Surfing in Java
Like most of the islands in the country, Java has amazing waves. The most famous spots are G-Land and One Palm Point, but there are many other breaks that deserve your attention if you are willing to go out of the beaten path. The waves are usually under-rated and because of the hard access to some spots, this area is still uncrowded. If you are looking for empty world-class waves, this is where you will find them.
Why surf in Java?
If G-Land is not enough reason for you to visit Java, we can give you a few more options in order to stimulate your curiosity. On the west side of Java, you will find some amazing world-class waves on an island called Panaitan. This island has some serious heavy waves that will make your barrel mileage to go up as fast as you can imagine. If you, on the other hand, are a beginner in surfing and want to get away from the frenetic crowded spots, you can go to Batu Karas which is a classic longboarder surf spot with amazing scenery. This is just a taste of what Java has to offer to the surfers who are willing to explore new and exciting destinations.
Climate in Java
Java has a tropical climate just like the whole country has. Located just below the Equator, the temperatures are near 30 degrees celsius all year round.
The wet season is between October to March. The climate is very humid during this time with lots of downpours in the morning and afternoons. December and January are usually the rainiest months of the season. The dry season occurs from April to September. It’s not as humid and the weather is good and the sun shines most of the days.
Best time to go
Surfing in the dry season in Java
Dry season is definitely the best time of the year. There are south swells hitting the coast consistently making the best surf spots come alive. It’s also the time when the trade winds are blowing and it’s offshore wind in most of the surf spots on the west coast of Java.
Surfing in the wet season in Java
Since Java is very exposed to the south, there are always swells coming up from the Indian Ocean. The wet season is known by very light winds making smooth glassy conditions in all breaks. Another advantage is that there is absolutely no crowd in this area during this season.
Main Surfing areas in Java
It’s considered one of the best left-handers in the world. This legendary wave has 4 sections: Kong’s, Money Trees, Launching Pads and Speedies. When all 4 sections connect you will have one of the longest and most exciting rides of your life. The best thing about G-Land is that the wave is super consistent. It works on small swells, but when it’s big… it’s amazing.
This is a really fun A-frame just on the right side of the bay of Granjagan. This wave is a good option if the waves are too big for you at G-Land. The reef gets exposed on lower tides so it’s better to surf the wave on the high tide.
This spot is located 20 min walking up north from the camp. It’s a fun short right-hander and a good option if you are a regular footer and you are tired of going left.
There are 3 surf spots in Batu Karas: Karang, Legok Pari and Bulak Benda. The best break for experienced surfers is Bulak Benda, and Legok Pari is perfect for learning how to surf. This surf spot is actually better on the wet season.
One Palm Point
This is a world-class wave located in the secluded Panaitan Island. It has long perfect barrels that on a good day can go on for at least 200 m. The wave breaks on top of the shallow sharp reef and it’s only recommended for the very experienced surfers. It’s not unusual to see people wearing full wetsuits and helmets for extra protection.
Also located on Panaitan Island. This ultra heavy right-hander needs a big swell to fire up. It’s a slab wave that throws a barrel every single time. For experts only.
Very consistent left-hander that just pops up in front of the dead coral reef. This wave can get really good on bigger days with the right wind. The take-off is steep but gives you time to do a bottom turn right before the lip throws a nice open barrel. Just remember to kick out before the closeout section in front of the rusty pipes.
What's your traveling style?
Luxury / Nice / Upscale Surfing in Java
Even in remote locations like Java you can still find nice and comfortable places to relax during your vacation. We are not talking about 5 stars hotels but Java has at least one really good option for the high-end surfers. At G-Land, you can get yourself a superior room that will give you just the right amount of comfort that you need to get some amazing waves but still live with style.
Price per person with all meals and transport included is 300 USD per night (minimum 3 nights).
Surf boat Charters in Java
When there are not many accommodations options on land and access to the breaks is difficult, a boat charter is an excellent idea. Besides the mobility of the boats, another advantage is that you can rent the whole boat and bring your best friends to the trip of your dreams. This charter will take you through West Java to surf in the famous Panaitan Island and its famous surf spots. Get ready for a lot of fun and lots of barrels.
Price per person 180 USD per night (usually minimum of 10 nights).
Budget Surfing in Java
When you don’t have much money and you are tired of surfing your home break the only solution is to pack your boards and get on the road. Central and West Java are still dodging the major developments so there are many low budget options in this area. You can stay in a cozy bungalow, a cottage or a standard room for affordable prices. If you want to have closer contact with the locals, many people allow tourists to stay with them in their houses.
Kids and Teen Surf Camps
The best spot to learn how to surf in the whole country is Batu Karas at Java Central Coast. There you will find a super friendly break called Legok Pari. This beach has a lot of surf school and rental shops with all the equipment you will need to start surfing. It’s a bit hard to get there but once you arrive you will never want to leave.
Group surf trips are always a guarantee of memorable moments and amazing surf sessions. Add the most perfect waves to the script and the happy ending is inevitable. You can either stay on land and surf the legendary G-Land, or jump in a boat to explore the mystic Panaitan Island. Both options can accommodate at least 8 people at a time so what are you waiting for? Get your boards and get on board!
Java Travelling Guide
Packing and equipment:
What should I pack for a surf holiday in Java
When you are going on a surf trip the best thing to do is always travel light. Bring a few spare boards since you will be surfing a variety of waves. Depending on which area you are there will be some dodgy places that you can make provisory repairs if you break a surfboard. Besides your surf equipment, you will need a couple of boardshorts and a few t-shirts. Don’t forget that Indonesia adopts European standards for electrical plugs. So pack an adaptor to make sure you will be able to recharge your camera or cell phone. It’s very easy to buy a sim card at many airports. The best company is called Telkomcel. It’s the one with the best reception coverage. We recommend you to get yourself one to make it easier to find temples, restaurants and surf spots.
Basic Info for Java
Indonesia’s national language is known as Bahasa. Learning the basics is easy and it’s always a good idea if you want to have a closer exchange with the locals but even in the smaller villages, people are used to tourists and know how to speak basic English.
The local currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). The locals are usually helpful and they love to bargain. You can always ask for discounts or try to trade things. Get ready to become a millionaire.
(1 USD = 13,000 IDR)
Before Going to Java
Visa / Documents
No need for visa
Free tourist visa for 30 days
60 days visa on arrival (35 USD)
Don’t forget to go to the immigration office to extend your visa on arrival.
Vaccines / Health
If you are coming from South America or Africa you need the yellow fever vaccine.
Your usual childhood vaccines plus protection from Hepatitis A should be fine.
Cases of malaria happen especially during the wet season, but that’s not a major concern.
Be extra careful with dogs, cats, and monkeys. If you are bitten, go straight to a local hospital to get yourself a rabies shot.
Getting to Java
If you are going to G-Land you will have to get a 2h boat ride from Sanur. This boat trip is usually included in the package.
If you are going to West Java your first destination will be Jakarta International Airport. From there you will get on a car and be transferred to the Anyer Harbor if you are getting the boat to Panaitan Island or to the Cimaja area if that’s your destination.
It takes a bit longer to get to the Central Coast. First, you will have to fly to Jakarta, then from Halim Airport in East Jakarta directly to Pangandaran Airport. At the airport, you can get a cab to your hotel, but most of the accommodation includes the transfer in their package.
Moving Around Java
Public transportation in Indonesia is pretty bad. It’s always a good idea to rent a scooter. Scooters usually come with a board rack if you ask for one. They are super handy when you have to go around looking for waves on dirt roads and small alleys. Just be extra careful and always use a helmet.
Eating local is always the best deal. It’s cheap and delicious. Price per meal 2-5 USD
There are many accommodation options in Java. You will definitely find one that suits you best. Price per night 15-300 USD.
If you want to travel light and rent a board just to surf a couple of days you should try to check the availability of board rental shops in the area you are going to. Usually, you can rent for two hours ( 5-10 USD) or for the whole day (10-20 USD per day). The longer you stay with the board the cheaper you will pay per day.
We strongly recommend you to buy a sim card. It will make it easier to move around and find the sweet spots on the island. Telkomsel is the best cell phone company in the country. We suggest you buy a sim card at the airport after you pick up your luggage.
Scooters are the best way to move around. They are easy and fun to drive around.
Price per day is usually 4-6 USD depending on what scooter you want. If you rent for longer periods the price per day will be cheaper.
Gas is really cheap. You can refill your scooter tank with less than 2 USD.
Price per liter at the gas station is 0.5 USD but you can find shops selling gas in vodka bottles at the side of the road for 1 USD a liter. I know it sounds weird but these shops can save you when the gas stations are closed because of the prayings or when they ran out of gas.
Other things to do while Surfing in Java
Discover Regional’s famous local dishes
Local food is always a good surprise when traveling around the country. Every island has its own version of the famous national dishes. When traveling around Java you should give a chance to a local warung. If you are vegan or vegetarian you don’t have to worry. The menus are always full of options for all tastes and kinds of diets.
Sightseeing - Culture in Java
If you are traveling to Batu Karas (Central Java) you should take some time to visit the Green Canyon. It’s an emerald river surrounded by green lush forest. You can go on an excursion that starts in a small marina by the river. From there you will go up the stream until you find a beautiful waterfall and a canyon where you can swim and slide on the rocks. The local community takes good care of the river and you won’t see any plastic polluting the water.
Other activities that can be done on the whole island:
- Stand Up paddling
- Fishing and spearfishing
Type of Risks
No matter where you are surfing, always respect the ocean and above all, your limits. To avoid reef cuts, never surf on extreme low tides. If possible, try to hire a surf guide that can show you around and that can put you in the best place at the best time.
Earthquakes are very common in the whole country. Most of the time they are just minor tremors and can barely be felt. When they are stronger they can cause damage but the local traditional bungalows are made of flexible wood and perform really well during these shakes. If the center of the earthquake is at the ocean, a tsunami is an unlikely but possible threat. As soon as you check in your hotel, ask the staff about the evacuation plan just as a precaution.
How to Prepare
It’s always good to check the forecast before going on a surf trip. This avoids wrong expectations and allows you to choose which boards you should bring on your surf trip. These are some websites that you can check out the surf forecast in all parts of Java:
Surfing is a dangerous sport, especially if you seek big waves and hollow barrels. Before going on a trip is always good to think about making travel insurance just to be safe. Most of the time a good first aid kit with lots of band-aids and betadine will do the job. Here are some options for traveling insurances that cover surfing activities:
Even when you are surfing small waves minor injuries can happen. If you get a fin chop or a reef cut don’t worry. This kind of situation is common on surf trips and there is always a clinic with a doctor perfectly capable of stitching your wounds.
Anything more serious you might need a medical evacuation to a place with better medical facilities. In this case, you should contact your insurance to take care of the transportation. If you don’t have insurance the expenses can go up to 100,00 USD.