With more than 13,000 islands and warm water all year, Indonesia is considered an idyllic destination for surfing. Indonesia is a popular tourist destination because of its warm water and climate, its beautiful landscapes, and its perfect waves.
The first surfer in Indonesia was the American Bob Koke who surfed the waves at Kuta Beach, Bali in the mid to late 1930s. Because of World War II, Koke left Bali and surfing did not catch on again until the late 1960s and early 1970s when traveling surfers began discovering surf spots off Bali, made especially famous (although they were not named) in the classic surfing film Morning of the Earth by Albert Falzon. Bali became a stepping-stone for other Indonesian wave discoveries such as Nias, G-Land, and the Mentawai Islands.
Today, surfing is an industry in Indonesia that includes transportation, accommodation, dining, entertainment, and surfing services and products. Some islands have beach communities that make a living directly from surfing, such as Lakey Peak in Sumbawa, Sorake Beach in Nias, and Uluwatu Beach in Bali. Multinational surfing brands such as Billabong, Quiksilver, and Oakley, Inc. run their Southeast Asia operation and distribution from their Bali headquarters, most of which are found in the Kuta district.
Indonesian surfers are among the most successful in Asia and are ranked by the Asian Surfing Championships (ASC), an organization that holds surfing contests throughout Asia. Several international contests have been held in Indonesia over the years. In 2013 there were two big international pro events: the Rip Curl Cup at Padang Padang invite-only event, and the Oakley Pro Bali, which was the 5th stop of the world tour.
Indonesia has world class surf spots in warm water, some of them still unexplored.
The island of Bali is the most touristic destination for surfing in Indonesia as it has many world class waves and services for tourists.
- Medewi Beach is a surf spot located in the west of Bali.
- Uluwatu is considered the most famous surfing spot in Bali. It is located on the south west of the island at the West end of the Bukit Peninsula.
- Padang Padang, north of Uluwatu on the Bukit Peninsula.
- Keramas is located near Gianyar in Central Bali on the south east coast. It is a right and left wave breaking on rocks.
Java has many surf spots, the most popular one being G-Land.
- G-Land is located in East Java, at eastern most end on the island. Also known as Plengkung Beach, it is an internationally renowned surf break situated on the Grajagan Bay, Alas Purwo National Park, about half a day by road from the popular tourist destinations of Bali. G-Land is most commonly reached via boat charter from Bali. It is a hollow and powerful left, breaking on a sharp reef.
Lombok island is the neighboring island eastward of Bali, as beautiful but much less developed.
- Pantai Gerupuk, on the south coast: Gerupuk Inside is a couple of hollow lefts and rights. It fits well for beginners. Gerupuk Outside is the most famous surfing spot in Lombok. It has two rights a quarter of miles apart.
- Ekas is located opposite to the small harbour of Awang. It is right and left.
- Mawi is also located on the south coast, but at the opposite west near Selong Belanak. It is also right and left.
The Mentawai is a chain of islands consisting of four main islands surrounded by numerous smaller islands. It is located near Sumatra island. There are several surf spots accessible by boat, with the best known being Macaroni, Lances Left and Lances Right.
- Macaroni is a hollow left located in North Pagai.
- Lances Right is a right with hollow barrels, located in Sipura.
- Lances Left is located near Lances Right. It is similar to Lances Right except that it is a left.
- Sorake Beach
The Panaitan Islands are located off the western tip of Java in Ujung Kulon National Park. These islands host many surf spots, the most famous being One Palm Point and Apocalypse.
- One Palm Point is a legendary left point break with a shallow bottom.
- Apocalypse is a hollow right slab.
Sumbawa Island is located at the east of Lombok. It has plenty of popular surf spots, with the most famous being Lakey Peak and Scar Reef.
Some surf spots contain sharp reefs which are best avoided by beginners. Sunburns can also pose a problem, as the sun is strong and can quickly cause burns. Shark attacks occur (though rarely), and the water is also the home of several kinds of jellyfish which can sting surfers severely.