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Since 2007 PNG Surfaris has operated Papua New Guinea’s only surf charter vessel dedicated to exploring the country’s outer islands and reefs. The PNG Explorer is a live-aboard ship designed for surfing, fishing, diving, and general tourism in PNG. Its home port is Kavieng in the north eastern archipelago of New Ireland Province.

Your hosts, Andrew and Jude Rigby, are committed to establishing PNG Surfaris as the best tourism live-aboard in the country through providing exceptional service, preserving a high safety standard and by promoting sustainable tourism which benefits local communities and has low impact on the environment.

The Crew
Andrew Rigby – Captain and photographer

The Master V skipper and frothing surfer comes from five generations of Port Phillip Bay seafarers. He was raised surfing 13th Beach before spending his formative years on the water on trawlers, charter boats and his own yacht, sailing up the Australian coastline over two years. Andrew is a passionate lensman and doubles as the ship’s photographer and videographer, a service that is provided to guests free of charge.

Surf guide, coach and Divemaster

We will be introducing a new surf guide on-board for our 2015-2016 surf season.

The Chef – from Australia

The quality and variety of fresh produce available – vegetables, shellfish, fish and locally reared meat – is fantastic, which means the standard of food is beyond most people’s expectations for a surf trip. Since 2007 Jude’s culinary expertise has established PNG Surfaris’ reputation for excellent cuisine. Today, the role of chef changes from season to season for a fresh approach to meals onboard.

The PNG Crew

The crew are a great introduction to PNG’s rich and distinctive culture. Qualified, hardworking and with wide Melanesian smiles they keep all areas of the boat in immaculate condition – they’re pretty handy with a filleting knife for the latest catch too!

Two hostesses

The hostesses busy themselves servicing cabins daily and keeping the interior of the boat spotless. They also assist in food preparation and ensuring guests have everything they need.

Three deck crew

Deckhands support Andrew in all aspects of vessel operation from steaming and anchoring to navigational and engine room watches. The crew operate two tenders that take guests surfing, diving, fishing, snorkelling or to visit nearby villages.

MV PNG Explorer
Originally built to survey and withstand the southern seas, this 23-metre steel ship has been refitted as a comfortable and spacious live-aboard for up to 10 guests. It is powered by a 504 horsepower engine and equipped with 2 generators, a dive compressor, and 2 fast boats.

Inside the main super structure are six ample cabins set up as four twin berths and two single doubles. Keeping cool in the equatorial climate is managed thorough a combined ventilation and air conditioning system. The living area hosts a large flat screen TV/DVD, sound system, a small library and sofas. A modern galley is fitted with commercial-grade appliances capable of pumping out three fantastic meals a day plus snacks.

On the lower back deck are two hot water showers and three toilets. The lower ‘surf’ deck is purpose-built with the tropical surfer in mind, with padded alloy racks for 30 boards. Accessing the mighty Explorer from the water is made easy by an aluminium dive ladder attached to a large duckboard at water level. Though for fast and safe transfers to the breaks we run two tenders, each kitted out with seating, awnings, board racks, access ladders and fishing rod holders.

Finally, the expansive and shady upper deck is hands down the perfect spot for lounging on day beds while admiring PNG’s stunning scenery. It’s also the main dining area onboard, featuring a well-stocked, icy cold beer fridge, a large barbeque and an outdoor sound system.

Surfing charters
This is your chance to surf newly discovered waves with zero crowds in one of the world’s last frontiers.

From October to April the New Ireland Province receives Northern Hemisphere swells from the northwest to northeast. During these months the wind is predominantly from the N/NW and the surf ranges from 3-4ft to 5-6ft in the bigger swells.

A standard PNG Explorer charter is 10 nights and departs from the ship’s home port, Kavieng Harbour. Generally charters start just out of Kavieng itself toward the westward islands of New Hanover (Lavongai). However, depending on the swell and wind, a trip may head eastwards towards Tabar. Charters may also include remote St Matthias (Mussau) or the Admiralty Islands (Manus) to the far northwest.

Two trees

Trip 2 2013/14 Season

Trip 3 2013/14 Season

Trip 1 2013/14 Season

Trip 4 2013/14 SEASON

PNG Surfaris Video


Untapped Waves

2016-2018 PNG Surfaris Surf Schedule

This scheduling is based on the current Air Niugini flight schedule. PNG Surfaris charter dates are subject to change with subsequent alterations to the flight schedule.Booking ScheduleRates for 2016-2017

10 night New Ireland charter Trips 1 and 2 = $3990 per person

10 night New Ireland charter Trips 3 to 14 = $4490 per person

What is included in the charter rate:
All meals and snacks on-board
Bottled water
Use of snorkelling gear, fishing gear, SUP and Kayaks
Kavieng Airport transfers

The extras:
Wine by the bottle
Soft drinks
SAT phone use – $3.50 per minute (1 min increments)
Diving – $60 per dive
Professional photo package
PNG Surfaris T-shirt – $50 each
SAPNG levy – $50 per person. For more information see
NASA surfing fee – $12 per surf day. For more information see

Booking Information:

1. Our charters require a minimum of 8 surfers for sole use. Our maximum number onboard is 10 guests.

2. Booking of individuals and groups of 7 or less are welcome i.e. non sole use.

3. A non-sole use charter booking may expect up to 10 surfers on-board.

4. Non-surfing partners friends are welcome to join the charter – to a maximum of 2 non-surfers joining an 8 pax surfing group.

5. A ‘surfer’ is anyone, regardless of ability who is intending to surf.

6. A non-surfer – is not intending to surf, but may participate in all other activities.

7. Bookings will be held for an individual/ group for a limited time (maximum 7 days) without confirmation by the way of confirmed names & deposits.

8. Please ensure you read our terms and conditions of booking.

PNG Visas
As of 1st March 2014 tourists are unable to obtain a visa on arrival in Port Moresby. Please ensure your pre-organise your visa in advance of your charter through the PNG Embassy in Australia. See

If your questions in not answered below, please feel free to contact us with your question.

How many people can I book a trip for?
PNG Surfaris requires a minimum of 8 surfers for a charter, and a maximum of 10. So for sole use of the boat you will need 8 full paying surfers. We love the number 8 on-board – but we are happy to take more.
Can I book a charter for less than 10 nights?
Our surf schedule is based on 10 night charters. However in certain circumstances we can organize 7, 8 or 9 night charters. Contact us for a rate on shorter or extended charters.
Can I dive whilst on my surf charter?
Diving is $60 per dive. You must let us know prior to arrival that you wish to dive as we need to confirm your Dive Certification, insurance and dive gear sizes (for gear hire). Please give us as much notice as possible on this.
What is not included in my charter cost?
Beers, soft drinks and wine (charged at local prices)
Diving ($60 per dive)
Professional photo package (ask on-board for rates)
Sat phone use
Can I get surf coaching?
Surfing coaching is available from our on-board Surf Guide. Contact us for rates and further info.
How do I book the flights to get to Kavieng?
Flights can be booked through your travel agent or directly with the airlines.
If you are booking with one of our surf agents World Surfaris or The Perfect Wave, they can organize the flight and boat as a package.
Australia to PNG flights are operated by Air Niugini, Qantas, Virgin and Airlines PNG.
Can I book the boat for my family with children?
Children are welcome on the Explorer. Our child rates policy is as follows:
Aged 4-11: 25% off standard charter rates.
Aged 12 plus: full rate applies.
Can I book the boat for a non surf charter?
There is plenty to do and see in New Ireland and the rest of PNG aside from surfing. Such as diving, snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, bird watching, island culture & traditions, World War II tours and general tourism. The PNG Explorer is also available for scientific research surveying, as a support vessel for large ships and for Government and health patrols. Contact us for a quotation.
What kind of food is served onboard?
Each dish is freshly made, inspired by local cuisine and palatable for western taste buds. Any special dietary requirements or allergies can be catered for, just let us know by completing the guest profile form

Get the morning off to a great start with a espresso from PNG’s finest Gorokan coffee. We can provide fresh fruit smoothies or fresh tropical fruit (bananas, pineapples, passion-fruit, pawpaw, oranges) in abundance. There’ll be freshly baked bread, pancakes and cereal along with poached eggs, frittata or a BBQ brunch with the lot.

All depending on the timing of your next surf or activity the mid day meal can vary from fresh salads and whole baked fish to homemade burgers or pizza.

This ranges from the catch of the day (fish, lobster, mud crab) to a curry night, either Indian or Thai, followed by a dessert of homemade pastries, cakes, or simply fresh tropical fruit and ice-cream.

There will be plenty of fresh fruit, biscuits and local sweet baked coconut and banana cakes to try. Get into our ‘sundowner’ snacks of chips, peanuts, and the skipper’s exclusive fresh sashimi secretly marinated and seared on the barbeque.

What about drinks onboard?
The water is filtered to one micron from the tanks to the tap and is safe for drinking. However, we understand that our guests may be cautious so we provide bottled water to drink as well. Help yourself to tea, coffee and juice. Both in the tenders and aboard the Explorer we have bottled drinking water, soft drinks and beers in the Esky. If you prefer a specific soft drink as a mixer for the strong stuff then let us know in advance. Included in the drinks allowance is our local brew, South Pacific larger, which is also available to purchase at local prices. Additionally we offer a range of imported Australian wines.
Is PNG safe?
There have been a few incidents in PNG recently, which justifiably are likely to deter potential tourists. The majority of these incidents occur on mainland PNG in the major populated centres of Port Moresby, Lae and the Highlands. Kavieng is situated in the Islands region of PNG, which is regarded as a relatively safe destination. To get to Kavieng you will transit through Port Moresby, but you need not leave the airport if you are concerned. And, once you arrive in Kavieng you are in our care. We will be there to meet you at the airport and drop you off again. As with travelling to any foreign country use your common sense. Be mindful of your belongings and its best not to walk around alone. Crime is mostly petty theft and unfortunately domestic violence is more common than we’d like to think. So while it’s important to on your guard and respect the local culture don’t be afraid to have a chat, a laugh and be friendly with locals. 
What will the weather be like?
The tropical climate is hot and humid with an average air and water temperature between 27-30oC. December to March is the wet season, although there is rainfall year-round. Equatorial sun can be intense, especially in the water, and even if it’s overcast. Prepare to cover up and wear plenty of sun protection (including your eyes). Hydration is key so always remember to drink plenty of water.
What should I pack?
Clothes that are loose and light with long sleeves are great for sun protection and as mosquito barriers in the evenings. For women especially it is respectful to dress modestly, so knee length shorts or skirts are appropriate. T-shirts or rash shirts for the water and reef booties are recommended.
Do I need to worry about malaria?
As in many equatorial countries Malaria is endemic in PNG. A good preventative measure is to wear insect repellent and long sleeved shirts and trousers, particularly when walking through villages. Since the vessel is air conditioned and we anchor at a reasonable distance from land the risk is minimized whilst onboard. However, we suggest that you speak with a doctor about anti-malarial medication and read more about vaccinations for travel to PNG.
Do I need to bring any first aid?
A small medical kit with antibiotic cream and tablets, ear and eye drops, plasters and antihistamine tablets is useful. Coral cuts or scrapes can take much longer to heal in the tropics and are prone to infection so you may want to talk to your doctor about a suitable antibiotic. The most important thing is to keep cuts clean and protected. Please ensure you bring any personal medication you may need. We have an extensive first aid kit onboard and your hosts are Senior First Aiders plus our crew is first aid trained.
How much money will I need to bring?
The currency in PNG is the Kina (PGK), which normally fluctuates around 2 PGK to 1 AUD. We recommend that you organize some Kina for your holiday as you may be interested in buying locally produced handicrafts and jewellery. We recommend that you organize small denominations of your money (i.e. 2, 5 & 10 Kina notes) to make it easier for paying for items at the island. On-board the vessel we accept cash (AUD $ or PGK) and credit card for payment of diving, alcohol, t-shirts and flash drives.We charge 5% on all credit card transactions.
Do I need to pay anything on entry and exit from PNG?
No. There is nothing to pay on entry or exit from PNG. You will just need at least 6 months validity from the day of arrival on your passport to gain entry.
Do i need a visa for PNG?
Yes, and as of 1 March 2014 you will need to pre-organise this through the PNG High Commission in Australia. This process normally takes 7-10 days and will involve you completing an application form and sending off your passport to either  Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney or Cairns PNG High Commissions. You can read more information on this at 
What kind of insurance do I need?
PNG Surfaris requires all guests to have emergency evacuation insurance. This is included in most travel insurance policies.
Will my family be able to contact me on-board?
Yes. We have a Satellite phone which is on all the time during the charter. To call from Australia the number is 0011 8816 4149 6891. Calling rates are expensive however you can text message this phone for free via the ASTA website.  Click on ‘free SMS’ and select ‘iridium’. For guests with international roaming on their phone they will be contactable on the first and last days of the charter, when they will be within the mobile phone range coverage area.
Which boards should I bring?
PNG Surfaris recommend you bring 2 boards – 3 maximum. You could expect waves to be on average 2-4 foot, with bigger days from 6-8 foot. Therefore bring your small wave ‘groveller’, i.e. 5’9″ fish. Plus your normal short board i.e. your trusty 6’2″ to 6’4″. If your keen on throwing yourself into some heaving pits throw in your step up barrel board 6’4″ to 6’6″.
I am a beginner surfer – will the waves be OK for me?
There are plenty of options from a first day beginner to the seasoned, barrel chasing pro. There are some really fun, soft wave options.
I am a big wave rider – will the waves in PNG satisfy me?
If your chasing ‘Mavericks’ style waves; then PNG is not your recommended choice of surf destination. However, the ‘slab’ on bigger days can see 4-6 foot. Bear in mind when it’s REALLY BIG you are a long way from home, and surfing over coral reef. Therefore we recommend that you always surf within your limits and improve! There is nothing better than coming home surfing better than when you left.
Can I book a space as an individual surfer?
Yes, we have certain trips in the season that are non-sole use so are perfect for the solo surfer. Contact us to find out current available dates.
What is there to do aside from surfing?
We offer fishing, snorkelling, kayaking and use of the SUP free of charge. Diving is extra charged at $60 per dive. There are plenty of opportunities for island tours and excursions such as the WWII tour, drift snorkels, beach BBQ, river trips and the ‘betel-nut run’. These are at no extra charge to guests.
Will I be able to walk on the islands?
YES! We encourage guests to go and meet the locals and see how they live, school and work. It’s a fantastic insight into this amazing Melanesian lifestyle and culture. The locals are very hospitable to guests and are more than happy to share stories. Equally they are as interested in your life so if your open to it, be prepared to talk about yourself!
Is there anything I should bring for the locals?
It’s a nice gesture to bring things for the locals on the islands that we visit. We always recommend books for the schools, and people often bring up pre-loved clothing, which is always appreciated.


Trip 10 (23 Mar – 2 Apr’16)

We started trip 10 with fun head high waves and offshore winds. By the second day the swell had increased a little and the winds were good offering everyone some nice overhead walls to play on.

Annie left (690x460) body boarder (690x460) guest and locals (690x460) guest surf (690x460) guest surf 2 (690x460)


By day four, a small decline in swell, meant the timing was perfect for a beach BBQ over on a beautiful, largely uninhabited island. FYI this very beach is listed as best beach # 35 in the world by the Guardian.

PNG: Best beach # 35 in the world

beach bbq (690x460)  jetski (690x460)

Halfway through the charter we made the move to the north to go and have a look at one of the clearest water waves on the planet. Unfortunately the wind was into it but we saw potential so we decided to wait it out for the morning session and go fishing instead. The fishing ended up being the most successful haul this season, with the guests catching a total of 46 fish, 14 of which being 8-14kg Wahoo. Bring on the sashimi!

plenty wahoo (690x460) tenders Wahoo guest (690x460) wahoo sashimi (690x460) wahoo skewer (690x460)

Entertainment by another impressive traditional Sing Sing by one of the community units on Ungalik Island. The following day, our last L, was a great wrap up with fun shoulder high waves at Vala Vala, complemented by a very oily offshore.

Financial Review feature

A recent trip by Craig Tansley on-board the PNG Explorer made the cover story in the lifestyle section of the AFR. Photos thanks to photographer Steve Arklay who was also on-board.

Afr: PNG an untouched paradise for surfers and explorers

Trip 9 (11-20 March’16)

We are now back in port after another stellar trip, continuing the stoke we’ve have running all this season.
We were welcomed into trip 9 with a nice NE swell and offshore wind. Day one delivered what you come to PNG for: fun sized waves and no other surfers.

The boys from Sydney aka ‘the cappuccino surfers’, lived up to their name breaking a charter record for the most coffee’s consumed. Luckily for them we can pump out a latte to rival the best of them, with 100% PNG beans.
The first few hit-outs were at Vala Vala and there was a residual swell in the water surprising everyone with the odd bigger set. There was also plenty of ‘Mini-van’ pits over at the slab.
Mid-trip the call was made to head up north to check out the left hander, a swell magnet in a cliche of tropical island paradise. For two days we surfed, snorkelled, fished, and dined on plenty of sashimi and lobster at our island heaven.

Heading home we made one last quick stop at our wave park for the final session of the trip and as always where fare-welled with an amazing traditional Sing Sing on the island.
We will be out again tomorrow for Trip 10 with a favorable North swell on the cards.


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Trip 8 (28 Feb – 9 Mar’16)

We are just steaming back into the harbour at Kavieng after a great adventure with our Trip 8 guests. Spirits are high, and sitting in the wheelhouse the sound of guest laughter and high fives being slapped is drifting up the stairwell.

Thanks to a great storm in the North Pacific we had overhead waves every day of this trip and were blessed with nice light winds. Our first full day of surfing was a bit of a smorgasbord as two breaks in the region were on fire so it became a matter of just dialling in the right size and shape the guests wanted to surf.

Craig Reesguest 3guests 4

Guests 2guest 6Mal

With a super favorable forecast our options were pretty varied so we headed to an island in the NW quadrant to let the guests experience surfing in some of the clearest water on the planet.

Surfed out, the fishing was ON! with guests hooking everything from wahoo and spanish mackerel to skippys’ and GTs’. We really appreciated our hunters as we dined on barbecued fish and the freshest sashimi.

cudaDave fishGT happy


As is normal we were treated to a 5 star cultural experience with the village’s traditional Sing Sing. It looks like the El-Nino fun is set to continue and a favorable forecast for Trip 9 is flickering onscreen as we type this so stay posted for an update.



Tel +675 73571554

Fax +675 9841877

Skype Judith.rigby

Sat Phone 0011 881 641 496 891

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