Hidden Paradise in Banyuwangi: Plengkung Beach (G-Land)

G-Land, renowned as Plengkung Beach, is an internationally famous surf break situated on the Grajagan Bay, Alas Purwo National Park, Banyuwangi, East Java, Indonesia roughly half a day by street from the popular tourist destinations of Bali. G-Land is most frequently reached via boat charter from Bali.

The south shore of Java faces the Indian Ocean, so it’s subjected to large swells generated by low-pressure systems circling Antarctica, many thousands of kilometres to the south. G-Land is located on the eastern side of the Bay of Grajagan. Therefore it has a westerly aspect; i.e. at right points to the predominant swell direction. As a consequence, a wave wraps around the point and into the eastern side of the bay, creating long, walling left-handers, which peel at a rapid rate along a half kilometre stretch of shallow coral reef. It then forms entirely hollow tubes which remain open the whole way.

The wind at G-Land blows offshore between April and September, which also happens to be when the swells are in their most significant and most consistent. Since the waves are generated by low-pressure systems circling Antarctica, their regularity coincides with the passage of these lows. So, the swell arrives in pulses, each lasting for a few days, with a couple of days between each wave.

Waves tend to be larger and better at high tide, so it’s best to plan a surf trip for the week following a new or full moon since this is when the wave is higher during the middle of the day.

A long, world-class, barreling left-hand reef/point break, happens throughout the east side of Grajagan Bay. It has long been well-thought-off one of the world’s best left-hand tides. The right name of the point upon which the essential wave breaks is “Plengkung”. The wave gets shallower and riskier that the further down the point one rides the tide. It is among the most consistently rideable waves on earth in season, with offshore trade winds and often large swells between the months of, roughly, mid-April to mid-October.

The G-Land surf break was divided up into several segments. The first, at the top of the stage, is called “Kongs”, which breaks up to several hundred metres in length, and can hold relatively big sizes (about 2 to 12 feet+, Hawaiian scale). It is not typically a barrel, nor genuinely world-class, but more a set of takeoff zones with a few longwall sections. However, it can also barrel on occasions. This is where surfers can find the key-hole’ that is a section of the reef which permits a more forgivable paddle out. This section picks up a lot of swells, and is rarely less than 3 feet, and maybe a saviour when the rest of the point is too little. This wave can occasionally link up with the next section called “Moneytrees”.

The Moneytrees works from around 2 to 10 feet (Hawaiian scale or about 4 to 20 feet wave faces), naturally breaking over several hundred metres, and is a long, testing, barreling, world-class wave. The barrels become more crucial, the lower the tide and the bigger the swell. Moneytrees may also occasionally join with another section called “Speedies”, with an outside takeoff section between both called “Launching Pads”.

“Launching Pads” can catch the surfer off-guard, as it can break a significant way out to sea into more massive swells. “Speedies” (titled after how fast the wave breaks) is an enormous tide at G-Land but maybe a perfect, very round barrel for a few hundred metres, rideable from approximately 2 to 8 feet (Hawaiian scale). It usually needs more massive swells, and low tide can be extremely dangerous. Most severe injuries at G-Land have happened at “Speedies”.

It’s not common to ride a wave more than about 300 to 400 metres at G-Land. However, the section of the point where rideable waves break is considerably longer (more than 1 km long) since the waves usually don’t join with each other. The dry season around May to October is far and away the best time to go. That’s when the offshore southeast trade winds blow and the swell, pouring from the Southern Ocean, is in its most massive and most consistent.

Suppose you plan a trip to Banyuwangi soon, don’t forget to visit Plengkung Beach, and please research more about Banyuwangi before you go by visiting Wonderful Indonesia.

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