ABOUT BANYAK ISLANDS
The offshore islands of Sumatra are no secret to surfers: the Mentawais are the new craze among pros and photographers looking for picture-perfect tropical barrels, Nias has drawn surf adventurers to its shores for over 25 years, but head further north, and you step into the unknown.
The remote island of Simeulue is located 120km from the Sumatran west coast, where the surprisingly busy town of Sinabang thrives on trading cloves. To the east, the Banyak Island group is in the South Aceh Regency, supporting small populations on seven of the bigger islands, while the majority of the others remain uninhabited. A centum of islands was reduced to 99 after a large storm swept one clean off the face of the earth. Besides cloves, local resources come from copra and lolak (a kind of seashell).
Many spots remain nameless, but there's a wide variety of lefts and rights, ranging from shallow barrelling waves to deeper, long, cruisey waves plus some good off-season beachbreaks.