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West Java Indonesia

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Bali and G-Land have attracted so much media attention, most people even dedicated surfers are completely unaware of the quality breaks in West Java. This is unfortunate because some of the more manageable waves are just a convenient drive from Jakarta, and some of the other breaks are definitely up there with the best in the world.

Pelabuhan Ratu is a small holiday town on the coast due south of Jakarta, and easily accessible by car. The closest beach Samudra gets a few rough waves, but you're far better off heading a few kilometres to the east, to a place called Cimaja. Out along the point from the rocky beach you'll see a superb right hand point break rolling in. It's a good high-performance wave that sometimes produces small clean barrels. Further out is another break appropriately named Indicators that' a bit wild, but in big swells can produce sizeable barrels. If you're up to it, paddle out for a far more intense wave experience. Cimaja is popular with locals, so you can try heading further west where you'll find lots of small, easy breaks in bays and on points. None of these seem to have beer surfed consistently enough to know whicho places work best, but if you look carefully you should find something.

Alternatively, you can travel east, then turn south along the Genteng Peninsula. Keep driving over the rough road till you get to the village of Genteng, right out on the tip it takes over an hour from Pelabuhan Ratu then drive a bit further on to a surf camp. There's a pleasant beach break nearby, but if you continue on for another two kilomtres you come to a place named Turtles, which has a superb bowling left that breaks cleanly over a rock shelf. This is a high-quality wave that some surfers have compared to Bingin in Bali. It's at its best in the mornings and evenings, when it's unaffected by local winds. In this area, too, if you look around you can find plenty of other unnamed and uncharted breaks. A bit further on from Turtles is one of West Java's better known, and perhaps more notorious waves. This is Ombak Tujuh, a massive point break that forms along a wall then rolls over into deep water. This break can get very big some say 7m and more and is very powerful. It also tends to form up very, very quickly, so once you pull into it you find you have to be totally committed and take the drop straight away regardless of how it looks. A wave to test your nerves.

By far the best waves in this area are on a small, horseshoe-shaped island in the middle of the Sunda Strait: Panaitan. The island is part of the renowned Ujong Kulon National Park, so there's no accommoda≠tion. The only way to get there and stay there is to take a boat. There are now vari≠ous surf cruises running from Jakarta and Carita Beach, and offering stays of vary≠ing durations. Panaitan is a horse shoe-shaped island with two peninsulas like the arms of the horseshoe facing straight into the southern swells, breaks all along the inside of Was and in the middle of the way . The most famous of these is waves are occasionally frequented by the sea going crocodiles that lives on the island and the place is laughingly known as crocs.

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