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Eco Rustic | Manggudu Island Resort, Sumba, East Indonesia

July 15, 2010

By Dian Hasan | July 13, 2010

It’s a given that surfers will travel to the end of the earth in search of the perfect way. And in doing so, they are pioneers who trudge through jungles, traipse across barren deserts and over coral-laden coasts to find the “IT” wave. Paving the way for the rest of the world’s travelers.  Well, not always, as surfers are known to keeping these secret surf spots – which always are pristine natural settings – to themselves.

The island of Sumba, east of Bali, in Indonesia is one such unique find. Discovered a few years ago by Bali- and Lombok- (Bali’s neighboring island) surfers who were in search of more challenging waves across the Lesser Sunda Islands, eat of Bali. They stumbled upon amazing lefthanders in Manggudu Island off of Sumba Island, and had these bragging rights to tell the global surfing community:

One of the most consistent spots in Indonesia with a lefthander during the dry and a righthander in the wet season. Picks up all swell in the ocean and a little more. Uncrowded, good and powerful waves.

Manggudu’s surf is very consistent and picks up all swell in the ocean and a little more. The reef is large and the wave is best described as “Sunset-like”. After peaking, it will bowl through hollow sections or just wall off right from the take-off, depending on swell direction. The peaks shift with tide movements and because of the solid size bigger boards are recommended. The Southeast trades are straight offshore and the wave works with all tides.


Finish Anssi Kauppila [L], founder of Manggudu Island Resort, living an island life on an idyllic locale.

This surfing jewel is just coming out, as the word spreads out, and better accommodation are coming on stream. One of them is Manggudu Island Resort, on an island by the same name, off the southern coast of Sumba. An otherwise deserted island that caters to surfers and fishing aficionados, offering the perfect getaway for travelers who prefer roughing it. The rewards are clear, unspoiled nature, stretches of powder white beaches with no soul in sight, all yours to take in!

Run by intrepid Finish surfer-preneur Anssi Kauppila (yes, all the way from the frigid Scandinavian shores), who’s invested in the resort venture together with long-time Sumba resident, Australian David Wylie. The resort is situated at the western tip of the Manggudu Island, with 3 bungalows, each with 2-rooms with comfortable double beds and basic furniture.

Manggudu Island Resort offers full board, with 3 meals, drinking water, coffee and tea. The meals consist mainly of fish and seafood, with a variety of vegetables, served at the main house, which is also social central, where guests mingle after a day of surfing and exploring the island.

The main house also has a well-stocked library and a TV (if ever there’s a need for this!) for DVD movies. A communal bathroom, the Mandi (traditional Indonesian bathroom), is located behind the bungalows.

Sumba’s wetseason is short, typically lasting for only the months of February and March, when the resort is closed. The best months to visit are April-December, depending on what activities you are looking for. The resort is still open in January, but the winds can be strong, ideal for windsurfers and kitesurfers.

For those who prefer to take a less strenuous break, without sweating it too much, there are plenty of slower-paced options. With a little luck you’ll come across turtle hatchlings scurrying out to sea. It’s common to find Turtle tracks, as sea turtles come here to lay eggs. There is a small dense forest in the center of the island, ideal for bird-watching. Sea eagles and other birds work the large schools of fish. Snorkeling is an easy way to appreciate the beautiful coral reefs, as well as fishing.

Manggudu Island is a delight for fishing, depending on the season, the fish invariably include is a fisherman’s delight, Fishing, that is the one of my activity. During different times at the year commonly caught fish are: giant trevally and other trevally species, Spanish mackerel, marlin, sailfish, tuna, wahoo, Mahi Mahi and numerous reef fish. Manta rays, whales and dolphins are not a rare sight as are barracudas zipping out of the sea.

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