Surfing in Sumbawa
With Lombok to the West and Flores to the East, Sumbawa is growing fast and becoming an attractive new surf destination. It has two main surf areas.
East Sumbawa is the most known. It has more options for accommodations and famous surf spots like Lakey Peak. It’s also known for being one of the best kitesurfing spots in the world during the dry season. Strong trade winds start to blow around 9 am making the conditions perfect for kitesurfers to catch wave after wave and come back to the line up easily.
West Sumbawa is less developed and less crowded but still has plenty of nice accommodations and amazing surf spots like Yoyos, Super Sucks, and Scar Reef.
The best time of the year to visit Sumbawa is during the dry season, which goes from May to September. That’s when the winds are offshore every day on the west coast. The most consistent months are June and July with solid 6-8 ft swells coming pretty much every week. But if you are looking for mellow chest high waves and low winds you can go at the end of the year during the wet season. Just remember to buy a poncho or an umbrella because it rains a lot.
Why surf in Sumbawa?
If you are tired of the crowded waves and the busy life of the big cities, Sumbawa is the perfect getaway from all the city problems. The quality of the breaks are undeniable on both coast with good options of waves for all kind of surfers from beginners to experts.
The most famous surf spot on the island, Lakey Peak, is located on the East Coast and is a world-class wave. It’s considered one of the best a-frames in the world. This means that it doesn’t matter if you are goofy or regular, you just choose which way you want to go and enjoy the ride.
If getting barrelled is not up to your skills yet, the west coast also offers nice mellow waves, especially during the wet season when the big swells are very rare and the waves are always 3ft size and perfect.
Climate in Sumbawa
Sumbawa has two seasons: dry and wet. From the months of May to September the weather is hot and dry with almost no rain during these months. It’s sunny every day so don’t forget to buy a lot of sun cream, trust me you’ll need it. Another characteristic of this season is the South-East trade wind. It usually starts blowing around March, producing perfect offshore conditions to all the west coasts of the many 17 000 plus islands.
Wet season starts around October and finishes around March. During this season the trade wind backs off and gives space to light Northerly winds. It rains almost every day during the mornings and afternoons but the sun still comes out during the day. The rainiest months are December and January.
Best time to go
If you are looking for heavy waves and long barrels the best time to come to Sumbawa is during June and July. That’s when the big swells are more consistent.
Both coasts have swell magnet surf breaks (Yoyos and Lakey Peak are one of them), but the best waves (Super Sucks, Scar Reef, Lakey Peak, Lakey Pipe) only come alive when solid 6 ft swell hit the coast.
If you want to improve your surfing skills in mellow waves, the West Coast is definitely the best option for you, especially during the wet season when there are fewer swells and fewer winds and the conditions are perfect for beginners and intermediate surfers.
Main Surfing areas in Sumbawa
There are two main surf areas in Sumbawa: East and West coast. Both of the coasts offer world-class surf spots and a nice variety of waves.
The East Coast has one of the best a-frames in the world: Lakey Peak. The wave barrels for both sides and works in all tides. It gets a bit crowded, especially during high season. Right next to this break you have less crowded options like Lakey Pipe and No Men. Up north, you will find one of the most fun and perfect waves in the world: Periscope. Down South, you will find another surf spot called Cobblestones.
On the West Coast, you will find one of the best waves in the country: Super Sucks. This wave only breaks with a big long period South-East swells. It’s not very consistent but when it breaks it produces one of the best barrels you will ever see. It’s a fast heavy wave and when it’s pumping it’s common to see surfers getting two maybe three long barrels at the same wave. Another amazing break in this area is Scar Reef. The name is intimidating, and so is the wave. Big long walls break lining up with the reef producing fast barrels at the end section. A lot of surfers consider it similar to G-Land. Down South, you will find two fun waves: Yoyos and Tropicals. Yoyos was recently selected to be a part of the World Qualifying Series (WQS) and will have competitions every year bringing Sumbawa into the professional surfing calendar.
Peak Type: Reef break
Wave power: powerful
Seabed: dead reef
Length of ride: 50 - 100m
Wave size: 3 - 10 ft
Swell direction: SW
Best wind: NE - E
Best tide: high tide
Best season: April to October
Skill level: advanced
Entry/exit: easy channel
Danger: gets really shallow on low tide
Tips: 40 min walk up north from Lakey Peak. This wave needs lots of water over the reef to be makeable so it’s better at high tide. Regular footers paradise. Holds up to 9-10 ft.
Peak Type: Reef break
Wave power: powerful
Seabed: dead reef
Length of ride: 50 - 200m
Wave size: 2 - 8 ft
Swell direction: S - SW
Best wind: E
Best tide: all tides
Best season: April to October
Skill level: intermediate
Entry/exit: easy channel
Danger: watch out for coral heads on the lower tides
Tips: Halfway to Periscopes you will find a long left-hander. This wave can peel off for 200m producing barrel sections and fun walls for turns.
This A-frame produces short but intense 30-40m rides with perfect barrels for both sides. Better at mid-tide with 5-6 ft. Paddling out is easy, only a 450m paddle, or take the local boats for 2 USD return.
A few hundred meters down south from Lakey Peak you will find Lakey Pipe. It’s a powerful slab. The wave gives you time to take off just before hitting the reef and throwing a cavernous barrel.
Walk down south from Lakey Peak past Lakey Pipe for a few minutes along the beach. You will reach a small bay. There is a left that breaks into the bay and also a smaller fun right.
This beach has to massive pipes going down the ocean that’s where the name comes from. The wave breaks on a long reef that needs a lot of water so it's better to surf at mid to high tide. The last section of the wave near the channel produces a slab barrel. It needs very light or no wind to be working properly.
This wave is located in front of the famous Nomad Tropical Resort. There is a left and a right-hander divided by a perfect channel. The left-hander is super consistent and an extremely fun wave. The right-hander is a bit fickle but when it's on it's a hell of a wave.
Yoyos "The Hook"
This wave breaks near the channel and it’s a fast right-hander that sometimes barrels on the first and on the last section of the wave. Really fun on small days and very powerful when it’s overhead. Very consistent.
Yoyos "The Wedge"
Located on the far right corner of the beach. It’s slower than "The Hook" bu can hold bigger swells. Don't be tricked by its mellow appearance, can be equally powerful as "The Hook" and there is no channel there. Very consistent.
Super Sucks is the best wave in West Sumbawa. Need very high tides and only breaks with massive long period west swell. The take-off is very challenging and the wave produces super long and fast barrels. As the wave approach the end it gets extremely shallow.
This super hollow right-hander breaks in the middle of Maluk Bay. Good barrels on big days and nice maneuverable rides when it’s smaller.
This bay is only accessed by boat from Benete Bay or Scar Reef. It has a powerful wave called Big Brother that has a few sections. The first is called "The Point" and can be hidden for 100-150m before it closes out. The last section is called "The Slab" and as the name suggests it can be very heavy and hollow.
This extremely powerful left-hander can be very similar to G-Land. Produces long walls on the right tides, and with good conditions can produce some amazing barrels especially on low tide.
Located on the other side of the channel of Scar Reef. Super fun A-frame when it’s small. It can produce stand up hollow barrels on big days. The left-hander is very similar to the famous Bingin. Gets really dry on the low tide.
Right-hander located at the opposite corner of Scar Reef. It’s a fun short wave that allows you to give a couple turns and a nice finish snap on the closeout junction.
Lime Stones (Cement Factory)
This slab left-hander it’s one of the best waves of the area, but it’s very fickle. Only breaks on big west swells. It can be a long wave with a barrel section at the beginning and a fast down the line wall after it.
This break produces a short and hollow left-hander barrel. Avoid it on low tide because it can get very shallow. On small a small swell can be fun and rippable.
In the middle of the bay of Dirty Hippies, there is a fun A-frame called Middles. This wave can be super fun for intermediate but watch out because it can also get shallow on the low tide.
This break is very fickle but on an epic day, this wave can produce a super fast and barreling right-hander. Best conditions are on big south swells and king tides. Most days it's just a small wave peeling down the reef.
What is your traveling style?
Both of the coasts have good accommodation options.
The East Coast is more developed and has a large number of places to stay, to eat and during the high season may even have some parties at the local's bars.
The West Coast is more quiet with less crowds. The offer for accommodation is limited and renting scooters during the high season might be a difficulty.
On the whole island the accommodation prices vary depending on the quality you are looking for (30-150 USD). There are luxury resorts or cozy homestays on both sides. It’s up to you to find what suits your budget the most.
Surf boat Charters in Sumbawa
You have the option to explore most islands the island staying on land or in a Surf Charter and Sumbawa is no different. Boats are always a good option if your focus is to surf a big variety of waves. You can start your boat adventure in Bali and head to the East passing threw Nusa Lembongan, Lombok and finally Sumbawa. You will be able to surf the best surf spots in each island-like Playgrounds, Lacerations, Desert Point, Mawi, Ekas, Scar Reef, Super Sucks, Yoyos, Lakey Peak, Lakey Pipe, and Periscopes.
Gather your best friends (8-15 people) and throw yourself at the sea.
What are you waiting for? Get your board and get on board!
Budget Surfing in Sumbawa
If you are on a low budget, Sumbawa is a great choice. You can find cheap accommodations where you’ll eat well and be fairly comfortable while not worrying about spending too much, plus traveling around is cheap too. On this itinerary, you will find out how to have an adventure and make the most of your trip paying less.
If you are really in the exploring mode you can rent a scooter in Bali and make the cross all the way to Sumbawa. This way you will also be able to stop and surf in Lombok or go straight to Sumbawa. Traveling with a scooter is the best way to feel the local vibe and get an exchange with the local people. You can stop at any time to take pictures or to have some food at the local warungs. Just remember to travel at day time to enjoy the most and to avoid accidents. A flat tire in the middle of the night can make your adventure a lot harder. But don’t worry, we will give you all the tips you need to succeed on this awesome island-hopping quest.
Groups Surf Trip
If you are planning to take your crew to an amazing surf trip, don't forget to consider Sumbawa as an option. Traveling with your best friends and surfing perfect waves is always the dream of every surfer. Imagine getting a barrel at Super Sucks and seeing one of your mates paddling back to the line up cheering for you. Or splitting the peak with a friend at Lakey Peak, both of you getting barrelled at the same time.
Sumbawa has plenty of accommodations options to host you and your surf crew, no matter if it’s by boat or staying on land.
Sumbawa Travelling Guide
Packing and equipment
What should I pack for a surf holiday in Sumbawa?
When you think about a tropical paradise you imagine palm trees, warm water, and perfect barrels. And that’s pretty much what Sumbawa has to offer, so only pack your lightest clothes in your suitcase.
You should bring a raincoat if you are going there during the wet season and it’s always good to have a sweater for the plane or for the fast boat trips where the AC is always on maximum.
Wetsuits are optional. You won’t need them because of the cold water but it’s always good to have something covering your back when you fall on the dry reef, that’s the ugly truth. Booties are also welcome for the same reason.
Indonesia adopts European standards for electrical plugs. If you are staying in a fancy hotel they might provide you with an adaptor, but it’s safer to have your own adaptor to be sure you will be able to charge your cellphone or your camera.
It’s cheap and totally worth it to buy a sim card. In most airports, you can buy it right after picking up your luggage.
Sumbawa is very safe as the rest of the country, but when traveling it’s good to take care of your money and expensive belongings. Put them in a safety box at the hotel. Avoid leaving valuable things at the beach while surfing, you never know who might be passing by.
Basic Info for Sumbawa
The national language is commonly known as Bahasa. It’s an easy language to learn and it opens doors when you make an effort to speak it with the locals.
In more touristic destinations, it’s easy to walk around and communicate in English. But in Sumbawa, which is still a very rural island, especially on the West, learning the basics is always a good idea. This is extra useful if you are planning to come back again, which is the case most of the time.
The local currency is the Indonesian Rupiah. At first, it’s a bit confusing. The locals are usually helpful and they don’t want to rip you off, but you should get ready to deal with a lot of zeros…
(1 USD = 13,000 IDR)
Before Going to Sumbawa
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 will need a yellow fever vaccine.
Your usual childhood vaccines plus protection from Hepatitis A.
Cases of malaria happen especially during the wet season, but that’s not a major concern.
You should be extra careful with dogs, cats, and monkeys. If you are bitten, go straight to a local hospital to get yourself a rabies shot. This is not very common since these animals usually are super friendly.
Getting to Sumbawa
There are many ways to go to Sumbawa. The country has many islands and most of the time your trip will involve transport by boat, car, and planes. Don’t worry that will only make your surf trip even cooler.
There are two main airports in Sumbawa: Sumbawa Besar (West Coast) and Bima (East Coast).
If your destination is Lakey Peak you should take a 45 min fly from Bali to Bima (50-80 USD) and then take a cab down south (60-70 USD) to Lakey Peak that takes about 2 hours.
If your destination is West Sumbawa you have two options:
- Take a flight from Bali to Sumbawa Besar (50-80 USD). There are no direct flights to Sumbawa Besar so you will have to make a connection in Lombok. Once in Sumbawa Besar, you will have to take a cab down south (60-70 USD) for approximately 3h.
- Take a 30 min flight from Bali to Lombok International Airport in Praya (50-80 USD). From there you will take a cab (35 USD) to Kayagan Harbor where you can get a Fast Ferry (12 USD) to West Sumbawa (1h45 boat ride).
We strongly recommend you to take option number 2 since most of the time it’s a faster and better experience. The roads in Sumbawa are well maintained but very windy.
Moving Around Sumbawa
Sumbawa is a big island and traveling from coast to coast takes a long time. If you don't have that much time to travel, carefully choose which area you want to pay a visit.
Once you are on your destination the surf spots are easily accessed by car or scooter. If you’ve never been to Sumbawa we strongly recommend you to hire our surf guide package for a better experience of the surf spots and natural beauties (sunsets, waterfalls, and hikes).
If you like spicy food you will be delighted with many amazing dishes in Sumbawa. If hot spicy food is not for your stomach, don’t worry, just make sure you always order it not spicy.
Prices for meals in Sumbawa have a very large range. You can have a delicious Nasi Goreng (fried rice) in Maluk (West Sumbawa) for 2 USD. Or you can go to the best restaurant on the island at Nomad Tropical Resort and have a Bintang and a Fajitas for 20 USD.
If you are an experienced surfer you will probably bring your own boards. But if you are just starting and still don’t have a baby board to call yours you can rent a board at the homestays and hotels. Prices are usually between 5-10 USD per day. It will be easier to find boards for rent in East Sumbawa than in the West.
The best telephone company in the country is called Telkom. You can buy a prepaid sim card with internet and start using it straight away. Prices vary between 10-20 USD depending on how much data you buy.
Forget about public transportation in Sumbawa. The best thing is to rent a scooter to be and free independent (5-7 USD per day). It’s cheap and there is no better feeling than feeling the warm air in your face after a surf session. Don’t forget to always wear sneakers, a helmet and drive safely to avoid accidents.
If you prefer the safety of a car you can rent one for 25-50 USD per day. There are no traffic jams in Sumbawa. Just remember to drive on the left side of the road.
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 Sumbawa
Discover Regional’s famous local dishes
Every village has there own warungs (restaurant) with traditional local food. The most traditional food in the country is the Nasi Campur (mixed rice), which means rice with a variety of toppings of your choice. Most of the time the food is already cooked so it’s not possible to ask for not spicy. If you don’t like spicy food, this is not the best place for you to eat.
It’s really easy to find vegetarian and vegans options in Sumbawa. There are always vegetarian options of Nasi or Mie Goreng (fried rice or noodles) or if you go to the local warungs looking for a Nasi Campur (mixed rice) you can choose the veggies you like.
Sightseeing - Culture in Sumbawa
On the rare occasions that the surf is flat, Sumbawa offers a lot of other entertaining activities.
Activities you will find in East Sumbawa:
- You can organize a trip to go see the relics of Japanese ancient sites that have more than 4 thousand years old.
- Snorkeling and paddle boarding.
- Charter a fishing boat or go spearfishing.
- Kite Surfing.
- Natural hot springs.
Activities you will find in West Sumbawa:
- Hike up the lighthouse track at Yoyos.
- Do the coastal walk from Super Sucks to Lawar.
- Charter a fishing boat or go spearfishing.
- Kite surfing.
- Go mountain biking on the track between Sekonkang and Maluk.
Type of Risks
Almost all the surf spots in Sumbawa are reef breaks. The best waves, that produce fast hollow barrels, usually break on shallow water. Minor reef cuts are almost inevitable in conditions like these but the danger can be minimized if you surf during the right tides. That’s why is really important to have good knowledge of the breaks or get yourself one of our experienced surf guides. They will put you in the right spot at the right tide and keep an eye on you to avoid any dangerous situation.
Earthquakes are common in the area called the Ring of Fire. That includes pretty much all the islands in the country. Most of the time they are just minor shakes and become part of an exciting experience. When they are stronger they can cause some damage so always get outside if you are indoors. 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 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 Sumbawa:
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 a 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. These are some options for traveling insurances that cover surfing activities:
The surf was big! You pulled in a barrel, didn’t make it and hit the reef hard! When you come up you find out that you have a deep wound in your arm that needs stitches. That’s a common situation when the surf is pumping in Sumbawa. So don’t be worried about it. Sumbawa has nice clinics with experienced doctors for this kind of situation. In Maluk, West Sumbawa, the local doctor specialty is Scar Reef Stitches.
Anything more serious you should contact your insurance for a medical evacuation. If you don’t have one, a medical evacuation can be organized although it will cost you a lot of money.