In a new "Sessions with Moona" episode, triple Kitesurf World Champion Moona Whyte takes us along to Fiji. We asked her about kiting Cloudbreak, the highlights of her trip and got some great tips for traveling with a lot of gear.
Hi Moona, your latest Sessions from Fiji looks like you had so much fun! Tell us a bit about the trip and was it your first time there?
This trip was super last minute! I was going about my morning at home and Reo Stevens came by to tell me and Keahi that a mutual friend was staying on a boat in Fiji and there was an extra bed. There was a swell on the forecast too. They warned that it might be too big for me but I didn't care, I was going to try it or worst case I could watch perfect waves from a boat. I booked my flight that afternoon and the three of us were on the plane the next morning. I had never been to Fiji before but kiting Cloudbreak has always been high on my list. It just looked tropical and perfect and also challenging at the same time! I was really fortunate to even get the opportunity to go with a place to stay so I had to go for it.
How were the kite conditions and what makes it different from your home spot on Oahu?
So the swell that we saw on the forecast ended up being pretty big, and a bunch of pro surfers from the North Shore were on the same flight over with us. Plus, what I didn't know was that there are groups of traveling surfers rotating weekly in and out of the nearby islands (all within a 40 minute boat ride), so there were lots of hungry surfers around. Naturally, everyone wanted to experience Cloudbreak in all its beauty, and even though it did get windy enough in the afternoon, it was just too crowded to fly a kite through the lineup... About an hour before the sun set, with the swell dropping, Keahi and I launched our kites off the back of the boat to try on a couple little insiders. The surfers were friendly and called me over to get a wave, but it was so packed it was just going to be impossible. It's a really heavy wave with shallow reef and you never know what could happen. You definitely don't want to get washed in with your lines through any number of surfers. So we downwinded to another wave nearby for the last 30 minutes of light, and that's actually the wave in the vlog. It was a fun, mellow, really long left and we kited there till dark. It felt a bit like my home spot, but just the opposite direction, and much longer!
What did you guys do when the wind wasn’t blowing and what was the highlight of your trip?
We surfed all day. But when the swell was bigger, it was too heavy for me, so I shot some photos of the guys. I also swam out to the lineup with some fins and a mask to get a closer look safely. The guys were really friendly and helped us navigate the sets. That was one of the highlights of the trip for me, swimming under the most powerful waves in crystal clear water as the pros weaved through barrels above us!
You have been traveling a lot this year, we saw you at the GKA events in Europe and Africa, in Australia, Hawaii..and now Fiji. Do you ever get sick of it and what are your travel essentials?
For now I'm really enjoying it! This is actually the first year that I'm traveling the whole year so it's exciting, especially since most of them are new places. Besides my kite gear, some of my travel essentials are my reusable water bottle, food container, and utensils, my All Good reef friendly sunscreen and Honey Girl Organics lotions, my Gopro, and I always bring my surfboard just in case we don't get any wind!
Do you have tips for traveling with a lot of gear?
Always research the oversized/surfboard baggage policies for the airlines before you book your flights. Some people are good at getting out of the baggage fees, but I'm not, so I just have to pack strategically and hope for the best! I always try to bring as little as possible, and use my wetsuits, kites, and harness to pad my boards.
Can you give us a hint about where else will you take us for a Session?
The next one is in Portugal, and then home to Hawaii for some sessions with my dog Kuma. :)
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