It’s true that you always want what you can’t have, and with international travel locked down in some capacity for nearly 4 months now, we’d sure as hell love to jump on an airplane to score surf in some tropical destination. Anywhere with warm water and electric blue tubes will do. Because how nice would it be to pack a bag and travel to some far-off island chain, like journalist and longtime surf adventurer Michael Kew did pre-COVID while in search of writing inspiration?

“Surfwise, none of these islands are ‘the stuff of dreams,’” Kew tells us, in an email along with this batch of photos from Oceania (below), where he’s spent a good chunk of the last 18 or so years exploring. “True surf destinations they are not, but they exemplify the spirit of exotic pure exploration that in the past decade or so has largely and sadly gone missing.”

Kew recently wrote a book, called Rainbownesia, which details in great length his travels throughout these islands. No stranger to solo exploring, Kew writes in detailed prose about his experiences searching out surf in the fringes of the South Pacific and Oceania.

“None of the book’s destinations host what might be the normal definition of a perfect setup,” Kew continues. “There are no Cloudbreaks, Restaurants, or Teahupo’os in here. Most reefs are ill-formed, or a pass is too narrow, or it’s just too shallow. And, if an island does feature a perfect setup, more often than not, it’s on the ‘wrong’ side. Fickle is an understatement in these parts. But…you never know till you go, right?”

While few of us can “go” anywhere at the moment, we are beginning to see a crack of light at the end of the travel tunnel. Bali just announced the re-opening of its borders in September, and hopefully other countries will follow suit. In the meantime, scroll through the below gallery of Kew’s Oceania surf hunt, and insert yourself there.

All photos and captions by Michael Kew

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