Last September, our office colleague – Charlie the charger – went on a mission to find some quality, uncrowded waves in Indonesia. In order to ensure he found some challenging, uncrowded waves, Charlie decided to venture slightly off the beaten track, bypassing the famous breaks of Bali, Lombok and Mentawai to a destination that still flies under the radar – Panaitan Island off West Java. Luckily, The Perfect Wave offer a surf charter out there called Just Dreaming. The Just Dreaming crew know the area well, they have been scouring the region for the last two decades surfing perfect empty waves.
How is the surf at West Java & Panaitan Island?
I’ve had amazing 10 days on Just Dreaming, cruising around Panaitan Island. I already can’t wait to get back there. Having been to the Mentawai and many other parts of Indo and the Maldives, there is definitely something pretty special about this area that already has me craving another shot at some of the most intimidating but addictive waves I’ve ever surfed.
For the time of year we were there (September), the trade winds meant the left-handers were the pick of the waves. When we first arrived, we were thrown straight into one of the swells of the season for One Palm. This wave is just mesmerizing, I can’t go round the fact that a session out here does mean you’ll probably lose some bark at some stage, but the payoff is the best left hand barrels you’ll get anywhere.
It’s not all carnage though. While the swell was around for the first few days, we had some trips further in to the Bay to surf Napalms where the barrel fest continued, while also giving us the chance to throw in a couple of turns.
The lefts definitely dominated the trip, but we did also have one day where the wind backed down enough for us to have a quick fun session at Apocalypse, which was a real surprise. When you see footage of this beast, at 8ft it looks like a monster but at 4ft is actually super fun. Illusions, further out the bay, gave us what was probably the most fun session of the trip.
We went to Panaitan chasing epic waves and we weren’t let down at all. But the more surprising thing was that there were also plenty of other waves that don’t get much attention, but worked really well for the non-chargers among us. The fact that there is zero crowd factor means that you literally have the run of the place. I’ll say it one last time, I can’t wait to get back there! Just Dreaming surf charter offers you a trip of a lifetime.