Indonesia Boat Trip
The best waves you will ever surf.
Why you should go:
The ultimate trip to find the most perfect waves on the planet with little or no crowd. A boat trip in Indo is any surfer's dream.
Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago, comprised of an amazing 13,677 islands. The country spans 3,107 miles from the eastern edge of the Indian Ocean to the southwest waters of the Pacific. All this ocean equates to literally thousands of charted and uncharted surf-spot possibilities, almost exclusively accessible by boat.
Indonesia's climate is tropical and very moist, with water temperatures generally in the upper 70s. The islands of Indo are mostly covered from shore to shore with dense rain forest, and the water surrounding the entire region is blue and crystal clear.
The most popular area for surf travel has lately been the Mentawai region (located in northwest Indo) with dozens of boats trolling now world-famous breaks Lance's and Macaroni's. In the past year, many boat charters have opened up new trips to lesser-known destinations like Northern Sumatra, Java, and Sumbawa. Crowds in Indonesian waters vary from massive in the overrun Mentawai region to nonexistent at thousands of newly discovered locations. It's up to you to decide what level of adventure you're up for.
When to go:
April through September is noted as being the biggest and most consistent, but Indonesia has been known to get plenty of swell year-round. December through March is the monsoon season, which can mean months of crazy rainstorms.
Finding a boat:
The only way to fully enjoy all the amazing waves of Indonesia is to travel by boat. Many companies offer all-inclusive trips that cover airfare, boat costs, meals, and basically everything you need. Reputable, proven service has been provided by Wavehunters 1-888-899-TUBE, Waterways Travel 1-800-928-3757, and indonesiansurfcharters.com (561) 929-0179. For more information, search the Web and ask lots of questions when booking a trip. For most of us normal people, a boat trip in Indo is a once-in-a-lifetime journey, so be very picky when choosing a trip. Be sure to ask if the crew on the boat you choose surfs–if they don't, choose another boat. You want a crew who's going to be as amped to surf as you are.
What to eat:
You're at the mercy of the boat crew when it comes to food. This is usually a good thing, because the crew generally serves up massive portions of fresh fish, local fruits, and lots of rice. The food on the nicer boats is often of the gourmet variety: freshly seared tuna, sashimi, and sushi. The lesser boats will still keep you full and content. If you have dietary issues, check with the travel company for special menus.
• Jump off the top of the boat
• Take lots of photos
• High SPF sunblock
• Several boards in case of breakage
• A long-sleeve rashguard for sun protection
• A hat for sun protection
• Vaseline for the various rashes you'll get in the tropics
Look out for:
The sun will burn your ass off in two seconds if you're not careful. Just like anywhere in the world, there will be people trying to rip you off on your way to the boat. Don't take sketchy offers from street salesmen, and keep your eyes on your gear at all times. The reefs in Indo are sharp, and the water is shallow. One bad cut can ruin your trip, so be careful. Do not bring drugs into Indo–the police will kill you if they catch you with anything, even weed.
What price would you pay to surf perfect wavves? Prepare to pay a lot, because you'll not only be paying for your stay on the boat, but also for you airfare to Indonesia, which can run anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 dollars. Budget boats are available, but remember, comfort is an amazing thing after a five-hour session. A weeklong stay can cost anywhere from 1,000 dollars for a low-budget boat to 4,000 dollars for the plush, first-class yacht. Ask a surf-travel company for off-peak specials.
The best way to find information about boat trips is the Internet or at one of the travel companies listed. People you know may have already been on one of these trips, so ask around.