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SUMMARY
+ Virgin coral reefbreaks
+ Epic Kumari point
+ Only one boat operator
+ Untouched paradise with wild tribes
- Unfavorable winter season
- Short ideal season window
- expensive boat only option
- Oppresive humidity
Selina



Andaman Islands, India, INDIAN OCEAN


Kumari Point, John Callahan

Surf Spots

Corbyn's Bay
Jackson Creek - Andamans
Totem Reef
Muddy's
Kumari Point, Andamans
Jarawa Point - Andamans

The Surf

Dubbed “The land of the head-hunters” by Marco Polo, who was the first Western visitor to this chain of 572 islands, islets and rocks, now commonly referred to as the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. They were annexed by the British as part of India in the 19th Century and then used to dump Indian convicts sentenced to life imprisonment. Geographic isolation, heavily restricted travel, mysterious Stone Age culture and totally uncharted waters characterise this zone. Geographically more ‘Indo’ than India, the Andaman’s have been on many surfers’ ‘travel wish list’ but the first surf trip to this area, organised by surf photographer John Callahan, only took place in 1998. Whilst foreign tourists are permitted to visit the Andaman Islands, the Nicobars are only accessible to Indians. The Ten Degree Channel separates the two chains and the surrounding waters quickly plummet to 3km (2mi). The bulk of the 239 Andaman Islands are known as the North, Middle, and South Andaman, which along with Baratang and Rut-Land forms one land mass known as the Great Andaman’s. With only 36 inhabited islands, this region is a mass of dense forests with endless varieties of exotic flowers and birds. Thick, tropical forests cloak the hilly terrain and the meandering, sandy beaches are fringed with coconut palms, swaying to the rhythm of the monsoon. South Andaman is by far the most densely populated island, especially around its capital city, Port Blair (80,000). The islands have a fragile ecosystem and in order to preserve the tranquillity and protect the diverse and unique array of flora and fauna, there are 96 sanctuaries and 9 national parks.

Of the 550 islands, only a handful of them have been surfed and there is undoubtedly more spots to be discovered, especially in the north of the chain where swell regularity is much lower. Plenty of problems revolve around access, which is heavily restricted to most indigenous tribal regions.

When to Go

The same SW monsoon swells hitting Sumatra travel as far as the Andaman’s, 10° or so above the Equator, albeit arriving with less power and consistency. Unfortunately, most of the breaks are directly onshore in the SW winds, so therefore, the season is a short spell from Mid-March to Mid-May. Some have scored in the Dec-Feb slot, but flat spells are guaranteed, especially at Butlers Bay on the east coast. The best conditions occur when there is an early season swell with perfect NE winds, before it switches when the SW monsoon arrives, sometimes as early as April. Choose your time very carefully; April seems to be the most reliable month. Once the SW monsoon is on, the sea gets rough with constant 15-25 knot winds, blowing out spots, but creating a small windswell for Phuket beaches. Semi-diurnal tidal phases are smallish, but affect some spots heavily.

SURF STATISTICS
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
dominant swell S -SW S -SW S -SW S -SW S -SW S -SW
swell size (ft) 2 3-4 4-5 5 4-5 1-2
consistency (%) 40 70 10 10 20 30
dominant wind N -NE NW -NE SW -W SW -W SW -W NE -E
average force F3 F2-F3 F3-F4 F4-F5 F3-F4 F3-F4
consistency (%) 76 60 73 83 51 66
water temp (C) 27 28 29 28 27 27
wetsuit boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts boardshorts
Population
Anadaman & Nicobar Islands - 360,000

Coastline
2000km (1,250mi)

Timezone
GMT +5h30

Travel Information

Weather

The climate remains tropical throughout the year with temperatures varying between 24°c (78ºf) and 35°c (94ºf). Due to the incessant sea breeze, the Andaman’s has very humid weather. The SW monsoon first touches Indian soil in the Andaman’s and then proceeds towards the mainland. From mid-May to October, heavy rains flush the islands, often bringing violent cyclones that leave the west coast beaches strewn with fallen trees. In November and December, less severe rains arrive with the NE monsoon. The best time to visit these islands is between mid November and April. Annual rainfall can reach 3180mm (127”in)! Water temps remain warm year round; take 2 pairs of boardies at least!

Nature

Home to stone-age tribes (Onge, Jarawa, Sentinelese) these reclusive aboriginal people live in impenetrable jungles, and still practise age old rituals including some cannibalism. In the Nicobars, the people of Chowra are believed to have some occult powers over winds, waves, tides, current, etc., and to manipulate them to their advantage. In Port Blair, the Cellular Jail is worth a visit and Ross Island will give a lasting impression of British imperial rule. Little Andaman has elephant safaris through the rainforest and they train them to carry logs. Trek to the White Surf and Whisper Wave waterfalls. This is a world-class diving zone with large pelagics and amazing visibility. Great fishing.

Hazards

Due to its remoteness, any emergency would take days to repatriate; take a well-stocked first aid kit. If camping, take a water purifying kit - fresh drinking water is hard to find. Sand flies on the beach are bloodthirsty and merciless and impossible to avoid in many areas. The bites really linger and like coral cuts, are easily infected – keep all wounds/bites clean and covered. These islands are wild: mind the sea crocs and potentially hostile tribes.

Hints

Take everything including two regular shortboards, reef boots and repair kit, plus snorkelling equipment for the many flat/windy days.