Surfing in the Solomon Islands – does travel get any better than that?! In the eyes of Chris from Stoked for Travel it doesn’t get any better than experiencing the incredible people, islands and surf of the Solomons for the first time.
We had the pleasure of catching up with Chris who recently visited this island paradise. The surfer and blogger was kind enough to tell us all about his journey in the South Pacific after being invited by the official tourism board of the Solomon Islands. In this Q&A interview you’ll discover why the Solomon Islands is a true hidden gem destination.
Where did you grow up and what inspired your love of travel?
I’m Chris – 31, surfer, videographer and blogger, originally from Devon in the United Kingdom. I’ve been on the road for the last 10 years (yup, constantly bouncing around!). It’s a combination of David Attenborough and surfing that have spurred my love for travel – wanting to surf tropical waves and see all the epic wildlife!
How did you get started with your blog “Stoked for Travel”?
Well I’ve been bogging for the last 10 years (started in 2009) and have grown my budget adventure travel site BackpackerBanter.com during that time. In the last few years though I’ve focused more on surf travel (my main passion) and higher end travel. As that didn’t fit in well with the backpacker market Stoked For Travel was born!
What inspired you to go on a surfing trip to the Solomon Islands recently?
In actual fact I was invited over by Visit Solomon Islands (the official tourism board) to promote surf travel out there – which was amazing! I didn’t even know where it was when they messaged me! haha!
My first impression was that I was blown away by how stunning the islands are and how off the usual tourist map it is. It’s true a hidden gem!
Could you give us an overview of your surfing trip to the Solomon Islands?
We had two main stops to our trip – Honiara (the capital) and then onto Santa Isabel Island where we stayed at Vavaghio Surf Camp.
As well as scoring incredible, empty waves, we also got to meet heaps of locals, swim in some insanely coloured lagoons, watch nesting Frigates at sunset and sample the local culture with some traditional dances and songs. Honestly it was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on and I’m already planning my return!
What was your favourite place in the Solomon Islands and why was it so special?
We were lucky enough to have Chris McLennan (a Nikon ambassador) on the trip with us shooting pics as well – which is how I got all the epic shots of me surfing! haha!
I think the shoot we did in the lagoon around the corner from the camp was my favourite. Seriously the water was next level and even though everyone on the trip was well travelled we were all blown away with how beautiful it was.
Do you have a favourite memory of the Solomon Islands that you could share with us?
Ooooooo that’s a tough one! The sunset surf we had was incredible – perfect right handers peeling through and only 3 of us in the water. An absolute dream come true and I scored some epic pics of me! The other one that stands out was the sunset we spent at the Frigate nesting ground. Sounds weird but nature was on point that night!
If you had to recommend the best experiences of the Solomons what would they be?
Well if you surf hitting the waves is a must – empty perfection. I didn’t get to go under the water unfortunately on this visit but the scuba diving there is meant to be incredible too. For history buffs the wartime history of the islands is super interesting too as the Solomons were at the heart of WW2 conflicts in the Pacific.
Did you find some awesome surfing spots in the Solomon Islands?
So many! My favourite had to be Kologhose though – a long, reeling left hander that breaks over a reef. With palm tree strewn islands in the background and holding a range of swell it instantly became one of my favourite surf spots in the world!
How would you describe the people and culture of the Solomon Islands?
My overall impression was how friendly everyone was. Honiara is frequented with tourists but if you go to the outer islands people are really keen to meet you and chat. I was always greeted with a big smile too. They’re just super welcoming.
How are the Solomons faring with challenges like climate change and over-tourism?
As we were working with the tourism board I got a good insight into how they want to develop tourism in the country. I’m glad to say they have a big focus on eco-tourism and really want to make sure that things stay sustainable and don’t turn into the chaos spots like Bali have experienced.
I really hope this pans out too as it’s a stunning slice of paradise. I hope they stay that way!
Follow Chris and his epic travels here: