The coastal area on South Lombok has world-class beauty, and the people there are super friendly. It is one of my favorite places on the planet! I get up before the sunrise, grab my board, get into the small wooden boat and wake up on the way out to the waves at Gerupuk Inside. The wave is easy and fun, perfect for all different levels of kookness. Even when the swell is way outside my comfort zone for other spots, Gerupuk Inside feels safe and stays fun. The total package makes it one of my favorite surf experiences.
My first trip to this place was three years ago on my way to a semester abroad in Australia. Back then our local surf guide was a guy named Oto. He came to Kuta Lombok to pick us up every morning and brought us to his boat in Gerupuk, and out to the surf spots. It felt like the perfect surf adventure! While we were surfing he was sitting in the boat taking pictures with my camera and yelling out instructions on where to paddle. He asked if he could buy my camera, but I said I needed it for my travels in Australia. I promised myself I would come back to this place.
Since I moved to Indonesia in 2015 I’ve been visiting Gerupuk quite often. I am so happy about having this place within reach for a weekend getaway. Oto is still there, and now he has his own Canon DSLR with a big ass lens (that I sold him). He goes out with his boat almost every day to take surf pictures, and that’s his business. He takes great pictures (link to his Facebook page).
Here is a collection of paired pictures taken in Gerupuk Bay. The top one in each pair was taken in 2013 by me or Oto with my camera, and the bottom one in each pair was taken during a weekend in 2016 by Oto and his camera or me and my drone.
The view of the bay:
The south coast of Lombok is absolutely beautiful. It’s been a raw and undeveloped tourist spot for a long time, but now it’s starting to develop fast. The area is one of 10 areas in the country the Indonesian government wants to develop for mass tourism. Go before it’s too late! (Top: 2013 view from Sea Monkey (now called Chillout cafe and homestay) in Gerupuk Village. Bottom: 2016 view over the village.)
Going surfing here is a mini adventure every time. You have to take a small wooden boat out to the surf spots, which are all located inside a big beautiful bay. The combination of great surf, beautiful surroundings, and charming locals make it a great surf experience. This is also the reason why people come in from all over the world. This is not a secret spot anymore, and it gets very crowded!
(Top: 2013 GoPro pre-surf-stoke selfie. Bottom: 2016 drone selfie, still stoked.)
Staying out of girl problems:
Gerupuk is a popular spot for beginners and learners. The locals don’t teach the rules of the lineup to their students, and they don’t care too much about it themselves either (unless some cocky tourist is dropping in on them). Be prepared to share waves with multiple people. Be aware of beginners on big boards, if they’re coming at you, get out of the way! Don’t expect them to be able to turn. Taking off on the bigger sets is scary. Not because the wave is heavy, but because there are sooo many people on the inside. You better be confident in your turning abilities, otherwise, you risk dinging your board, yourself or someone else. I’ve seen people having to end their session to buy new fins, a new board or get a new tooth. Be careful!
(Top: 2013 Christine not dropping in. Bottom: 2016 stranger paddling out of my way.)
Thanks to Oto for documenting my lack of progress in 3 years!
There are two local surf photographers in Gerupuk working almost every day. Oto and Memet. They will go out to Gerupuk Inside every morning to catch the morning crowd in the perfect morning light. Sometimes they go with a group, but most of the time they shoot everyone. You can find them with their laptops in the Surf Cafe in Gerupuk after your session. They will sell you the pictures. If you think the price is too high, take a look around. Think about the quality of life you left back home, the school system, the health system, the infrastructure… Then look at the expensive camera equipment they were able to get their hands on to document your surf holiday, half a world away from your home.
(Top: 2013 surfing Gerupuk Outside. Bottom: 2016 surfing longboard at Gerupuk Inside.)
The evolution of my dance moves:
Gerupuk Inside and Don-Don are the two waves where I’ve been able to improve my surfing the most. One reason is that the waves are fairly easy to catch, and once you’re up on your feet, the wave is pretty easy to read. A good place to practice turns or cross stepping.
Bigger board = bigger smile
You will see people bringing all kinds of boards out. SUPs, longboards, funboards, shortboards and boogieboards. Bring whatever board you will have the most fun on. If the forecast is under 3ft I would go for a lot of volume.
This is Oto and his boat in 2013 vs Oto and his boat in 2016:
(Top: 2013 Oto and his boat. Bottom: 2016 Oto on top of his boat.)
Thanks for being a super fun weekend getaway, Gerupuk! And thanks to Oto and Memet for taking great pictures. Mass-tourism is coming to the south coast of Lombok, go before it’s too late! See you there.
Check out some other blog posts if you want to see some pictures from life in the village in Gerupuk or more surf pics. If you’re getting tired of the beach and the ocean, consider climbing Mount Rinjani, read more about it here!
Note to self (and other surfers):
Location: Gerupuk Bay, Lombok. (Fly Garuda from Jakarta to Lombok International Airport, there’s a 30 minute-ish drive down to Gerupuk or Kuta). If you don’t have a pickup, go outside the terminal and ask for Nan. Say hello from me! There are plenty of daily flights both from Bali and Jakarta to Lombok. You can also catch a speedboat or a ferry from Bali. I would recommend flying, it’s much faster, much safer and much more comfortable. And not much more expensive.
Surf: I’ve surfed Inside Gerupuk, Outside Right, Outside Left and Don-don. When the swell gets big, there’s a spot called Kid’s Point that starts to work too, but I haven’t surfed it yet. The surf is getting too crowded for it’s own good during the high season months (June-August). I’ve counted 55+ on Inside, and that’s really too many no matter how much it’s pumping. In these pictures I’m surfing on pretty big boards, but it’s perfectly possible to surf here on a shortboard. Some volume doesn’t hurt. If you can, you should go surfing with my man Sup in his green boat Olive. Best guy in the world!
Eat: There are a few good options in the village for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Bintangs are easy to find. One of my favorite meals in the village is the Chicken Rendang in Chillout Cafe.
Sleep: I prefer staying in Gerupuk because it’s closer to where I want to be, which is in the water before the sun rises, but you can also stay in Kuta if your main focus is beers and bars. Lakuen is the most comfortable and expensive option I’ve tried in Gerupuk. And a good and cheaper option is Chillout Cafe and Homestay. Surf Garden Lombok has a beautiful view, and pretty okay standards. If you want to stay somewhere very quiet, but still have access to the surf spots, Bumbangku Beach Cottage is located in the eastern part of the bay.
Repeat: I don’t even count. This is my favorite place to go for a weekend getaway from monster-city-madness in Jakarta.