Top 10 Places to Surf in Indonesia

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Indonesia is not unknown to many surfers around the world to having many perfect surf spots around its many beautiful islands surrounded by many choices of waves. Be you an advanced surfer or a beginner, you will surely find a place to surf here.

Many surf travelers will come to Indonesia for its perfect surf breaks, white sand beaches, warm and sunny weather, and local friendly people. This is almost a perfect setting to make Indonesia an ultimate surfer’s paradise.

Surf waves in Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia

 

Surf waves in Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia

The swells come from the south and southwest of Indonesia, so all the coastlines facing these directions will get a good amount of waves to surf. This includes places like Bali, Lombok, Java, Sumatra, Flores, Sumbawa, Sumba, and Timor, just to name a few of the thousands of islands in Indonesia.

Let’s take a look at the Top 10 Places to Surf in Indonesia:

Bali

With as many as 100 surf spots in Bali, it can be best known for surfing in Indonesia, not just because it is the main tourist place in Indonesia. Bali is known for surfing places like Padang and Uluwatu, which is famous for their entry cave. The full force of wind comes from the southern ocean swell therefore, its southwest or southeast coasts are dotted with many surf spots. Come during the dry season from June to September for perfect surf conditions though this is also the peak season, so be prepared for the crowd.

Surfing Uluwatu waves, Bali

Lombok

Next to Bali is the less crowded Lombok but no less in beauty. This may be your answer to perfect surf without fighting for space. One of the famous secret yet not so secret any more surf places is The Desert Point. There are good surf breaks here in surf spots like Mawi, Mawun, and Point X along the southern coast of Lombok. The best season to come here to surf is from April to October, and the swell also comes from the southern wind.

Surf Desert Point, Lombok, Indonesia

Surf Desert Point, Lombok, Indonesia

Gili Trawangan or Gili Air

Two of the three famous Gili Islands in Lombok deserve top places on their own for having their own unique surf breaks. Though the frequency is not as good as the other spots in Lombok, this place promises good surf for experienced surfers if they catch the breaks. Many locals come here to enjoy the surf in secret, and when in good timing, it will swell more than you expect but be careful as it can be unexpected.

Surfing in Gili Islands, Lombok, Indonesia

Surfing in Gili Islands, Lombok, Indonesia

Sumba Islands in East Nusa Tenggara

In East Nusa Tenggara, the waves differ from the rest of Indonesia. If you don’t mind the basic setup of this place, then you will be rewarded with high-quality waves between major breaks. Nihiwatu offers many reefs, bays, and river mouths, and the waves are insane. Go during the dry season of March to October for the Indian Ocean swells, which can be up to 12-15 feet high from the southwest direction. The wind here does not blow consistently, though, unlike Bali nearby.

Sumbawa Islands, Lesser Sunda

Finally, an excellent surf place for all levels of surfers, this site gives a massive swell to break before sucking out on the inside reef. Located east of Lombok, you may find it less touristy and more space for you to surf. Go offshore for good surf breaks. The best time to come here is the dry season from April to October for its southwest wind.

Surf Lakey Peak, Sumbawa Island, Indonesia

Surf Lakey Peak, Sumbawa Island, Indonesia

Panaitan Islands in West Java

At West Java, facing the southwestern wind from the Indian Ocean, Panaitan offers one of the best waves in Indonesia. You will find good waves here with less crowd compared to places like Bali and Lombok. April to October dry season is the best time to come for reliable surf breaks. The surfing spots like Apocalypse in Panaitan Islands had been touted to be epic, where if you score this place, you will get tubed.

Grajagan (G-Land) in East Java

Another epic surf place that many people love, where it is touted to be adventurous with a minimal crowd. It has different sections along 2km long point, from hollow walls to shallow and dangerous reefs. G-land also has world-class barrels on lower tides and bigger days but be careful of sharp reefs at the break, therefore, booties are a must. It is also known of its consistent offshore trade winds.

Surf G-Land, Java, Indonesia

Surf G-Land, Java, Indonesia

Mentawai Islands in Sumatra

At the West of Sumatra, the Mentawai Islands have the most consistent surf breaks in Indonesia, making it one of the preferred choices for serious surfers. Surfing spots here include E’bay, Beng-beng, Nipussi, and Pitstop. The best time to come here is during the dry season of May to October. Here you can get many islets and flawless reefs with sun-blue waters, offshore winds, and spitting tubes. The most choices of places to stay on Mentawai Islands would be on the big island of Pulau Siberut *. You may also find some remote and luxurious choices at Sipora Island, for example, the Simakakang Villa *.

Hinako Islands in North Sumatra

Remote location that takes you into the deep water trenches which funnel in the southwest Indian ocean swell. Here choose Asu or Bawa for its reputation for consistent overhead surf. You get surfing on outer-islands reefs and crystal clear water. Come here in between May to October during dry season for the best surfs.

Surfing Mentawai Island, Sumatra, Indonesia

Surfing Mentawai Island, Sumatra, Indonesia

Nias Islands in West Sumatra

Nias Island is famous internationally as a surfing destination with the famous Sorake Bay. This place provides both left and right-hand breaks. Although it saw fewer travelers due to the earthquakes in 2004 and 2005, it had picked up again in recent years, and as always, the waves still rushed to shore. Like Hinako Islands, come here during the dry season of May to October.


Travel Tips:
1. Book the best accommodations – Booking.com* or Agoda.com *
2. Find the cheapest flight options that suit you – Omio.com * or 12Go.asia *
3. Rent a car in advance and make your trip more convenient – Rentalcars *
4. Make the most of the time that you have! Exciting excursions, professional guides, and more – Klook *

Photo credits from top: Madeleine Holland, Siim Teller, Mike Slagter, Mike Slagter, Edouard Brèthes, Sunova Surfboards, Imanol Sorazu and clogwog

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5 Comments

  1. I will go to asia this winter and spring and will go to sulawesi and the banda island to snorkel. I would love to see a whale shark and I am trying to sort out when they migrate thru this area. At this point I plan april and May to be in this area. Do you know when the shark would be in the area?

  2. Hi,
    My friend and I are coming to Indonesia in July and were looking for options for diving. We don’t mind about areas. I am a rescue diver and my friend is open water. We don’t mind if we don’t dive together but both want the best experiences for our levels. Alternatively if there was a compromise this would be even better.
    Could you let me know what options we’d have available with you, prices and dates please?
    Thanks
    Kara

  3. Raja Ampat, Komodo, and Tulamben were pretty impressive dive sites. We had some rough conditions as it was the end of the diving season, but not as bad as expected in terms of currents. Definitely want to go back and dive in the Togian and Banda Islands.

  4. Hello allindonesiaTeam,

    i want to travel to Indonesia in August and make my andvanced Diver Certification. Do you have any recommandations for a nice spot for Beginners with diverse Bio (Corals, and bigger Animals like Mantas and Sharks).
    Raja Ampat Looks nice but the Time isnt considered as a good time.

    Greetings Tim

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