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+ Voted world's best wave
+ Consistent year-round surf
+ Great scenery
+ No mass tourism
+ Cheap lodging and food
- Overcrowded Desert Point
- Only one outstanding break
- Hard access to eastern spots
- Lack of accommodation outside Kuta

Lombok, Indonesia, EAST ASIA

Desert Point, Paul Kennedy

Surf Spots

Gili Trawangan
Gili Air
Desert Point
Air Guling
Tanjung A'an
Outside Grupuk
Inside Grupuk
Inside Ekas
Outside Ekas
Labuhan Haji

The Surf

A mere stone’s throw away from Bali across the deeply cut channel is Lombok, a different, drier world that is like an exploded version of the Bukit Peninsula on Bali, just without the 5 star hotels. The real touristy feel is reserved for the Gili’s way up the north of the Lombok Strait, which feed off huge swells and NW winds, but there are further possibilities for surf along this west coast north of Sengigi and amongst the serene islands nestling behind Bangko Bangko. The south coast is cliffy and rocky, with lots of little islets and punctuated by a few really deep bays, which give Lombok way more flexibility in regards to swell size and beginners waves. It’s hard to suss the waves from the charter boats, who have their usual stops, but rarely find the time to explore, so there are some quiet corners along this coast for sure.

At its closest point, Lombok sits only 18km (11mi) east of Bali, yet major physical, cultural, linguistic and religious differences exist. The deep strait separating these islands links the Indian and Pacific oceans and is part of the “Wallace Line”, an established physical division between Asia and Australia. Bali is green with lush, tropical vegetation, while Lombok is drier, more rugged, with completely different flora and fauna. While the mountainous north rises to 3726m (12,224ft) at the top of Mount Rinjani, the south is a range of low inland hills spread behind the sweeping bays and pure white sands of the southern beaches. In terms of location, most surf breaks are truly breathtaking, but are generally regarded as of lower quality or intensity than Bali’s, with the notable exception of Desert Point, elected “Best Wave in the World” by Tracks magazine’s readers. More than any other island in Indo, Lombok is a year-round surfing destination. The peak season is obviously from April until early November, when classic 6-12ft (2-4m) longer period swells arrive from a SSW-WSW direction, which continue to arrive at 3-6ft (1-2m) during the wet season. More S suits Desert’s, the Gilis and the deep bays of Grupuk and Ekas, while more west will hit Mawi and exposed reefs nicely.

When to Go

Wet season tropical cyclone positions can vary greatly, thus sending short-lived swell from a 180º window, packing as much power as winter depressions. Winds blow like clockwork: the mild E-SE trades start in April, SE being the major direction, up to October with more S winds towards the end of the season. November is a transition month with oscillating winds around SE-SW. Then, it shifts to W-NW with W first and then NW until end of March. Get a tide table online or in Bali and pay attention to the range: there is a big and a small tide every day, with many spots working only at mid to high tide.

dominant swell S -SW S -SW S -SW S -SW S -SW S -SW
swell size (ft) 4-5 5-6 6-7 7-8 6 4-5
consistency (%) 60 80 90 90 80 70
dominant wind W -NW E -NW S -SE S -SE E -S S -SW
average force F3 F2 F3 F3 F3 F3
consistency (%) 65 88 74 80 79 72
water temp (C) 29 28 28 27 27 28
wetsuit boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts
3M - Lombok

464km (290mi)

GMT +8h

Travel Information


Lombok lies less than 400km (250mi) south of the Equator in the tropics. Days are almost universally 12hrs long with sunrise at around 6.20 a.m. and sunset at 6.30 p.m. The daytime temperature averages 30°C (86°F) all-year-long, but take warm clothing if planning a trek of Mt. Rinjani. Lombok’s tropical monsoon climate has two distinct seasons; dry (May to September) and wet (October to April). Monsoon refers to the wind – even in the wet monsoon the rain tends to be short lived and localised. May, June and July are generally considered the best for visiting but spring and autumn are ok despite the humidity. Jan-Feb suffer heavy rains and stifling hot temps and can be considered a time to avoid. Water remains around an ideal 28°C (82°F), so a shorty would only be used for protection against the reef.


Trekking at least part of the way up Rinjani is the reason many tourists come to Lombok, take a packaged tour to join them. Activities include kite surfing, diving, snorkeling, fishing, cycling along the coastal road to appreciate the breathtaking cliff scenery, or even skateboard the bowl in Grupuk. Witness traditional culture in Relbitan and Sade, north of Kuta.


Desert Point is a super-gnarly wave; rips, shallow reef and crowds of frothing surfers all contribute to the danger; wear a helmet. Other spots break softer, but medical attention is more than an hour away in Mataram. Bring some reef boots. Theft stories are common. Whilst surfing, it’s worthwhile tipping someone to be a security guard for vehicles and belongings. Unlike Bali, malaria is a serious threat. Nearest bank is Praya (1hr), so take enough cash.


Boards can be fixed or rented from Kuta Reef Surf Shop or Kimen Surf in Kuta. It’s common practice to hire a local surfing guide. Unlike in Hindu Bali, Islamic Sasaks make up 90% of Lombok’s population. Many speak English, but appreciate any efforts to speak Bahasa Indonesian. Bring a regular shortboard and a semi-gun, especially for Desert Point.