Sumbawa Surf Travel Guide
The sparsely populated Sumbawa was no great tourist destination, until surfers carved out a couple of cool, epicentres alongside the two best west facing surfing coasts at Lakey Peak in Central Sumbawa and Scar Reef at West Sumbawa. Each of these locations offer a mind-bending mix of world class set-ups fed by an abundance of Indian Ocean swell. Lakey Peak is also a great early and late season option. You can access both hubs by surf charter boat or instead by island hopping from Bali and Lombok or a brief domestic flight from Bali.
Where to surf
When to go
Sumbawa picks up all the usual Indonesian swell trains in the 4-12ft range from April through October. This time however does feature ESE tradewinds that are onshore at some of the best breaks, making April and May a favourite time for regular visitors. Land temperatures are warm but rarely overly hot, with the trades or sea breezes and overnight rains providing some natural a/c. The air and water average temp is 28’C, so boardies and bikini, although or a rashy or a short john is recommended for protection against the sun and the reef.
Rugged and under-the-radar, Sumbawa has a coastline full of gorgeous beaches with lots of calm, flat water ideal for swimming and snorkelling. Inland there are excellent hiking opportunities, best best of which is a climb of the mega volcano, Mt Tambora. Elsewhere there are waterfalls, caves and fascinating archaeological sites for the, rare, flat spells.
With more than 18,000 islands providing 108,000 kilometres of beaches it’ms hard to get your head around the sheer scale of Indonesia. As an example the distance between Aceh in the West and Papua in the East is more than 4,000 km. Laying on the western rim of the Ring of Fire, a long horseshoe-shaped seismically active belt of earthquake epicentres and tectonic plate boundaries, Indonesia has more than 400 volcanoes, of which 130 are considered active. And while 6,000 of the islands are uninhabited, the rest are home to around 240 million people, making it the fourth most populous country in the world. Yet in many places, especially the remote sections where surfers go, the transport, technology and medical infrastructure is often poor. It is a fascinating and sometimes frustrating destination, but one that rewards the traveller who takes any time to understand it.
To get to Lakey Peak fly with domestic airlines from Bali’s domestic airport (DPS) to BIMA airport in Sumbawa (BMU). There are two flights per day, although boards sometimes need to go the day before. For Scar Reef the quickest travel time is by plane from Bali (DPS) to Lombok International Airport (LOP), then take a boat and car transfer to the wave.