Simeulue on the contest calendar

Stu Nettle
Form Guide

Later this month the Aceh International Surfing Championship will be run on Simeulue off the north Sumatran mainland. It's the third time the Asian Surfing Championships (ASC) have held the event - past events were run  in 2013 and 2015 - however this year will be the first time it's held at Dylan's, a dependable right at the southern end of the island.

The 2017 contest is interesting for two reasons.

The first point is that, for those unaware, the WSL is making gentle inroads into Indonesia. The WSL recently rebadged three ASC assets as Qualifying Series contests. It did this, not because of a push from local surfers - it'll be a long time before local surfers have that much clout in Indonesia - but rather because Indonesia has an abundance of waves and local governments are discovering how to exploit them.

Which leads to the second point.

Like other Indonesian contests such as the Krui Pro, the Rote Open, and Hello Pacitan, the Aceh Championship is following a tourism-driven model. All are sponsored by their respective regional governments. The blueprint for that model is in place here in Australia where the various state governments sponsor the three CT events at Snapper Rocks, Bells Beach, and Margaret River. It's an ideal setup for the WSL who are looking to cut costs: the surf industry is in retreat so the tourist industry can step into the breech. The main difference is that here it's aimed at domestic tourists while in Indonesia it's international.

“Through running events like this on the island, we are increasing the worldwide awareness of Simeulue as a surfing tourism destination," said Tipi Jabrik of the ASC.

That's not the sort of quote many travelling surfers want to read. Using surf contests as promotional tools will increase crowds on Indonesia's distant shores, and increasing attention from the WSL will only compound the problem.

Dylan's, the site of the forthcoming Aceh International Surfing Championship

Fortunately for travelling surfers, Indonesia's national government - the only government agency with the resources to fund a CT - doesn't agree with the regional government's budget spend. Tim Hain is the Media and Tour manager of the ASC and he says the central Indonesian government won't pay the WSL to hold a surfing contest. In fact they "expect the WSL to bring sponsors and money and pay them for the privilege of having the event in Indo,” explains Hain.

This lack of co-operation means that while government funded events are mutiplying in Indonesia they're limited in size; dependent upon whatever the regional government can spare from its marketing budget. This year the Aceh International Surfing Championship will offer a total of IDR 75,000,000 for the Men’s Division prizemoney. That's approximately $7,250 AUD.

It also means, or at least strongly hints at, a long wait until Indonesia again has a Championship Tour event. With the surf industry yet to settle on a level of sustainable involvement in pro surfing and the central Indonesian government unwilling to stump up any funding, a top tier event appears unlikely.

There'll be differing opinions on whether that constitutes a good or bad thing.

The Aceh International Surfing Championship is sponsored by the Government Regency of Simelue and the Aceh Department of Tourism. It'll run on the 26th-28th of October 2017.

Comments

Simon Hayward's picture
Simon Hayward's picture
Simon Hayward commented Wednesday, 4 Oct 2017 at 5:51pm

Having visited Simelue in 2014 (and scored epic waves,) I question if the island is appropriate for WLS events and would be able to sustain & facilitate events requiring a high level of production? It also falls under strict Sharia law which may or may not lead to some problems with the circus that rolls on in? Beautiful island and we had an amzing trip, waves were very good!

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Wednesday, 4 Oct 2017 at 7:42pm

I visited Simeulue earlier last year. Great waves especially Dylans but not much else other than natural beauty and wonderful people. As Simon mentioned above it is a strict Islamic culture, ok if all you want to do is surf, get to bed early and up and at it again the next morning which suited me to a tee. Hopefully the crowds don't turn up en masse like they do in the Ments. Just back from Macaronis, wouldn't like to see Simeulue as crowded as that. Sadly it is probably inevitable as word gets out.

Toppa

Horas's picture
Horas's picture
Horas commented Wednesday, 4 Oct 2017 at 9:57pm

Hey Stu,do you know what dates they're talking about so I can plan my touring to avoid this.Other waves on the island but not keen to be anywhere near a comp..Will be elsewhere and cruise thru after.Cheers.

Horas's picture
Horas's picture
Horas commented Wednesday, 4 Oct 2017 at 10:01pm

Sorry mate ,just saw dates at the bottom,had a blokes look.Cheers anyway.

lukas's picture
lukas's picture
lukas commented Wednesday, 4 Oct 2017 at 10:42pm

sounds like a fantastic idea to me. if the Wsl, can set it up properly, the locals will love it. make a environmentally friendly, solar powered, locally sustainable comp, that shows the world, how it should be done. yep, on a global stage. it can be done like easy. mr Tesla will help ya's out. pull the finger out of your bottom's............ & pull that trigger............. clean ya hand's first, then....pull that fuckin trigger...............

hynz

eat-your-vegies's picture
eat-your-vegies's picture
eat-your-vegies commented Thursday, 5 Oct 2017 at 12:04am

Damn.....meant to get there before now.

Might have left it too late.

t-diddy's picture
t-diddy's picture
t-diddy commented Thursday, 5 Oct 2017 at 2:36am

as mentioned above, the shariah law will be a factor - technically no alcohol allowed on the island (or province). that's the oil of the contest machine

tidak_bagus's picture
tidak_bagus's picture
tidak_bagus commented Thursday, 5 Oct 2017 at 10:28am

wow I find this mind blowing. I have done a few trips up there and its definitely an awesome wave but its also inconsistent and can handle a max of 4-6 people in the line up at a time. set waves will be the only waves worth taking and they will max at 3-4ft, will be a very slow and boring contest.

Horas's picture
Horas's picture
Horas commented Thursday, 5 Oct 2017 at 12:45pm

Agree tidak and a pretty short wave as well .It's not Indos premier destination but a beautiful island with a few waves scattered here and there.I like Aceh province,no pisshead/bogans.

Simon Hayward's picture
Simon Hayward's picture
Simon Hayward commented Thursday, 5 Oct 2017 at 2:51pm

This would be the spot to hold the comp in Simeulue !! http://www.charliecullenphoto.com/surfing#img7776-1483990

sunlover199's picture
sunlover199's picture
sunlover199 commented Thursday, 5 Oct 2017 at 2:54pm

fly over and napalm all the islamic locals first

yocal's picture
yocal's picture
yocal commented Thursday, 5 Oct 2017 at 3:46pm

excellent selection of provocative words

Go deeper Taylor, go deeper!

rablex's picture
rablex's picture
rablex commented Saturday, 7 Oct 2017 at 3:38am

not funny. get rid of this kook.

Sharkfin's picture
Sharkfin's picture
Sharkfin commented Thursday, 5 Oct 2017 at 5:19pm

The locals there are beautiful people. They will help you if your bike breaks down. Invite you into their house and show you gracious hospitality, will be excited to speak English with you! Regardless of their Muslim beliefs they are great people. The nice thing about this joint is that many locals don't rely solely on tourism like Bali n the hassle factor is low. Dylan's n the peak are already becoming scurged IMO n it really wouldn't be great to host a world stage comp here... I love watching free surfers rip as its so inspiring, and it's great when spots are kept secret. Pro surfing is slowly ruining the ethos of what true surfing is all about : escapism/ freedom/ travel / good times.

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Thursday, 5 Oct 2017 at 6:50pm

Obviously an earlier post reflects total ignorance of the Simeulue locals. If you had been there you would have been overwhelmed by their warmth, cheerfulness and simple lifestyle. We who live in 'the lucky country' can learn much by visiting and engaging with these wonderful people.

Toppa

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 5 Oct 2017 at 7:15pm

Scary how fast Indo changes ten years ago there was only one place aimed at surfers in Simeulue, Baneng Island resort (Dylans is named after the original owners son) for years although promoted by surf travel agents it was ignored by most, then Auora opened up and marketed heavily as uncrowded, then bang surf camp after surf camp now an ASC comp.

Same deal with Pacitian ten years ago totally off everyones radar then one surf camp opened now many places to stay and also an ASC comp there.

Same deal with Krui ten years ago only two places aimed at surfers to stay there, heavily marketed as uncrowded now countless places to stay and often crowded and an ASC comp.

Kind of scary, where to next? I think i know but I'm not going to say.

Ada gula, ada semut!

geek's picture
geek's picture
geek commented Friday, 6 Oct 2017 at 10:18am

Stayed at SS in Krui around this time 10 years ago, didn't see another person in the water apart from our crew for 2 weeks. Magic times, but don't think I will go back.

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Friday, 6 Oct 2017 at 9:19pm

I think I know the place you're thinking of. So far the only thing holding it back is water. There just isn't any and even bores going down 60m are turning up nothing but completely brackish water. That said, land speculation is wild and most of the beach front land is in the handsof people waiting for it to begin.

The other place I am thinking of is just a mission, expensive,and fickle. I used to think that would turn people away. But considering how much people are willing to pay to fly all the way out to the Telos to possibly get nothing above shoulder high, I wouldn't be surprised if this place gets more and more boats. There's at least one Russian group running a boat there this season, and a German guy on a Bali Buy and Sell page has been pushing his boat too.

P.S I watched some of the Pacitan contest on live stream and it was bloody terrible!

saltman's picture
saltman's picture
saltman commented Friday, 6 Oct 2017 at 8:30am

Dylan's is already a cluster fu** with the too many rooms to rent for the number of waves given the consistency
This will not help
Simeulue is a great place but doesn't have the surf capacity post earthquakes as other areas

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Friday, 6 Oct 2017 at 11:31am

No beer. No contest.

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Friday, 6 Oct 2017 at 3:16pm

As you travel around the island you can see evidence of the 2004 quake. One side was lifted almost two metres out of the ocean, whilst the other side went under. I was told that 'the peak' didn't exist prior to the quake, arguably the best wave on the island was created as a result of the devastating quake that hit Banda Aceh on boxing day 2004.

Toppa

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 6 Oct 2017 at 6:32pm

But according to the old guys like Willy better waves were lost.

Ada gula, ada semut!

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell commented Saturday, 7 Oct 2017 at 1:44pm

a guy i used to email a lot lost his camp there to the Tsunami,well the waves nearby were destroyed so he left camp. i wonder how hes doing?? you might have known him Indo.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 7 Oct 2017 at 6:03pm

Ha ha i emailed him a few times way back when too, he is an older Aussie guy called Willy his camp was damaged but repaired or rebuilt but he sold up, he said the reason he sold up was the best waves got ruined or lost quality and he go sick of taking people surfing to average waves (for Indonesia) also said he was over the strict muslim thing and hard to get beer.(as i mentioned above Dylans is named after his son)

I believe him and the guys from Mahi Mahi and Casuarina where among the first guys to regularly surf the island and other areas of Aceh.

Ada gula, ada semut!

Robin Masters's picture
Robin Masters's picture
Robin Masters commented Saturday, 7 Oct 2017 at 4:37pm

I've been to Simeulue maybe 10 times now and find the people some of the nicest I've met in my life. Never felt a bad vibe. But in the last couple of years it's suffering under its own popularity. I haven't bothered to surf Dylan's because of the constant crowd. It's a great wave when it's on though. But fikle. Maybe Sunlover199 should spend a week there. You' d enjoy it. There' tonnes of waves if you look around. Aura and Mahi Mahi probably the pick to stay . Or Ricky's Camp Is a good place a bit cheaper.

WazzlePop64's picture
WazzlePop64's picture
WazzlePop64 commented Saturday, 7 Oct 2017 at 11:23pm

Went there for first time last year, like all places, just ask the right people & things, Happen.
Sharia Law or Not!.. Islamic custom is what holds them together & they are happy people.
Great waves, uncrowded, other than Dylan's,
A bike ride away, a bay away, that's the Adventure of Simeulue................

EddieBoy