Surfing Sawarna in Banten


That should be your answer if somebody invites you for a surf trip to Sawarna. In all the places on Java I’ve been so far, the locals always mentioned this spot: “Oooh, you should go. Good wave. Less people.” Last weekend my time had finally come.

Getting to this spot was an adventure. I was sitting in the car trying to sleep without breaking my neck, then all of a sudden the car stopped in a place that looked nothing like a beach. Cars don’t fit on the road from the village down to the ocean, so the last few minutes I was on the back of an ojek. I was carrying a backpack, and the ojek-driver had the drone between his legs. I was holding my board in one hand, and using the other to hold on to the motorbike. We were driving over a narrow bridge, making sharp turns through the village and trying to avoid bad road maintenance and careless pedestrians. Meanwhile the driver was trying to figure out exactly how much Bahasa Indonesia I’ve learned. Please adjust my grade for challenging circumstances!

The beach is beautiful and a very popular hangout place for the locals, so there was a lot of “Hello Mister” and “Foto Mister” going on. Hello Mister is something you’ll hear often while traveling in Indonesia, and it should make you feel welcome. Hello Mister means something like: “Hi there, I can see that you are a foreigner, and that’s somehow exciting to me. I assume you speak English, so I will try my best to show my hospitality by greeting you in your own language. By the way, girls can be misters too…” Foto Mister means you take a picture with the whole crew of family or friends, and sometimes alone with each and everyone of them. I love both “Hello Mister” and “Foto Mister“! It’s fun for them, and a good chance for me to practice my Indo small talk. Win-win!

There were two people in the water, but they both disappeared when I showed up in the lineup with my friend’s drone over my head. I got one really fun and long wave, but spent most of the time trying to figure out the takeoff zone. Surfing a new spot can be challenging, from the moment you’re trying to figure out how to enter the water over the sharp rocks, until you’re exhausted and making your way back in over those same sharp rocks. I’ll be back!

Terima kasih, Mister Ronny.

Sawarna point
160730 0003 Pelabuhan Ratu og Sawarna
Believe it or not, Bali tourists, you can surf empty waves in Indonesia
Popular sunset spot for Indonesians
Formation flying so high up we couldn’t even see the drones anymore
160730 0004 Pelabuhan Ratu og Sawarna
Beautiful Indonesian sunset
160730 0005 Pelabuhan Ratu og Sawarna
This is another empty wave
160730 0006 Pelabuhan Ratu og Sawarna.jpg
That night, after three glasses of gin, I started hallucinating…

Note to self (and other surfers):
Location: Sawarna, Banten. One hour from Ocean Queen Resort in West Java. (5-7 hours from Jakarta.)
Surf: Sawarna is a long fast left. Point break. Used my reef boots for the first time. Soo happy I did that. I spent most of the time alone in the water. Got one or two waves. Forecast said 4 ft swell. 16 ish seconds.
Eat: Brought potato chips.
Sleep: Had a nap in the car.
Repeat: Yes please!

Java Surf trip

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