The Surf Sitch on Nusa Lembongan
Nusa Lembongan is renowned for incredible diving, but did you know the island also has some of the best surf breaks in Indonesia? Divemaster candidate, James, is an avid surfer and shares the inside scoop on how to make the most of the waves on this paradise island, Nusa Lembongan.
Lembongan has surf spots for beginners who are just starting out and waves for more experienced riders that want to get some deep barrels and crazy end sections. The reefs are alive and sharp, so be careful when surfing close to low tide.
The first and most important rule when surfing Nusa Lembongan is to be respectful towards the locals, it will go a long way in the line up. I have given up waves when I was clearly in the right position, but why do that James you may ask? The locals can either be with you or against you. If they see that you respect them and give them waves when they have been waiting a long time, they will see this and literally call you onto other waves that you may not usually be able to get because of the crowd. What goes around comes around.
There are four main surf breaks on Lembongan and one on the neighbouring Island Nusa Ceningan, which is a short scooter ride away. All of the spots work best at mid tide, on low tide the reef becomes dry and unridable, and high tide the waves don’t break unless a big swell has hit. The paddle out to the spots can be quite long as it’s 500+ meters, however you can pay a local boat to take you out and in for as cheap as IDR 20,000 to IDR 50 000.
The wave most consistent for beginners is Playgrounds. You can find this in between the pontoons and boats by the harbour beach. It is a fun a-frame wave that the younger locals enjoy to ride. The left of Playgrounds can get very good and hollow even on good days. But beware even though when it’s small it can be a very chilled wave, when the swell is bigger it can get pretty hairy. Ask local surf schools that reside on the beach in front of Playgrounds if you would like to hire a soft top longboard to learn on. They can also provide lessons but they will tell you when the best time and spot to learn on will be. They generally take you to a separate reef with no crowd that breaks at high tide to learn on.
Razors is just left of Shipwrecks and is a fast hollow wave that breaks on a very shallow reef. When the stars align this wave can be an intense fast barrel up to 4-5 seconds. Just beware of the end section as it can be board wrecking. On smaller days people can get a very chilled left hand break that long boarders enjoy to ride. You can get this spot uncrowded if the swell is big as most people will surf Shipwrecks or Lacerations.
Shipwrecks picks up the most swell and is the most consistent wave out of all them on Lembongan. It’s a super fun right hander with a couple of lefts depending on the day. It starts with a barrelling section that eases up for a few turns and ends with a small close out section on the shallow reef. The reef can be a bit sketchy on the end section but if you know what you’re doing, and not surfing close to low tide, you can go untouched in a session. This spot is generally the most crowded because of how high performance the wave can be.
Now for my favourite wave on the bodyboard, Lacerations. This wave is just right of Playgrounds on the other side of the pontoons and boats. It is the most inconsistent wave on the island but when it cooks, it cooks! It is definitely for the more experienced riders that want some deep peeling barrels. As the name suggests, it’s sharp and heavy. It needs a bigger swell than what usually is around Lembongan and when the swell comes in, so does the crowd. However everyone that usually surfs Lacerations can barrel ride very well and is very respectable in the water. As I said before, be respectful, as it’s a safety hazard especially on this wave. It’s a fast peeling barrelling right hander that is a steep drop and a race to the exit, it’s the perfect wave for those wanting to improve their barrel riding.