Chilean surf scene

Surfing Chile’s Easter Island

Renowned among top international surfers, Easter Island has seen surfboards riding its breaks since the first ancient peoples arrived on these shores. 

Thursday, July 05, 2012 Category: Tourism - Sport - Culture - World Reviews on Chile
Surf’s up! Easter Island’s legendary breakers. (Photo by anoldent/flickr) Surf’s up! Easter Island’s legendary breakers. (Photo by anoldent/flickr)

Famed for the hundreds of ancient, mysterious  and massive stone monoliths along its shores, Chile’s Easter Island has more recently become a flocking point for the world’s top surfers looking to take the drop on some of the best waves out there.


Archaeological evidence has shown that surfing was practiced on the island as far back as its settlement by early Polynesians, who used roughly crafted boards for transportation and fishing.


Today, Easter Island is a haven for surfers of all levels. Experts will thrill at the challenging waves on the island’s south side, in the Paka Ai and Papa Tangaroa bays. Experienced riders can tackle the crashing surf on the west side of the island in the Tahai and Mata Veri bays. Pea Beach, near the island’s only town of Hangaroa, is known for its dependable high tide swells, making it ideal for riders polishing their style.  This latter beach is the go-to spot for beginners, thanks to its reliable, steady waves.


Those looking to learn to surf will find themselves in the perfect location on Easter Island, with expert instructors at their fingertips. Local surf legend and instructor Mai Teao is one of the top gurus for those looking for surfing guidance. Mai makes surfers’ safety the top priority, checking in daily for updates on wave conditions, tides and swells. He’s also a trove of knowledge about Easter Island’s fascinating history, including the locale’s lengthy record of varied surfing culture.


The months of December, January and February - summer in the southern hemisphere - are idyllic on the island with clear skies and humid, warm temperatures. The winter months are cooler, with stronger winds and some rain, but the waves are equally beckoning. When surfing the island at any time of year, be mindful of the tide charts as much of the rocky shoreline is exposed during low tide.


Easter Island, one of Chile’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is located over 3,500 kilometers west of mainland Chile and can be accessed via plane. 

A variety of accommodations on the island cater to the range of travelers who visit the island, and those looking to sleep in a manner akin to the ancient Rapa Nui can go the rustic route and camp at one of the island’s several well-equipped camping areas. 

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