Nias

Surf Spots
Bruce Brown, famous surf filmmaker and director of “The Endless Summer” once commented that surf exploration can be incredibly disheartening. “You travel halfway around the world and you’ll rarely find someplace as good as Malibu” However, Australian surfers, both derelict and bohemian, hit the jackpot when they went searching for waves in Nias during the mid-1970’s. Today, surfers make up the great majority of travellers and tourists who visit Nias hoping to score one of its many world class waves. There’s a little bit for everyone on Nias, regardless of your experience or skill level.

WHERE TO SURF IN NIAS

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Goldmines waiting to be discovered
Mick Lammers

SURFING IN NIAS

Tourism in Nias is still a relatively new industry outside of Lagundri Bay and occasionally you may run into a few folks who have never encountered a foreigner. Be sure to smile and keep a positive attitude. The people of Nias are warm and welcoming and often feel proud that travellers are visiting their home. Considering the remoteness of the island, be sure to brush up your Indonesian. While it’s not the local language, most people are fluent in Indonesian but won’t speak much English beyond “hello mister!” or “good morning!”
The last thing to think about before your journey to Nias is your wardrobe. While this may seem a little intrusive, the island’s conservative culture stands in stark contrast to many of the beach resorts you’ll find in Bali. Outside of Sorake, be sure to only rock your swimsuit on the beach and toss on a shirt before walking through town.

BEST BEGINNER SPOTS

BEST INTERMEDIATE SPOTS

BEST ADVANCED SPOTS

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FAQ

What are the beaches like on Nias?
Nias is one of the most beautiful islands in the Sumatran archipelago. Beautiful white sandy beaches fringed with often dry coral submerged in crystal clear turquoise water. While the true draw of the island is surfing, there’s plenty of jungle to explore and coastline for sunbathing for the non-surfing travel partner. The culture of Nias is relatively conservative and most people work 6 days a week. On Sunday, their one day of rest, you’re likely to find local families picnicking and enjoying beaches you may have found deserted the day before.
What is the food like in Nias?
Pork is a large part of the people’s diet in Nias and you will find it prepared in many different and delicious ways. There are always a few options around to eat out however Homestays typically have a “guesthouse” where guests are fed fresh and local food on a daily basis. One of the best things about Nias is due to its remoteness you’ll find nearly all fresh and locally harvested ingredients.
What else is there to do in Nias other than surfing?
The Nias Stone Jumping Ceremony is an ancient tradition that is still performed to this day and is an amazing spectacle to witness. This ritual of leaping over an incredibly high stone wall combined with hazardous objects designed to cause injury if a jump isn’t successful is the final step where a Nias boy becomes a man.
How to get around Nias?
Road conditions on Nias tend to vary with the changing seasons. In the wet season, roads on the interior of the island are likely to be flooded or occasionally covered by landslides. There are taxis on the island you can take, typically unmarked minivans and are a little on the luxurious side. It’s not common to rent a motorbike or scooter, most accommodations you choose from will have a prefered form of transportation. If you’re looking to access any of the smaller outlying islands, consider taking a boat or private plane. If you’re headed to Saroke, the main surfing area of the island, keep your eye out for cabs “going home” which tend to be a bit cheaper. If you’re planning on staying in the east, or in any of the larger cities, don’t worry too much about transportation as there are plenty of rickshaws and shorter transportation options.
How to get to Nias?
Historically, Nias has been a pretty difficult place to get to. Today, due to a new airport, the great majority of tourists arrive by plane.

Step 1. To fly into Nias, you’ll need to travel to Medan, Indonesia’s 4th largest city, and the only airport currently offering flights to Nias.

Step 2. You’ll fly from Kualanamu International Airport in Medan into Binaka Airport in Gunung Sitoli on the east coast of Nias. Flights on and off the island are relatively cheap ($90-120 USD).

Step 3. Then it’s about a 3-hour car journey around or across the island to Nias’s more famous surf breaks in the southwestern corner.