Salani has three open skiffs – no waiting – to take surfers out to the smorgasbord of surf breaks that were designed by a surfer-loving God to handle the variety of conditions that sweep over and through Samoa year around. Salani Right is to Salani Resort what Lowers is to Orange County: Reliable, but much longer and hollower. Pat O'Connell made the cover of Surfer riding a Samoan wave: "That was the Big Issue of Surfer Magazine in 1997, I think," Pato said. "The cover was a barrel from Salanis. Actually that was one of the first waves I caught there, and that is my favorite surf photo I've ever had of myself. I never surfed the left but it didnąt really faze me because all I really wanted to do was sit in those right barrels anyways. The best thing about the wave in my opinion is that you can get tubed almost every wave, and I could sit so far back in the tube and somehow find the end. The wave bends real hard as it goes towards the channel and I can remember rides where I couldnąt see anything but bending wall and then, bam, out into the channel. If you do eat it you're not going to drown. The wave has power but it's not like the North Shore. I would definitely suggest going there. The food is really good and the beer is cold so what else can you be looking for on a surf trip: Warm water, cool waves and a righteous buzz."
Salani Left is visible from the fale at the resort, and some guests have to pinch themselves to make sure they aren't dreaming. This is the kind of long, tropical left reef that most people stare at for hours on their cubicle calendars. Salani Resort confronts surfers with the reality of their fantasy wave, but keeps an eye on them as the left has power at any size and can handle up to 10 feet.
THE ISLAND IS NOT A MYTH
When the southeast winds blow, The Island is the go. About a mile and a quarter offshore, the island is actually a small islet with a powerful left that breaks in pristine, clear water over a pristine coral reef. This is the tropical fantasy even for people who live in the tropics, and when the swell is down, the diving is world class.
Rusty's is a newer spot, a long, barreling right on the outer reef that is longer than Salani Right but just as hollow. Rusty's ends in a deep channel that whisks you out the back as the Theme from Jaws echoes in your mind. But no worries. Sharks just aren't a problem in Samoa.
Boulders is another option when the southeast winds are blowing, or when the swell has maxed out everywhere else. A 10-minute paddle across an emerald lagoon and a short walk along a black-sand beach takes you to the takeoff spot at Boulders – against the base of a cliff. This is a left point that starts as a steep drop at the base of a cliff, then barrels over boulders, then a rock and mushroom-head coral reef for as long as 150 meters, spitting and grinding as it goes along.
Samoa is the land of the endless summer, but in the winter, the north side of the island picks up swell that has crossed the equator from frigid areas in the north. The trip from Salani to the other side of the island winds through scenery that is closest in appearance to Tahiti, or the east side of Oahu. The favored spot on that side of the island is Tiavea, a large bay with four different waves: a big right on one side of the bay, a shallow left on the other and a rivermouth peak with a right and a left in the middle.
Heaps of surf, as the Australians say, and heaps of time to enjoy more than most people can handle, along with the other attractions of Samoa: spectacular diving, fishing for game fish, hiking in the jungle and freedom from cell phones, email, traffic and the other annoyances of the 21st Century.
Salani Surf Resort is not the obvious choice for a tropical surf adventure, but it might be the best choice you ever make.