The Hinako islands is a group of eight islands that lies off the Western coast of Nias Island, which is located off Sumatra’s West coast.
The secluded Nias Island chain has been trading since prehistory with other cultures, other islands and even mainland Asia; its relative geographic isolation has created a rich culture. It’s well known for its haunting music and variety of festivals and celebrations.
Its remote location kept this region relatively unknown within the surfing community for some time, but an epic surf film featuring surfing legend Tom Curren, put the Hinako Islands on the map in the early 90’s.
There’s no doubt that the island’s waves are world class; there are countless surf spots, all with large, perfectly formed waves. Two of the most famous waves in the region are:
Asu: A minimum ride of 180m on a hugely fun wave is what draws surfers to Asu. This left hander offers steep walls and endless barrels over a reef, so it’s only suitable for intermediate and advanced surfers.Bawa: This right-hand reef break can handle any sized swell and works well in North winds. It’s not for the faint hearted so only advanced surfers are recommended to take on this break.
Two domestic flights, a car journey and a boat ride will get you to the Hinako Islands. From Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur, you’ll need to fly to Medan Airport (KNO) - Kuala Namu International Airport. From Medan, you’ll need to take an additional flight to Gunung Sitoli, Binaka Airport (GNS) in Nias. From the airport, a 2-hour drive across Nias Island will take you to Sirombu Harbour. From Sirombu Harbour, your surf boat charter will take you to Asu Island (part of the Hinako Islands chain) in about 30 minutes. It’s a bit of a trek but there are several flights each day so there are plenty of options available, plus you end up in a tropical paradise with epic surf so it’s well with the journey.
The best season to surf in the Hinako Islands, Nias is the dry season, late March to early November. This season consists of low rainfall, hot days, light wind and large consistent swell that comes from the Southern Indian Ocean; perfectly formed waves just keep rolling in. If you’re not staying in a local surf camp, then surf spots can be hard to get to via surf boat charter due to large swell. So, speak to your local guide, they’ll use their local knowledge to ensure that you get the most out of your trip.
During wet season, between April and October, there’s smaller swell and higher rainfall. However, the waves are still extremely surfable due to the islands unique geographical position; the Southern Indian Ocean still pushes through swell during this season. If you’re planning to travel in this period, ensure that you take the high rainfall into consideration, as it can affect road and sea travel.
Most surf spots in the Hinako Islands are suitable for intermediate and advanced surfers. Challenging reef breaks with large swell are the most common type of break in the area. High levels of fitness, strong paddling skills and developed surfing skills are required to surf the majority of the Hinako Islands. You should be able to duck dive, hold your breath and manoeuvre a large, steep wave with ease.
If you don’t have the skills to surf a 6-12ft wave, then you can try the smallest break in the region, Sirombu; it’s a fun wave that’s suitable for all levels.