Best months:
March to September


Surfing guide
LAST UPDATED 03/01/2008
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Sadalmelik: Topographic map of Sumba. Created with GMT from SRTM data; 11 September 2007

Sumba is one of the numerous islands in Indonesia, and is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands. It has a total area of 11,153 km² and is located between Sumbawa, Flores and Timor.


NASA: Sunda Strait, Sumba in the Centre; 2005

The surfing dream continues on to the Island of Sumba. A lot of far less crowded options here, with waves suiting more experienced riders or those with Bali burnout. Surf camps and tours are far less limited with difficutl access being the major challenge around the island. Most surfers arrive by boat from Bali, you will berth just to the north of the island at a port called Waingapu. The main road runs like a backbone east and west from here. To the west lies the village of Bondokodi, a hardcore rivermouth reef set up with a slighly more forgiving near identical set up about 2 clicks to the east called Wanjapu. Losmen on the beach has been a recent addition.

The problem with Sumba is that all of the major breaks lie on the southern coast which makes for an excellent swell window but prevailing winds are always a problem.You just don't get that sweetheart deal on the Western Bukit that spolis you every time you go to Bali. There are a few breaks to the north of deeply inserted bays that offer good shelter though, some an hour or more hike from the road. Sunset Left is one such ride and well worth the effort. It's super exposed so try to catch it early before the wind gets the better of it - a massive offshore left that never really closes out, it just breaks further out, holds 15ft+. There are several inshore sections that will come unto their own in a more manageable swell.

Nihiwatu is also the site of a brilliant eco-resort that goes by the same name. It books out quickly and guests have exclusive use of the left hander right in front. It's a quality wave that needs a solid swell to really work.

Wanokaka is only one of a group of rivermouth / reef / point combos that will keep you guessing in the area. These set ups continue all the way to Millers Right - one of the best rides on the island and manageable for intermediate surfers and longboarders.

The fishing port of Baing on the far eastern side of the island is a bit of a novelty break in maxing swells. In fact the whole SE coast has great options if the southern breaks are way to big for your abilities. Fix the local fishermen up with as many cigarettes as you can carry and they will show you what you need to see.


Golbez: Map of the provinces of Indonesian in English; 8 January 2006

There are many ways of getting around Indo: by plane, bus, car, boat, train, ojek or becak. The last one, pronounced as "BEH-chuck", is a tricycle (pedicab) transportation mode for short distances such as residential areas in many cities. The better your communication skills are, the less you will pay and check the cost beforehand. By the way, there are no becak in Jakarta. Instead, there is the motorized bajaj (BAH-jai). In some other provinces (eg. North Sumatra, Aceh) there are motorbikes with sidecars, known as bentor (short for becak bermotor).

Ojek is motorcycle taxi, which you may want to take if you're in such a hurry that you're willing to lose a limb to get there.

Car is not the safest way to travel as well – rules on the roads are ignored, driving on the road shoulder is common, buses speed like maniacs and stop without warning, pedestrians cross the road anywhere, even across highways…and police is not doing anything about this mess. So it’s your decision, mates. Just in case you still decide to hire a car, the traffic moves on the left in Indonesia.

Not sure if you should consider bus as well…drivers are often drunk, on drugs or just reckless; keep an eye on your bags at all times and avoid overnight journeys in the wilder parts of the country (notably South Sumatra).

Travelling by plane is probably the safest option, though the safety record of the smaller companies is dubious. But the good thing is that a select a few carriers, such as Garuda, Lion Air, and Mandala among others, have recently bought brand new planes straight from an aircraft manufacturer which have replaced some of the older planes in their fleet. So the situation is a bit better, though be prepared that many carriers have poor on-time records and frequent cancellations.

Ferries are very popular and with PELNI (the largest company) you can go to practically every inhabited island in Indonesia. But as usual, safety records are poor, so look for safety devices on board and postpone your trip if the weather is bad.

Java by far has the best railway network; some parts of Sumatra are covered as well. Journey will take quite a long time, but the scenery is a bonus. Be aware of theft and lock your doors at night.

where to stay

Sumba Nautil Resort; June 2008

If you plan on visitng Sumba, try Nihiwatu Resort.

Another good option with good ratings is:
Sumba Nautil Resort, that has very good reviews. It is located near the beach, on the south western coast of the Sumba Island and is known for excellent services, great locations and great food. Prices start from $116AUD.

what to pack

Fir0002: Canon-Deluxe Backpack-200-EG; 26 June 2005

Bring along anything for the hot weather! A backpack to bring everything in!

If you're going to the beach, bring along your beach gear, such as towels, swimmers, thongs, sunscreen and sunglasses! And take a good protection for your camera from the sand. You can also take some stuff to give away to locals (for example, pencils or some sport equipment for kids).

Don’t forget to take waterproof clothes/gear/backpack for the rainy season.

Bring plenty of memory for digital cameras and bring plenty of batteries. 

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