A successful surf trip to South Sumatra

The Krui area of South Sumatra has a large variety of waves, Indian Ocean swell and winds usually offshore at one of the major surf 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 three things to make that trip a success ... time, mobility and at least an intermediate level of surfing skill.

Enough time

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. During the season 1 swell hits the coast a week ... but usually only 1 in 3 swells will be perfect for the breaks at Krui and Tanjung Setia. When the swell direction is 'off' there are still waves but the quality will suffer.

Mobility

You could park yourself at Ujung Bocur the most consistent wave in the area but this will limit your experience of the many other breaks in the surrounding area. Ideally you should be ready to hire a scooter or car and driver and travel to the surf break with the best conditions.

Travel time between surf breaks

Ujung Bocur to:Krui Left - 30 min
The Peak - 30 min
Way Jambu - 15 min
Jenny‘s - 1.3 hrs
Honey Smacks - 1.5 hrs
Jimmy‘s Right - 1.75 hrs
Krui Left to:The Peak - 5 min
Ujung Bocur - 30 min
Way Jambu - 45 min
Jenny‘s - 1 hrs
Honey Smacks - 1.15 hrs
Jimmy‘s Right - 1.25 hrs

Level of surfing

The locals feel the days of uncrowded surf at the major breaks during the high season are over but compared to Bali the crowds are still small. However during the season if the conditions are good there will be a crowd and it's not uncommon now to have 3 or 4 car loads of surfers descend on the major surf breaks. To get the most out of your surf trip we recommend you have at least an intermediate level of surfing and are comfortable competing for waves and surfing over shallow sharp reefs.

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

When should I come

It's important to pick the time of the year that is right for you. Below are some general points to consider when planning your trip but it's important to know that global weather events such as a strong El Niño, La Niña or Indian Ocean Dipole can have a profound effect on Indonesia‘s surf.

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 Westerly direction. Offshore winds make this the best time to score 1.8 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. In general swell consistency and size begins dropping off mid September as the Southern Ocean winds down.

September till the end of October

This period can be an excellent choice to enjoy smaller crowds and smaller swells but still have a good chance to catch a solid swell. Offshore days at Mandiri Beach and Jenny‘s Right should be increasing.

November and December

November and December can be good months for surfing the peaks of Mandiri Beach and Jenny‘s Right with offshore winds.

December to February

By December the rainy season should have really kicked in, this period 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 offshore 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

Part 3 ~ Exploring surf beyond Krui & Tanjung Setia