Splendour

Indonesia

For those who appreciate contemporary style and excite in luxury. Explore the best surf destinations and experiences through the tranquil Indonesian Islands.

LowPressure's Stormrider Surf Guide says:

West Sumbawa

The next surf zone of West Sumbawa has been surfed for decades, but due to lack of good transport links, it has remained a boat itinerary for most. Scar, Supers and Yoyo’s are firm favourites, but cruise around the corner and a wave wilderness opens up along the south coast for 180km (110mi). Once again the charters are in a hurry to get to the name breaks and safe anchorages so few spots are regularly surfed. The predominant coastal angle would favour NW wet season winds, but there are many deep bays backed by high coastal ranges that funnel winds down valleys to meet the sea at rivermouths and reef passes that are going to work during the dry season. Remoteness, rough seas and no roads are going to keep this coast off the maps for years to come.

Lombok and Sumbawa fall into the middle ground of Nusa Tenggara province, confusingly named Nusa Tenggara Barat (translates as Southeastern Islands West). The climate is far drier, supporting a brown landscape of scrub and bush, clinging to lowland hills and a smattering of volcanoes. Sumbawa’s Mt Tambora ejected 4 times the magma of Krakatau, killing 72,000 and caused the “year of no summer” in 1816. These days the island remains sparsely populated, infrastructure is rudimentary with few good roads and the bustling tourist towns of Bali and beyond have yet to materialise here. Surfers have however, carved out a couple of epicentres alongside the two best west-facing surfing coasts. Across the Alas Strait from Lombok, a concentrated stretch of sharp, shallow reefs leave little to the imagination with names like Super Suck and Scar Reef, attracting thrill seekers who are usually on one of the many charters cruising between Bali and Rote.

Find more general info about when to go and statistics on the Low Pressure’s Stormrider Guide website.

Lombok

A mere stone’s throw away from Bali across the deeply cut channel is Lombok, a different, drier world that is like an exploded version of the Bukit Peninsula on Bali, just without the 5 star hotels. The real touristy feel is reserved for the Gili’s way up the north of the Lombok Strait, which feed off huge swells and NW winds, but there are further possibilities for surf along this west coast north of Sengigi and amongst the serene islands nestling behind Bangko Bangko. The south coast is cliffy and rocky, with lots of little islets and punctuated by a few really deep bays, which give Lombok way more flexibility in regards to swell size and beginners waves. It’s hard to suss the waves from the charter boats, who have their usual stops, but rarely find the time to explore, so there are some quiet corners along this coast for sure.
At its closest point, Lombok sits only 18km (11mi) east of Bali, yet major physical, cultural, linguistic and religious differences exist. The deep strait separating these islands links the Indian and Pacific oceans and is part of the “Wallace Line”, an established physical division between Asia and Australia. Bali is green with lush, tropical vegetation, while Lombok is drier, more rugged, with completely different flora and fauna. While the mountainous north rises to 3726m (12,224ft) at the top of Mount Rinjani, the south is a range of low inland hills spread behind the sweeping bays and pure white sands of the southern beaches. In terms of location, most surf breaks are truly breathtaking, but are generally regarded as of lower quality or intensity than Bali’s, with the notable exception of Desert Point, elected “Best Wave in the World” by Tracks magazine’s readers. More than any other island in Indo, Lombok is a year-round surfing destination. The peak season is obviously from April until early November, when classic 6-12ft (2-4m) longer period swells arrive from a SSW-WSW direction, which continue to arrive at 3-6ft (1-2m) during the wet season. More S suits Desert’s, the Gilis and the deep bays of Grupuk and Ekas, while more west will hit Mawi and exposed reefs nicely.

Find more general info about when to go and statistics on the Low Pressure’s Stormrider Guide website.

East Bali

Bali is “The island of 1000 temples” which the locals believe is blessed by the gods. The gods certainly have blessed the local surfers, because they live in a perfect, tropical surf paradise. Although 40 years of booming tourism development has drastically transformed the landscape and the line-ups, Bali remains an essential surfing experience. There is no denying the quality and quantity of its surf, when SW swells wrap consistent lines around the Bukit Peninsula into straight offshore winds, creating a list of world-class lefts, including Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Bingin and Kuta Reef. Add to these the quality beachbreaks of Kuta and Legian, plus the east side rights of Nusa Dua, Sanur and Keramas or Shipwrecks and Lacerations on Nusa Lembongan, then it becomes obvious that Bali has one of the highest concentration of quality waves on the planet. It’s geographical position mid-chain with the plunging depths of the Java Trench just offshore plus the island like symmetry of the Bukit peninsula poking into the regular SW swell train, offering offshore flexibility during the predictable trade wind seasons are just two of the defining factors that make Bali’s surf so good. There’s a huge variety of wave types from sublime, coral-floored caverns to supine, sand bottomed beachies that seem to bring the best out of surfers from complete beginners to budding pros. This microcosm of perfection has bred a couple of generations of supremely talented local surfers, who surf with a grace and ease that sits beautifully alongside the poise and unhurried approach to life that the general Balinese population exudes.

Find more general info about when to go and statistics on the Low Pressure’s Stormrider Guide website.

East Java

This 600km south-facing stretch of Javanese shores represents the lightest surfed coastline in Indo’s southern hemisphere wave zone. The reasons why this stretch is unappealing include a year-round, side to onshore wind exposure, an unhelpful geology of plunging volcanic cliffs, islets and skerries, separated by long, current scoured, black sand beaches. Dangerous, thumping close-outs drum the sand in the swell season, but the potential for smaller, peaky, SE-SW swells to create piping beachbreaks in the shoulder and off season is always there. Luck plays a big part in identifying where rideable sandbars may be and finding other surfers to tackle lonely breaks is rare. Yogyakarta surfers are close to unruly Parangtritis Beach, but will head east to Pacitan where the deep protection of Teleng Ria Beach offers a sliding scale size of beachbreak plus a cultured left rivermouth that’s protected from the trades. The crazed coastline of pocket bays and ragged rocky islets continues east, and there are some potential set-ups for both trade wind directions or glassy conditions. Sudimoro has an E-wind-protected left reef, but construction of a power plant and jetty has brought pollution. Round the corner the Banjar rivermouth and beachbreak has similar exposure and water quality problems. More scalloped bays of volcanic sand face into the SW swell and some have defined lefthanders in the eastern corners, nestling out of the sideshore winds. Tambakrejo has rights and lefts over a dead coral shelf, but needs N quadrant winds. The limestone reef at Balekambang is fairly straight and exposed, but it’s a popular tourist spot to see the island temple a la Tanah Lot. The islands of Sempu and Barung are way too cliffy and the big bay of beachbreaks between them can have some heavy barrels, but it’s usually unappealing and windblown. This trend of cliff and close-out continues right through the mountainous Meru Betiri National Park and on to the serendipitous curve of Grajagan Bay and the majestic lefts of G-Land.

Find more general info about when to go and statistics on the Low Pressure’s Stormrider Guide website.

PP/Night from US$ 290