With excellent surf from both ends of Java (G-Land to the east and the Cimaja area to the west), one might expect the remaining 1,000km of south coast to hide many other gems. Unfortunately this is not the case and Central Java has never been considered as an excellent surf spot for some good reasons. Some volcanoes dominates the south of the island, consequently most of the coast is covered with dangerous black sand shorebreaks. Many breaks base the quality of their waves on the changing sandbars present in the seafloor and on unusual swell directions. Unlike in Sumatra, isolation and difficult access are not a problem here, as the 110 million inhabitants often travel to many of the island’s coastal resorts. Fortunately the relaxed atmosphere and beautiful scenery makes up for the lack of epic waves. Come with us to enjoy a surf experience in Indonesia!
Pangandaran is a popular beach resort for tourists from both Bandung City and backpackers looking for a few days at sea to add to their cultural tour of the Island. The traditional fishing village realized the profit it could make from its long black beach covered with coconut palms and gradually developed into one of the largest beach resorts in Java.
Driving 30km southwest from Pangandaran, you will find Keusik Luhir and Mamdasari Beach, two beachbreaks with small rocky outcrops rarely surfed by local surfers. Further to the northeast, Batu Karas is a fishing village that host a growing number of tourists. When a large S swell is ready to hit the north face of the bay, the best wave in the area begins to break. The beauty of this spot lies in its adaptability to all levels of surfing, from beginners to experts, even if the latter may find it a bit slow. The length of the ride depends on the size of the swell but it remains half that of the most exposed spots.
Between Batu Karas and Pangandaran you can find the Batu Hiu beachbreak. This area is characterized by strong currents and the waves usually tend to close-out; check this spot during the rainy season as the sandbars tend to improve by increasing the quality of the wave. Batu Mandi is a reefbreak that sends left waves about 30 minutes from Pangandaran. It rarely breaks and it is suitable for experienced surfers as the seafloor is extremely shallow at high tide but especially during low tide, so it is essential to get out of the wave early before the last section hits you on the reef.
12km east of Pangandaran, Karang Nini is easily recognized by the giant rock on the beach. Access to this medium beachbreak is from the top of the cliff where the amusement park is located. Nusa Kambangan Island is now a nature reserve and due to its prison past, it has been also called as Indonesia’s Alcatraz. It might be easier to head west to find other spots but the problem is that they are more exposed to the wind, so they should be surfed early in the morning or during the rainy season.
Tariff per person, starting from:
|Departure||Wisma Ahlen Pangandaran||Hm Homestay||Jelajah Batukaras|
|From 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020||€ 63||€ 42||€ 42|
The Roaring Forties send out numerous swells of 6-13ft between April and October. The SSW direction is perfect for the beachbreaks overlooking Java. Out of season it is rarely flat as the southern latitudes have constant swells in the range of 2-6ft. Beachbreaks usually handle bigger swells during the wet season as rain overflows shape the usual straight sandbanks. Winds are like clocks: the SE season starts in April with light E-SE winds (SE is the greatest direction) through October with more S winds towards the end of the season. November is a transitional month with winds from south, moving towards W-NW until March. Offshore winds typically become onshore in the afternoon as land temperatures rise, blurring conditions. Mixed tides should be watched closely as some spots only work during certain tide stages. They reach 6ft, alternating large and small tides every day.
How to get there : A visa is required for Portugal. Many cheap flights land in Jakarta, Garuda’s hub. There are no flights to Pangandaran. Direct buses from Jakarta depart from Bekasi or Tangerang, away from the city center ($ 3, 10h). For those who prefer travel by train, the railway line passes through Bandung and then arrives in Banjar, so the bus journey is limited to the last 50km for a total of 9h (3h + 4h + 2h)
Getting around : Public transportation, including traditional becaks (pedal taxis), is safe but you can also rent a motorbike ($ 3 / day). iNSEARCH travel.com organizes complete “JavaSoul” tours ($ 899/10 days.) A 3h scenic ferry connects Pangandaran to Cilacap. Boards are often refused on board.
Accommodation and Food : Modest accommodations are available around Pananjung beach. Pantai Sari Hotel is very close to the beach and the best rooms also have air conditioning ($ 10). Bamboo House is located a little further inland than the coast but a bamboo bungalow costs only $ 8. A more luxurious option is the Sunrise Beach Hotel which cost around $ 30. Grab a fish for dinner and watch it being cooked in one of the many warungs.
Climate : The climate is tropical, therefore humid. The dry season (from May to October) is the best time to visit this area, as it is characterized by clear days with some small precipitation in the evening, and by light winds from the southeast . The rainy season terrifies mountain dwellers and travelers as heavy rains, in addition to causing damage to small villages, can also disrupt organized trips. The strong humidity present in the air favors the presence of mosquitoes. The water temperature is high, therefore it is recommended to use shoes only to avoid cuts on the reef.
Nature and Culture : Observe the wild animals and rare flora of Pangandaran Park and Pananjung Nature Reserve. Traveling by boat along the Cijulang River offers dramatic views of the Green Canyon. Visit Rajapolan village to buy local bamboo handicrafts unique to this area.
Dangers and Annoyances: The surf here is calm, considering Indonesian standards, but beachbreaks get heavier and strong currents are common. There is a growing number of locals but the hardcore surfers don’t come here, so crowds aren’t a problem. While this is one of the most devoted Muslim provinces in Indonesia, don’t expect extremist mindsets.
Tips : There is no need for a full quiver, a shortboard or malibu will be enough. There are no surf shops around, but you can rent boards on the beach for $ 5 per day. Pangandaran is full on Indonesian holiday days and weekends; on these occasions the prices explode and it is difficult to find a room. There is a small fee to pay when entering the Pangandaran Beach Resort area.
Exchange rate 1 EUR = 1.08 USD
Exchange rate variations (more than 3%) will lead to an adjustment of costs. They will be communicated within 20 days of departure.
The tariff does not include