Category Archives: Surfing

New Surf Camp: The Autonomous Region of Bougainville

IMG_4061Arawa Town, Bougainville Island, 1988

The first thing they did was blow up the electrical tower that supplied the mine. This act alone essentially shut down the largest copper mine in the world. The locals weren’t just going to stand around and let Rio Tinto fix the thing.

One night a native man from Panguna Village took aim with a home-made bow and arrow and shot a Rio Tinto security guard right in the face. The gun that this security guard held, was taken, and used to obtain more guns. The local land owners quickly took control of the mine. This was the start of a 10-year civil war. The Makamui still control the Panguna Mine to this day.

There has been a cease fire in effect for the last 20 years. The peace process is ongoing and a 5-year referendum began in May 2015.
The people of Bougainville are fighting for independence. They do not want to be governed by Papua New Guinea (PNG). These guys are going to vote for independence. The question is, will PNG walk away without putting up a fight.

Bougainville is more then just a surf trip, it’s an adventure.There’s a “no-go ” zone on the island and yes, we can go there. Adventure is around every corner. Bougainville is gnarly but generally speaking, this place is safe. It’s not to expensive and the waves in Central Bougainville can get really good. All the spots close to the camp break on North Swells (Oct-April). There is year round surf though. The other side of Bougainville picks up south swell. Most of the spots around the camp are outer reef passes. Lots of lefts. No people.

The Bakavari Surf Retreat is located in the village of Uruna on the island of Pok Pok. Bakavari is conveniently positioned one mile off-shore of Bougainville Island (Kieta Town). The most consistent wave in the area is a 5 minute boat ride away. Accommodations, boat transfers and three meals a day are included in the $100 u.s. dollar ($275 Kina) per day charge.

Don’t trip. Bougainville’s relatively safe. Everything is pretty mellow right now.
Come see for yourself.

Please contact Geoff McAndrews ( for more information.