When people think of Indo, they tend to limit themselves to Bali and the Mentawais. What many forget is that Bali has a number of neighboring islands with great surf only a short flight or ferry ride away. Sumbawa is a volcanic island in the Nusa Tengarra region, and is much more rugged than Bali—but no less epic in the surf department. From the land camps near Lakey to the boat-access waves of the west coast, Sumbawa is one of Indo’s best-kept secrets—a tube-rider’s paradise hidden in plain sight.
The Surf: Sumbawa caters to the experienced barrel riding crew, with a number of heavy tubes breaking over shallow reef. In general, this island should be considered an intermediate to expert surf destination.
Five Waves Worth Surfing:
- Lakey Peak: A hollow right- and left-breaking peak on the eastern side of the island, Lakey Peak can get quite crowded due to the numerous land camps in the area, but is one of the more consistent waves on Sumbawa. Typically blows out in the afternoon.
- Periscopes: A heavy, fast, top-to-bottom righthand barrel in the Lakey Peak region, Periscopes can also get quite crowded, but is worth checking out if righthand tubes are your forte. Like Lakey Peak, Periscopes typically blows out in the afternoon.
- Scar Reef: Sumbawa’s western coast is legendary for its heavy barrels and constant offshore winds, and Scar Reef is possibly the most well-known wave in the region. A heavy, draining lefthand barrel that can sometimes end in dry reef, Scar Reef needs a solid SW swell and is not for the faint of heart.
- Supersuck: One of the heaviest waves in Indo, Supersuck is an expert-only lefthand barrel on Sumbawa’s west coast that requires a large, properly directioned swell to fire.
- Yo-Yo’s: A mellower option if you are on the west coast and don’t fancy lefthand death barrels, Yo-Yo’s has two rippable righthanders that thrive when the swell is too small for Scar Reef and Supersuck.
The Water: Like the rest of Indonesia, Sumbawa enjoys warm, beautiful, unpolluted water, with average surface temps hovering around 82 F (28 C) year round.
The Season: The best season for Sumbawa is winter (May through September), although the months on either side of winter can deliver as well.
The Vibe: The Lakey area is heinously crowded, as are other marquee spots that are accessed by a number of boat tours. There are a few secret waves to be found, however, and at the heaviest breaks the ocean regulates the crowds.
Things To Do: Surf. That is why you are here. With Bali so close, you are more likely to go there for cultural activities and non-surf entertainment.
Where To Stay: Lakey has tons of homestays and land camps. The west side also has a number of camps and boat charters. For the most part, you’ll get the most out of your trip if you go with an organized tour operator.
What To Bring: A shortboard and a pair of step-ups. Heavy water leashes, booties and a helmet, warm water wax, and your A-game if you intend to charge waves like Scar Reef and Supersuck. Although unnecessary for warmth, a 1.5mm wetsuit top will offer extra protection from the reef. DO NOT bring along any illicit substances, as Indonesia has extremely strict punishments for possession and trafficking of drugs.
Getting There: You’ll access Sumbawa from Bali, so Denpasar will be your most convenient gateway into the country. Tourist visas are available upon arrival. Airport code: DPS.Nick Braithwaite