Surfing on the North Nias west-coast
Nias Island is famous for its world-class surfing! While the most well-known waves are located in the south of the Island, North Nias also offers some great surfing. In fact, most of the tourists coming to the northern part of the Island are adventurous surfers heading for the village of Afulu on the west coast.
The best known wave here is known simply as Afulu, which is a high quality left-hander located near Afulu village. The west coast of Nias gets consistent waves from April to November. Within a few kilometers of Afulu there are several other accessible ‘secret’ spots for experienced surfers and beach breaks for beginners.
Other waves around Afulu have been known for many years by surfers arriving by boat. Surf charter companies market these places as the ‘secret spots’ of North Nias. For this reason it has been difficult to find any information about these waves. We publish this information here for the benefit of surfers who make the effort to stay in North Nias, supporting the local community with the money they spend.
Because information about Afulu waves has not been published there are several names in use for these waves. We use the Indonesian names for these locations and names made up by visiting surfers.
N 1.25876 °, E 97.228992
High quality left-hander offering incredible tube riders. Afulu is an exposed reef break that has very consistent waves during April to October. Clean groundswells prevail and the ideal swell direction is from the southwest. Good surf at all stages of the tide, but due to early offshore winds, it’s usually best in the morning. This is an intermediate-advanced wave as it ends very close to the reef.
This wave is located only 1 kilometer from Afulu village. From Afulu drive north out of the village towards Walo beach. Not far after the village turn left towards the sea, and continue onto the beach. The wave can be seen clearly off the rocks at the southern end. Access from the end of the beach, and paddle around the rocks towards the wave. There is a small track through the bush leading to the wave. Only use this track to look at the wave as access from the reef is dangerous.
Pantai Pasir Merah (Red Sand Beach)
N 1.290643°, E 97.197309°
Right hander with a soft point break, surfed by medium to advanced surfers when the surf is up. Sometimes this wave is actually better when the waves are a bit smaller. It is good for beginners as it is not too close to the reef. Access is easy from the beach; just swim out towards the waves through an opening in the reef.
This wave is located 150 meters off the north end of Pantai Pasir Merah (Red Sand Beach) and can easily be reached from Afulu. Drive north towards Lahewa for 15 minutes (6 km). The beach is right next to the road and the wave can be seen off the northern end. Surfers used to park in the middle of the beach and walk to the wave along the beach. But since 2014 there is a better access road to the wave. Keep driving past the beach and continue up the hill. Whilst driving uphill, look for a small road turning left. The turnoff is near the ‘LHW 14 Km’ road marker. After turning off, be careful as this road is very steep! Cars have been stuck here. It is better to park halfway and walk downhill. Follow the track to the beach and you can see the wave a few hundred meters away.
White Sign Wave
N 1.269388°, E 97.203247°
Left hander described as a slow big wave requiring a medium to average skill level. This wave is more user friendly than Afulu as the water is deep here, and not as close to the reef. It is easy to break off towards the end. Access can be tricky as the coastline consists of sharp coral gravel. Once you find a good rock to use as a jump-off point it is a five minutes paddle to the wave.
This wave is located off the headland between Walo and Pantai Merah beaches and can easily be reached from Afulu. Drive north towards Lahewa for 3-4 km. After Walo beach (same beach as Afulu wave) start looking for a white concrete sign on your left side (this is where the name comes from). From the sign you can see and hear the wave. Just after the sign there is a small track that leads to the beach. Park here and continue on foot for a few hundred meters.
Pantai Pasir Putih (White Sand Beach)
N 1.25876°, E 97.228992°
Right hander 200 meters off the northern end of Pantai Pasir Merah. This wave is mostly surfed by visiting surf charters, but it is also easily accessed from the beach.
This wave is located 2.5 kilometers south of Afulu. Keep going south along the coastal road. After crossing a bridge, take right at the fork in the road and continue until you can see a beach on your right. Park in the middle of the beach and continue on foot. The wave can clearly be seen off the north end of the beach, 500 meters away.
N 1.15832°, E 97.297953°
This perfect right hander can provide challenging barrel rides. It also goods on larger ground swell. While offering world-class surfing under the right conditions it is rather inconsistent.
The wave is located almost 1 kilometer off the coast, in front of a small village called Salonako. Boats can be arranged in Salonako. There is a small café near the point owned by the current village chief Mr Soliderman Zalukhu (mob: 081263038399). He doesn’t speak any English but has a record of being very helpful to surfers, arranging boats to the wave and accommodation and food in his house.
Salonako is a 40 minutes’ drive (13 Km) from Afulu. From Afulu keep driving south along the coastal road. Since 2014 the road is quite good, but there may still be a few bad sections along the way. In the middle of the small village of Faekhuna’a, turn right and drive towards the sea. After a couple of minutes on a dirt road you will reach the point of Salonako. The wave can be seen to the left of the heads. To the left is a lagoon with a boat landing, to the right is Mr Soliderman’s café.
It is also possible to arrange boat from Afulu or Asu and come here by sea.
The above locations are the five best waves in North Nias. Land based surfers and surf charters sometimes try other waves. While they may be good under perfect conditions, they are not very consistent and require a boat to get to. These waves include the outside of Wunga and Maose Islands, the headlands on both sides of Afulu harbour and Toyolawa, the north west point on Nias Island. Further south on Nias there are many world class waves in and around Asu Island, Sorake and Telo Island. Find out more about these famous waves here.
The whole west coast of Nias is constantly hammered by waves from the Indian Ocean. There are plenty of beach breaks for beginners here. Learner surfers can actually enjoy west coast beaches of North Nias all year-around. There are many beaches with a decent beach breaks along the main west coast road that are very accessible. From north to south they are; Pantai Toyolawa, Pantai Ambukha, Pantai Pasir Merah, Pantai Walo, Pantai Pasir Putih, Pantai Laosi-Laosi and Pantai Sifaoro asi.
Surf Charter Boats
Some surfers choose to visit Nias on-board a surf-charter boat. These boats are focusing only on surfing and hardly ever set foot on land, thus missing out on a lot of the experiences that Nias have to offer. Nevertheless we recognise that some surfers choose to travel this way, and in the past most tourists visiting North Nias did so on-board surf charters. The boats that visit Nias are usually based in Sibolga or Padang in Sumatra. An internet search of “Surf Charters Nias” will take you to several websites where you can book a trip on one of these boats.