Surf’s Up: The Best Places for Surfing in Indonesia

The surf islands in Indonesia are some of the best in the world. When you’re too sweaty for exploring temples in Bali (or wherever else), it’s time to cool off with style! Not only will you catch some awesome waves, but you’ll also be enjoying some of the best scenery on the planet as well as some of the cleanest water anywhere. To make the most out of your surf trip you need to know where to go, so check out our insider’s guide to the best island surf breaks in Indonesia.

Best for Beginners: Kuta, Bali

Bali isn’t just good for sunset shots on the beach, it’s also an awesome surf destination. There are some heavy breaks dotted around the island but beginners should head to Kuta beach, where the combination of the sandy beach and countless surf schools makes for a great surf experience. There’s little better than catching a few waves then rolling straight into a beach bar for a few celebratory Bintangs! Best in June to September.

surfing Kuta Beach in Bali, Indonesia

Unbelievable Barrels: Desert Point, Lombok

If the crowds of Bali are doing your head in then consider hopping across the water to neighboring Lombok. It’s stunningly beautiful and on its day has one of the best breaks in the world! Desert Point is one of the longest left-hand barrels in the world, but it needs a big swell to make it work. Many people head here for a week or two to enjoy the beaches and wait for the perfect day to head out into the water. A bit of experience is a must here, as the barrels are pretty heavy when they close out. Best in April to October. 

Fun for the Experts: G-Land, East Java 

If you want a bit of everything from your surfing, from shallow reef breaks to huge barreling walls, then G-Land is for you. Hailed as the original home of the surf camp, G-Land (or Grajagan) is a mecca for big wave surfers and is one of the iconic breaks that people want to cross off their list. On a medium swell day the wave faces are quite big; on a big swell days they’re huge. Make sure you’ve got a good read on the conditions before you head out! The party scene here is banging as well. Best in April to August.

Laidback Waves: the Nias Islands, West Sumatra 

The Nias Islands are great because they’ve got something for everyone. There are long, lazy beach break waves for beginners and intermediates without the crowds of Bali, along with some more technical reef breaks peeling left and right for more advanced surfers. There’s a reasonable traveler scene here with plenty of bars to sink a beer after a session and accommodation is cheap cheap cheap. What’s not to love! Best in May to October. 

Undiscovered Reefs: Rote Island, West Timor

A gem of an Indonesian surf spot that you won’t hear about often is Rote Island, off the coast of West Timor. An amazing place to visit in its own right, with its sand trails mostly traveled by wild pigs rather than cars, Rote is ringed with amazing reef breaks with virtually no one on them at all. There are a few happy expats living here running boats out to the reefs for those who want them, so just ask around and jump on board. T-Land is the best-known break and offers long, curling barrels throughout the season. Best in May to October.

You can get the best waves of your life on the surf islands in Indonesia

Indonesia is a vast country, and with so much island coastline there’s always somewhere catching the swell. Hop between islands to try a few spots out, and make the most of the amazing party scene that comes with the waves here. You’ll never want to leave!