Welcome to the wild west of Sumbawa, where the waves are serious and deliver the rides of a lifetime.
Arrive: You can fly, but because this is a less-developed area for tourists, arranging transportation isn't as easy as arriving into Bali. Plus, it's more fun to make an adventure of it. We prefer to spend a few days in Lombok then renting a car or scooter in Lombok and driving to the ferry port that pop's you out a few hours away from the best surf spots in West Sumbawa. It adds to the adventure and it's an absolutely beautiful drive. Here's where to get the 90min ferry to Sumbawa.
Stay: Muara Surf House sits on the beautiful tidal lagoon of Yo-Yo's with Lisa's Garden, the go-to eatery in the area, just a few hundred meters away. It's stunning, the villa dog will keep you company, and Chenk will make sure you have the best surf trip possible. Be sure to message them on Instagram in advanced, because bookings go quickly.
Here's a few back up options just in case.
- Yoyo's Beach House
- Baha Baha Villas - They offer daily yoga for visitors as well.
Eat: Lisa's Garden get ready for the most filling servings of food on offer. Clearly they know that the people coming here are hungry after countless hours out in the water. This spot is the hub of many of the surfers coming through the area, so meet some friends and grub on, because the food is tasty af.
Other than that, we recommend exploring the local warungs, you never know which delicious eats you might find.
Here's the lowdown on the breaks:
Northern Rights: This wave ain't pulling punches. Nestled in a wide bay halfway down the western shoreline, Northern Rights is a beast. You want a dead-on SW swell with no hint of wind to even think about tackling it. Anything less and it's chaos – weird, wild, and ready to throw you onto the reef shelf.
Downtowns: Consider Downtowns the Hoover of swells on this side of the island. When Scar Reef and Super Suck are having a siesta, Downtowns steps up. Multiple take-off points, but the primo one kicks you into a fat right shoulder that shapes up nicely. Intermediates dig it, but beware during the dry season peak – it can get too big for comfort.
Scar Reef: Goofies, listen up. Scar Reef is your spot for mastering the backdoor entry. A hollow reef break on the west side, it's world-class but not for the faint-hearted. Over 5 foot, under 12, wind nowhere to be found – those are the magic numbers for this break. Beware, it's a fast closer with reefs that don't play nice.
Baby Scar: If you're looking for something a little bit more low-key, the local surf taxi (aka the boat you get to Scar Reef) can drop you at Little Bingin aka Baby Scar, 600m on opposite side of channel to Scar Reef, where you can surf with the local groms on a fun little a-frame reef break that doesn't pack as much of a punch as Scar Reef – but don't worry, it can still barrel in the right conditions.
Super Suck: As hollow as they come, Super Suck is no joke. A narrow barrel forms, sucking hard off a shallow reef. Shortboarders with a pocket-hunting instinct love it, but it's a grab-the-rail-and-pray scenario. Pilgrims have scored 100-meter-plus tubes here, making it the Skeleton Bay of Indo – not just for the thrill-seekers.
Tropical: Picture this – white-sand beach, low dunes, and Tropical unfolding about 100 meters from the shore. A left-hander that shines on medium-sized SW swells during the dry season. It can get a bit sloppy, handling like a beach break when onshore winds mess with it. But catch it right, and you're in for a long, fast ride. Best for the decent intermediates who like a bit of wild.
Yo-Yos: Yo-Yos isn't playing around. It's a tag team of powerful Indian Ocean slabs where heavy SW swells collide with the western end of Sekongkang Bay. The Wedge is a fast-forming rebound wave, giving surfers a shot at a high-flying finish. Just add a morning offshore or dead wind, and you're in for a wild ride.
West Sumbawa is a mountainous tropical oasis amidst turquoise waters you have to see for yourself to believe.
There's plenty of other surf spots to discover in this region, befriend a local or hire a guide to get the best experience for you.
But what else is there to do?
Beyond the epic waves, West Sumbawa is a treasure trove of adventure and natural beauty. You could spend months here and just start to uncover all of its hidden gems. Here are some amazing things to do in the region:
Moyo Island Visit: Take a boat trip to Moyo Island, a nearby gem with pristine beaches, waterfalls, and a wildlife sanctuary. Snorkel in crystal-clear waters and hike through lush landscapes.
Kenawa Island Camping: Set up camp on Kenawa Island, a tiny paradise just off the coast of Sumbawa. Enjoy panoramic views, sandy beaches, and a serene atmosphere under the stars.
Tambora Volcano Trek: Embark on a challenging trek up Mount Tambora, an active volcano with breathtaking views. The journey takes you through diverse ecosystems and rewards you with a sense of accomplishment.
Mangrove Forest Tour: Take a boat tour through the lush mangrove forests along Sumbawa's coast. It's a serene experience, rich in biodiversity and a chance to witness the delicate balance of marine ecosystems.
Swim With Whale Sharks: We booked through here, it seems sketchy as first with the 4am start-time on a very loud boat in a small fishing village, but trust us...it's worth it. Bring ear plugs and a sweater to sleep on the boat until you arrive at the dive spot.