Recently, Vonu adventurers Jay Button, Harrison Roach, Chippa Wilson, Tai Graham and Ari Brown spent 10 days at sea aboard the 50 foot monohull nicknamed the Vonu Express, searching the wider Fijian Archipelago for perfect waves and exploring the less-publicised, traditional aspects of Fijian culture.
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Arriving late July, a window chosen for its sunny days, pleasant maximum temperatures of 23 degrees and predictable south easterly Trade Winds, the boys boarded yacht Vonu in Wailoaloa beach, Nadi and set sail for the Malolo group – known to many surfers as one of the most consistently perfect surf spots on Earth. They were greeted with a huge 15 foot south westerly ground swell and strong easterly trade winds, so they were stoked to spend the first two days surfing Restaurants, the well-known left hander on the leeward side of Tavarua island. It was six to eight feet, with the occasional sneaker set, some of the local Tavaruans were calling it the biggest Restaurants in 10 years. The boys were stoked!
After a few days surfing their brains out, the boys rode the tail end of the swell northwest to the Mamanuca Island chain, searching for a traditional Fijian village. After a brief stop at the Mamanuca Environment Society on Mana Island, where Vonu adventurer Jay Button was lucky enough to release a turtle on Vonu’s behalf, the boys hoisted the sails once again, heading for the island of Tavua, where they’d heard rumours a traditional Fijian village still existed. They arrived on the morning of day five, anchored the yacht inside the atoll, and launched the tender, heading for the beach of Tavua Island.
On arrival, they were ushered into the chief’s quarters, a housing structure set in the centre of the village. The boys sat in a circle on the floor, the chief and his designated spokesman at its head, and presented him with kava – a local root-based drink traditionally offered to village chiefs when asking for acceptance into the village. After a long and stern conversation, the chief accepted the Vonu team into the village, and they spent the rest of the day with the village people, helping them pick fruit and playing one touch football – an amended version of the touch football the boys played back home.
After a day discovering the village, the boys said their goodbyes and headed back to the boat, where they spent the next 24 hours batting into the trade wind to get back to Malolo’s world-famous left hander Cloud Break, where they’d heard rumours of an imminent swell.
Sure enough they awoke the next morning to pumping 10 foot swell, offshore winds and an empty line-up. This would be their home for the last three days of the trip.
Surfed out, salty, tired and stoked, the boys returned back to Wailoaloa Bay on the evening of 30th July, piled their board bags onto the tender and headed for shore.