Pango, Vanuatu

We’re in the middle of winter now at home. Not that you’d know it most days, but that chill in the morning air makes us long for the warmth of Vanuatu again. And after a month filled with long work days/nights, study, surgery, and a few other health issues, we find ourselves reminiscing about the lazy days of reading by the ocean, surfing the Pango reef break and Breaka’s left, and chilling on the beach, surrounded by the local pups, watching the sun set.

Pango surf 1

We spent the last few nights of our honeymoon at Breaka’s Beach Resort. The resort was stunning: bungalows, hammocks, cocktails and a pool. But, we are simple creatures, and after spending the previous few days on Pele Island, we felt slightly awkward around so many people dressed in nice resort wear. Breaka’s, though, is a perfect place to stay if you enjoy a surf.

After carting a surfboard around for the whole of our honeymoon, hubby finally got to indulge, testing out both breaks. The swell was fairly small during our stay, but that didn’t stop him – and a bunch of others – from enjoying the fun little waves rolling in as the tide rose. And when the waves were too small, I’d catch him in the shallows pushing the local groms on to the waves, cheering them on as they stood up and high-fives when they paddled back out ready for the next wave.

SONY DSC

It was at Pango that we met John (local pro-surfer, surf coach/guide at Surf Vanuatu, and involved with the Vanuatu Surf Association – VSA). John shared a few tips of local breaks around Pango, Eratap, and Pele and how the local community is encouraging kids to get into surfing. There are no board shapers in Vanuatu and the kids cannot afford to buy new boards. All of the surfboards used are donated by visitors. The VSA, John or other surfers help repair the boards and then give the boards to kids as prizes in the local surf contests, as well as to those who show enthusiasm and positive sportsmanship on the water.

Every afternoon, kids of all ages would ditch their school uniforms and head into the ocean. Many shared surfboards, most of them had no wax or leg ropes, but they would take turns paddling into waves until the sunset. I’d spend most of the afternoon chilling on the beach, kept company by the local dogs, alternating between sleeping in the shade and watching hubby and the other surfers hanging out waiting for the next set to come in, cheering each other on with each wave caught, and finally emerging from the ocean – smiles plastered across faces – salt wrinkled skin as the sun disappeared behind Breaka’s.

Pango beach 2

Me and my mate just chilling on the beach

The surf may not have been huge, but the experience was different to surfing at home. There was no aggression, no sense of ownership, just joy for being in the ocean, and a whole lot of fun as everyone was stoked for each other and for every wave caught. It ignited a flame in my hubby, one that had been snuffed out under the pressures of work and the lack of surf time back home. The thrill of seeing someone stand up for the first time on a board. The fun of surfing together and having a whole lot of laughs. A reminder to not take life so seriously, but simply enjoy being in the water and in the moment.

Pango beach

We are planning a return trip to Vanuatu. One filled with surfing and time spent in the ocean having fun. Next time though, we’ll return prepared… with a bunch of extra boards, wax and leg ropes, so that a few more kids can join in the fun too.

 

%d bloggers like this: