No. 1: The Mentawai Island Chain
You will be absolutely blown-away when you see this Island chain. It is as close to heaven on earth for surfing. The Mentawai Island chain, off West Sumatra, hosts some of the most consistent surf spots in the world, and nearly every spot can reach “world class” status on it’s day. The continuous search for surfing perfection was over once the incredible surf of the Mentawai Islands was discovered: Here it is in overwhelming abundance, every style wave you can think of can be found here. The myriad of different islands coupled with the proximity of the continental shelf to the island chain is a combo that allows for a setup with offshore winds and perfect conditions no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
In particular, Southern Mentawai is renowned for its thrilling consistent breaks. Arguably the most consistent of them all is Thunders. In the same area, there’s Greenbush and Roxies (also known as Coldspring). Also Rag’s Right and Macca’s. Of course there are some secret spots too, which may be revealed to you if you happen to ask the right surf guide. A Mentawai surf trip will almost always leave any surfer completely surfed out, sated from gorging themselves on waves that closely resemble the doodle’s they made during boring classes or board meetings that they no doubt had to attend to be able to afford to make it out to this remote surfing mecca.
No. 2: Grajagan – also known as G-Land
Grajagan, or G-Land as we’ll refer to it in here, is one of the most desired, most incredible surfing locations in the world. G-Land is technically one giant reef, but it actually many world class sections, or really; breaks within the break. G-Land has become a very special surfing site that, at just the very sound of its name, has surfers longing for its unmistakable perfect long lines and the consistent off-shore trade winds. There are even some right handers further in the bay. G-Land is an Indonesian charm, the ideal dream-destination for surfers all over the world.
No 3. South Lombok
The island just east of Bali hosts what most people regard as one of the world’s longest perfect left hand barrels, the famous Desert Point. This fickle break needs a myriad of different conditions to coincide before it can live up to the hype, but once it does, it is the kind of place that causes people to dedicate their lives to the wave. Every aspect of their lives revolves around being there when the wave turns on. They are known (quite creatively) among Indo-veteran’s circles as: “desert point guys”. When Desert Point isn’t working (which is unfortunately often!), the newly paved roads along the southern tip of Lombok’s craggy coastline have the common surfer to more closely survey the coastline, and a number of breaks have been making themselves known. Have a close look at a nautical chart or Google Earth and you’ll see that there are a ton of setups just waiting for the determined surfer to figure out the when, where and how of the spot. Another mundane detail which is often overlooked but helps this area make the list and obtain the #3 position is the brand new airport located in the South of Lombok.
No. 4: Nias Islands
Lagundri Bay, aka Sorake beach, on the southeast tip of Nias Island, should likely need no introduction to any surfer who’s done their pre-Indo surfari research. This wave was catapulted into super stardom not only because it is perfect, relatively easily accessible, and relatively safe for how heavy the barrel is, but because of one major reason: most surfers coming to into in the late 70’s through the 80’s were from the east coast of Australia, the world’s Mecca for right hand point breaks. Call it nature or nurture, but since most of these guys surfed with their left foot forward, Lagundri was highly sought after because it was the first super perfect, far-flung right hander to be discovered in Indo. Lagundri Bay is so magnetic, that most surfers call it “Nias”, not even realising Nias is a large island with with almost 90% land area of Bali. However, the island of Nias of course hosts many other breaks. These include the Hinako Islands (offshore from mid-way up the west coast of Nias-you can take a charter boat, or fishing boat from Sirombu, or Lagundri. Nias also has a swell magnet in the left and right break of Hillisitaro (aka Rock Star’s) and there are rumours of a mysto right, and G-land-like left, and another left that “is like a cross between Lance’S Left and Macaronis”.
No. 5: West Java
West Java has so much to offer and that’s why it clawed its way onto this list. There are perfect surf breaks for varying surfing skills – from professionals, right down to the beginner. In Pelabuhan Ratu, fanning out from the Pelabuhan (which means harbor-so you guessed it:the waves are small here!) the breaks get increasingly bigger and better. Here west from the town and you’ll pass the cobblestone right hand point breaks of Cimaja and Indicators. Keep heading out the coast you’ll find the left-hand point break style setup of Sawarna. Sawarna is just a one hour trip from Cimaja, and it’s a swell magnet that can produce rides of 300 meters for the right surfer with the right board. For the adventurous and daring surfer who wants some heavy lefts; head southeast down the coast, you’ll find beach breaks, a lefthand reef at Pantai Loji, Ombak Tujuh, Turtles, Mama’s and more reefs south of that producing heavier, shifty left handers that will excite any level of surfer.