( ONE PALM ) PANAITAN ISLAND & WEST JAVA :. JAVA
An Island extension of theUjung Kulon national Park off the western tip of Java, Panaitan is a large chunk of untouched primal wilderness fringed by dense palm thickets and a wide flat table reef. You can get here by surf yacht charter or by fishing boat from Labuan or Carita. 'Proper' surf charters are a good option because there is no accommodation or food on the island. You can get picked up in Jakarta itself and do a 4 day trip, making this one of the easiest locations at which to access hard-core waves. It's also among the most cost effective boat trips you can do, for the aforementioned reason and because Jakarta is well serviced by major airlines.
Waves at Panaitan are generally for experts only. Many amazing photos have come out of this place, with their freeze-frame view giving the impression that the waves are makeable when they are sometimes far from it. Quite a number of the more famous shots were taken immediately prior to the rider coming to grief on the barely covered reef.
One Palm Point
The wave that put Panaitan on the map. One of the world's longest (up to 800yds), most perfect, most dangerous shallow left-hand barrels reels across a reef point. You need a sturdy board to get into the wave as early as possible, then set a rail and go for maximum speed. Low tide is as hairy as any surfing experience imaginable, with mid tides best, and anything from 3 ft of south to southwest swell. This wave is often unmakeably fast and hollow, and the consequences are real. Experts only unless small. Probably Panaitan's most punishing wave.
Probably the most frequently surfed wave at Panaitan, and with good reason. The left-hand reef here delivers barrels with mechanical perfecton, and they are more makeable than One Palm thanks to a defined channel. Take-offs are straight forward, then a lined up wall leads to a full-on before tapering off into deep water. Higher tides are best if you want to avoid the shallow second section.
Inside Lefts / Pussy's
At the head of the inner bay are some very well lined up, fun long lefts. Generally a good warm-up spot for Panaitan proper, the lefts need a good south swell but work at any tide, although low is often best. All levels.
Opposite the lefts, on the west side of the bay is a right-hand reef break that works on wet season west breezes and any swell direction. A solid south swell at low tide will get this alternative spot firing. Low to mid tides generally OK although depends on swell size. All levels depending on the day.
Right-hand reef break with approachable take-off and variable barrel and wall sections. Advanced. It's a wave you may never see working properly.
Extremely square right-hand barrel; pull in or don't go. Low tides are super-gnarly. Experts only.
Outside bombora waves
On the cruise to Panaitan you will see a number of outside reefs, all with potential. The rights off the western point are the most frequently ridden, but they need glassy conditions or northerly winds if they are to be worthy.
A 2 hour boat ride from Muara Binuange fishing port which is a good 2 hours west of Cimaja. Careful negotiation at the port can get you on a boat for a hefty price.
This reef fringed island forest is a sanctuary for the breeding of laboratory monkeys. Making landfall is an absolute no-no. depending on wind direction, check either end for reef lefts and rights. Muara Buniange itself is home to some waves worth exploring.
As Above, a 2 hour boat ride from Muara Binuange fishing port which is a good 2 hours west of Cimaja. This island is also restricted for the same reasons as Dili.
The Western reef can throw up some solid left handers, but it is open to swell and gets destroyed on bigger days. Strong trade-winds are also a menace. Both of these islands are worth investigating as part of a longer boat trip from Pelabuhanratu; making a dedicated visit is costly, and the results may not justify the hassle.
From Cimaja, take a major drive west through Cisolok and Cibangan. After Cibangan, the road leaves the coast. Follow it up into the hills and back down to Pasirandu village. There's a left turn into a very poor track. Quite a trek. Best bet is boat ride from Cimaja.
Right poin can offer quality rights over rock base. It's protected from any west winds, but it needs a very big southwest or solid south swell if it is work. On the way, about 4 km west of Cisolok, some check out Karang Haji just left of the Ocean queen resort. Mediocre quality lefts and rights on sand and rock ledge, requiring sizeable swell. Intermediates.
Beyond Cikembang, Batu Marob is a mystical reef break to stumble across. A more extended trip may lead to Bayah village, where an enormous strip of beach and reef break is visible in all its glory from the hilltop roads. The beach rarely has any shape and is usually blown out in trade winds, although the eastern point by the village can offer a bit of protection for it's rarely surfed lefts.
About 20k (2 hours on the weathered roads) west of Cimaja, this is a hard spot to get to. We recommend boat or guided trip from Cimaja.
L point of consequence. Sawarna holds as much swell as the ocean can provide; the bigger the better. Fast, lengthy lefts fold in from the outer point and wind across a table reef all the way to the inside beach section. The angle of the reef makes it magnetic to prevailing SW swells, with more west directions providing dredging powerful waves best left to experts. Uncrowded. Not to be surfed alone.
Sunset Beach (Karang Hawu)
Head 2km west from Cimaja and stop at the beach,
Fun beach-breaks when Cimaja isn't quite lined up properly. It's also a crowd avoidance strategy in season. Early morning off-shores or glass can result in some punchy beach-break rights and lefts on most states of the tide, with some shore-dump and rips to contend with. All levels. Consistent if not always perfect. On small days, some more fun low tide rivermouth peaks can sometimes be found by veering off the main road just before neighboring Cisolok.
Cimaja and Indicators
Cimaja village and its surrounds are easily reached from Jakarta, taking the highway south to Bogor, then towards Sukabumi and Pelabuhan Ratu. Once in Cimaja fishing village, it's a hike through the rice paddies, and a cautious hop across the cobblestone beach.
Cimaja: Long lined up right-hand point break on a rock and boulder bottom. Cimaja is generally a fun wave (think Lower Trestles), but there are hollow sections and a shallow uneven bottom to contend with. On a good southwest swell at 3-6ft it will line up and offer barrels all the way to the inside. South swells can hit it too square create sections; but it'll still be fun if unpredictable in these conditions. Lower tides tend to be better, creating more barrels although on larger swell it is not crucial. Southeast trades are onshore; surf early morning. 2-8ft depending swell direction. All levels, but beware boulders, shallow close-outs and currents. It's the favourite of Jakarta ex pats, a few locals and travelling all-shorts that base themselves here; therefore can get busy.
Out the back and to the west, the swell-pulling Indicators break right, over an outer reef point, but on lower tides can be a close-out on the reef. Indicators hold almost any size, and is better when there is solid swell (think 6ft plus at Cimaja). On these bigger days it is for chargers and those with the will and ability to take it's very steep drops. Best surfed on high tide (when it is more makeable and you can avoid the exposed boulders) and morning glass or a north-west wind. It's an advanced break.
Heading west for a few hundred yards, across the river, you can check out the lefts at Karang Papak, which can be working when Cimaja is a mess. Generally the temptation doesn't pay off however.
About 6km west from the port at Pelabuhanratu, you'll find the main strip of losmen accomodation starting at the 3 little bridges that offer a good view of the beach. Out the front of the Samudra Hotel.
Average beach-break peaks on small swells, best surfed early morning. Normally Samudra is for the lazy, or beginners looking for a bit space. On the northwest winds, the right corner can get reasonable, and the creeks can form good banks. 2-5ft. All levels. Consistent if not consistently good.
In the north corner of the main beach at Pelabuhanratu, about 800yds north of the main harbour.
Short right-hand point style wave on sand bottom. Karang Sari is an easy spot close to town, and a good bet on big days when Cimaja might be ragged. It's protected from unruly south-west swells, which it can filter into shapely waves. Straight south swells are a mess here, as are dry season SE trade-winds. Northwest winds or early morning glass is best, and only works on low tides. All levels. Inconsistent.
Head due south from Pelabuhanratu. After a few km, cross the large bridge at Bagbagan. After another 3km cross another bridge. After another 1km take a R at Cilangkap and follow the road for 2.5km through the paddies as it narrows into a track.
Long well shapped left point-break over boulders, peeling in 300 yards toward the beach. Pantai Loji is acknowledged as a saviour when Cimaja is too big, or is blown off by the southeast tradewinds that are perfectly off-shore here. It likes a solid southwest swell or big south, preferably in the 6-8ft range. In these conditions, Loji is a reeling left with fun sections all the way across. When swell is really pumping, tide is less of an issue.
If however, it isn't quite big enough for here, and winds are east southeast, there are quality lefts breaking into the ivermouth about 2km up the beach. Intermediates plus. Water can be dirty; avoid after rains.
10 nautical miles north of Ujung Genteng, or major mission if going overland. 1 hour bike ride north from Turtles.
Deepwater left-hand reef break holding almost any size swell, this is the big-wave spot in West Java. If not always perfect, Ombak Tujuh (seven waves) offers some outrages drops requiring serious commitment, and rearing walls all the way across. Makeable barrels are not as regular as some spots, but this is a hard-core adrenaline wave not unlike a reserve mid-tide day at outside Nusa Dua. Lower tides are best unless it's big, when higher tides work fine. Advanced only. Not to be surfed alone.
300m down the beach track from Batu Besar Losmen, 4 km north of Ujung Genteng.
Quality Left-hand reef with a high power to size ratio. The slightly shifting peak is extremely steep, and the barrels are square if unpredictable. The shallow reef isn't totally ruler-edge, meaning close-outs are a possibility, but often it will just keep on going. Lower tides produce the best, most lined up conditions, especially if combined with a south swell and east winds. Small days can be fun too, on higher tides, with the wave getting harder to predict the bigger it gets.
Advanced. 2-6ft plus. Consistent: In dry season it's a spot that rarely fails to deliver. There's a crew of surfer's hangout from which you can explore Ujunggenteng waves as well as the mighty Ombak Tujuh.
Mama's & Ujung Genteng
Take the road south from Pelabuhanratu, to the harbour of Ujung Genteng. This sleepy fishing village has a mellow if not pristine beach where you can drink coconut juice and explore.
At Ujung Genteng Harbour itself, you'll often see huge lines wrapping in from the outer point, way out the back. Inside this, and more protected from southeast trade-winds, is another left-hander that is ridden on occasion. Southwest swells are too perpendicular for the reef here to deal with, but straight south directions can wrap and create a fast hollow left-hander. This is a powerful spot for advanced surfers only. Higher tides make the entry and exit easier, as the exposed reef is hazardous at low.
About a kilometre and a half north of the harbour via a dodgy track, is Mama's Losmen. Mama's is out the front! A left-hand reef break of many moods; from fat, to hollow to closed out. On some days it will produce quality; usually on southeast trade-winds, higher tides and a south swell. 2-6ft. Advanced. Sharp reef. Close-outs.
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