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ACEH & THE NORTHERN ISLANDS 
 
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Aceh Province - The Mainland
A separatist movement, recently lifted martial law, a press blackout, and a total ban on access by foreigners; not a recipe for casual surf travel. Indonesia's northernmost province has been wraps for several years although it seems that access will soon be granted again. Aceh's west coast has makeable road that flirts with the coastline all the way from Banda Aceh to and beyond the port town of Meulaboh (250 km). Traveller's along this road will see awesome forest and mountains, and get a glimpses of pristine beaches, some backed up by grade A surf. Beyond Meulaboh towards the ferry town of Susoh (for Simeulue), and Singkil (For the Banyaks), lies possibly the most uncharted surf territory in Indonesia.

The surf around the capital of Banda Aceh on the northern tip has been documented by stoked adventurers since the 1980’s. Surfers have even made their mark on Pulau Breueh and Pulau Weh, both accessible by ferry from Banda Aceh. Weh has some of the most beautiful palm fringed beaches and lagoons in Sumatra, with basic accommodation available. It is more famed for it’s diving (whale sharks and turtles) than it’s waves.

Easier access is at hand for Lhok Nga, a scenic spot about 15km south of Banda. In this area you can sniff out a beautiful little surfy village with a consistent, perfect “A” frame reef break at it’s epicentre. A little further down, the very, very fickle hollow long rights of Pantai Camara can be worth the wait. Tides here are never a problem, but winds need to be right. Mami Diana’s Losmen is a good base from which to find your own favourite spot. A ride further south still near Lamno, you might be lucky enough to glimpse good wet season rights at the river mouth, and a quality right point.

There are reef breaks all the way down the coast at and around Keudeunga, Babah Nipah, and all the way to Meulaboh, which has both long lefts and rights either side of a major headland. Serious travellers only. Medical help is far.


Simeulue
90NM west of Tapaktuan on Sumatra.

Part of Aceh Province, Simeulue and its satellite islets are as deep into frontier land as you can get. Essentially a volcanic island that is densely forested and sorrounded by coral at varying depths, there isn't much 'civilization', and accommodation is minimal (a new surf camp, Baneng Island, opens down on the southwest corner as we go to press).

Palm lined beaches and beautiful bays with great diving. Sketchy air access is available from Medan when politics allow, although once there, access to surf is harder than hard core. In addition, malaria is a serious problem here. If you want to go surf there, the only truly safe options are via established yacht charters or by prearrangement with the new surf camp, which has charter flights out of Medan, and which will no doubt be the first of several.


The Banyaks
declared off-limits to boat charters by the Indonesian government, the Banyaks lie 20 NM offshore from Singkil on mainland Sumatra Overland and ferry access from there if you are immensely patient. The only meaningful way to surf the islands is by yacht charter as and when the ban is lifted. What accommodation there is, is centred on Pulau Palambak Besar, consisting of leaf houses and home-stays. Prepare yourself for a low 'surf to hassle ratio'.

The 99 islands harbour a cache of surf spots that will one day be 'discovered' by the world at large. Treasure Island / Machine Gun Rights is perhaps the most talked about wave here. A superb lengthy right coral point that has been seen to form precise lines and almond barrels over hundreds of yards.

Hazards; very little accommodation. Malaria. 
   
 
 
   
 
 
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ACEH & THE NORTHERN ISLANDS 
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