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Water from the Moon

Water from the Moon


 Almost every surfer has heard about it already: yes, you can surf waves in rivers as well as in the ocean. Especially in Germany and Austria there is a big scene of crazy surfers jumping in ice cold rivers to surf hip high standing waves. Even in the winter!

The tidal wave “Bono” breaking in the Kampar River in Sumatra, Indonesia, is a bit different from the European river waves. Bono, also known through 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.

Tuquoise Surf Travel offers you this adventure in Sumatra. Catch the longest ride of your live with us!

The Wave  

 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.

The brown color of the Kampar River 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.

The Team  

 In September 2011 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 overwhelming experience Antony went back to Bono a couple of times and organized the Rip Curl Search in 2011 with the pro surfers Tom Curren, Dean Brady, Bruno Santos, Tyler Larronde und 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 was 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.

Hotel & Restaurant  

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 Mega Lestari Hotel owns 8 decent rooms with 4 doubles and 4 singles, 
all with fans but no aircon, on first floor. There is now mosquito bed netting in the rooms, 
take repellent but remember the mosquito factor is pretty low. A large ventilated living room with sofas makes file fairly easy.

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.

The main restaurant is opposite the hotel :

Food is varied with white rice, river fishes, chicken and some tasty (if not spicy) local recipes, some sweet stuff.
You'll get 2 bottles of mineral water per day and per person.
Sumatra is a Moslem 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.

Transfer & Arrival  

                             TRANSPORTATION TO TELUK MERANTI    

  •    AIR : from Europe or Asia, it's better to fly Kual Lumpur (KUL)

Air Asia operates now from Paris-Orly (with 4 flights a week) and London-Stansted (1 flight a day). Average pricing is 550€ r/t, and supplement for boardbag (has to weight less than 20 kg) is 20€ per trip.

You will land at KLIA and you need to transfer to LCCT, which takes 20 minutes by bus (2,5 Ringgits per trip + 5 Ringgits for boardbag). Bus leaves every 30 minutes, expect one hour tranfer time.

Monday 16:00-15:50  16:15 - 18:00
Tuesday 10:50 - 10:40  11:05 - 12:50
Wednesday 16:00 - 15:50  16:15 - 18:00
Thursday 10:50 - 10:40  11:05 - 12:50
Friday 16:00 - 15:50  16:15 - 18:00
Saturday 10:50 - 10:40  11:05 - 12:50
Sunday 15:50 - 15:35  16:00 - 12:45

 Note : buses don't have storage cases so you need to get the boardbag inside the bus. In case you need to leave stuff behind, there is a "left luggage" in both airports. But it's expensive : 48 Ringgit (approx 12€) per day for XL bags


  • AIR : Singapore is an option too, but it's more expensive and takes 2 days


If you go for the Singapore option, below are the instructions to get to your final destination, Teluk Meranti :

First take a Maxi-Cab (50 SG$, 30 €) from Changi to Waterfront

Take a fast ferry from Singapore Waterfront to Sekupang on Batam island (45 minutes,  around 35-50 SG$, 20-30€)

Take a speedboat from Sekupang to Tanjung Batu on Kundur island (2 hours, 220.000 Rps (20€) but only from 0800 to 1500. Same on return).

Then take the daily  speedboat from Tanjung Batu to Teluk Meranti (3 to 4 hours, 180.000 Rps (15€) but quite packed !).

Departs 0700 – arrives 1000 or 1100 (depending on Kampar river flow)

Returns 1300 – arrives 1600 or 1700 (depending on Kampar river flow)

You may also charter Teluk Meranti 200Hp 10-seater speedboat but that's 2.500.000 Rps (200 €)


  • AIR : from Indonesia, Australia or America, best is to fly to Jakarta (CGK)

There are 10 to 16 flights per day between Jakarta and Pekanbaru with Lion Air, Garuda and Riau airlines



You best option is to land in Pekanbaru, capital of Riau Province. You need 25 US$ or the equivalent in Ringgit or € to obtain your visa upon arrival and a passport with at least 6 months validity. Visa will be granted for 30 days.

Our local operator there, River Difender, will be taking care of your arrival. You can decide to stay one night in Pekanbaru (700,000 people, oil capital of Indonesia) to enjoy a scenic day drive the next day, or go straight to Teluk Meranti, which last anything from 4 to 7 hours depending on road conditions.

Hotel Aziza in Pekanbaru is 15 minutes from the airport, provides clean deluxe rooms at 350,000 Rps (about 30€ for a double bed room) with free breakfast, free wifi, massage... 

Transfer : Toyota Avanza (3 passengers max per car), boards on roof ok.

Cost of transfer is 1,100,000 Rps per trip (90€).



 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.

Equipments :

 -1 SUP 10 feets Oxbow + carbon paddle
- 1 x 9 ft2 Surftech 'tudor'
- 1 x 9 ft resin
- 1 x 8 ft Surftech 'Greek'
- 1 x 7 ft Project


 It's almost impossible to surf the Bono without a proper boat unless you really know where to wait for the last section before Teluk Meranti village. And that would only give you a 10-15 minutes wave if you don't miss it, for which you'd have to paddle for 30 minutes !

We have 2 brand new Rigid Inflatable Boats with reliable Yamaha engines :

- One 430 cm (14ft) RIB with central console and a 40 Hp 2 stroke Yamaha engine. It fits for 3-4 people (including pilot).
- One 480 cm (16ft) RIB with central console and a 60 Hp 2 stroke Yamaha engine. It fits for 4-5 people (including pilot).
Those boats will be driven by experienced pilots, trained for rescue techniques, with a good knowledge of the Bono sections.
Fuel : each trip will burn 50-70 liters per boat (included in pricing).

Extra Surf Activities  

A trip to Bono is not only about surfing !
Every day, Bono riding will happen during 4 to 5 hours, from 9-10am to 2-4pm. Accordingly, there will be little time for other activities.
However, here are a handful of ideas (* 1€ is about 12000 IDR Indonesia Rupiahs) :
-Rent a Stand-up (30,000 Rps* per hour)  and paddle alongside the village
-Rent a motorbike (20,000 Rps* per hour) and explore the area
-Taste a swallow's nest soup (chinese delicacy) : 120,000 Rps* / soup !!!
-Fish from the cement jetty (bring your own gear)
-Visit the schools with Unas, our teacher friend
-Get a local massage
  National Wildlife Reserves
The Kerumutan Wildlife Reserve (120,000 ha) lies immediately south of the Kampar river. The reserve consists of extensive, relatively undisturbed peatswamp forest with a small area of dry land forest but it requires special guides and transport to be able to watch the wildlife.
If you're after wildlife, best is spend a day from Pekanbaru to drive 4 hours to Tesso Nilo Reserve (213,000 ha), approved by WWF, where you can clealy see elephants (60-80 live there) & local species. However, there is no tourist structure to visit the Park, we would ask River Difender guys to see how rangers could set up some visit.

Price 2015  

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



Medium season from the 16th of february to the 27 of April 
High season from the 11 of may to the 12 of october Medium season from the 26 of october to the 7 december 
2 495 $ 2 795 $ 2 495 $



From the 6th to the 17 and also from the 20 of july to the 31, it is only 2 000 $ ! 

The prices includes :

- Boat rental + Fuel + Trained Pilot
- Accomodation
- Food (3meals a day)
- Drinks (2 bottles of water; tea, coffee)
- Daily briefings with maps
- Police permits
-Board rentals

The price does not onclude :

-Transfers to Teluk  Meranti
- Extras
-Soft drinks

Dates 2015  



Medium Season : 2 495 USD
16 Feb 2015 27 Feb 2015 10 places
02 March 2015 13 March 2015 10 places
16 March 2015 27 March 2015 10 places
30 March 2015 10 Apr 2015 10 places
27 Apr 2015 08 May 2015 10 places
Peak Season : 2 795 USD
11 May 2015 22 May 2015 10 places
25 May 2015 05 June 2015 10 places
08 June 2015 19 June 2015 Full
22 June 2015 03 July 2015 Full
06 July 2015 17 July 2015 10 places @
2 000 USD
20 July 2015 31 July 2015 9 places @
2 000 USD
03 Aug 2015 14 Aug 2015 Full
17 Aug 2015 28 Aug 2015 Full
31 Aug 2015 11 Sept 2015 Full
14 Sept 2015 25 Sept 2015 10 places
28 Sept 2015 09 Oct 2015 Full
12 Oct 2015 23 Oct 2015 10 places
Medium Season : 2 495 USD
26 Oct 2015 06 Nov 2015 10 places
09 Nov 2015 20 Nov 2015 Full
23 Nov 2015 04 Dec 2015 10 places
07 Dec 2015 18 Dec 2015 10 places




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.