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  • Surfing on the waves of Indonesia

    The incredibly diverse variety of surfing spots throughout Indonesia have contributed to the country’s reputation as one of the world’s top surfing destinations.

    World famous breaks like Uluwatu, G-Land and Padang. Padang have been attracting the world’s top professional surfers for many years, but it’s the unparalleled number of lesser known surf spots, with more being discovered every day, that make Indonesia such an exciting surfing destination.

    Traditionally when people think about surfing in Indonesia, their first thought is Bali. However, although there are some wonderfully exciting waves for surfers off Bali’s beautiful beaches, there are many other even more challenging surf spots in other parts of Indonesia, including Sumatra, Java, Sumba, Sumbawa and Lombok.

    Surfers have known about the wonders of Indonesia for many years and perhaps preferred to keep it a secret, but now the word is out – according to the website, there are a total of 1,621 surf spots in Indonesia.


    One of Sumatera’s top surfing destinations, Nias lies off the west coast of the island, offering spectacular waves that in the high season can reach as high as 3.5 metres and are ranked within the best ten waves of the world. Every year a long list of major surfing events are held here, including the World Professionals Qualifying Series. Equally challenging waves can be had on the Mentawai Islands, which lie off the central coast of Sumatera, consisting of four main islands. Pagai Selatan, Pagai Utara, Sipora and Siberut.


    The coast of West Java offers a number of tidy surfing breaks, the most popular being the fishing village of Pelabuhan Ratu near Sukabumi. Located about three hours from the capital Jakarta, this area is a well-known beach escape with a good range of accommodation on offer, surrounded by beautiful unspoiled countryside. Waves here are generally uncrowded although there is a small but growing local surfing contingent and the waves are busiest from May to October, when Cimaja beach gets the best swell.

    Pelabuhan Ratu offers the perfect combination of sleepy coastal villages, stunning beaches and good quality bars, hotels and restaurants. Horseshoe-shaped bays along the coast provide private romantic coves for sun-bathers and excellent swells for surfers The area is also legendary in Indonesia for being the home of Nyi Roro Kidul, the Queen of the South Seas, who has a room dedicated to her at the Samudera Hotel. Be warned, however, as it’s believed that if bathers wear green in the ocean, she will take them forever into her watery kingdom.

    Another quality surf spot in West Java is Panaitan island, where the One Palm Point break offers one of the country’s best left-handers. Adrenalin junkies and big wave surfers should head for West Java’s Ujung Genteng or the world famous G-Land on the eastern tip of Java, home to the annual Quiksilver Pro and regarded as one of the best waves in the world.


    Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination offers over 20 top-quality surfing breaks along the southwest and southeast coasts of the island and around the southern peninsula. Some of these waves, including the legendary Dreamland, Padang and Uluwatu, are world-class barreling reef breaks. Others range from good fun, like the beach breaks around Kuta and Sanur, to serious heavy sucking bowls like Canggu, Balian and Madewi. The peak surf season for Bali is from April until October, when solid swells hit the reefs around Uluwatu, and Nusa Dua, delivering the world-class international surfing centre.

    Nusa Tenggara

    East of Bali the islands that make up Nusa Tenggara offer the more adventurous surfer an excellent choice of surfing destinations. Closest to Bali, Lombok has a decent number of surf spots along the south coast near the sleepy village of Kuta. These include the long slow left and a very fast hollow right-hander of Mawi beach, the left and right wrapping waves of Mawun beach, the hollow shifty lefty at Tanjung Aan, and the right peak at Sigar. Lombok’s best wave is located at Desert Point, widely regarded as one of the heaviest left-hand barrels in the world.

    To the east of Lombok, Sumbawa island offers two main surfing areas, West Sumbawa and the Lakey area, which can be accessed by charter boat, ferry, overland transfers or flights from Bali. To the south east of Sumbawa, the island of Sumba also offers one of the best kept surfing secrets of Indonesia. Surfers keen to explore the islands east of Lombok are advised to take advantage of the many charter boats on offer, as well as essential local knowledge.

    Whether you’re a beginner struggling to ride your first wave, or a seasoned professional, Indonesia’s beaches offer a wealth of surfing thrills for everyone.

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