Surf trips to Sumatra are all about adventure and exploration, both on and off the waves, and daring to step beyond the well-trodden tourist trail. This wave rich area of Indonesia is usually mentioned with reference to the iconic Mentawais which hog all the limelight but there is so much more to Sumatra and its islands than that. In most cases the concept of surfing hordes is unknown here – imagine Bali before it appeared on the surf atlas and you might get some idea of all the world class waves rolling in here, many of them empty and unridden as you read this.
Sumatra surf trips offer you a world of choice from surf boat charters, which explore the whole of this region including the Mentawais, to land-based options including the Sumatra mainland, Nias and Hinako islands and off-the-surf-radar Simeulue and Banyak islands, with everything from no-frills simple beach living to comfortable surf resort standards to choose from.
A surf trip to Sumatra could mean surfing from dawn 'til dusk before collapsing back on-board your surf boat and sharing a well-earned beer on the top deck with your surf buddies as the sun sinks; it could mean having world class waves just a few paces from your surf camp doorstep; it could mean jumping into a speedboat every day and being whisked off by experienced guides, whose local knowledge includes the locations of secret spots and hidden gems in blissfully deserted areas.
Whichever option you go for some things are guaranteed with every Sumatra surf trip – tropical surroundings, warm water surfing and high quality to world class wave riding – very often at uncrowded and empty spots - which includes the unique opportunity of surfing the Bono river bore for what will be almost certainly the longest ride of your life.
The warm tropical water surf spots of both mainland Sumatra and its islands are very consistent, picking up both Indian Ocean swell and mega-long distance Roaring Forties produced swell, all the way from the Antarctic. The optimum season for this region is considered to be from March/April to October/November but surfing is possible year round.
World class breaks and high quality surf are everywhere in the form of coral reefs, points, beachbreaks and even a tidal river bore, with conditions ranging from long and cruisey to heavy, fast and hollow.
South Sumatra surfing takes you into an area where few tourists tread with a host of challenging reef breaks and quality beachbreaks to be explored offering typically uncrowded or totally empty spots.
The island of Nias off the northern Sumatra western coast with the further islands of Hinako lying west of Nias, offer a mouth watering selection of world class lefts and right points and reef breaks. Although these islands are now well and truly on the surf map, having been first discovered in 1975, the isolated nature of surf camps and resorts here mean that uncrowded and even empty surf is still possible. Spots are typically super consistent with breaks such as Bawa rarely, if ever, flat.
The islands of Simeulue lie 120 km off the western coast of North Sumatra with the Bayak islands lying just east of Simeulue. This is true surf explorers' territory typified by non-existent crowds, with a wide range of left and right breaks – reefs and beach - accessible by land and boat, most of them as yet unnamed.
Sumatra is also home to the Bono river bore, one of only a handful of waves of this type on the entire planet. The tidal bore only works on specific days dictated by full and new moon phases. Bores are at their most powerful when the river is fullest during the rainy season which peaks in January and February when waves can reach 10 ft with an average 2 to 5 feet. River bores are known for their ridiculously long rides which in the case of the Bono could mean 50 km (yes – you read that right!) Boats accompany surfers so that when the legs give out they can be fished out of the river.
Your accommodation options for your Sumatra surf holiday range from basic beach living categories to luxurious surf boat charter and with every type of private or shared room option you can imagine which include budget friendly dorms and single room or cabin choices.
The social nature of surf boats and surf camps, which between them make up the bulk of Sumatra surf trips, gives them wide appeal for solo travelers and groups with the very real possibility of exclusively chartering a surf boat for a 'mates only' trip.
Die-hard surfers whose only focus is world class waves and easy access to them will love the basic and easily affordable options here with plenty of choice for budget to medium range surf trips of both boat and land based variety. However, that doesn't mean you can't have some comfort too – several surf boats offer luxury options meaning couples and adventurous families are also drawn here. Whether you consider yourself an intermediate level surfer or a been-everywhere-done-that pro, all of our Sumatra surf vacations have something to suit with longboard and SUP suitable options also on offer.
Many of the packages offered by our Sumatra surf holiday operators offer full board or all-inclusive options which can mean truly all-inclusive here with such things as photography and beers all part of the deal.
So, if you are one of those surfers who are forever fantasizing about riding waves somewhere before the surfing hordes discover it then come to Sumatra. Give the LUEX experts a call or email us and we can lead you towards your dream surf trip by finding the best deal for you and your crew no matter how diverse your personal needs are.