Tavarua Resort Doomed?

posted by / News / July 2, 2010

Andy Irons, in more privatized times. Photo: Jeff Flindt

Andy Irons, in more privatized times. Photo: Jeff Flindt

By Nick Carroll

In what seems like a dramatic turn of events, the Fijian Tourism Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has announced that all restrictions on access to Fiji’s surf spots will be lifted.

Under the new Regulation of Surfing Areas Decree — reported by Radio Fiji on Thursday — all title to surf spot access in the islands will be cancelled. This would include premier surf zones such as Restaurants and Cloudbreak, long held as an exclusive by the Tavarua Island surf resort.

The spots would become in effect free to anyone with a boat to get to them.

The decree excludes any challenge in court against the cancellation of leases.

Namotu resort owner Scott O’Conner confirmed the news to SURFING, saying it comes as much a surprise to him as anyone else. The first he heard of the decree was in the paper on Friday morning.

“We’re just waiting for the date to be handed down,” he said of the decree, which will be activated at a date to be determined by the Tourism Minister. “It could be tomorrow, it could be in a month.”

He said the Fijian villagers who’ve been leasing Cloudbreak and Restaurants to the Tavarua resort for years are “freaking out … there’s three villages there that will be a million bucks a year worse off.”

Scott said he had no idea why the Minister was cancelling the titles, but that “there’s a long way to go yet” in the story.

(See below the report from Radio Fiji):

 

Surf’s Up in Fiji with new decree
Thursday, July 01, 2010

Surfing areas around the country are now open to anyone who wants to use them under the new Regulation of Surfing Areas Decree.

Tourism Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says this will allow access to any surfing area in Fiji without payment or compensation, and enhance Fiji’s image as a premier surf travel destination.

In the past some top surfing areas were restricted by hotels or resorts that had leases over the area and imposed payment and conditions for their use.

The Decree cancels any existing instrument of title, including any lease or license – without payment of any compensation.

All interests for any surfing area in Fiji have been vested to the Director of Lands and the decree excludes any challenges in court against the cancellation of existing interests.

As the Minister responsible, Sayed-Khaiyum will determine a date for the commencement of the Decree.

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  • The Nard

    I’m all for free access to spots but having Cloudbreak turn into another Chokes, I mean Chopes, I don’t know. Kinda sorry to see things change.

  • so stoked

    I have had to pass resturnats and cloud breaks many times going off,with no one out, to go surf shit wilts instead.
    I will never have to pass it up again.

    I don’t think the village gets 1 million a year based on seeing the villages myself,
    I think local boat trips, guest houses and restaurants will be popping up and that will really help the locals.

    so stoked cant wait for the new rule to take place

  • boo hoo

    Awww poor industry kooks and pros. Give me a break. And how is getting more people there bad for business?

  • fiji surf veteran

    yeah 20 years of the regime and scotty is a master manipulator.. what he fails to mention is all of the new business opportunities that will arise to benefit the villagers by the decree.. like using their own boats to take surfers to all of the breaks.

  • good news

    haha doomed? now i can afford to go to fiji. how crowded can it get? by your logic california and hawaii are in the midst of doom cause when there are waves it is crowded as F***.

  • George West

    The real problem here has nothing to do with surfing. Its the fact that a criminal government can just take ownership rights and cancel them without compensation and without review by courts. These are the same kind of rights that, when bundled together, comprise real estate ownership. I was going to buy real estate in Fiji before the takeover occurred. Not a chance I would get near it now. I would need to ask myself every day if I will still own it tomorrow.

  • JP

    Great news for the locals and local economy, there is no room for exclusivity on any wave on this planet!!

  • maine

    I agree with fiji surf vet: open access to the breaks offers more opp. for competition. More locals can offer housings, boat trips etc.

    Down with the over priced surf break!

  • Burnsey

    You all are clueless on so many levels.

    Everything I have in life I have earned the hard way. I started with NOTHING. I busted my ass – long hours – lots of risk – one of the rewards is being lucky enough to go to Tavarua. It is truly one of the greatest places with 2 of the best waves on earth. The exclusivity is one of the best parts as you don’t have to deal with whining sniveling little sh!ts who are a$$holes in the water and think they deserve everything everyone else has even though they haven’t rightfully earned it. You don’t have a free for all al G-Land, Rincon, OC, etc. And now I am some “rich” pariah – laughable.

    If ya’ll would spend less time and energy complaining and more of same accomplishing you too would be able to treat yourself to these type surf trips too.

    Also – the villagers that run Tavarua are some of the most generous and extraordinary people anywhere. They along with a couple of other villages who are fortunate enough take in a lot of money from their resorts, give most of what they get away to the poor villages. They keep what the use and donate the rest. Now, with this new deal everyone loses.

    Hope your all happy…and I hope the appeal is upheld and these places remain as they are.

  • Friend to Fijian Surfers

    Namotu resort owner Scott O’Conner confirmed the news to SURFING, saying it comes as much a surprise to him as anyone else. I find this really surprising?? I was in Fiji for three months last year. I know that papers were officially flied while I was visiting. Also still wondering where all that money supporting the villages has gone to? This is about the future of Fiji’s Children and the Fijian Surfers right to surf and profit from their own waves.

  • zach

    It’s about time to prepare for the “Final Solution” for all “surfers” worldwide.

    Had “Pristine” Uppers and Lowers to myself occasionally in Slan Scumente where the Sewer meets the Sea, in the early ’60′s.

    After the mid 90′s I gave up.

    Call me old but don’t call me late for dinner.

    Tavarua, the entire Planet will be crowded soon. Get it while it’s HOT !
    (put something in the water to make surfers disappear)

  • Andy

    Who is this Scotty, sounds like a latter day colonial master, a million dollars to the villages? B—–t, have you been to the villages?
    Tavarua/Namotu – diversify, you have islands that do not need the right s to a surf break to survive. Do not tell the villages that you need this exclusive right , you can survive and employ and contribute without the exclusive right.
    All the best to the young Fijian grommet

  • fiji surf veteran

    also note both tav and namotu were funded with drug money.. totally corrupted local govt officials to get their illegal “wet leases” which had no basis in law..they have been stooging the govt and short changing the villagers for ages with all sorts of propaganda and bs.

  • Scott

    Well Fiji surf veteran
    give us your name and proof of drug money!! Hiding behind a blog you coward.
    Heres a quick run down of what Namotu has done for our village (Solevu) in the last few years
    Built an infirmary
    Built a police post
    Built a church
    Built a ministers house
    Built a community hall
    Built 10 houses so far
    Send 50 kids to school each year from kindergarten to University
    Refurbished the school
    put in a well for water so the women dont have to carry water 700 meters each time
    Put in power to there bures
    Put in a generator and keep it running
    Sponsering the rugby team
    Sending two Fijians in the last month to NZ for eye surgery and a back operation
    So Mr Fiji surf veteran can you go and see the Tui Lawa, Ratu Seva ( the chief of the Mamanucas Island group that owns the waters) and tell him how happy you are that you can all surf there waves for free and they get nothing anymore. I am sure you will be welcomed with open arms!! Are you man enough to give us your name. Probably not. As long as your happy no problem
    Ps the Priminister actually signed our lease agreement so you are calling him corrupt? Come on mate and man up and at least have the balls to sign your name to your BS

  • Steven Baker

    Well said Scotty!!!

    Haters don’t know what they are talking about.

  • Jan Mallis

    Haters are jealous and ignorant. Take some time and visit some of the villages, meet some of the staff, see some of the medical miracles that have taken place, and then try and spout your bs.

    I have personally housed several of the Fijians when they have come to the states for free medical care. I have seen the changes that Tavarua and Namotu have made in their lives.

    Its about time you get a life of your own.

    Love you Scott and Mrs. Scott
    Vinaka for all the fine work you do

  • Andy

    Hey Scotty , You have done alot for Solevu and that is very commendable, but it still doe not address the issue of a local not being able to surf the waves .
    I would suggest that maybe there is some middle ground where a bonafied local can surf the spots which is his right.
    Do you not agree.
    There is a couple of issues here, one do you make it open slather for all and possibly send a resort bankrupt or diminish earnings and benifits for Solevu which is not wished for by anyone, the other issue being the moral and ethical issue of a local surfer having not a lot of rights to surf these waves.
    That is why it has become so emotional , you have a young and more populous group of surfers who find it very difficult to surf the waves
    I maybe a little behind the times and you may have that agreement , but if you do not, surely you can see where the feeling comes from.

  • surfing Tav

    There are clauses in the new decree that stipulate that, “the Minister for Tourism is empowered under the Decree to give directions for the use of any surfing area and may also impose special conditions in relation to the access or use of any surfing area”

    While this is not super clear yet, what looks like happening is a consultation process involving all parties, including Tavarua and Namotu, to sort out a management plan.

    What is clear is that Fiji is good to be rid of whining F@#$heads like the idiot above who claims because he can afford to stay at Tav he deserves exclusive rights to a wave that local Fijians have been restricted access to. Wake up to yourself

    Scotty, I don’t think you need to worry to much, I’d be surprised if your occupancy didn’t go through the roof now that your guests can surf Cloudbreak and Restaurants instead of Namotu Left. Maybe you guys can leave Wilkes alone now?

    And it’s not like Tavarua will just close up shop. They still have the premier location and have the benefit of watching the surf for lull’s in crowd and changes in condition. Maybe they will just have to work a bit harder for their dollars?

  • Andy

    I am not a hater,jealous or ignorant. It is very gracious of you to help a needy cause and Scott, obviously, is also very generous.

    There are many people who do the same thing in Fiji and have put alot of time and effort into similar causes -Red Cross-Orphanages etc over many many years without the provision of the exclusive right of a wave and that is the crux of this whole debate.

    The leasers of Namotu and Tavarua already have exclusive rights to the Islands and fair enough , the matter that rankles is the exclusive wave.

    Thanks for the advise to get a life but I think Im doing fine.

  • Mike D

    Just to give some grommets a heads up.

    Even in the most crowded of line ups, there was a time when manners, courtesy and right of way were part of the surfing experience. That means that it used to be common to have guys back off while you were dropping into a wave.

    I have been surfing for 31 years, and have seen all levels of courtesy disappear at every break I’ve been to for the past 15 years. Pipeline with 60 boogie boarders in the water. Slater being the only one who can drop in without being snaked by some kook. Rincon with 10 guys per wave dropping in and colliding regularly. Huntington with 100 guys out, El Porto having 150 longboarders out at a time. Uluwatu being turned into a circus. I gave up on trying to have a wave to myself.

    I worked tirelessly, saved and borrowed to go to Tavarua this year, and had the time of my life. It renewed my love of surfing, and I got some epic waves, so I can die happy. I would go the rest of year working and not surfing, just to paddle out at Restaurants again.

    If you want to surf epic waves with 100 guys out, I can suggest a few dozen spots for you. Most of them are in the Southern Hemisphere with many surfers who posses no concept of courtesy. Adding Tavarua to that list will be a shame.

    There are more likely than not, hundreds of undiscovered reefs in the South Pacific, just waiting to be surfed. Let some of the Tavarua haters build boats and sail around the open ocean to find them. See if that changes their minds about crowds.

    In fairness, if there were a way to keep the right of way and courtesy rules in place, then a few more surfers wouldn’t kill Cloudbreak. If manners fall by the wayside, I wish a thousand sea lice upon those who make it fall.

    Bula Vinaka,
    MD

  • HUH???

    Im confused Jan?????

    WHY CAN FIJIANS GO TO AMERICA AND GET FREE HEALTH CARE???

    The Ocean belongs to everyone, end of story.

    Sorry RICH TAVI C@NTS should of put my time in YOUR CLOTHING COMPANY!!

  • Jan Mallis

    Huh??

    They received ‘free’ health care as Tavarua organized and paid for it.

  • friend of fijian villagers

    Because Tavarua paid for it you complete idiot!! No wonder you cant afford to go anywhere!!

  • Pete

    Great news, privatizing these spots to a resort always seemed wrong to me, I’m glad everyone will have access to these surf spots now, it only seems fair. This will most likely affect the local population tremendously, I can foresee a lot of locals making a lot more business of traveler’s now that these surf spots are no longer exclusive – expect many more surfers in Fiji, expect many more local businesses to flourish because of it. Nothing but economic benefit for the people of Fiji.

  • Steven Baker

    Safety is also an issue… CB is dangerous, people get hurt. Could be a long boat ride with an inexperienced guide, no first responder??? Or are you going to climb on to the Tavy or Namotu boats when you need them??

  • Jack

    The amount of ignorance on this topic is the saddest part of all. My family and I are not “rich industry f$#@s”, we are from Hawaii, which is regularly assaulted by rabid jackasses that have no respect for anyone who, in their mind, doesn’t surf well enough to deserve a wave. The people who journey to these places follow a VERY strict code of surfing etiquette: no drop-ins, crappy attitudes, etc or you ain’t coming back. The result in our group is a collection of close friends who share a week (and waves) together. By the way, just what part of someone working their ass off contributing to society is upsetting to you “purists?”

  • Andy

    Still ,in amoungst all the rethoric on both sides, no mention to the fact that the local Fijian surfer does not have rights to surf any wave in his own land.
    Its all about me.
    I think it is disgraceful.

  • GDC

    PARADISE LOST!!! Interesting, the only haters are the ones that have never been. Do you haters support communism as well? Should the government taker over all hotels and make them charge the same rate regardless of conditions and amenities?
    Seriously: Work hard, play hard. There are many different price point options for the traveling surfer. For those of us that have responsibilities, commitments, work hard and save but still like to surf good waves; we are OK with paying for the opportunity to surf a good wave with good people, respecting each other and the rules of a civilized lineup. The reality is the majority of Tavarua visitors are not “industry Moguls and pros.” If you have ever been there you would know that most of the visitors are hard working middle class, to upper middle class surfers and their families. These are the guys you surf with and have been surfing with your whole life, not the guys you see in magazine or the guys running companies.

    The amount of medical, educational and civil services provided to the Fijians from the visiting surfers over the years has been overwhelming. Those of us that travel to Tavi year after year respect and love these people and their families and have given back. Do you honestly think this attitude and giving back to the locals will be the same from the feral main-land camp, boat donkey, scrambling through the lineup “getting his”?
    This was one of the last sacred places for surfers and their families, full of aloha, to visit, surf and respect.

    A very sad decision that will have an incredibly negative effect on the Fijian villagers and all the amazing people that have given back so much to this magical heart shaped island in the pacific.

  • Tavarua Supporter

    Whining because you cannot afford to visit Tavarua or Nomotu is very sad and pathetic. Everyone on this earth has the opportunity to work hard, get an education and enjoy life’s finer things with one common denominator…hard work. You are right, if you choose not to bust your ass, you probably will not be able to afford Tavarua or Nomotu, but that is your choice. Realistically, most “rich assholes” got to where they are at one way, by working very hard in life. I know the group I go with to Tavarua every year isn’t made up of trust funders, “pros” or “industry x@%#$’s”, just a bunch of hard working American families. Druku’s family earned the rights to Tavarua by giving their lives. It is too bad now the line-ups will be loaded with frustrated jerks who chose the easy road.

  • Andy

    Do these frustrated jerks include the hard working Fijian surfer, not from the appropriate village, and without the ability to earn a wage enough to afford a night on an appropriate Island?

  • zach

    Well – worked up on this one aren’t we SURFERS ?

    Tavarua will become the new guideline for “destination” surf resorts worldwide.

    Personnally – having Costa Rica almost to myself in the 70′s spoiled me.

    Arm yourselves SURFERS and PROTECT your waves with Dollars and Bullets !

    Armageddon Surf Challenge – coming to a beach near you soon !

    sponsors include every surf related entity on planet Earth.

    send your entry fee to me quick

  • n-dogg

    Tavarua doomed? Not even

    Humans doomed? Yep

  • joe

    ive been to both resorts,and they are awesome.but they are miles from shore and that alone will keep the crowds low,dawn patrols will be empty,when conditions change the people on the islands will be there,also they get to stay on the amazing islands,and that will be worth it.the economy,the waiting lists have soured thoses places lately anyway.dont fear change people.i mean what have all the feral aussies done to bali,oh right,start fearing rich corp types.or just ride longer boards to make up for your fat bellys.

  • Whos Andy??

    Andy
    You have so much to say. Do you have a vested interested in this Country. Theres 300 Islands in this great country and your worried about the FSA that has about 45 members and a third are ex pats!! And all the stuff is about a couple of surf spots. Get a boat and roam. Oh Sorry thats the president of the surf association idea. Ask him about what there family owns in Fiji. Talk about Colonialists

  • Matt Jones

    What a lot of you guys don’t get is that Tavi can’t handle the amount of traffic it will be seeing. Do you want Cloudbreak to look like Wilkes???? There is 50+ people on that reef at any given time. I bet the reef if full of trash, as I have witnessed idiots throwing their beer bottles and trach over the side of the day boats. In regards to the islands being offshore and will keep the crowds down, I disagree. There are a number of hotels on Viti who offer predawn runs out to Wilkes already. Ever seen Wilkes uncrowded? It’s an easy skip over to Namuto and a bit farther to Cloudbreak. Who is going to provide water saftey for all of these guys? Do you expect Rick/Jon and Scott to provide free water saftey for every dumb ass who thinks they can surf those waves? Tavi and Namuto is pristine for a reason. These guys have taken good care of it and the local people. I can’t afford to go to Tavi every year, but it’s nice to know that places like that exist.

  • Jackson T.

    I have a spot on a trip to Tavarua in September, and it’s pretty much the highlight of my year. Can anyone tell me in BASIC TERMS WHETHER IT WILL BE PACKED?? Thanks

  • fullrail

    As expected; live by the sword, die by the sword, lease and lose your lease, same anywhere outside of the US, ask anyone who “bought” some property in Mexico I have been to these islands, had to “interview” by phone with the scheduled group to make sure that I was cool (just another form of localism)

    Both sides of this debate want exclusivity: hard core, young surfers want to dominate by their ability to take off deep and rip, older people by the ability to afford. We are also a bit ehnocentrist and privelaged as a combined group, and we see these places as playgrounds, where we have some “rights”

  • Dirk Digler

    Looking forward to staying at Tavi soon for about fifty bucks a night and “happy hour” prices on the booze all day long. Sweet!

  • zach

    Feral -should be the pre-requisite. If you can’t make it on your own -don’t go. Sure would solve some crowd problems. Downside ? No trash cans. Porta-pottys. Ice cold cervesas. So sad poor/spoiled/entrepreneurs/all. Malaria anyone? Yearning for the 1800′s -BS(Before Surfing) Sell-outs, profit- Purists-gone– 2050 should be fun ? ? ?

  • Ray Kaesbauer

    Scott has it right. A number of people from Namotu and Tavarua have supplied the local population with a number of benefits. Dr. Lance and his organization has done so much for the medical support in Fiji.

    I’ve been to too many destinations where it’s a free-for-all. It’s rare in these “opened” locations that the vacationing surfer does something for the locals.

    This is a disaster waiting to happen if the decree is implemented.

    Nothing like a government entity making broad brushed changes without the consideration of standing agreements. Remember this next time you consider buying a piece of property, only to have the government decide you don’t really own it.

  • zach

    Rules for Traveling Surfers ie “Feral” –

    Feral rule#1; any form of transport is OK. – Feral rule#2; feral purists get first set waves * – * more rules to follow – more rules following soon – -Rules for Traveling Pros. – - Rules for Traveling Entrepreneurs – Rules for Working Surfers – Rules for Girlfriends of Traveling Pro – Rules for Girlfriend of Entrepreneurs – -you get the idea !
    I couldn’t care less about going to a destination resort. But everyone else enjoy yourselves !

  • James

    What a shame. Who cares if anyone paid any govt. officials off for having reef rights. You think our former VP Cheney was and still is lining his pockets with Haliburton. Get real people..business and politcs go hand in hand. Some of you can call it bribery, I call it good business. I went to Tavarua 5 years in a row so I did not have to deal with white trash that I have to deal with in Costa Rica, Maldives etc. Exactly like joining a country club..so you don’t have to golf with the with white trash as you do on a public golf course. I am pretty confident most of who are happy with this “opening” of Tavi’s waves have never been there becuase you could never afford to go there..Now, get in line and wait for the donkey boats to take you out there…much fun to be had. I hope minister of tourism can be bought soon again so Tavi can get back to normal and not have to deal with the soon to be onslaught of 20 dollar a night camps and 10 dollar boat rides…good luck…Get your check books out John and Rick..time to pony up so you don’t have to deal with people who can never afford to stay at your resort….Someone had a good point, when a donkey boat guy goes down at CB, let’s hope the Tavi boat just looks the other way as they have to boat 45 min back to where they trailed in from..

  • zach

    James; you make a good point. However, don’t blame only Cheney it makes you sound partisan. – I’ve never been to Tavi but CR was mine in the early 70′s. Couldn’t afford Tavi. -Maybe you’re correct and owners of Tavi should bribe govt. ? – Time will tell how “crazy” anywhere will become -but for sure -Nowhere is getting less crowded. – Obama bankrupting America may help with your desire to surf some solitary waves along with the uber-rich that skates the coming disaster. If I am correct Fiji will rescind their proposal when times get tuff ? – -Weeeeeel C !

  • neal

    Back to Jackkson T’s ?.. Does anyone know how the crowds have been at CB or Restaurants this week?

  • thombi

    a bit of history about namotu island back in the late 90s the fijians when to namotu and told then that they wanted money for there reef rights and the resort was to pay for surfing there so as expected the resort whent to exclusive rights for namotu lefts if they had to pay.Allso the island had the rights for wilks but they did not police this break as other people could still surf in the area.How are the surfers going to get back to land when the fijian boatman takes you out and then goes fishing and leaves you out.

  • Ilse Yared

    Ilse Yared
    Posts: 29 Re: Cloud of uncertainty shrowds Tavarua
    Reply #29 on : Sun July 18, 2010, 07:58:09
    ——————————————————————————–

    One correction, we were on Namoto till 1995. Till the harrasment became too much and we feared for our safety.
    Broke my heart, little paradise destroyed by Tavarua and their politics.
    Ilse YaredIlse Yared
    Posts: 29 Namoto
    Reply #28 on : Sun July 18, 2010, 07:48:19
    ——————————————————————————–

    I just came across some comments. I lived on Namotu from 1989 till 1993. My then husband Adam and I built the resort, there was nothing there in the beginning. Our philosophy was that everybody, regardless of them staying at our island could surf the breaks surrounding.
    We did had a little coup, Tavarua got people involved against us. Our boat lines were cut in the night, our staff was terrified, my baby and I certainly did not feel safe. We did play by the local rules, but Tavarua just saw us too much as competition. We did lost the island due to constant harrasment and intimidation.

    I did plant all the trees you see now on the island, before greeen was populair we just did what made sense, we created a real surf paradise without surfers needing to be millionairs to stay with us.
    Ilse Yared

  • dpd

    if i was a local fijian and had a small boat i would be charging alot of money for a surf charter to tavi or namotu……..don,t expect things to be way cheeper…i live in hawaii were milking tourists is a way life..i dont think the locals are stupid when they know what your there for and there boat is the only way your gonna surf perfect waves then your gonna pay or not surf….what do you guys think a boat ride will cost???…

  • thombi

    yes that is right they will be charging proberly more for the boat ride to the surf and you will pay surf or no surf.It costs fjd 40.00 now from plantation island every time you go and that is only half way to the mainland

  • Andy

    Hey” Who s Andy”,
    Bit like calling the kettle and all that.
    Who are you?
    The fact remains Pal, whether or not there are expats in this surf association , there are Fijians as well, give me one reason why they cannot surf those breaks, just one.
    By the way, you would not happen to be an expat yourself would you? Any vested interests?
    Yea , I got plenty to say.And another thing , I am not in the Tourism Industry and have no reason to have plenty to say apart from the fact it is wrong to deny a Fijian the chance to surf a break in there own land.

  • zula

    wilkes is reverse cloudbreak in the right conditions but there aint no life guards! the boat rides can only get cheaper because competition always brings prices down! to the previous lease holders go find another break to own,theres over 300 islands in fiji alone. most fijians dont want money for the individual, they are not greedy like us, they need to be able to live their lives in a village and live off their resources, if it wasnt for Barnimarama fiji would be one big indian/american temple with Aus/zealand rules. f@%$k off and leave the fijians to run their own affairs. Its about time the average joe and the average fijian can enjoy the waves whenever. idont pitty any rich prick who thinks they deserve the best just because they work hard, get real you knob! buy a boat and go discover. i have never heard so much selfish bullshit over a couple of waves. The fijians must think your all a bunch of greedy pathetic f@#$wits!!!!

  • Rd90

    Are most of you blind here? The Fijians have gained nothing here, especially any kind of ‘freedom’
    The current militarized regime of Fiji has banished all foreign press, restricted religious freedoms, taken away business owned for generations and if you dare say anything negative publicly, off to jail you go.
    This most recent decree took away an agreement and land rights of the Fijians ( which I agree also effected Tav and Nam owners). This was a legal agreement. Just as many other non surf related agreements were too dissolved. The Fijian people are prisoners of this corrupt regime…But I do agree, it is time for a change, a change in government that is.
    Cloudbreak will no longer be the pristine, uncrowded, no attitude, magical place it once was…that is too bad.

  • Stevo

    No-one owns the waves, especially seppo’s on a tiny pacific island.
    Its unfortunate that some of the locals miss out on some income but they’ve had it too good for too long, and with more people coming to surf these waves the revenue from tourisim with be more evenly distributed amoungst the people.

    Fiji is a great place but because you cant (until now) surf the 2 best waves alot of people arent going.

    As for crowds, well when its 10 foot cloudbreak I doubt that it will be crowded.

    Personally, I hope the seppos go home and some fijian turns the island into a budget surf resort for everyone to enjoy.

  • Oceanislife

    My Uncle who was born and still lives there said that when cloudbreak was became exclusive not even the people who lived near it could surf there.

    I can only wonder how crowded it will get now that its open to everyone. Or if it will get crowded at all. Oh well, atleast the locals can surf there now.

  • BRENDAN

    Finally, after 25 years it is a free place to go, hopefully some other resort like Nihiwatu will also need to open the gate.

  • Paul

    Places like Tavarua and Nihiwatu are for the selfish benefit of fat middle age men or surf industry figures who just want want want. They are all about greed.

  • gio

    Take your black and white sea snakes and shove it.

    Was always amazed that the tiny island of Tavarua was like apartheid.

    White people in the lodge & cabins, blacks in the shacks in the back.
    Capitalist Hawaiian-Americans & Japanese golfers & fishermen.

    Of course, surfers who don’t give a flying fish.

    Food is lovely. Fiji is a big mound of dirt.

  • Nancy

    Everyone is pissed about Tavarua but do they know how much they do for the Fijian’s?

    If you work for Tavarua and your child is really sick they are flown to the US. Do you know how many surgeries they have performed or medicines they have provided. You think the Hilton or the Sheraton are paying to fly sick employees to the US?
    How about the fact that there was no electricity or running water for those villages before they got there. They have helped them physically and monetarily build churches and houses.

    The land was leased from from the villages. They leased their ancient fishing grounds. Other villages had their own fishing grounds that were for them. It would be like telling one indian reservation. ‘Hey you are making too much so we are all going onto your reservation to take what you have.’

    The Fijian’s that work there love it. They are proud that they have for generations helped to built the resort.

    No to mention that Tavarua is a fragile eco system. They are very careful with the removal of waste, use of detergents, etc. They are very careful about how they park the boats as to not hurt the reefs. Will the other day boats have the same respect?

    Don’t fool yourselves, this is all about greed. No one cared about those waves until Tavarua came to be. Now they see $$$ and they all want in. Ultimately the three villages will be the ones that loose out if Tavarua goes away. Who will make money from this? The other resorts that is who.

    There is also a dictator running Fiji at this point. Freedom of the press has been dissolved. People are scared. Money is switching hands in really weird ways. You want something you just pay the right person. How do you think this came about? This was not a law for the people. It was a law for some people who wanted in.

    As for the apartheid thing. That guy knows nothing. Do you think white guys during apartheid were physically building anything for the South African’s. Do you think they where godparent’s to their children? Whatever Gio. Try to talk about what you know. BTW Fijian’s don’t consider themselves ‘black’. Seems that you think of them that way though.

  • a

    I was planning to visit Fiji for the first time and now I am learning that you can only get to cloudbreak if you are staying at one of those resorts. Is this still so? i hate that

  • shawn

    Go right ahead and paddle out. While your out there drop in on Druku. Its a long boat ride back to the mainland with a bloody nose. Once you get to the beach good luck trying to find someone to put all the pieces of your board back together. I would rather pick on some local kid at Velzyland.

  • Chip Rohlke

    I was in the Peace Corps in Fiji in 1977..working in the Bureau of Statistics in Suva. I used to take a bus to Sigatoka with my 7’7″ balsa board to surf with 2 other pcv’s from the local village. I think at the time we were pretty much the only surfers living in Fiji and this was the only break we knew of.
    I stayed at Tavarua in the early 90′s and caught some great waves at cloudbreaks and restaurants. However, I always felt the whole exclusivity deal was rather colonialist and for the white priviledged class. Imagine making sunset beach exclusive to rich white people & off limits to Hawaiians..you’d have blood in the streets.
    I think over time there will be dozens of world class breaks found in Fiji and allowing everyone to surf everywhere is pretty much what surfing is all about..freedom to love God’s creation and freedom to ride the waves He created.