The Island of Nias, 125 km from the west of Sumatra, in the middle of Indian Ocean, has a very interesting local culture and a lot of pre-historical finds from the megalithic Stone Age, the most ancient megalithic culture in Indonesia.
Isolated yet worldly, the Nias Island chain has been trading with other cultures, other islands, and even mainland Asia since prehistory. Some historians and archaeologists have cited the local culture as one of the few remaining Megalithic cultures in existence today. While this point of view is hotly debated, there is no doubt that Nias relative geographic isolation has created a unique culture. As a culture of traders, the people of Nias find tourists to be a welcome and historically familiar phenomenon. It is also best known for its remarkable diversity of festivals and celebration. The most well known events are War Dances, performed regularly for tourists, and Stone Jumping, a manhood ritual that sees young men leaping over two meter stone towers to their fate. In the past the top of the stone board is covered with spikes and sharp pointed bamboo. The music of Nias, performed mostly by women, is noted worldwide for its haunting beauty.
Nias’ Sorake Bay is an internationally renowned surfing spot, and has become one of surfing’s most exotic wave-searching destinations. Every year, surfers flock from across the globe for a chance at its legendary point break. International surfing competitions have been held in Nias since 1993, and even the World Championship Surfing competition in 2000. Touted as the second best surfing spot in the world after Hawaii, the bay is located in the district of Teluk Dalam on the Southern tip of Nias Island.
The island is located in North Sumatra is one of Indonesia’s last surfing frontiers. It receives similar swell to the Mentawais and enjoys a peak swell season from May to September. Despite Indonesia’s reputation for hollow lefts, in North Sumatra right handers are slightly more prevalent.
The 2005 earthquake lifted the reef making an even better wave, hollower and longer! More new breaks may have been created nearby. The earthquakes actually improved the surf at Lagundri Bay, but destroyed nearby towns. The losmen’s on the point have since been rebuilt, and adventurous surfers have returned once again to Nias. Lagundri Bay (the bay in which the famous right unrolls) has become a starting point towards those new waves. As a result, one seldom finds more than twenty surfers at a time in a line-up, even in peak seasons. The Nias wave operates perfectly from 2 to 15 feet.
Access is easy thanks to a break in the reef called “The Keyhole” that will spare you getting over the sand bar no matter how big this obstacle is. The reef itself is not dangerous compared to other surfing spots in Indonesia. The corals are abundant but not aggressive. Because of the geographical position of the archipelago, this cluster of islands is one of the most interesting areas in the world.
Like most places worth going, Nias Island is not easy to reach. To go by sea, start at the Sibolga Port in Sibolga city on the Northwest coast of Sumatra. Take the ferry to the port of Gunung Sitoli on Nias Island. The trip takes between 8 and 13 hours, depending on the weather.
By air, start at the Polonia Airport in Medan, North Sumatra and catch a flight to Binaka Airport,Gunung Sitoli. Daily flights are available from Medan to Gunung Sitoli on Merpati Nusantara Airlines and Wings Air.
International flights to Medan are from Singapore, Bangkok in Thailand, and Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh, Malacca and Subang in Malaysia. Domestic flights are available from all major cities in Indonesia including but not limited to Jakarta, Surabaya, Aceh, Bandung, Padang and Pekanbaru.
Those considering this trip need to know it is absolutely requested a very open mentality and to be able to live a very sportive kind of life in a very a natural environment. To make the travel easier and safer, the group of visitors, 5-6 persons, will always be headed by an experienced local guide.
Here the surf is always up, so grab your board and come and discover what other surfers have known for years, that Indonesia truly has some of the world’s best waves.
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