Surfing Spots in Gili Trawangan and How to Get There


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If there’s one thing you can thank Corona for, it’s definitely the chance to spend months in this small paradise call Gilli where everything is beautiful, fragrant, and, most importantly, cheap.

Surfers, admit it, this is a perfect spot to be stranded at. Even if you get a bit bored of surfing on the same spots (eventhough there are plenty amazing waters venture about,) you can always go to the nearby isles like the Nusa Isles and, of course, the Gilis.

While it is not advised to cross-over in the Australian Winter since it brings high tides and grey clouds on to the horizon, you can always put your smiley face on and patiently wait for a better weather. When it finally does get better, you can pack your things and go for a little surf vacation in the Gilis. Here are some of the popular surf spots in the island.

The three small islands that make up Surfing in the Gili Islands — Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air — offer an authentic remote Southeast Asian island experience along with some nice surfing for those willing to make the trek. Surfing Gili Islands has not yet taken off like in some other Indonesian locations such as Bali and Lombok, so crowds are smaller.

The locals are also very laid back, friendly and welcoming towards visiting surfers. As more and more surfers and travellers discover these three beautiful desert islands, expect word to spread and numbers to grow. Although there are efforts in place to keep the islands rustic — there are no motorbikes present — now is the time to take advantage of the Gili Islands’ status before it becomes “the next big thing”.

Though we often refer to the Gili islands collectively, each has its own unique character. While Trawangan or “Gili T” is the most developed, Gili Air offers the most local character and is closest to the large island of Lombok. For those wishing to simply get away from it all, there is Gili Meno, which is where to head for the most authentic desert island experience. The main advantages to surfing the Gilis are the quality of their breaks, the absence of crowds and an desert island experience in a tropical paradise.

Surfing Gili Islands: when and where

– Gili is unusual in that it is the place for those rare right-handers!

– While there are spots that break all year round, the dry season of May to October is best

– Beware of tides because they can make the difference between good surf and none at all

– In general, the Lombok Strait is somewhat fickle, but can provide some excellent surf

– Bring a wetsuit and booties! Coral reefs are nothing to mess around with

Gili Trawangan

Gili T can be a secret blessing when the surf is good. Surfers that can drop fast waves will be rewarded with long rides and big swells with steep barrels in some parts. The spot is a fast right-hand reef-break about 300 meters off the southern end of the island. Surfing can be tricky here and large south-southwest swells are necessary in order to clear the coral, which is also a popular site with snorkelers. The wet season (January – June) can provide 1-2 meter (3-6 foot) swells.

Some key points on surfing Gili Trawangan:

-Good for experienced surfers

-Small to no crowds

-Strong, hollow and fast

-Best during high tides

-Look out for sea urchins and rocks

-Friendly locals

-Lots to do when surf isn’t up.

Gili Air

Another reef break, which like Gili T, is also off the southern tip of the island. A great although somewhat infrequent right-hander, the break here is fast, short hollow and fun. Gili Air is the closest of the islands to Lombok and the break is accessible via a long paddle or you can head there on a boat. Be careful of strong currents and a somewhat treacherous reef.

Surf is best when winds are blowing from the west and northwest, coupled with a large south-southwest swell to create some nice short barrels. The left break also provides some swift close outs or straight-handers. While the surf can be good during all tides, low tide can be treacherous.

Some key points on surfing Gili Air:

– Short and hollow break

– Be careful of reef

– Avoid surfing at low tide

– Friendly locals

– Beautiful views

– Un-crowded

Gili Meno

The break here is known as Secrets and is located 100m off the beach at the island’s southeast corner. When conditions are good, Secrets can provide an impressive swell resulting in a fast, long, hollow right, which can provide some nice walls and barrels at parts. Beware the shallow reef, however, and do not be shy to ask locals for help. The somewhat inconsistent nature of Gili Meno’s surf helps keep the crowds down at Secrets, which can really pay off for those with a bit of patience.

Some key points on surfing Gili Meno:

-Recommended for experienced surfers

–Long hollow walls and tubes

-Helpful locals

-Careful with shallow reef

-Inconsistent, but rewarding

-Rustic desert island atmosphere

There you are, some helpful insights on surfing the three Gilis. If we get your attention now, you can try walking around and find some travel booths that you can see on the sideways. If you see one that’s open, feel free to ask about a round trip to Gili Trawangan.

Last time we went there, it covers pick-up and delivery from and to your door, a round trip, and some snacks on both leaving and coming trips. Do check around on the Covid fares and make sure the travel biro you choose operates on the standard health protocols.

Stay safe and happy surfing!