Java may be the most populated island in Indonesia but as far as the surf tourism is concerned it is largely left alone. It offers an isolated coastline speckled with plunging volcanic cliffs and desolate bays presenting a wide variety of waves. This is the spot for the true surf soul searcher.
Our focus presently is East Java, home to the infamous and almost supernatural ‘G-Land’ left hander which sits on the tip of Grajagan Bay close to one of our camps,Joyos. This epically long, barrelling glamour wave which holds an open tube down pretty much its whole length, is considered one of the most dependable surfs in the world and was initially discovered in 1972 by a group of intrepid, die-hard American surfers. This faultless break is reached by trekking through thick, primordial jungle much like when these pioneers made the trip, adding to the whole atmosphere of adventure. To catch it in its full majesty you need to visit between mid-April and mid-October.Waves in this region tend to be at their best at high tide so it’s advisable to plan your trip following a full or new moon.
As well as this legendary break, there are an abundance of clandestine spots tucked away on the length and breadth of this coast. The 600kms of south facing shorelinelooks onto the Indian Oceanand the swell is largely created by low pressure systemsgyrating over Antarctica. Java’s volcanic nature has rendered many of the beaches blackened and the terrain on land craggy and challenging to traverse. Here, Lady Luck rewards the brave.
The administrative centre of this region is Surabaya which is really worth avoiding. However, if you fancy a few days away from the waves there are some real cultural gems to visit in the region. Most recommended would be Mount Bromo, an active volcano set amidst a lunar landscape and the cultural centre of Yogyakarta, home tothe Borobudur andPrambanan, temples considered by many to be the 8th wonders of the world.
Indonesia is basically a year-round surf destination, but the best time of year and also the most popular is between the months of April until the end of October as the monster winter storms march the swell lines from down south and to the left across the open Indian Ocean untouched until they hit here and with light trade winds blowing from the south-east.
With the wet season beginning towards the end of October and lasting through to March, your peak rainfall will come in January and February with the high pressure systems flowing south from the Asian mainland combined with humid air from the Indian Ocean bring rain throughout Indonesia – but sometimes the northern and western islands get the lions share compared to those in the south and east.
Is a shifty peak that breaks the furthest up the point at G-land & on solid days breaks far out to sea. It breaks from 4-10ft+, however, above 6 ft it gets too shifty and unruly. On the low tide and at 5ft it can link all the way through to the rest of the point of G-Land. It picks up the most swell and is always the biggest of all the waves at G-Land and most of the time uncrowded. It breaks in deep water so it is fairly forgiving, with big faces and fast walls it is the easiest wave to surf on the point. Keep an eye on the currents as they change with the tides.
This wave can break up 200-300m depending on the tide and swell direction and can produce perfect barrels to long walls to carve down the line. Taking off early and in the right spot is a must as shoulder hopping will put you over the falls. It holds 8ft+, but will handle up to triple overhead.
Breaks on heavy swells & rarely breaks between Moneytrees and Speedies. Bigger sets will hit the patch of reef beyond the whitewash line and look like fizzing out, then it suddenly jumps up again and starts the pedal-to-the-metal section known as Speed Reef.
The grand finale of G-land is the amazing section known as Speedies. Needs a solid swell to start working, and when it does you could be in for the ride of your life as you make the make the radical drop it opens up dishing out heaving barrels & long walls peeling down the point allowing you to let loose on the face. At high tide the waves are easy to surf & breaks in deeper water & at the lower tide the waves really start funnel. Best time to surf it is on the push from quarter tide. Best with a SW swell and East winds.
Turtles is a lefthander that heaves onto a dead coral reef making the take-off section gnarly. Once you make the critical take-off it fires off down the line providing big walls and dredging barrels on the low tide. The wave is fairly consistent. Pull out before the inside (close-out) section where the rusty pylons are. Easy until head high. More suited to experienced surfers when it gets more solid. Works on all tides. Best in a SW swell & NE winds.
This long left is just as consistent as Cimaja & is known as SAWARNA (One colour). The wave jacks up from deep water, can be shifty & more hollow on the take-off, however, generally a fast wall with lots of power. Works best on a low to mid tide, SW swell & NE winds.
Is a right hander that is nestled away between river mouths. The wave can get a bit crowded so it is best to hit it early. Barrels on the low tide. Be careful after a big rain as the water quality if very poor. Works on all tides, and is best on a SW swell & North winds.