For a great majority of the surf population, Java equals G-Land, and little more. But for those in the know, the world’s most populous island houses more than just 60% of all Indonesians—it also has a number of high-quality reef setups! With a little creativity and a touch of persistence, the intrepid explorer can find his own Indonesian dream—minus the crowds of the country’s more popular surf regions. Welcome to Java, Indonesia’s best kept secret.
The Surf: Predominantly heavy, hollow reef breaks—which makes Java an intermediate to expert destination.
Five Waves Worth Surfing:
- G-Land: The lefthand reef/point at Grajagan is one of the best in the world, and it’s storied barrels are steeped in history, as legendary Gerry Lopez used to camp for months in the jungle alone, enjoying mind-melting tuberides without another surfer in sight.
- Turtles: Another epic lefthand barrel, Turtles is a critical drop to tuberide and can handle size. Unlike G-Land, however, Turtles doesn’t enjoy all-day offshore winds, so the dawn patrol is essential.
- One Palm Point: An epic lefthand barrel breaking over shallow reef, One Palm breaks on a small island off the west coast of Java.
- Apocalypse: A glorified closeout of legendary proportions, Apocalypse is an extremely fast, semi-secret wave somewhere in the Java region that looks epic in photos, but can be terrifying in person.
- Ombak Tujuh: A deep-water lefthand reef that can handle size, Ombak Tujuh is Java’s big wave spot, and enjoys relatively offshore winds throughout the predominant swell season.
The Water: As with everywhere in Indo, the water in Java is the stuff dreams are made of. Surface temps hover around 80F (28C) year round.
The Season: Swells pump between March and November, and as an added bonus, the predominant wind during this season is offshore all day long at G-Land.
The Vibe: G-Land can be extremely crowded, with three surf camps and upwards of 100 visiting surfers at any given time. Other areas range from localized to empty. You’ll do well to maintain a respectful attitude and limit yourself to waves that fit your competency level.
Things To Do: Aside from surfing? Try not to contract malaria. Otherwise, if you are looking for entertainment, take a boat to Bali.
Where To Stay: G-Land was the original “surf camp” and now houses three different accommodation options. Other land camps are springing up around Java, but many spots require boat access and feral jungle squatting, if not a dedicated live-aboard charter.
What To Bring: Solid boards for solid waves. People don’t go to Java to noseride or boost airs—they go for heavy barrels over shallow reef, so your quiver should reflect this fact. Bring multiples of everything (boards, leashes, booties, helmets) and all the accessories you’ll need. People have been known to surf certain spots in fullsuits (for reef protection, not warmth), so take that into consideration. Mosquito/malaria control is essential, and if you are camping feral, you’ll need to be fully equipped and prepared for anything. DO NOT bring or transport any illegal substances, as drug trafficking in Indonesia is punishable by death and/or life imprisonment.
Getting There: Your two main options are to take a boat over from Bali (if you are heading to G-Land) or fly into Jakarta (to access the waves on the western coast). Tourist visas available upon arrival. Airport codes: DPS (Denpasar, Bali) and CGK (Jakarta).