SUMBAWA :.


Where

Tightly slotted in between Lombok to the west, and Flores to the east, Sumbawa’s 300km length twists west to east and lies in the epicenter of the southern trade-wind belt.

Background

If you’re nostalgic about olden day Bali then the step back in time encountered on Sumbawa is for you. It’s a rugged land, in part sparsely populated, with arid scrub and volcanos as a backdrop.

Transport

Transport is nonexistent outside the centres of Poto Tano (where the Lombok Ferry lands), and the airport towns of Sumbawa Besar and Bima. Horse drawn carts are common. One main road runs from the west (Taliwang) to the East, through the 2 main towns of Sumbawa Besar and Bima. The west coast and it’s rich surf zones, is well serviced by road from Poto Tano to Sejorong, where it narrows then stops abruptly, leaving much of the south coast in a time warp.

East of Cempi Bay, there are pretty good roads servicing Hu’u and the Lakey peak area via Dompu. A road from Sumbawa Besar leads directly to Lunyuk, where you can take a gamble on some of the untapped surf resources around.

The Setup

The land mass is heavily influenced by volcanoes, and the coastline is mostly a series of large inlets and bays. Shallow lying coral flats, exposed at low tide, are the predominant sea bottom.

The two established areas are the west coast around Taliwang, and the Hu’u area, which also faces west out of the dry season trade winds. The swell window is just south of due west, to just west of due south, with the most penetrating swell coming from the southwest.
The Waves

Sumbawa surfing was put on the map when west coast breaks like Scar Reef and Supersucks were discovered and heavily surfed by boat. The waves here are fast, shallow reef-breaks with several well known lefts and some surprising rights. Lakey beach near Hu’u is the other hot spot, with luminaries like Periscopes, Lakey Peak and Lakey Pipe. These are busy waves during the season, with a host of accommodation options right on the spot. Again, mostly reef breaks of an advanced, though some would say slightly less intimidating nature. In between the two, horrendous road conditions (or no roads at all) have kept surf invasion at bay for now.

Seasons

April to September is the best time to get off-shore conditions on most Sumbawa breaks, although mid season winds are heavy in the afternoon. There is also a trade-off between consistency and population; April and May can be inconsistent. From June onwards the swell is more likely to crank but the place is often overrun. Flat spells are never to be ruled out; it’s fair to say that some of the better spots here are less consistent than many Sumatra or Java breaks.

Crowds

As mentioned, mid season can be horribly crowded at Lakey. The west coast is more of a lottery because surfers often arrive by boat, meaning 1 day empty, the next full-on Californian summer.

Hazards

Bumpy roads. Some hassle near the mines at Maluk and around the west coast. It is common for groups of young men to carry machetes in Sumbawa, although not intended as an attack weapon. No major critters although the pythons are enormous, and Komodo Dragons intimidating. Most sharks are reef varieties that are harmless. Some malaria if rains are heavy. Usual reef cut advisory applies.

Boards

See Bali section; the same rules apply. You need something that can handle barrels. Board repair is available at Lakey although not exactly cheap or of good quality....bring spares if you can. Extra leashes are essential, as there are no surf shops although you might luck out with a block of wax etc. at your accommodation.

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