Bali, a surf paradise
Bali is known as the island of the Gods, but we can definitely rename it as the island of the Surf. Blessed with consistent swell 365 days a year, beautiful weather in both season and warm water temperature, Bali is a surf heaven for both pro surfers and newbies.
The island boasts over 60 surf spots, from legendary spots to easy waves ideal for beginners. Surfing is possible all year round and whatever wave you are fancying you can be assured, you’ll find it! There are plenty of great surfing country in the world but finding a place as complete as Bali is definitely not easy.
The peak surf season in Bali goes from April to October, the swell in this period is solid and consistent and hits mostly the south and west coast, places like Uluwatu, Kuta and Čanggu will show their best in this period. In the wet season the surf isn’t quite as large but it will be still consistent, with high waves hitting the shore every day. Best spots to surf in this period are probably on the east coast, surfing in places like Nusa Dua and Sanur with their beautifully clear waters will be a great experience.
A brief history…
Back in the 1936, when Kuta was an empty coast, the Californian surfer Bob Koke moved from Hawaii to Bali, opening the Bali Hotel in Kuta.
Back then surfing was not known in the island and didn’t actually catch on the locals and the tourist alike.
By the 1960s and 1970s, adventurous surfers like Rory Russel and Gerry Lopez came across the south of this island, the Bukit, and immediately understood the immense potential of Bali as a uniquely complete surfing destination. Since the 70s the combination of surf, beautiful weather and peaceful atmosphere attracted heaps of surfers of every kind, including wanna-be surfers. There is no doubt that Balinese tourism industry owes a lot to this sport and to the pioneers whom exposed it to the world.
A list including all the surf spots of the island will be too long, here some of the most famous onshore spot.
Kuta Bali most touristic area, crowded and noisy, offers waves that can be enjoyed by beginners and professional surfers alike. Going north you’ll also meet some other great spots like Padma and Seminyak, with higher waves and slightly different conditions. All the spots on this part of the coast are beach break, therefore safer for beginners and great for more experienced surfers wanting to improve speed and aerials.
Čanggu Located just north of Kuta, this beautiful black sandy beach is one of the most famous spots on the island. There are few different spots to enjoy here as well, places as Batu Bolong, Old man, Berawa and Echo beach. Waves here are also suitable for all kind of surfers and the sunsets are stunning.
Uluwatu This spot is a legendary place in Bali, located in the west coast of the Bukit Peninsula, here the swell is consistent. The reef bottom offers many different peaks, appearing at different tidal stages. ‘The Peak’ is a classic, lying directly before you as you paddle out of the cave, offers beautiful waves at all tidal stages. Its outer edges only break at low tide. ‘Racetrack’ is a fast and really funny wave in low tide conditions. ‘Temples’ is another worth mentioning spot, less busy because it is at some paddling distance from the main peak. Uluwatu is also a popular destination for tourist not only for its waves, the temple and the beautiful cliffs are amazing and won’t disappoint you!
Padang Padang Known as the ‘Balinese pipeline’ this is one of the fastest and longest barreling wave that lives up to its reputation as the most serious wave in the island. It clearly takes its nickname from the original Hawaiian pipeline and as the latter breaks over a shallow coral reef, therefore this spot is for expert surfers only.
But Padang Padang is not only the pipeline, in fact here we also have one of the favourite spot for beginners and long boarders, named ‘Padang Padang rights’. This spot is ideal to learn to ride whitewater and unbroken waves, the condition in high tide are perfect - long, slow and unbroken waves breaking in front of a beautiful white sandy beach. Also great for sunbathing and to watch the sunset, Padang Padang is located in the Bukit, just 25 minutes drive from the airport.
Impossibles and Bingin This two spots are adjacent and also located in the Bukit Peninsula. ‘Impossibles’ is a fast and picturesque wave. Made of three different peaks, under the right conditions it is possible for the sections to link up and offer a very long ride of a mile or more. ‘Bingin’ is another great spot, with a consistent wave, ideal to practice barrel riding lefts. Best conditions are at mid-tide, at high tide also the waves break very gently and are more suitable for beginners and long boarders. At low tide instead the spot can be very shallow and is recommended for experienced surfers only.
Dreamland This is a beautiful white sandy beach, really close to Impossibles. There are different peaks that work at different tidal stages, all breaking on sand and suitable for beginners. Beside its waves ‘Dreamland’ is a beautiful spot to sunbath and visit the local warungs, with astonishing panorama view and beach.
Balangan This reef break spot is at walking distance from Dreamland and has a beautiful and really quite white sandy beach. Definitely a must for goofy surfers, ‘Balangan’ offers a not so fast wave suitable for intermediate.
Keramas This is another world-class wave, a secret spot until few years back and now very popular. ‘Keramas’ is best surfed mid to low tide, when it produces fast and hollow right handers waves.
Nusa Dua Known for its resort dedicated area, Nusa Dua boasts a beautiful beach and nice waves, good for every type of surfing.