Nestled between the islands of Nias and Simeulue, off the West coast of Sumatra, the Banyak Islands is a cluster of 99 islands. Mostly sparsely inhabited and unexplored, these islands are best discovered by surf boat charter.
The islands are scattered with numerous coral reefs that are habitat to a diverse range of species including green and leatherback sea turtles, a variety of fish, octopus and lobster species, as well as other sea life. Although, the region has recently experienced some challenges with illegal hunting and environmental hazards, that are affecting its precious ecosystem.
Like other islands in the region, the Banyak Islands are perfectly situated to receive constant swell from the Southern Indian Ocean; waves come to the island’s shores with perfect form and consistency. Glassy conditions are produced by light winds and big waves are produced by large ground swell.
Getting to the Banyak Islands can be tricky, you’ll need to take two domestic flights and then a surf boat charter. From Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur, you’ll need to take an internal flight to Medan Airport (KNO) - Kuala Namu International Airport. And then from Medan, a further flight to Nias (Gunungsitoli) or to Sibolga located on the Sumatran West coast, depending on your surf boat charter. But once you get there, you’ll be in an idyllic tropical paradise so it’s totally worth the trip.
The Banyak Islands consists of several world class surf breaks and spots, including:
Treasure Island : One of Indonesia’s most famous right-hand reef breaks. It’s user friendly with easy tubes, as well as more challenging sections, and provides rides of about 200m.
The Bay of Plenty : An area consisting of several top-class surf spots including Gunters, Camel Backs, Shorty’s, Toytown lefts and many more. With a mix of right and left-hand reef breaks, this area is a popular destination for surfers.
April until October/November, the dry/high season, is the best season to surf in the Banyak Islands, with low season being November/December to March. Perfectly formed waves frequent the shores of the Banyak Islands from April onwards. Although some spots can get a bit crowded, with 20+ surfers in one spot, surfing during this time means no rain, light winds and blistering sun; average temperatures are around 27°C. Waves are constantly rolling in between 6-12ft, so expect head high or double over head sized waves.
During low season, rain is common, swell size decreases and crowds disappear. It’s a great option for those wanting more chilled; less advanced waves. Although, rain can affect travel so keep that in mind when planning your Banyak Islands surf trip.
To book your Banyak Islands surf trip at the best rates possible, check out the Banyak Islands surf camps and Banyak Islands surf boat charters here.
The Banyak Islands surf is best suited to intermediate and advanced surfers; the regions reef breaks deliver extreme conditions. You will need be a strong paddler, have a high fitness level and have developed surfing skills to manoeuvre these waves. Duck diving as well as holding your breath for an extended period are also essential. Bring reef booties to experience the cleanest, most perfect barrels of your life.