Nias Island: Surfing an Ancient World

Nias Island ,off the southern coast of Sumatra, is an unusual place- virtually impossible to get to and some would feel that the atmosphere isn’t exactly welcoming.

But there’s great surfing and the villages and traditions are fascinating. Warning: get properly immunized – Malaria exists on Palau Nias. There’s poor internet on the island, few phones and very few facilities of any kind.

For years Palau Nias has drawn dedicated surfers to the island for it’s fantastic waves. There is a section of the beach ideal for learner surfers or you can sit back and marvel at the experts. Surfing competitions are held here every year – and are great times to visit the island, when facilities may be better and the island isn’t deserted of travellers.

The people of Nias have a fascinating stone culture which revolves around the protection of each warring village. In order to invade another village the young men had to learn to jump the walls and the tradition of stone jumping has endured to the extent that young boys still attempt to jump a section of wall in the center of each village, in order to become a man.

For money the locals will perform a fantastic and colourful war dance and men will jump the wall. You will be harassed endlessly to buy souvenirs. There are some wonderful wood carvings available but to buy from one person means being harassed by many. This is a very poor island so expect to pay a small amount for a guide or just for advice from a local.