A successful surf trip to South Sumatra

The Krui area of South Sumatra has a large variety of waves, small crowds, consistent swell and the winds usually offshore at one of the breaks. Grabbing your board and jumping on the next plane might seem like the only thing missing to make for a surf trip.

But this stretch of coast requires two more things to make that trip a success ... time and 'local knowledge'.

The average surf adventure to South Sumatra is 10 days but in my experience thats just not enough time in this area to guarantee you will score excellent waves. Most of the swell hits the coast from a southerly direction and thats just not ideal for this coastline.

Krui Left in June Krui Left in June ~ Photo © Muhammad Hasim
Honey Smacks 2014 Honey Smacks ~ 2014

When the swell direction is 'off' wave quality and consistency suffer and everything becomes very unpredictable. During the season 1 swell hits the coast a week ... but usually only 1 in 3 swells will be SW.

So if your planning a surf trip to Sumatra's South West coast be sure to give yourself enough time to experience it at its best.

When should I come

There are waves in this area all year round. Check the daily pic of Ujung Bocur and you will see that its often 1 to 1.8 meters even in the off season.

Surfing in season - June to September

During winter the Great Southern Ocean sends an average of 1 large long lasting swell every week towards the Sumatran coast from a more South to South Westerly direction. Off-shore winds make this the best time to score 2 mtr plus surf at breaks like Krui, The Peak, Ujung Bocur and Way Jambu.

Surfing off season – October to May

Its summer in the Great Southern Ocean and fewer smaller swells hit Sumatra from a more Southerly to South Easterly direction. December to February can be particularly inconsistent with only 1 to 2 storms a month and the winds on-shore at the major reef breaks.

Surfing April and May

A transitional period often providing the best conditions for Mandiri Beach with off-shore winds prevailing late into the day.

The Peak surf break Sumatra The Peak surf break ~ Sep 2013
Ujung Bocur mid tide Ujung Bocur mid tide ~ 2014

Beginners or experienced surfers?

There is surf in this area for every level of surfing above beginner. Intermediate to advanced surfers will have a wider choice of waves but only advanced to expert surfers will be able to surf all the surf breaks.

Intermediate surfers

Some intermediate level surfers might need to seek out protected bays when the surf gets over 1.5 mtrs.

Mandiri Beach is the only sand bottom surf break close to Krui and Tanjung Setia. When its under 1.2 mtrs and organized its Ok for beginners. Over 1.5 mtrs and it can be a fast hollow board breaker with a spitting barrel only suitable for the advanced surfer.

Krui Left is in a very protected location so is often 1.2 meters or less.

The wave has a very small take off zone, with more than 15 in the water you will have to compete for waves, add a few bodyboarders to the line up and Krui Left can test the patience of even the most laid-back surfer.

On mid to high tide Ujung Bocur, Mandiri Beach, Krui Right, Jennys Point and Gnambour are intermediate level waves if under 1.2 mtrs. Above 1.5 mtrs or on low tide most intermediate surfers will find these waves quite challenging.

Advanced to expert surfers

If you want to surf solid waves every day then make sure your are at the right breaks for the swell direction and arrive at the right time of the year.

Be prepared to travel between Way Jambu south of Tanjung Setia to Jimmys Right north of Krui, on the way check out Biha if its big, Ujung Bocur, Jennys Point and Honey Smacks. If your are with a trusted and experienced surfer and have a driver check out the points that few if anyone has surfed.

Part 3 ~ Exploring surf beyond Krui & Tanjung Setia