Cheat Notes: The Banyak Islands
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.