Way back in the halcyon days of the 1960’s a hardy bunch of Californian beach bums ventured out to Indonesia surfing, adventuring and getting high. Eventually coming back with mystical sounding tales of azure waters filled with untouched cavernous left-hand barrels. Since then the Indonesia surfing pilgrimage has seen long lines of surfers heading out to experience this paradise from all over the world.
Most Indonesian surf trips begin by stepping out of Bali’s Denpasar airport under the big unmissable sign stating that instant death will be doled out to those smuggling drugs. Next step is on to Kuta town to find some seedy accommodation for the night – Kuta isn’t dragging too far behind Bangkok as far as general shadiness is concerned.
It’s from this grimy town, though, that Indonesia’s surfing bounty is opened up to the adventurer. The famous Dreamlands beach is only a half hour drive away, and though in recent years it’s been overdeveloped to within an inch of it’s existence, it is still flanked by some of the best breaks in the world.
On one side of Dreamlands beach you’ll find Balangan, while on the other you’ll be met with Impossibles, Bingin, Padang-Padang and the world famous Uluwatu. You can get a reasonable impression of the ferocity of these waves by the fact that Padang-Padang translates as ‘power and fear’ in the local tongue.
Of course there is a whole world of other surfing spots to be found around Indonesia and boat trips are always a great way to get around. Many surfers find their way to the Mentawais and Northern Sumatra. Surfers typically spend the bones of a week just cruising around the reefs, surfing some of the best breaks in the world and eating like a king.
One word of advice, though, before you venture out to Indonesia surfing – make sure you know what you’re doing. There’s a lot of great waves there but most of them a force to be reckoned with.