The Inertia

Indonesia is the world’s best surfing country. That’s a big claim, but the sheer variety and year-round consistency of the waves in this tropical archipelago of more than 18,000 islands back it up.

If laid on a map of the continental US, Indonesia stretches from ​Seattle to Washington DC, a distance of 2,800 miles with the Papua provinces sticking far out into the Atlantic Ocean. That’s a huge country and, with 250 million people, Indonesia is the fourth most populated land area on earth.

For surfers, what matters is the waves. The Indian Ocean swell season of April to September is famous for sheer consistency, with swell after swell generated by storms in the high latitudes of the Roaring 40’s and the Furious 50’s traveling across the Indian Ocean to eventually collide with with thousands of miles of waiting coral reefs. With favorable southeast trade winds and occasional northwest winds during this period, it’s the stuff of surfers’ dreams.

Less well known are the many waves on the Pacific side of Indonesia. More spots are being discovered every season and with several charter boats now operating in North Maluku province, more waves are sure to be found.

If one were to make a list of the 25 or so best waves on earth, at least ten and perhaps as many as 15 would be located somewhere in Indonesia. For surfers worldwide, it’s pretty clear: Indonesia is the world’s best surfing country.

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