excited to see what we come up with for the new policies. The guests will be stoked on the new projects once they’re done.

That night was Jess’ last night so we had a couple drinks, but not too many because we wanted to get one more surf in tomorrow morning at Cloudbreak before Jess left.

Dawn patrol Saturday was better than the day before although it was pretty shallow and I ended up nicking my ankle on the reef when I got caught inside-nothing major. We had all the guests out that morning and it was less crowded even though the waves were better than the day before. There were thunder storms on the horizon and a perfect rainbow from end to end, there was even a double rainbow “all the way across the sky!” haha – ( After a few hours we headed back and I got my ankle cleaned up and met the new medic for the next week – Patrick who works in Lake Tahoe. He told me there is still no snow and some resorts are going to close for the season already because they can’t afford to stay open anymore. Bummer. I’m hoping it dumps by the time I get back so I can snowboard somewhere…

Jess and I did some work before having a couple last beers before the boat left at 4. Dylan warned the guests that it looks like some rain and thunder would be heading our way and that they should leave now, but no one was ready to go and no one seemed to be bothered by it – I would want to stay on the island as long as I could too. Dylan was right – the gnarly weather moved in just in time for the boats to leave. Saying goodbye is no fun like always. Everyone was really nice and friendly and we had a great time that week.

The staff singing and playing guitar as everyone left the island.

Had a much needed sleep in on Sunday and took it easy for the rest of the day. Patrick found the 49ers game on the TV at the bar so we had lunch and watched the game. What an awesome game. Go Niners!

I worked the rest of the day until sunset, which was beautiful, maybe the best one yet. Hope you won’t mind all the pictures:


Views from the tower where you go with a pair of binoculars to check the conditions of  nearby waves.


Zoomed in and pulled back.


Orange glow and gradient texture.


This big crab was crawlin near the shore while I was taking these photos. Sunset over Namotu Island to the right.

Got up for dawn patrol this morning (Monday) at Cloudbreak because I had heard it was supposed to be bigger and it was – 6 ft to me…2-3 ft according to the Hawaiian guides haha. It was clean and awesome. I only caught one wave because I was a little nervous I’m not gunna lie. I’ve never surfed stuff that big and powerful on my backhand (regular footer going left means my back is to the wave—for you nonsurfers) so I was a little hesitant. It walled up really nice and I just went down the line for a while and then I saw the lip start to barrel so I tucked in and grabbed rail—it was so awesome being in a barrel that big where I could see the end of it (I’m used to crappy-closeout beach break back home where you hardly ever see the end of the barrel) awesome in fact, I kind of zoned out on the nice view and then got a reality check when the lip clipped me and I bailed. Had I been going faster I could have made it, but Mick (San Diego) saw me and said I was pretty deep in the barrel, which explains why I didn’t make it, but I didn’t care, it was so cool to finally see something  I’ve been dreaming of for years. Hopefully I’ll make it out of the barrel one time before I leave. Stoked from the surf at Cloudbreak, we went back for breakfast, and then got back in the boat to surf Tavarua Right’s, which is a mellow right hander that breaks on the island. Thomas got a lot of good ones for his last full day here.

Got back, had lunch and then got to work. I’ve been in the office all afternoon chipping away at my to-do list here, but now it’s time for dinner. Until next time, moce (“mo-they”)! (Goodnight!)

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