SAN DIEGO, California - When it comes to travel destinations, Indonesia is right at the top of almost every list. The people are amazing, the landscapes are gorgeous and the waves will make your head spin for months after you've gotten home. But there's definitely two ways to experience it: you can stay in Bali and enjoy the nation's most popular and accessible island, or you can go off the beaten track. While a two week jaunt in Bali is nothing to shake a stick at, the latter offers you something a bit more unique and challenging. To get some insider tips for SUP surfing in Indonesia's outer fields, we spoke with ULI Board inventor/founder, Jim Weir, who just returned from a month on Indo's wild side.
1. Indonesia is made up of roughly 17,000 islands and an endless bevy of known and unknown perfect waves. There's too many too see and not enough time to see them.
2. Amazing weather and water all year round - trade your full wetsuits and beanies for trunks and sunscreen.
3. Home to some of the most warm and genuinely friendly people anywhere.
4. Don't be scared to take some time away from the beach and explore the interior - it's a tropical paradise.
5. One word: Bintang. Nectar of the Gods after a long day of paddling.
6. Did we mention the waves are pretty perfect?
1. Bring good boards. The last thing you want to do is get there with boards that don't go well. Jim Weir says, "I brought ULI's newest Gerry Lopez model, with removable future fins and a new Fat Ass Quad with removable future fins and the wiki rail, the latter turned out to be my favorite in small and overhead waves, and I believe the fastest board we've built to date. Both boards handled the waves very nicely, including a few double overhead days, on some pretty fast waves."
2. Booties. They're not the most rock-star accessory to travel with, but your feet will thank-you. "Booties were surprisingly handy for some of the long reef walks out to the waves at low tide, after that I would stuff them in my rash guard to surf barefoot," Jim said.
3. Bring sunscreen. You think booties look silly, try wearing sun blisters on your forehead.
4. A book of commonly used Indonesian phrases and handy words goes a long way to making friends and daily life easier. "May I please have another Bintang," is a popular one.
5. It's very, very, very affordable, but remember to compensate your hosts appropriately. It's the right thing to do and you'll make life-long connections who will always be ready to welcome you back.
6. Ask friends, friends-of-friends and acquaintances who've been there for references. This not only gives you a first-hand perspective of what to expect, but also an in-road with the host family/company they traveled with.
Getting from one island to another is no joke. Being able to pack your boards into a few bags is a blessing.
7. Travel with inflatable boards. To get off the beaten track in Indo will require a mix of boat trips, buses, taxis and waiting. Inflatables are infinitely more convenient to cart around.
8. Don't go out of your depth. The waves get very heavy and round, which makes for a dangerous playground when combined with the reef.
9. Don't forget:
*Ding repair kit
10. "Have fun and take a little time to watch the ebb and flow of area and the people you will be sharing the ocean with, it will make you and them enjoy the exchange more."
You don't get fish any fresher
What To Expect
Getting away takes planning, but there are plenty of charter and travel agencies that cater specifically to paddlers and surfers. While the outer islands of Indonesia remain largely undeveloped, the tourism industry surrounding it is well-established. The trick is to do some homework and work with the company
"We went to a pretty remote island, about three days travel from Bali. I won't name it out of respect for my hosts and the friends that invited me. The island was very primitive and the people and waves were great. We surfed several different spots on smaller outer islands, that we reached by boat, lefts, rights and reef passes with both. The scenery was amazing, on land and in the ocean. We saw beautiful reefs with tropical fish and white sand beaches, and birds, monkeys and water buffaloes as we explored the island."
"The best parts of the trip for me were the wonderful local people we met and spent a month with laughing and trying to learn Indonesian. Another stand out was one day in particular, surfing a right hand point with only four friends and the best waves I have had in my over 50 years of surfing."
An avid San Diego-based surfer and paddleboarder, Jim Weir invented the ULI (pronounced ooo-lee) to solve the surf travel problem. Short for Ultra-Light Inflatable, the ULI is a rigid inflatable board that rides like conventional surfboards and paddleboards but deflates and folds up to fit easily inside a bag or backpack for travel free from excess baggage fees. Once you reach your destination, simply unroll the board, inflate it with the small hand pump (takes about five minutes) and you’re ready to go. To learn more go to www.uliboards.com or call 760.639.1844 and email [email protected]
Check out more Supconnect travel articles in Indonesia:
© Copyrighted & Exclusive SupConnect.com Content.