Moana means “the ocean” in Tahitian, so it’s no wonder that competitive surfer Marie-Moana Troja has hardly spent a day away from the water in all her 25 years. Originally from Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean and raised by her Tahitian mother and surf-obsessed father, Marie-Moana spent her days in the water alongside her dad and immersed in Polynesian culture with her mum and sister. A self-described ‘island girl’, Marie-Moana now surfs on the WSL for French Polynesia, and is currently ranked at #44 on the Women’s Qualifying Series 2021/2022.

marie-moana troja wearing c-skins

At the age of 14 Marie-Moana had to leave Reunion due to the shark situation on the island. Already with a plan to become a professional surfer, not being allowed to surf or swim was unthinkable. Her parents, ever-supportive of her dream, sent her to Australia to live with her sister and pursue her ambitions and study. She took part in her first season of the Women’s QS in 2015 and is currently studying Physiotherapy at university.

Whilst Marie-Moana is based in Coolangatta, Australia, her parents have now moved back to Polynesia from Reunion. We asked her to tell us about her most memorable recent session, and even with all the world-class waves down under, Marie-Moana recalled a stunning day back home in Tahiti, alongside her father and boyfriend, on the first day of the new year…

marie-moana surfing in French Polynesia

Date: 1st January 2023


Swell direction: South west/ west 4-5ft


Wind direction: East, very light


Location: Somewhere in French Polynesia…


Board: 5’6” OG Flyer, Channel Islands


Suit: Swimmers


“On the 31st of December we checked the forecast for the first day of 2023. It looked like the year couldn’t start any better.” Marie-Moana told us, “There was a 4-5ft ground swell at my favourite left at home, with little to no wind. We decided to go to bed early so we could surf the amazing conditions early in the morning to celebrate the new year.”

“Arriving at the spot on the 1st, everything was magical; crystal clear water, just a couple of friends out, sunny, warm weather and pumping waves! Clean lines were breaking on the reef perfectly. It all felt like a dream.”

“We had been surfing at this particular break every day, but the waves were definitely better on the 1st than any of the previous days, and I was stoked to be able to share this extraordinary moment with my boyfriend and my dad. We were so glad we’d been asleep by 10pm on New Year’s Eve!”

clean waves and blue seas in Tahiti