Indonesia is one of the top surfing destinations worldwide and probably takes the lead in what concerns Asia Surf Travel. Home to 245 million people, the archipelago has more than 17 thousands islands and 54 thousand kilometres of coastline; in fact it’s the world's largest archipelagic state, so it’s a tough job to name all the best surf spots in the country.
It shouldn’t be difficult to convince your partner to travel to Indonesia even if he or she doesn’t surf. The exotic beaches, awesome weather, good hospitality and food, are a few of Indonesia’s main features.
In short the main and most popular regions are Sumatra, Java, Bali and the Mentawai. Of course, there will be plenty of unknown surf spots and secluded little islands all over the country.
Despite being a very popular surf destination for experienced surfers, Indonesia has plenty of surf spots to fit all surf levels, hence many surfers travel to Indonesia also because of its white sandy beaches, tropical weather and for being overall an inexpensive trip. Check below some of Indonesia’s best surf spots and find here some of the best surf camps around that area.
Bali is easy to get to, hence this is where most tourists go and known to be a very crowded area. Highly recommended to stay in a surf camp next to a surf break like Kuta Beach and make sure you paddle out early morning depending on the tide, winds and swell. Some of its surf spots:
This is often wave that closes out. Depending on the swell and tide bodyboard may be the only option here. Intermediates can still surf this wave on smaller swells. Inland already has some Real Estate developments but a little less crowded than in other parts of South Kuta.
This wave is known for being a short ride over a shallow reef. You’ll have a small take off section. Bodyboarders have loads of fun in here and unless you’re brave intermediary surfer then keep out on low tide and heavy swells. Beginners have much better options than this beach.
Kuta beach is the most popular and safe surf spot to learn how to surf in Bali. This long sandy beach is where most surf schools and camps are located. Perfect for beginner and intermediate surf lessons. The down side is that it’s typically a very crowded place. There are no rocks or reefs so risks of getting hurt against the bottom is low; in fact the major surfing risks are typically of going against another surfer.
Canggu beach is located close to Batu Bolong surf spots. These are all located along the same western coastline after Kuta and Seminyak. Canggu is less touristic with many surf spots that fit all surf levels, from beginners to experienced surfers so it all depends of the swell conditions. From mellow easy rides to heavy waves. Canggu is also known as the Echo Beach and because it’s slightly facing more towards the south, its waves tend to be a little bigger than its neighbour beaches.
On Bali’s south west coast, these surf spots are surrounded by high cliffs. These reefs are not usually for beginners. The beach can handle high swell and the effect of the reefs can produce fast take offs and several sections. Depending on the surf conditions you can get on and off a long barrel. The heavy and fast lips are recommended for experienced surfers only. Crowds.
This is one of the most famous surf spots in the whole Indonesia. There are 2 main peaks in this surf spot. The reef area throws heavy lefts for the more advanced, sometimes best described as the “Balinese Pipeline”. The waves sometimes reach 3 meters in height and unless you’re a pro then keep out during the low tide because the exposed reef is unforgiving. But Padang Padang has also some right hand waves over a sandy bottom that can fit beginners having their first surf experience and intermediate surfers. The waves here are solid and so is the crowds sometimes all over south Kuta region.
Dreamland has been a famous beach and surf spot for a long time, but with strong development came even more popularity and the crowds, despite the accessibility being a little difficult. It’s located on the Bukit Peninsula, south Kuta. There are mixed reviews on this surf spot, some saying it’s a mellow beach break and some mentioning more its rolling reef. Well, for sure this can’t be compared to Padang Padang and reefs never get exposed. It can fit the intermediary surfers well. Beginners should be fine during smaller swells and higher tide.
There are many restaurants at the beach and rentals available.
The name says it all, the wave is only surfable with a larger swell and gets better with a generous period. This long coral reef gets exposed on low tide and has 3 main sections, so connecting all the wave is dangerous and because it’s super-fast it is often responsible for nasty injuries. Since it’s a difficult wave it usually keeps crowds out. Better to take surf boots with you.
This surf spot has its reputation for barrels and progressive moves with all those ramps. This is one of the most popular surf spots on the East coast which works with offshore winds during the Wet season. The bottom is made with lava reef. Keramas works better with higher tides. Early morning has better conditions.
Keramas gets highly crowded on the classic days and you'll get localism.
The Lombok island is the island next to Bali and it comes with no surprises that it’s far less crowded than its neighbour. It may be the right surf spot for you in Indonesia if you’re looking for some hidden and remote surf spots only surfed by a few locals. The most popular surf spots are:
Dude, this is a hell of a wave. Beginners please stay at the beach! When with solid swells this throws an heavy left capable of being 300 meters long. It's one of those waves that doubles up after the take off section and getting barrelled over 20 seconds has already been recorded a few times. Being scratched by the hardcore reef has also happened a few (many) times.
Mawi is located on Indonesia’s south coast, working like the other Lombok surf breaks with all swell sizes. Solid and consistent wave that attracts boats and land-based surfers from Bali. The small swells make it a fun peeling break but usually ends growing in size and speed until close out. Tubes is what surfers come here for so you should be well experienced. Be careful with the very strong currents in the channel and the sharp reef.
Like most waves in Lombok, this is a decent left. This reef break works with south-west swells and best when with East winds. Fun wave recommended for surfers on intermediary level. If you want to surf the right hander then you have to surf at the bay on the other side but since this is a more sheltered beach, it requires stronger swells and it shouldn’t be that difficult so even beginners should be fine here. Rights and lefts.
This is usually known as “the other Kuta”. Like the one in Bali, this is the surfing hub of Lombok. It's mostly a right hand wave when with a South east and south swell. These surf breaks are usually for all levels and even experienced will find this a good lazy surf session conveniently located.
One of the few rights around. The outside surf breaks are not that hollow and sometimes it’s mellow allowing intermediary surfers to claim some of their best waves so far. Easy drops and consistent on any south swell. Since it’s an easier wave it often attracts crowds. Inside the bay there’s more surf breaks and probably easier than this one. They all go by the name of Grupuk.
Located on the Southeast tip of Lombok. This is a set of reefs and one of the most inaccessible in Lombok, which means that with great challenges come great rewards. Plenty of lips, rips and ramps. The wave won’t be award winning but during high season it can be worth planning a day out here. By land is difficult to access so much better to access by boat. If you're with friends then hiring a boat is totally worth it.
The capital island of Java is known as the world's most populous island which is synonym of crowds, well at least in many of the surf spots. The island is also home to some of the best surf spots in Asia
One of the top surf spots in Asia and where professional surfers unleash its potential often reaching the covers of many surf magazines worldwide. Again this is a serious reef that does not show any kindness. The wave is long with 2 km of several peaks and sections. The menu is what you expect, heavy and hollow barrels peeling the reef. It works on all tides and highly recommended to get your booties on. Consistent offshore winds.
G-Land is located on Plengkung Beach, and is for sure Java’s most popular reef break and some might agree that this is one of the TOP 10 lefts in the world. Getting there can be quite difficult so get in touch with our team for information and or to book transfers from Bali.
This surf spot is less crowded than G-Land. It has smaller and slower lefts that wrap up on a sandy channel. Like G-Land it works on all tides but actually most say it gets better at low tide when. Reef hazards though.
Further north from G-Land, passed the 20’s20’s, you’ll have another similar exposed reef break surfed by few locals only. This place never gets too crowded and works in similar ways to its neighbours. If you’re an intermediary who want to take some controlled risks then come here before you jump to G-Land.
This is mostly a weekend destination. Pacitan has a bay with a few easy going beach breaks. This is one of the most popular places to learn to surf in East Java, good for beginners and intermediates.
Here you’ll find a laid-back beach break far less crowded than the beach breaks of Kuta Beach in Bali. This is a mellow wave usually surfed by longboards and beginners. This place is one of the most recommended to learn how to surf in Indonesia.
The best wave is a right that will attract some more experienced surfers, long and paddle boarders with larger swells.
Home to many beach breaks, this is a no brainer for both beginners and experienced surfers. This place can be compared to Kuta beach breaks in Bali. The peaks move quite often due to the shifting sands and close outs can be sometimes very frustrating with straight swells over 1 meter. Our surf guides in the nearby surf camps should be able to lead you out there and show you the best peaks in this very long beach.
Reef break also known as the Prawn factory surf spot is a tricky wave with critical take offs and walls that work better on lower tide. When it gets classic this is a consistent and solid wave with barrels.
This is known to be one hell of a left, throwing some of the longest barrels in Asia. It’s a very shallow and dangerous reef that doesn’t really allow for surfing on low tide. Wait for mid tide at least and try to keep a high line close to the lip. The classic days happen on South or South West swells and East offshore winds.
Once inaccessible, Sumatra is nowadays pretty easy to get to and a boat surf trip in Sumatra is a dream for the advanced surfers worldwide. Don’t worry if you’re a beginner because there are plenty of sandy beach breaks too. The main features in Sumatra are the uncrowded waves, charter surf boats, beautiful scenery and holidays relatively affordable making it a trip for everyone. Here’s a few of the most popular surf spots in Sumatra:
Long left hander, usually very consistent with several sections over a reef that is capable of throwing above the average barrels. On classic days, surfers have been seen to surf 200 meter long waves. The wave gets more challenging at low tide so keep a high line here. It can get slightly crowded with pros, but this is by no means comparable with Bali’s main surf spots.
There are many places often referred to as the “Sumatran Pipeline”. This is another wave that can become a memory for life. Heavy and fast take-offs into the pocket. You should know that these powerful wave closing out dangerously on sharp reef so you should try it on higher tide first.
These are the main surf spots of Krui, Sumatra’s largest southern town. There are lefts and rights over two reefs that flock into a sandy beach break. The waves need larger swells to work at its best potential. The beach is unfortunately polluted especially next to its rivermouth and certainly it’s not what you’ve imagined when you first chosen these remote islands for your surf trip. These waves are ideal for intermediaries or any surfer running away from other spots on bigger days.
Surf spot located north from Krui town. Jimmy's is one of the best of the northern surf spots. It can be quite fast from take-off to the pocket with an intense feeling. Rights have a tougher exit since its reef will be shallower.
The surf spot is among the most amazing ones facing a beach with white sand.
A long beach break with awesome waves that close over rocks and the reef. This is one of the most consistent beach breaks and, depending on the swell’s direction, this is one of the area’s best A-Frame waves with perfect rights and lefts.
Another of Krui’s southern surf spots and like many others here, The Peak needs large swells to work. Again, the main dish on the menu is the “Barrel”! Local bodyboarder crew will usually dominate the peak.
The north is less developed and also less known. This means that there's plenty surf spots without any charter boats yet. If you're looking for the most remote and secluded surf areas of Indonesia, then a trip to the north of Sumatra would be ideal. Some surf spots have been explored and named such as Lampuuk, A-Frame, Calang Reefs, Kuala Bubon Lefts an Ujong Karang .
Close to the main island you'll find the Hinako Islands in North Sumatra. This remote location has two popular places: Asu and Bawa. Again there's plenty of empty reefs, probably with the same potential of G-Land, Macarronis and other popular Indonesian surf spots that are still to be named. The risk of finding a reef throwing high quality lefts and rights is very strong. You just need to know that the surf season is between May to October during the dry season.
The Mentawai has been on the map for some time now and it has also been on the cover of many surf magazines and hundreds of surf movies too. These islands are amongst the most consistent in Asia and we estimate that there’s more than 200 top surf spots. Most surfers take charter boat trips to surf the Mentawai.
Difficult left peeling over the reef. Located on the west side of Saumang Island and the southern tip of Pagai Selatan. This wave does not always work due to the swell conditions and many boat charters avoid it in order to save some fuel. Also needs swells coming straight from the South, low North wind. Bring boots as the reef is shallow.
This is a thick left hander. On solid swells it is better with “semi guns” or larger boards. The whitewash is powerful and will annoy many surfers to get out again. This is the surf spot to go when it’s flat elsewhere as it works with smaller swells too.
Probably the most well known wave in the Mentawai. Left hander that works at all tides and this is probably one of the reasons why it’s so popular. Many professional surfers get their charters anchored in its bay during most of the trips to the Mentawai. This surf spot as clean thick walls sustained by the long reef platform slab. The wave has perfect barrels but its sections are also perfect for some turns and airs when still in deep water. The reef platform makes a long curve leading into the deep bay. The reef is less sharp and shallow than others in the area. Better conditions come with Southwest swell, mid tide and East winds. Across the bay there's a right that sometimes can be a good alternative with less crowds than in Macaronis.
This surf spot is tucked into a corner sheltered and close to the shore. Intermediaries can be happy here. Steep drops but it has a few sections over the reef.