The Definitive Guide to Sumba Surf - Surf Atlas (2023)

Sumba surf has been called the next Bali, only here there's a touch of luxury and not an ounce of crowds.

An introduction to Sumba surfing

The Definitive Guide to Sumba Surf - Surf Atlas (1)

There are rumors that there is an island somewhere in East Nusa Tenggara that has the credentials and consistency to match.baliyLombok. Cue Sumba. Angled perfectly to take down the SW and SE waves that drill from the roaring 40s throughout the entire calendar, it's a land that newfound travelers are only just discovering.

Sadly, there's also a distinct honeymoon smell to the place and we're pretty sure Sumba is on a knife edge. Tumble to one side and it becomes a posh five-star terrain with fly-in/out hotels in the style of the Maldivian atolls. The other falls and becomes an ecological center for surfers and hikers. We know which we'd prefer, but we're not sure we'll win - one of the best breaks here has already been claimed as private property by a luxury hotel!

Speaking of breaks, there's something serious in the offing. Divided into two groups, east and west, they reach the zenith with the hollow points to the left, but there are also wilder beach breaks and the occasional hollow to the left. The downsides include the difficulty of getting to pretty much ANYWHERE in Sumba and the general lack of tourist infrastructure.

We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click on them and we get something from your reservation or purchase. They help us continue to provide ever more detailed surf guides to amazing spots around the world. So thanks for that!

This guide is only part of our complete guide tosurfing in indonesia

Sumba surfing at a glance

The good:

  • still very empty
  • Epic Lefties That Can Rival Bali
  • Luxury hotels

The bad:

  • Perhaps the best rest is claimed by a hotel
  • It's hard to reach!

What's in this Sumba surf guide?

Where is Sumba?

Sumba Island is shaped like a cashew on its side at the bottom end of the East Nusa Tenggara region of central Indonesia. It's directly south of the legendary Komodo National Park and about 300 miles east of the bucket list.Bali surf paradise. Getting in is not going to be easy. Most people fly into Tambolaka Airport on Lion Air or Garuda, which operate from Jakarta and Denpasar. Others will opt for the longer ferry connection from Kupang in Timor Leste, although getting there is another challenge in itself!

A guide to Sumba's surf breaks

The Definitive Guide to Sumba Surf - Surf Atlas (2)

There are two distinct zones when it comes to Sumba waves: West and East. The western breaks are by far the most popular, mainly because they are located on the most urbanized and developed coastline. Those to the east are emptier and of good quality, although one or two have been seriously affected by the construction of a boardwalk and pier in recent decades. Let's take a look at the lot:

But (left and right)

There are rights and lefts at the spot known as Pero, the first surf break on the western side of Sumba. They are often listed as two different locations and we can see why, since this is not an A-frame: each wave is located on opposite sides of a river mouth at Pero Beach. Thing is, the right is pretty bad and needs heavy swells in the wet season to rise above 5ft to make it even viable.

The real headline is the left turn that stops in the bay on the south side of the estuary. When there's a good SW hit in the dry season and a morning trade abroad, this is a pearler that could rival the Ments or even Money Trees in G-Land, although it's a bit softer than both. Regardless of what it reminds you of, we don't think you're dreaming of somewhere else when you reach into your pocket and rip the hollow sections back into the canal. It's a fantastic wave for its day, very fun and breakable, but perhaps a bit fickle.


The southern end of the bay, where the white sands of Pantai Waingyapu dissolve into the broad reef shelf, is a fool's mecca. There are about three breakouts to the left that are consistent and clean in good dry season SW waves, but a bit crowded and heavy when directly west. The easterly trade winds can work magic here and we really love this early morning break up high when it forms you can rip it from the drop to the edge of the sands if you feel it right into a paddle trough to take you from I return to the point.


Marsi Beach

Beyond the craggy islet of Pantai Marosi is a reef that provides doable A-frames on both the left and right, although the right is considerably better. When it's big in the high season here this can be a foamy paddle with some challenging duck dives in the absence of a good channel.

Occy's Left (also known as Nihiwatu)

This might be the most debated surf spot in all of Indo right now. The reason? The construction of the super chic NIHI complex right out front has effectively closed off access to the water to anyone not staying there (and let's just say it's not cheap!). That's the first instance we can remember of a private company basically "owning" a surf break and we have to say we really don't like the precedent it sets.

That being said, the folks at the hotel cite their reef crowd control and community projects as good work things that balance it out, and the hotel is downright fantastic. The wave you have access to is also called God's Left because it's quite perfect on the medium waves of the SW-S dry season, peaking in a lovely turning hollow section before smoothing out into a wall that really invites turns. .

they wake up

The coast slopes slightly to the east at Wainukaka, just before Sumba's southern shoreline plunges into the enchanting and exotic beach of Pantai Pahiwi. That creates a good spot to soak up the wet season SE swells that come in November and December, and there can be some big rights when it's 5 feet and no wind. Unfortunately, that rarely happens and this is often a tricky thing. There are also rocks in the way so make sure you know where you are going.

Miller Rights

Notice the plural. This rare Sumba right is actually a complete set of rights. It is only accessible by boat below a high promontory that reminds us of the elevated position above the Uluwatu temple in Bali. A very popular wave, it is a good starting point for surf camps in Sumba, and not just because it offers something for regulars. It's long and a lot of fun if you take off deep into the point. There is also the option to stay closer to the inside section and catch the wave when it gets fat and loses the gap, so it is also ideal for intermediate students.

The office

A place we wouldn't mind working from 9 to 5, this office is a fun break that suits all levels from intermediate and above. Gentle, slow walls glide over sandbars and rock-bottomed bays at the western end of the reefs in front of Kalala Beach Resort. They are super nice to ride on all boards in a 3-5 foot dry season.


As the name implies, this is the fastest section of the reefs in front of the Kalala Beach Resort. It really comes down to the drop and then the pull section because there isn't a lot of room to maneuver on the face of the wave and the reef can get tight.

Five o'clock

A wave of performance that shoots up in both the dry and rainy seasons swells with good S steering. This is where shortboarders <5″4s will tear it up. It's only good in high places and fairly shallow even then, so it's not for anyone inexperienced riding near the reef.

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Where to stay when surfing in Sumba?

One hotel in particular stands out in Sumba:SERVED, a resort with its own private surf break. But there's a growing cohort of places that we think may be even better for taking breaks here, as long as you don't mind giving up Occy's Left.

NIHI Sumba

The Definitive Guide to Sumba Surf - Surf Atlas (3)

Look, if you can afford this, then we'd tell you to do it. The money is well spent. Arguably the best break on the island (Occy's) hits the reefs right in front of thisaward winning community, which has been rated as one of the best in all of Indo, forming a hollow left bend that works on all tides from morning to night. Only people staying at the hotel are allowed to paddle here and they limit it to about 10 people per day. Money can buy happiness, it seems. The rooms are ridiculously beautiful, so there's no need to get lyrical about it. The downside is I guess we have mixed feelings about a hotel claiming a wave (security guards have been known to scare away non-guests :/ )

Alamayah Boutique Retreat Hotel

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Surf Pantai Morosi just around the bend on the headland, but also the beach breaks and reefs that line Nihiwatu beach from thisfantastic boutique hotel. The design is impeccable, like a mix of Art Deco noir and traditional Indonesian styles. The gardens are lovely, with swaying palm trees over a sparkling pool. There's also an on-site gym for those fitness buffs who can't do without.

Lelewatu Resort Sumba

a stay in theLelewatu Resort SumbaYou may not get automatic access to Occy's, but it will put you within easy reach of Nihiwatu beach and the fantastic lefts and rights there. Whether you can navigate by God's will will depend on the mood of the guards at the resort. Either way, you'll be able to return to a beautiful platform on a pedestal on the side of the island, with waves lapping below and jungle all around. And did we mention there's a divine infinity pool?

(Video) Streebree's Surfing Guide for Beginners [CS:S, CS:GO, TF2]

Step by step guide to plan your Sumba surf trip right now

Step one: book flightsto Sumba surfing… Lately we likewaterto search for flights. It's a nice interface and has many airline options. we also usesky scannerBecause that sometimes offers deals that even beat going straight to the carrier!

Second step: Book your surf camp Book Surf Campsis henumber oneOnline booking platform for complete surf-stay packages on the internet right now. then there That has consistently unbeatable rates for hotels and a nifty map feature that lets you check EXACTLY how close your hotel is to a surf spot.

Step three: get insuranceThis is a bit important. Not just for surf trips but for any wingIt's great for nomadic travelers. They offer ongoing contracts that cover amateur surfing.

Step four (optional): Rent a carIf you're going to surf, you may not need wheels. If not, we'll just say this: We've never been on a surf trip that wasn't made better by having our own car. Wearrental cars- they are the best.

Step four:Enjoy!

When to surf in Sumba?

The Definitive Guide to Sumba Surf - Surf Atlas (4)

Like virtually everywhere in the central part of the Indonesian archipelago, Sumba's surf is best during the dry season. That lasts from April to October and sees regular strong swell impulses moving up from the southwest and west, which is perfect for the reefs off the southern shores of the island to spike. And it is not only the swell compass, but also the trade winds. They filter slightly from the east and usually have a bit of mid-morning action to help hold breaks and add emptiness. Sumba's surfing is also pretty decent in the rainy season, although you'll be limited to some of the more versatile breaks (mainly Wainukaka and Miller's Rights).

We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click on them and we get something from your reservation or purchase. They help us continue to provide ever more detailed surf guides to amazing spots around the world. So thanks for that!

(Video) Long & Hollow Left Comes To Life - Surfing Sumbawa, Indonesia


Is Sumba good for surfing? ›

Waves in Sumba reach a good quality all year round, best time being March, April, May, June, September, October, November, December. Surf in SUMBA is suitable for all levels, there are waves for beginners and expert surfers, but we are not a surf school. We can occasionnally provide initiations for beginners.

When to surf Sumba? ›

The best time to go surfing in Sumba is between March and October, which is the dry season in Indonesia. November to February is the rainy season and whilst you can still surf during this time, expect daily rain showers. As with all surfing hotspots, you can't expect the perfect wave all the time.

Is there surf in Sumba island? ›

For those seeking an adventure beyond the usual tourist spots, Sumba is the perfect place for an authentic surf experience. Here are our top 5 spots to surf in Sumba: Occy's Left: Considered one of the best surf spots in Sumba, with powerful and fast left-handers and waves reaching up to 10 feet in height.

How do I get to Sumba? ›

Ferry to Sumba

Sumba Island can also be accessed via a ferry from Aimere in Flores to Waingapu in East Sumba. My advice is to fly to Sumba from Bali, travel overland, then catch a ferry from Sumba to Flores. Flores is an incredible island with the most amazing diving and volcano hiking.


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