Indonesia is most proud of the Plengkung Beach at the eastern tip of Java Island. Aside from its enchanting natural beauty, the long curving coast line here is recognized as one of the best surfing sites on the face of the earth.
More familiarly known among world’s renowned international surfers asG-Land, the beach, located in the Banyuwangi Regency, is a paradise for surfers offering some of the most outstanding waves in the world. For, Plengkung Beach is dubbed “The Seven Giant Waves Wonder” by international surfers for its legendary 7 rolls of waves that can reach up to 6 meters high.
The popular name G-Land itself is said to have been given by surfers, where the G is said to refer to 3 different meanings. The first is for “Great” as an illustration of its outstanding waves. The second is for “Green” or “Green” Land since it is situated near the lush green tropical forest of Alas Purwo. Third, the G may also refer to “Grajagan”, the nearby beach which is also the starting point to reach Plengkung by boat. There are also others who suggest that the name G-Land was given because of the curving coast of Plengkung Beach that resembles the letter “G”.
What makes G-Land’s waves unique is that they break after 1 to 2 Km, rolling from east to west with heights reaching 4 to 6 meters in about 5 minutes intervals. This is hugely favored among surfers since they can then enjoy thrilling long barrels. For this reason, it is no wonder that the beach has hosted at least 5 international surfing championships.
With 7 layers of towering waves constantly hitting the shores in the “go to left” formation, G-Land is also favorite with left-handed surfers.
The waves of G-Land are considered 2nd best waves in the world after Hawaii only. But, whereas, Hawaii offers constant waves all year, the peak of waves in Plengkung Beach occur predominantly between the months of April to August. Besides Plengkung and Hawaii, similar waves can be found only in Australia and South Africa.
Bob Laverty and Bill Boyum were the first surfers who introduced the fascinating waves of Plengkung Beach to the international surfing world in 1972. They set up a surf camp here and eventually surfers around the world were drawn to the beach. Bobby Radiasa, an avid surfer from the neighboring island of Bali later came and also ran a surf camp which still operates here until today.
The vast swathe of white sandy beach is surrounded by pristine lush green tropical forests secluded from any hustle and bustle of city life. Obviously, you will not get any phone reception here or even a television network. However, that is exactly what makes this beach so special: it is a perfect place to escape from the “modern city” atmosphere so that you can truly enjoy what nature has so generously provided. In other words, forget all else, just get into the water and surf!
Surf camps are the only accommodation options available on Plengkung Beach. There are currently three surf camps available in the area, they are: Joyo’s Surf Camp, G-Land Bobby’s Surf Camp, and G-Land Surf Camp. The most popular of these is Joyo Surf Camp.
G-LAND Joyo’s Surf Camp
Office: Jl. Benesari. No 77, Poppies Lane 2, Kuta, Bali.
Joyo Surf Camp offers 30 rooms and is an ideal place for those who plan to stay long at Plengkung in search of those perfect waves. G-Land Joyo’s Camp operates since 1990 with prime service reputation.
The huge waves at Plengkung Beach may not be appropriate for beginners, however, the enchanting scenery around the beach truly presents an equal attraction if you do not surf. Its soft white sands are sparkling like crystals which makes it a most enjoyable feature for a morning or evening stroll. And, as far as the eye can see, the pristine clear blue waters provide an astounding panorama.
The waves of G-Land are mainly divided into three categories: the Kong, Speedies, and Many Tracks. The Kongs can reach 6-8 meters high and are the most favored among international surfers. The Speedies are the main course for professional surfers. While, as the name suggests, Many Tracks feature many layers of waves with height reaching between 3 to 4 meters.
Those who wish to learn to surf can go to the nearby Batu Lawang Beach, located about 20 minutes walk from Plengkung. Most surfers call the waves here “twenty-twenty” since it takes 20 minutes to paddle into the sea and another 20 minutes to enjoy riding the waves.
To help you arrange the trip to Plengkung Beach and also enter the Alas Purwo national park, you can use a number of tour operators who offer trips to G-Land. A Permit is essential since Plengkung Beach is located within the Alas Purwo National Park area. Vehicles are also a concern since they need to meet requirements of the track. One of the experienced tour operators to arrange trips to G-Land is Raja Wisata (www.raja-wisata.com).
There are 2 main routes to get to Plengkung Beach. The first and longest route is overland by car by the Banyuwangi-Kalipahit road. The distance from Banyuwangi to Kalipahit is about 59 Km, this is followed by the Kalipahit-Pasaranyar road for 3 Km. From Pasaranyar, the road continues to Trianggulasi-Pancur for another 15 Km, before you finally reach Plengkung (Pancur-Plengkung) after another 9 Km.
The second is via the land-water route. From Banyuwangi you can head overland to Benculuk for approximately 35 Km, and followed by the 18 Km route from Benculuk to Grajagan. From Grajagan Beach take the speed boat to Plengkung Beach. While others actually arrive by boat direcly from Bali.
May to October is the best period to catch the best waves at Plengkung, especially between July to September. During these months, you will have the chance to surf the long barrels at maximum height
If you wish to capture the avid surfers in action, you may want to arm yourself with a binocular lens.