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+ Good consistency
+ World class Panaitan
+ Variety of waves
+ Cheap
- Crowded Cimaja
- Sea Urchins
- Hard access to some spots
- Pollution, disease and malaria

West Java, Indonesia, EAST ASIA

One Palm Point, Andrew Shield

Surf Spots

Bayah Beach
Bayah Reef
Karang Haji
Ombak Tujuh
Turtles - West Java
Ujung Genteng Harbour

The Surf

Close to the sprawling cities of Jakarta and Bandung, West Java is the most densely populated region in Indonesia with around 42m inhabitants. Once part of the old Sunda Kingdom, it is now split into Banteng and West Java provinces. Despite the huge population, this SW tip of Java is a wild, unspoilt land in places, with large National Parks and World Heritage sites preserving the largest area of lowland rainforest in Java. When Krakatoa exploded in 1883 and covered the region in a thick layer of volcanic ash, humans left the land to indigenous species like the incredibly rare Javan rhinoceros, leopard and many types of primate. West Java is no different from many other Indonesian surf regions, being blessed with a handful of world-class breaks, plus plenty of other lesser waves you would love to have in your town. One of the countries most daunting yet rewarding barrels pinwheels down the coral crusted lava of Panaitan Island, which forms a part of the Ujong Kulon National Park. One Palm Point is legendary for long barrels, with unsubstantiated reports of timing a wave that barrelled for 48secs, albeit without a rider. This island tube-fest is nicely complemented by a mainland left that challenges for Indonesia’s heavyweight, big wave crown. Ombak Tujuh translates as Seven Waves, which may give a hint of board length required to handle this jacking, powerful beast when a big swell hits. In between there are more reefs, beachbreaks and rivermouths with something to suit everyone’s style and ability.

When to Go

Roaring Forties lows send plenty of 6-12ft (2-4m) long period, full throttle groundswells from April-Oct. Swell consistency is really high and West Java usually averages 8ft (2.5m) at 14secs from June to Sep. The SSW direction is perfect for penetrating the prominent SW-facing bays on Panaitan Island and at Pelabuhan Ratu. Even the off-season is rarely flat, because of the Southern Ocean’s constant swells in the 2-6ft (0.6-2m) range, plus the depths of the Java Trench help focus wave energy on the coast. SE trade winds start in April blowing offshore for the lefts until Oct/Nov. November and December are transitional months with oscillating winds predominately from the SE around to the W-NW. Through the wet season (Dec-Mar), it shifts to W-NW with W first and then NW, grooming the rights on Panaitan and breaks like Cimaja. Tides can be weird so get a tide chart off the web. There’s a big tide and a small tide every day that affects most breaks.

dominant swell S -SW S -SW S -W S -W S -SW S -SW
swell size (ft) 4 5 6 7 6 4-5
consistency (%) 60 80 90 90 80 70
dominant wind W -NW W -NW E -SE E -SE E -SE SE -NW
average force F3 F3 F4 F4 F4 F3
consistency (%) 55 62 62 73 66 76
water temp (C) 29 28 28 27 27 28
wetsuit boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts
Jakarta - 8.8M

2,885km (1,793mi)

GMT +7h

Travel Information


This is a wet tropical climate and the dry season, (May-Oct) is the best time to visit. SE trades blow in from 11am and often die off around 4pm so most spots will have a wave at some time of the day and the weather is reliably good, with only occasional evening thunderstorms. The rainy season, (Nov-April) on the coast can see morning drizzle, whereas afternoons have intense rains, usually from Jan-Mar. At this time, it can rain all day, but you may get lucky and have plenty of sunshine. El Nino years will see more dry season weather and temps from a night low of 23°C (74°F) to a day high of 33ºC (92ºF). Humidity levels are high in the rainy season and it brings out the insects. Water temperatures will hover around 27-30ºC (80-86ºF), year-round, but some do wear wetsuits and booties at One Palm to protect against the inevitable reef floggings.


The prahus (boats) in Pelabuhan Ratu harbour are worth seeing. The national parks are home to some very rare wildlife such as Javan rhinos, leopards (the tigers are gone), wild boar and deer, endangered primates, multitudes of snakes and plenty of marine life including tiger sharks. There’s rafting on the Citarik River or bathing in the Cisolok hot springs. Treking in the National Parks or book a boat trip out to witness the rapid rise of a new volcano Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatoa), which has grown to over 300m since appearing in 1932.


Both One Palm Point and Apocalypse are heavy duty waves and hitting the sharp reef is highly probable. Safety gear from boots to helmets and even a light wetsuit can reduce the risk of trip-ending cuts. Sharks are definitely present, but well fed. Cimaja is mellower than the Indo standard, but sea urchins and local crowds are not. The inside closeout at Turtle’s can catch you out. Avoid rivermouths after rains, as hepatitis is common. Malaria is a much higher risk on Panaitan than the mainland coastal provinces but take precautions to avoid being bitten.


There are basic surf shops in Cimaja and some spares and board repair facilities at the main losmen in Ujung Genteng area. A gun is needed for the heavier waves on Panaitan plus Indicators and Ombak Tujuh. In the Panaitan area, take everything you may need for survival. Finally, don’t wear green boardshorts or rash vests in the water, Nyai Loro Kidul, the goddess of the sea, was born in Pelabuhan Ratu (Queen’s harbour) and every year she likes to take the life of young men in the sea, who are always it seems, wearing green!