Surf Sumba, Sumba Surf Charters, Nihiwatu Surfing- Waterways Travel Images

Surf Sumba, Sumba Surf Charters, Nihiwatu Surfing- Waterways Travel

Directly in front of the resort within clear view from every bungalow there is a perfect lefthander wrapping along a coral reef that some call Nihiwatu Left and others call Occy’s Left – because it was made famous by the Australian surfer in the movie Green Iguana. A lot of famous surfers have had a bash at Nihiwatu over the years, but this is the kind of wave where you wish you had Occy’s tuberiding skills, because when Nihiwatu is firing with the right wind, tide and swell, it is the very model of a perfect Indo lefthander.

The wave has true Indo power, but also has multiple personalities with different combinations of wind, swell and tide. The reef is long with the top 2/3rds having a very gradual bend. This section is the most challenging with larger swell at it produces a long fast wall with hallow sections.  The lower 1/3rd of the wave bends more sharply as the reef approaches the channel.  This lower section of the wave tends to be more “user friendly” offering the opportunity for some nice turns. This unusual set up allows surfers of varying ability to choose the section of the wave that works best for their skill level.  On a big swell those surfers less comfortable can sit more toward the end of the wave next to the safety of the channel surfing only the last 70 meters.  As the swell reduces in size even the lower intermediate level surfers are generally comfortable surfing high up the reef on a higher tide.

Tides and wind are as much a factor to Indonesian surf as anywhere else in the world. Tides along Nihiwatu range from three feet to eight feet, and the wave undergoes a personality change with every two feet of tide. At high tide the wave is fuller and easier to ride and a good warm-up for surfers not accustomed to the speed of waves over coral reefs. As the tide drops, the wave transforms into a hollow barrel and a speedy wall and it is in the hours around mid-tide when Nihiwatu is best.

Nihiwatu left is semi-protected by a large headland from the prevailing Southeast crosswinds that blows May to October.  This wind blows from the top of the reef down toward the channel.  When the wave bends as it moves down the reef the wind hits the face in a more off-shore direction. Unlike Bali, the trade winds do not blow day and night and for months on end. There can be periods of strong wind for four or five days, followed by very light wind conditions.  In addition, the island of Sumba is large enough to create its own off-shore land breeze which blows offshore throughout the entire year, making mornings always a good option.

Nihiwatu/Occy’s Left is an easy short walk down a trail from the resort to the channel; but there are other right and left reefs in the area that can be accessed by resort boat. These waves are seldom surfed due to the quality, consistency and convenience of Nihiwatu left.