River Surfari - Sumatra


Surf Skill

Beginner - Learning


January, February, March, April, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Board Type

All types


The tidal wave “Bono” breaking in the Kampar River in Sumatra, Indonesia, is a bit different from European river waves. Bono, also known through the Rip Curl Movie “Seven Ghosts”, can produce faces up to 10 feet and offers rides of several minutes. Breaking in comfortable 27 degrees Celsius, this wave can travel up to 50 kilometers with you riding it!


The small hotel “Mega Lestari” is situated in the small and friendly village of Teluk Meranti with 2500 inhabitants, on the shore of the Kampar River. The hotel consists of 9 basic rooms (5 single rooms and 4 double rooms) with fan cooling. Furthermore there is a spacey living room for chatting and relaxing after surf. There are 4 indo-style shared toilets. That means, to be suitable for this adventure, you have to shower with a bucket filled with filtered river water.

Sumatra and whole Indonesia is a developing nation but nevertheless there is good cell phone coverage in Teluk Meranti and with some of the local cell phone providers you can get a stable 3G internet connection. Although there is no electricity normally during day time, there is still the possibility to run the generator before sunset if it is absolute necessary.

Please bear in mind that you are travelling in an area of Indonesia, which is barely tapped by tourism thus western standards are non-existent. But who is willing to leave one’s comfort zone for a couple of days, will certainly be rewarded with some unforgettable experience and a broadened horizon.


The restaurant is situated right across the street of the Mega Lestari hotel. Full board including 2 bottles of drinking water is included in the trip price. Breakfast traditionally consists of fried rice or noodles with coffee or tea and some bananas. For lunch and dinner there is rice with chicken, fish or fresh Gambas. All the food is usually very spicy but of course you can ask for a more forgiving version if you are a bit sensitive in that area.

Sumatra is a Moslem Island thus alcoholic drinks are commonly not available. Alcohol is sold nowhere in the village of Teluk Meranti and we ask you not to bring any alcohol, please.


The Wave

The average ride on the Bono wave lasts about 15 minutes with wave sizes between 2-5 feet. Big sections can produce wave faces of more than 10 feet, but normally the Bono is a mellow and soft peeling wave which allows dozens of roundhouse cut backs and even snaps. It’s suitable for intermediate and advanced surfer and perfect for long boarding and paddle surfing. Even surf beginners can have a lot of fun and practice surf maneuvers until their legs are collapsing J

The brown color of the Kampar River is not caused by pollution but by mud and the high percentage of peat in the surrounding area. In fact the Kampar River has quite good water quality in relation to Balinese or even European rivers.

Bono has no seasonal peaks, but it works only on special days around the full moon and the new moon. During rainy season the Kampar River has more water thus the bore is stronger and the waves are bigger. Bono works similar to the Brazilian wave “Prororoca”. At high tide, sea water is flowing into the river mouth of the Kampar River and produces a bore together with the flowing river water.  There are several peaks which produce daily up to 4 hours of surfable waves with the length more than 50 kilometers.

With our two modern inflatable boats, our experienced boat pilots will bring you out onto the Kampar River and will accompany you while you are surfing Bono. The pilots are trained in rescue maneuvers and as soon as you are tired of surfing or wiped out, they will be there to collect you. We need a minimum of 2 people per boat to guarantee a trip and with a maximum number of 4 people per boat you can surf more or less 1 hour on 4 to 5 different peaks of the Bono. Definitely enough time for your longest ride ever and probably the worst muscle ache you ever got from surfing.

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