Skip to Content

Surfing in Fiji with Colin McPhilips

We recently caught up with surfing pro Colin McPhilips to chat about his favorite slice of surfing heaven on Fiji’s Namotu Island. Colin is a legendary surfer from San Clemente, California, and with three world titles under his belt, he’s been able to turn his passion for surfing into a lifestyle. In recent years, Colin has discovered the power of sharing his love for surfing by offering private lessons to newbies chasing their first waves. 


Colin looks forward to his surfing sessions at Kalama Kamps, a world-class surf camp at Namotu Island Resort. Colin first visited Namotu in 1995. “There was nothing there,” he says of the remote island. “It’s amazing what they’ve built.” Colin sat down with us to share a little more about his experience running surf camps on Namotu. 

Kalama Kamps on Namotu Island

Each November, Colin spends a few weeks on Namotu, where he and his friends Dave Kalama and Tom Carroll run weeklong surf camps at Kalama Kamp. The camp hosts 22 guests each week from all over the United States and beyond. Aspiring and experienced surfers, SUPers, and foilboarders can get to this stunning corner of the South Pacific via a redeye from LAX to Nadi and a 45-minute boat ride. 

Surfing on Namotu

With five breaks off the island, Namotu boasts fantastic, user-friendly waves practically non-stop—perfect for beginners. It’s only a five-minute paddle or 30-second boat ride to the breaks, making it easy to get full days of surfing for the entirety of your trip. And for those with a little more experience, the legendary Cloudbreak is only a ten minute boat ride away. What’s more, Namotu’s limited capacity means it’s never crowded. 


There are many different swell directions on Namotu, so there are almost always great waves within reach. On the rare occasions when there’s no swell, there are breaks when the tide changes. In addition to surfing, Colin also says Namotu is a haven for foil boarding, kiteboarding, and windsurfing. “There’s never a dull moment on the island,” says Colin. “There’s something for you to do at all times.” 

The Resort 

It’s not just about the waves—Namotu offers a pool, twice-a-day yoga, all-access fishing with the island’s pro fisherman, and world-class diving on the archipelago’s living coral reef. There’s even a two-story floating bar, Cloud 9, situated in the middle of the ocean. On the main island, trekkers can enjoy tropical hikes to waterfalls, mud pools, and hot springs. And if you need some downtime, the shade of the palm trees makes for a perfect spot to hang out in a hammock and read a great book. “It’s paradise, plain and simple,” says Colin.

At Kamp Kalama, surfers have nothing to worry about. “It’s a total turnkey experience,” Colin says. That means transportation, onsite medical assistance, and of course, outstanding food—fresh fish, sustainably-sourced seafood, and local produce prepared by Namotu’s chef and her team. 

Final Thoughts

Kalama Kamps at Namotu Island Surf Resort is, hands down, one of the best surf experiences out there. So it’s no wonder there’s a waiting list a mile long. But between nonstop waves, aquamarine water, and a week of instruction with surfing pros, it’s well worth the wait. You can book your spot through WaterWays Surf Adventures or through Namotu Island Resort. And be sure to follow Colin on Instagram @colinmcphillips! To learn more about the adventures of Team Salt Life’s pro surfers, be sure to subscribe to the Above and Below podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Stay salty!