Surfing Sumatra, Part 1 – What is it like to surf Simeulue?

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Surfing Sumatra, Part 1

Surf Simeulue
Welcome to Simeulue. ©IndoSurfCrew

What can sound like chaos to some…

Ruled by the Islamic rules of the Sharia law, a population that believes in black magic and crocodiles whispering would already make Simeulue sound like an unwelcoming place.

Surf Simeulue
It felt intrusive to take this photo. ©IndoSurfCrew

Part of those Islamic rules stipulate that women have to wear long sleeves while alcohol is prohibited on the island, this suggests a serious filter to the kind of tourists you’ll meet. In Simeulue, visitors are definitely more eclectic and curious than the typical surf-holidayer in Kuta or Canggu, Bali.

…IS a paradise for others

Let’s get straight to the point on why you’ve started reading this post. We spent 1,5 months and scored world class waves just by ourselves. We just want to make sure the right crowd ends up here.

Surf Simeulue
The Peak on a good day. ©IndoSurfCrew

… And a golden mine for philanthropists

We stayed at Mahi-Mahi Surf Resort – not because it faces the most consistent wave of the island, known as The Peak. Most importantly because this place is a model of what eco-tourism and sustainable development should be.

Surf Simeulue
Mahi-Mahi’s garden

From funding a volunteering program in the Banyak islands protecting the turtles’ reproduction to opening a school for the local kids, and gathering neighbor villages to join a community ranger program where past egg poachers would become the host of this new eco-tourism model. Be assured that we will document the whole of it in a video gathering over a month of footage around the island of Simeulue (stay tuned through our Instagram account).

Surf Simeulue
Dance Class at Mahi-Mahi ©IndoSurfCrew

what about the Waves?

Let’s now tell you the truth about the waves, the good, the bad and the ugly.

Surf Simeulue
The Peak on a good day ©IndoSurfCrew

The ugly

  • On some occasions, the whole of Indo would be pumping but not Simeulue as some of the swells would not make it all the way up until north-west of Indonesia 🙁
Surf Simeulue
Some rests of a 9-10 foot Indo swell. It was only 3-foot in Simeulue … ©IndoSurfCrew

The bad

  • The bad news is that only one spot (Dylan’s) can handle bigger swells (6-feet and more) and it needs to be in the right direction for it to work at its best. There is not a “Padang-Padang” kind of wave in Simeulue.

The Good

  • A large part of the island remain unexplored and there could actually be some waves to handle those big Indo swells (hint: go up North – do it with respect to the culture wearing long sleeves and being low profile when traveling up there)
  • As you would guess, it is still relatively uncrowded compared to other surf destinations around Indonesia.
  • There is a family vibe in the line-ups, people take turns, smile, chat and respect each other. Nobody came all the way here to fight for waves.
  • The Peak (out front Mahi-Mahi) start to work on a 1-2 ft forecast, which basically means all year long and gets optimal from 3 to 5 ft (barreling on both sides of the A-Frame)
  • A LOT of secret waves, where the Mahi-Mahi crew will bring you.
Surf Simeulue
Outer Reefs – a boat ride away from Simeulue ©IndoSurfCrew

Finally, Simeulue suits all surf levels from beginners to kamikazes alike. Always make sure that you know your limits on where to surf.

Go further

Surfing Simeulue
In the Banyaks. Photo Courtesy of Mahi-Mahi
Surf Simeulue
Aboard the Mahi-Mahi boat
Access to the Banyak islands, an archipelago of uncrowded world-class 
waves that few have access to. Best is to head there for a swell with theMahi-Mahi boat when the swell is too big for Simeulue. Availabilities ar limited and it can be booked through this page, right below.


Indo Surf Crew

Made up of surfers, photographers, film-makers and writers. Indo Surf Crew creates surf content in Indonesia while raising awareness on how to protect Indonesian beautiful surf playground and culture. Our aim is to give a voice to the local Indonesian surf communities, its surfers, and organisations with sustainable eco project that will help preserve the authenticity of Indonesian surf spots.

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