Miles of coastline and tumultuous geological conditions help make Indonesia one of the top surfing destinations in the world. The confluence of the Indian Ocean and South China Sea create waves and surf ranging from tame, newbie waves to apocalyptic swells.
Whether a first-time surfer or leathery-skinned pro, Indonesia is sure to keep you and your board happy!
Most beginners grab a board for the first time on Kuta Beach, Bali before branching out to try more challenging breaks. Thousands of surfers -- particularly Australians -- flock to Bali each year to take advantage of the waves.
Kuta, Balangan and Dreamland are relatively safe spots on Bali for beginners to try their luck, while Padang Padang and Nusa Dua should be left to the experts; both have sharp reefs waiting to claim flesh should you make a mistake!
- Read more about surfing in Bali.
2. Kuta, Lombok
Not to be confused with the ultra-developed Kuta on Bali, Lombok's version of Kuta is much more pristine and laid-back. Surf camps have sprung up around Kuta, Lombok as word spreads about the spectacular lefts and rights breaking on the reefs.
Surfing in Kuta, Lombok requires hiring a boat to take you out to the breaks; fishermen are always on hand and ready to give a ride for a small fee. More reef breaks are available five miles east of Kuta at the fishing villages of Gerupak and Mawi.
With sharp reefs and the shoreline beyond swimming distance, Kuta is best left to experienced surfers.
3. Northern Sumatra
Not far from the famous Lake Toba in Northern Sumatra, Pantai Sorake draws surfers in for vicious right breaks between the months of June and October. The bay was devastated by both an earthquake and a tsunami; recovery efforts have been slow. Despite the slow return of tourism, a string of guesthouses and surfer bars accommodate visitors when out of the surf.
While in Sumatra, make your way to the remote Mentawai Islands off the west coast of Padang. Excellent breaks all year long make the journey worth the effort; some surfers come and never leave.
4. Blambangan Peninsula, Java
Plengkung, on the southeastern tip of java, is home to some of the best lefts in the world. A perfect, consistent pipe breaks over shallow reef; plengkung is for serious surfers only. The breaks are prime between April and September.
Plengkung is part of the Alas Purwo National Park, not the easiest to reach of places. Many travelers opt for surfing packages which depart from Denpassar, Bali. Contact Bobby's Camp (www.grajagan.com) to make arrangements.
5. Batu Karas, Java
Halfway between Bandung and Yogyarta lies touristy resort town of Pangandaran. Escape the crowd by heading 18 miles west to Batu Karas, a small fishing village famous for beautiful scenery and excellent surf.
Two idyllic beaches are the perfect places outside of Kuta, Bali for beginners to paddle out for the first time. Surfing lessons cost between $8 - $10 per day; board rental costs an extra $4.
Batu Karas is emerged in surf culture, but has yet to develop the attitude found in more established surf camps around Indonesia.
6. Sumbawa, Nusa Tenggara
The mining island of Sumbawa is located between Lombok and Flores; Sumbawa is often overlooked by travelers heading to Flores for diving or Komodo Dragons.
Little-known Maluk, a mining town located 18 bumpy miles south of the port, accommodates surfers during the rainy months between December and April. Swells reach up to 15 feet and form rolling barrels to the left.
Unlike other surf hot spots that spring up around quiet fishing villages, Maluk is alive with an expat scene and upscale amenities -- mostly thanks to the rich copper deposits in the area.