The Hinako Islands and Six Need to Know Facts

10 Feb 2020 7 Share

COASTALWATCH | TRAVEL

This feature is presented in partnership with World Surfaris

By Ronny Long

The Hinako Islands are a tiny island archipelago 8-10kms off the coast of Pulau Nias.

Although it is estimated the area was first surfed in the mid 70s, it wasn't until Tom Curren and the film crew of Ted Grambeau and Sonny Miller featured Asu and Bawa in a 1994 feature film.

Since then, Asu and its neighboring Hinako Islands have given surfers the ultimate escape from reality with amazing waves, crystal clear water and super friendly locals.

The Historical Facts

The breaking pattern of the waves at both Bawa Island and Asu Island were significantly affected by the March 2005 earthquake that measured 8.6 on the richter scale. The seafloor rose by approximately two metres and evidence of this fatal earthquake can still be witnessed all around the North Sumatran Province.

Main Waves

The Hinako Islands have a variety of waves, but perhaps the two most recognisable and well-known are Asu and Bawa. Asu is a long walling left-hander that can handle anything from 3ft-20ft and Bawa is a right-hander that can be surfed from 4ft-20ft. Most of the time these two waves are best surfed around 6-8ft by intermediate+ surfers only.

A number of other world class waves surround the main island of Asu with a mixture of rights and lefts.

Apart from Asu and Bawa, perhaps the best waves in the Hinako archipelago can be found on the mainland. Accessible from Puri Asu Resort in their high powered speed boat around 30 minutes away. A perfect left-hander known as Afulu and and an equally perfect right-hander called Salonako. These waves are amazing and you are likely to surf there by yourself whenever the swell at Asu reaches around 8ft. Anything under this... don't waste your time. 

Food

Depends on where you stay and what type of accommodation you opt for. Most accommodation is on Asu Island and the best choice is Puri Asu Resort. Here sits a beachfront resort with air-conditioned villas and food that is world class. Anything from fresh fish, chicken, pork, beef, lobster and an amazing variety of pastas – keeps you in the water, surfing longer. The chef can also whip up snacks if you get a bit peckish between surfs, and if you catch a fish, there's a good chance the best sashimi of your life will be on the menu the next day!

Non-Surf Activities

In the rare occasion you aren’t surfing or the non-surfers out there don't get bored. The Hinako Islands are your quintessential aqua marine park with world class reef set ups perfect for snorkeling, fishing or just cruising on a stand up paddle board. Stand up paddle boards can be taken from the Puri Asu Resort (for guests only), massages are also available and the fishing is world class, either off the rocks or trawling the local region.

The island is only small, you can walk around it in 30 mins but non-surfers can also stay active in the Puri Asu Resort gym and yoga studio.

A selection of movies, playstation games and of course, the trusty pool table make it easy to pass the time when you aren't surfing.

Local Customs

The Hinako Island peoples have a welcoming culture with tourists often greeted as they pass through small village townships on their way to the waves by young kids shouting “Selamat Datang Turis” (Welcome Tourists). War dance welcomes are often performed by men while the women play beautifully haunting music in the background.

Things To Be Aware Of

The Hinako archipelago is nothing like Bali. Don’t expect raving night clubs, scooter hire or crowded waves. The majority of Indonesia is Muslim, but the Hinako Islands (especially Nias in general) have the largest population of Christians in Indonesia.

The people are beautifully natured and very friendly. They love sarcasm and a big smile if you can muster one. A little bit of basic Indonesian can also go a long way with the locals and the staff of Puri Asu Resort.

Mosquitos! Bring plenty of insect repellent. You are going to need it from about dusk. Puri Asu Resort isn’t too bad for the annoying little b**tards, but bring it anyway.

Sunscreen/zinc - no brainer when it comes to the tropics! Don't be a hero on your first day and not wear it expecting to get a nice tan. Heat stroke in the tropics is not nice!

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