Bono Surfing: A Unique Surfing Experience in Kampar River, Indonesia

Bono surfing has nothing to do with the lead vocalist of an Irish band U2. Bono is the term used by local people in Meranti Bay, Pelalawan Regency, Riau, to describe a huge tidal bore wave that frequently occurs in Kampar River. Riau is one of the provinces of the Republic of Indonesia that is situated in the Island of Sumatra, adjacent to the Strait of Malacca.

Bono waves are unique to this area and they occur as a result of a strong tide of the sea that meet up with the strong current from the river. In the past, Bono has taken many victims, ranging from loss of life, houses, boats and others.There are big bono, small bono dan zero bono. The wave can easily reach six meters height at the speed of 40 km/h during full moon in the month of August until December. This is comparable with similar phenomenon in Brazil and much higher than the one in Malaysia.

Today, the local government, the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy and all surfing fans throughout Indonesia are working hard to promote bono as an international tourist destination. The number of domestic and international tourists who visit Pelalawan Regency is expected to increase. The phenomenon that once was considered as a disaster has become a blessing for the local community. Many have considered this location as the best river surfing in the world, in terms of size and duration of the waves.

Today, a lot of foreign tourists have visited Meranti Bay only to try their hands at bono surfing. Even Steve King, the Guinness World Record Holder for the longest stand-up surfing ride on a river bore, came to this place a couple months ago and broke his own record.

If you like to try something new, then you should try Bono Surfing in Kampar River, Riau Province, Indonesia.

How to go there?

Fly to Pekanbaru, which is the capital of Riau Province in Sumatra, Indonesia. It will take about 7 hours from there to reach the location of Bono in Meranti Bay – Pelalawan, using both land and sea transports.

The travel as well as the surfing itself are quite challenging so make sure you are in really good shape before you even try to set foot in the bono location. There are not many hotels there so there is a good chance that you have to spend the night in the local resident’s house.

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