If you are a keen surfer then Indo surfing holidays will already be on your bucket list. But with thousands of islands to choose from what are the best Indonesia surf spots?
As the 15th largest country, Indonesia is split into an array of islands. It makes for a great travel destination regardless of whether you surf or not. But receiving exceptional levels of ocean swell it’s a surfers paradise.
History of surfing in Indonesia
For many Indonesia is at the peak of earthly surf destinations. It was pioneered by the globetrotting American surfer Bob Koke in the 1930s.
But it wasn’t until the late 1960s that Indonesia’s waves became part of the sport’s consciousness. In the decades that followed Australian surfers explored Bali’s coastline seeking uncrowded beaches.
Since then, countless breaks on numerous Indonesian islands have been discovered, ridden and immortalized. Meaning Indo surfing holidays have become very popular.
Indo surfing holidays
Indonesia’s craggy volcanic coastlines and reefs are orientated perfectly to receive the Indian Ocean’s strong southern swells. These geological features, coupled with a tropical climate, warm water, and friendly locals, have put Indonesia into the top league of surfing destinations.
Naturally, not every beach on every island in Indonesia provides optimal surf. The best waves are found along the thousands of miles of Indian Ocean coastline from Sumatra to Timor. The southwestern islands along this arc are also the country’s most populous and well developed.
Although tropical rainforest covers much of the land here, surfing tourism has flourished. There’s now plenty of accommodation and transport to support the travelling wave rider.
6 best Indonesia surf spots
There are thousands of Indonesian surf destinations to choose from. In Bali alone there are hundreds of surf camps advertising the best shaped, most consistent, least crowded waves.
So, the only way to determine which locations meet these claims is to visit them all yourself! But, if you find yourself constrained by time and funds (as most of us do), the following list reveals the 6 best Indonesia surf spots.
The Mentawai Islands, Sumatra
Located off the west coast of central Sumatra. The three Mentawai Islands lay claim to the cleanest, most consistent surf in the world.
The swell window of the western coasts of these islands is nearly 180 degrees. This translates into pumping surf almost every day of the year in the form of long barreling lefts and rights.
While there are a handful of softer waves, many spots on the Mentawais get extremely large and powerful. Sharp, shallow reefs complicate matters further. And with the nearest hospital a several-hour boat ride away on mainland Sumatra, only experienced surfers should enter these waters.
At the southeastern tip of Java, the Grajagan Bay is formed by a peninsula jutting out into the Indian Ocean. Southerly swells from Antarctic low pressure systems send pulses of wave energy to the region while drawing off-shore winds from the landmass.
Waves wrap into the cove of the peninsula and break along a half-kilometre stretch of reef. This set up is the basis for the surfing anomaly of G-Land. Undoubtedly, one of the best Indonesia surf spots.
Bigger swells and the frequent optimal conditions form waves of unparalleled size and quality. Often accessed by charter boats from Bali, G-Land’s backdrop is lush tropical rainforest. It’s a perfect setting for a perfect wave.
The Bukit Peninsula, Bali
Just south of the bustle of tourism and traffic in Kuta, Bali you’ll find Bukit Peninsula. It boasts a quiet reprieve, pristine landscapes, and top-notch surfing.
The Bukit is triangle-shaped with its base facing south. Surf breaks dot the western coast of this geometric headland giving surfers plenty of options for finding shapely lefts.
Uluwatu, the most southwestern point of the Bukit, holds several great peaks that spread out the lineup. Padang-padang, often a stop on the WSL tour, is just up the road.
Travel and surf further north and you’ll find the endless peel of Impossibles. This includes the perfect barrel of Bingin, an assortment of peaks at Dreamland, and the picture-perfect left of Balangan.
Visit Nusa Dua on the Bukit’s east coast for powerful rights – the sheer variety makes the peninsular one of the best Indonesia surf spots. There are plenty of cheap, friendly places to stay all over Bukit Peninsula such as the Surf Loft.
In a land of centerfold-quality lefts, Bali’s Keramas is a right point that holds its own as one of the best waves in Indonesia. Breaking along a shallow reef, this spot can provide a super fun session even on small days.
It is a favored destination of pros, local chargers, and skillful holiday makers looking to balance out all the left turns on the island. It’s also the ideal spot for Indo surfing holidays.
Known for its perfect barrels and fast sections, Keramas can get sketchy when the surf is big. There are also easier, less shallow spots up and the down the beach from this famed break.
Welcoming warungs (little cafés) line the sand offering a great view of the action.
Desert Point, Lombok
Just east of Bali sits the volcano-capped island of Lombok. Mostly noted for its Vesuvian landscapes and stunning, lush scenery, Lombok’s southwest coast is home to one of longest and finest barrels in the world.
Desert Point needs a solid swell and a low tide to get going. But when conditions align 15 second tubes are possible. Comparable to G-Land in wave quality, Deserts crashes over a serious reef and grows in size as you make you way down the line.
On really big days it’s imperative to kick out before the wave crashes over dry reef. But if you make it that far it probably means you’ve just scored the ride of your life!
Roti is the most southerly island in the Indonesian archipelago. It’s the place to explore for pristine, uncrowded waves. Roti is not far from Northern Australia, but plenty of swell sneaks through and reef and point breaks are abundant.
T-Land, a much gentler G-Land, provides a long, peeling left with four peaks and plenty of take-off spots. Much more forgiving than its western neighbours, this wave is plenty of fun without the dire consequences.
Explore Boa right, or take a boat for the day to deserted waves and beautiful white sand beaches. This is mellow Indonesia, small crowds and rippable waves which make it great for Indo surf holidays.
The best Indonesian surf holiday?
Obviously, the spots described above are a small sample of great Indonesian waves. Chances are you’ll find awesome surf anywhere you travel on Indo’s southern arc.
So why not make a huge adventure of it? Start in the north of Sumatra and work your way down the coast to Java, then Bali, Lombok and keep heading east.
Not only will you visit some of the best Indonesia surf spots. But along the way you’ll experience a lot of this amazing country and its fascinating culture.
Before booking Indo surfing holidays check out our Indonesia surfing discounts as you could save a fortune.