The district of Banyuwangi, - located at the extreme eastern end of Java just across the island of Bali, - is blessed with many natural wonders. One among which is its spectacular beaches. The beaches here are situated either close to the city, secluded beyond the rainforests or lie hidden on a remote island. The most famous beach that has brought the name of Banyuwangi to the world’s attention are the Red Island Beach, The G-Land Beach and The Tabuhan Island Beach. Each has its own special character favoured by visitors, especially those who seek to play among the waves. But the G-land Beach is pretty dangerous, since it has some reef bottoms and high waves that are not for first time surfers. So let’s focus on the two other spectacular beaches for you to try out surfing!
1. The Red Island Beach
Also known locally as the Pulau Merah Beach, it is located reasonably close to the city of Banyuwangi. It’s about 60 km away, a good 2-2.5 hours’ drive to get to one of this most unique beach in the district. It’s called Red Island, because the white beach sand has mixed with the soil below that has come down this mountain shaped island. The island has red soil and is grown with lush vegetation. You can visit it when at low tide. Some people also say that it’s called Red Island because of the reddish sky that is created when the sunset touches the crimson sand.
On weekends the Red Island is crowded with local visitors because of its proximity to the city and is easily accessible by road. Year after year it has grown into a hot tourist destination. Last year in 2015, the 4th International Surfing Competition was held here in September. Surfers gathered from 20 different countries from around the world to compete in 7 categories : the open international, the national, expat, long board, paddle race , grommet for 14 years old, and pushing division for 10 years old.
Red Island is the perfect place for surfing competitions because of its consistent waves and sandy seabed . Waves are long and have an approximate height of 2 to 5 meters, which makes it perfect for practising your surfing skills. Surf camps are flourishing around the area, offering gear for rent and basic lessons on how to ride the waves. Accomodation is available for visitors to choose from, and while you are here, do try the delicious food. Local children are also starting to get more interested in surfing, and can be seen joining training lessons.
2. The Tabuhan Island Beach
Located in the Bali Strait between Java and Bali, this 5 hectares uninhabited island has the perfect winds for kite surfing and wind surfing.
As a matter of fact, in August 2015 a Pro Kiteboarding event was held here to invite kite surfers from all corners of the world. Picture perfect scenery of white sand and clear water combined with wind speed of up to 25 knots make this particular part of Banyuwangi a new potential tourist destination. The perfect winds are estimated to occur between May to November.
Kite surfing is a sport that uses a board, that is safely strapped to your feet, a kite manufactured with special durable fabric and a handle to assist your grip. The wind will fly the kite and carry you around the sea surface, allowing you to make tricks and moves, such as jumping or twirling.
While, wind surfing is a combination of stand up surfing and sailing. The board has a sail attached to it, with handles to grip onto. The perfect strong wind will sweep you fast across the ocean, giving exhillarating sensation of maneuvering around the ocean through the force of nature.
Both types of wind powered surfing are so much fun to try for beginners. But visitors need to bring their own equipment to try this here, since there are no places to rent them from.
Tabuhan island is indeed a slice of paradise, with unspoilt beauty and crystal clear blue water. This pearly beach is also loved by locals. You can easily get here by continuing your journey from Banyuwangi city to the Kampe Beach at Bangsring, then take a boat to the island.
Playing in the sand, swimming and snorkeling are some of the activities that visitors do during their stay here. No facilities are yet available , so you should bring your own food and supplies. And please do not forget to also bring rubbish container bags for your trash, to help keeping this pretty beach neat and clean.