River surf in Sumatra – catch the longest ride of your life!

Every surfer has heard about it: yes, you can surf waves in rivers as well as in the ocean.

The tidal wave “Bono” breaking in the Kampar River in Sumatra, Indonesia, is a bit different from European river waves. Bono, also known by the Rip Curl Movie “Seven Ghosts”, can produce faces up to 10 feet and offers rides of several minutes. Breaking in comfortable 27 degrees Celsius, this wave can travel up to 50 kilometers with you riding it! So far the record for a ride is more than 1 hour on one and the same wave.

Catch the longest ride of your live with us!




The average ride on the Bono wave lasts about 15 minutes with wave sizes between 2-5 feet. Big sections can produce wave faces of more than 10 feet, but normally the Bono is a mellow and soft peeling wave which allows dozens of roundhouse cut backs and even snaps. It’s suitable for intermediate and advanced surfer and perfect for long boarding and paddle surfing. Even surf beginners can have a lot of fun and practice surf maneuvers until their legs are collapsing :-)

Kampar River’s colour is not caused by pollution but by mud and the high percentage of peat in the surrounding area. In fact the Kampar River has quite good water quality in relation to Balinese or even European rivers.

Bono has no seasonal peaks, but it works only on special days around the full moon and the new moon. During rainy season the Kampar River has more water thus the bore is stronger and the waves are bigger. Bono works similar to the Brazilian wave “Prororoca”. At high tide, sea water is flowing into the river mouth of the Kampar River and produces a bore together with the flowing river water.  There are several peaks which produce daily up to 4 hours of surfable waves with the length more than 50 kilometers.

With our two modern inflatable boats, our experienced boat pilots will bring you out onto the Kampar River and will accompany you while you are surfing Bono. The pilots are trained in rescue maneuvers and as soon as you are tired of surfing or wiped out, they will be there to collect you. We need a minimum of 2 people per boat to guarantee a trip and with a maximum number of 4 people per boat you can surf more or less 1 hour on 4 to 5 different peaks of the Bono. Definitely enough time for your longest ride ever and probably the worst muscle ache you ever got from surfing :-)




In September 2012 Bono was discovered and surfed for the first time by our French partner Antony and some of his friends, all experts in river surfing. After this Antony went back to Bono a couple of times and organized the Rip Curl Search in 2011 with pro surfers Tom Curren, Dean Brady, Bruno Santos, Tyler Larronde and Oney Anwar.

This trip brought the well known Rip Curl surf movie “Seven Ghosts” on the market which stunned the whole surf scene.

“Mega Lestari” the small hotel and our base camp were built in 2011 by Antony with a lot of help of Unas, “the local teacher” of the small village Teluk Meranti. Since then Antony has been organizing Bono surf trips for surfers from all over the world. Erna and her husband Ipin are taking care of the hotel, while Erna’s sister runs the small restaurant situated just across the street. Our boat pilots Dedi and Rio have long lasting experience with surf charter boats and are very familiar with Bono.




The small hotel “Mega Lestari” is situated in the small and friendly village of Teluk Meranti with 2500 inhabitants, on the shore of the Kampar River. The hotel consists of 9 basic rooms (5 single rooms and 4 double rooms) with fan cooling. Furthermore there is a spacey living room for chatting and relaxing after surf. There are 4 indo-style shared toilets. That means, to be suitable for this adventure, you have to shower with a bucket filled with filtered river water.

Sumatra and whole Indonesia is a developing nation but nevertheless there is good cell phone coverage in Teluk Meranti and with some of the local cell phone providers you can get a stable 3G internet connection. Although there is no electricity normally during day time, there is still the possibility to run the generator before sunset if it is absolute necessary.

Please bear in mind that you are travelling in an area of Indonesia, which is barely tapped by tourism thus western standards are non-existent. But who is willing to leave one’s comfort zone for a couple of days, will certainly be rewarded with some unforgettable experience and a broadened horizon.




The restaurant is situated right across the street of the Mega Lestari hotel. Full board including 2 bottles of drinking water is included in the trip price.

Breakfast traditionally consists of fried rice or noodles with coffee or tea and some bananas. For lunch and dinner there is rice with chicken, fish or fresh Gambas. All the food is usually very spicy but of course you can ask for a more forgiving version if you are a bit sensitive in that area.

Sumatra is a Muslim Island thus alcoholic drinks are commonly not available. Alcohol is sold nowhere in the village of Teluk Meranti and we ask you not to bring any alcohol, please.




Your destination airport is Pekanbaru (PKB) in central Sumatra, Indonesia. You get there either from Jakarta (several flights daily to Pekanbaru with Lion Air, Garuda Indonesia or Riau Airlines) or from Kuala Lumpur (only 1 flight per day to Pekanbaru with Air Asia). We are happy to assist you with your domestic flights.

Once you have arrived in Pekanbaru, you can head directly to your final destination Teluk Meranti by car which takes about 4-7 hours of driving depending on traffic and road conditions. If you need a bit of rest and want to enjoy the scenic drive during daylight, you can spend the first night in a clean room of the hotel “Aziza” for the price of 30 Euros, and head to Teluk Meranti the next morning.

Our local travel agency “River Defender” takes care of your arrival pick-up and the trip to Teluk Meranti. The price per car for one trip is 1,100,000 Rupiah (about 90 EUR) with a maximum of 3 people per car (surfboards on roof top).

When entering Indonesia (e.g at Jakarta, Bali or Pekanbaru) you need to buy “visa-on-arrival” which is available right at the airport. It costs 25 US dollar and is valid for 30 days.

Please make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 more months at the date of entering Indonesia!! 




As you are surfing in fresh water which provides less flotation than sea water you need to have a surfboard with some more buoyancy, which means fishs, minimals and long boards are suitable perfectly for Bono. Also take in consideration that excessive pumping for minutes on a short board can be very exhausting :-)

We have a couple of rental surf boards in our board stock, which are available for 10 EUR per day. Besides of 2 long boards, 1 SUP and a knee-board we have several fun-shapes, minimals and short boards. Wax and spare leashes are available as well. 




We can guarantee a Bono trip with a minimum of 2 people.

Price per person
250 EUR / day

Transfer costs
from Pekanbaru to Bono (Teluk Meranti):
90 EUR per car, per one trip with a maximum of 3 people per car.

Surfboard rental
10 EUR/day/board 



The following services are included:

    •    Accommodation
    •    Breakfast, lunch, dinner
    •    Tea/coffee and 2 bottles of drinking water per day
    •    Boat rental including gas and pilots
    •    Daily surf briefing with maps
    •    All police permits



As mentioned already, with a big tidal range the Bono also gets bigger and stronger. The biggest tidal ranges are always at new moon and full moon.

Trip Dates

Jan. 2013
Feb. 2013 March 2013 April 2013
10. 09.
10. 09.
11. (new moon)
10. (new moon) 11. (new moon) 10. (new moon)
12. 11 12. 11.
13 12 13. 12.
14. 13. 14. 13.
15. 14. 15. 14.

27. (full moon) 25. (full moon) 27. (full moon) 25. (full moon)
26. 28. 26.
27. 29. 27.
30. 28. 30. 28.
31. 01. March
31. 29.


WATER FROM THE MOON (trailer) from bimagirindra on Vimeo.