SURF'S UP! Riding the waves off Guam's shores
If you have ever experienced surfing, you can never forget the feeling of riding a wave produced by the power of the ocean. Surfing is a popular watersport the world around, where ever there are waves. And, of course, there are waves off Guam’s shores, too.
An abundance of coral reef may not make Guam the most surfer friendly island, especially for the beginners. However, there are a few beaches that are ideal for when the surf’s up. The best bet for newbies who want to take to the waves is to consult a local expert that can teach the basics on how to hang ten as well as the safest surf spots, how to navigate them and “localisms,” or local turf customs.
“Guam’s surfing can be very difficult due to the shallow reefs, tide changes, rough current and locals,” says Isaac Williams, a surf instructor at Lotus Surf Shop. “For a beginner, especially on Guam, I would recommend taking our lesson provided by the shop, for one; two, listen to experienced surfers advice; three, get the correct equipment such as the right board for your height, weight, and paddling ability; and four, ask the surf shop staff for assistance on anything related to surfing.”
Talofofo Beach is consider the best beach to practice by those on the surf scene. Located in Talofofo Bay along Guam’s southeastern shoreline Talofofo Village, its rare sandy bottom is ideal for beginners who won’t have to worry about washing out on shallow reef.
This black sand beach is popular among local families for weekend outings. This place is also good spot for body boarding. As matter of fact, you will see more body boarders than surfers according to Williams.
“The reason why so much body boarding is so popular on Guam is because of the (skill) level needed to surf the shallow, hard and dangerous reefs,” he says. “Plus length of the waves on Guam are shorter than any other spot around the world.”
Even though the water temperature ranges are from 81-84 Fahrenheit, it is wise to wear a wetsuit or rash guard to prevent cutting yourself from shallow reefs as well as the strong sun. Reef shoes and a helmet are also recommended if you surf around reef.
For expert surfers, the best season in Guam is from August to October – peek typhoon season.
When the swell hits from right direction, it can pump up to solid eight feet. This is the time for “storm riders.”
For information on Lotus Surf Shop’s surfing lessons, call: 671-649-0187
Popular Guam surf spots
A. Rick’s Reef
Located below the Sheraton Hotel. Wave direction: Right
Level: Experienced surfer
B. Boat Basin Left
Wave direction: Left
Level: Experienced surfer, It can produce epic barrels when conditions are right. Watch out for the locals.
Wave direction: right and left
Bottom: Reef and some exposed coral head
Level: for professional or expert only, Excellent right and heavier inside left that requires a large swell to break. If you want to surf here, you need to know the locals first.
D. Talofofo Beach
Popular beach break for all surfers and body boarders.
Wave direction: Right and left
Bottom: Sand and rock
Level: All surfer