Cheat Notes: The Banyak Is­lands

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Un­crowded surf breaks, un­touched nat­u­ral rain­for­est, amaz­ing sun­sets and warm trop­i­cal waters await you for one of the best surf trips of your life. Just North of Nias lies an idyl­lic trop­i­cal oa­sis that has filled surfers dream-bank for years. The Banyaks is one of surf­ing’s last fron­tiers in In­done­sia and maybe even the world. The re­gion boasts a smor­gas­board of epic Su­ma­tran set-ups to keep you grin­ning from ear to ear.

Equip­ment of choice –

Gen­er­ally speak­ing, the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple go­ing to the Banyaks are trav­el­ling via char­ter boat and for a min­i­mum of 10 nights. This gives you an am­ple swell win­dow of op­por­tu­nity and it’s com­mon to get at least one or two swells dur­ing this time frame. Due to its prox­im­ity to the equa­tor, the Banyaks doesn’t get the kind of gnarly waves the Mentawais can pro­duce on a big swell. How­ever, the In­dian Ocean al­ways packs a punch wher­ever you surf on a swell, so come pre­pared and check the fore­cast be­fore you pack. We rec­om­mend a small wave board, a cou­ple of magic short boards and a step-up – at least six or seven inches big­ger than your nor­mal shorty. Note: The Banyaks is also a pop­u­lar choice for mal-rid­ers.

Op­ti­mal Con­di­tions –

You will see 6-10ft swells from the south­west, how­ever, of­ten The Banyaks range in size from 3-6ft and it’s one of the funnest places to surf on the planet as a re­sult. Much like the rest of Indo, The Banyaks main surf sea­son is March – Oc­to­ber, with the peak of the swell hap­pen­ing through­out June, July and Au­gust. Due to what’s known as the dol­drums lat­i­tude, wind pat­terns are pretty calm with no real dom­i­nant pat­tern. Early in the sea­son it tends to swing NW and June to Oc­to­ber it gen­er­ally swings SE, which is prob­a­bly more ideal. Wa­ter tem­per­a­ture is a balmy 26 – 30 de­grees year round.

The Waves –

Trea­sure Is­land is per­haps the most well­known wave in this re­gion and it’s easy to see why. On its day ‘Trea­sures’ can pro­duce dreamy rides of up to 400 me­tres, with sev­eral bar­rel sec­tions. It has earned a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing the eas­i­est wave on the planet to find the exit signs on mul­ti­ple bar­rels. The Bay of Plenty has also de­vel­oped a solid rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing a go-to spot dur­ing the peak sea­son. The left-han­der known as ‘Clarets’ or ‘Lolok Point’ is an amaz­ing wave that works in 3ft – 12ft and can be a real leg burner. Joy­sticks is the right han­der in the bay. Like the name sug­gests Joy­sticks re­sem­bles a skate-park-like bowl that is su­per fun and rip­pable from 2ft – 8ft. It has be­come a firm favourite with World Sur­faris guests who have been lucky enough to score it over the years. Other pop­u­lar waves in­clude Tur­tles and Co­bras, two left-han­ders not far from each other, and Lizards Nest, which matches the length and hol­low­ness of Kirra.

Help­ful hints –

Be well pre­pared head­ing any­where in Indo. Many of these re­gions are very iso­lated with lim­ited phone re­cep­tion or med­i­cal help. The boat you choose is also a big de­ci­sion. Many op­er­a­tors in the Mentawais claim they know these ar­eas but have had very lit­tle to do with them in the past. Do your re­search on the skip­per and boat. We rec­om­mend book­ing a boat that is based in this re­gion. Some things to con­sider: – Visit your doc­tor be­fore you leave to dis­cuss any health is­sues you may have and what reme­dies you can get in case of emer­gency. – Be pre­pared for sea­sick­ness, reef cuts, dengue fever, malaria etc. – If you wouldn’t risk drop­ping in late to a 6ft beachie don’t at­tempt it on a 6ft reef break. Surf within your ca­pa­bil­i­ties! – Lis­ten to your surf-guide. He or she lives there and knows the set-ups.


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