Vanimo, like a number of other Papua New Guinean locations, has remained a relative secret. Today, it still enjoys a low profile as thousands of surfers fly overhead to other locations around the globe, overlooking what is basically a wave mecca on Australia’s doorstep. The waves on offer in Vanimo make it an idyllic location for surfers who are looking to surf without a couple of hundred 'mates' in the water. On most days, you would be lucky to have in excess of 6 surfers at any break and more likely 3-4.
Foresight and planning is the secret to low numbers here, as the Surfing Association of Papua New Guinea has introduced a global first to maintain and limit the crowds for the benefit of all. The various locations around Papua New Guinea have a limit on the number of visiting surfers and at Vanimo, the current limit is 20 visiting surfers spread over 8 breaks.
The local surfers can always be seen having a fun time with smiles from ear to ear. It's a real contrast to some other 'big name' surf destinations. The local surfers are made up of all ages and both boys and girls and it’s encouraging to see that the girls are on equal footing. It is a little like what you might imagine or remember surfing was like in the early days, when you looked for someone to go for a wave with to share the good times and witness each other’s barrels.