Bali

Surf Spots
Bali is known for its jungled volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches, coral reefs, surf and Hindu culture. Now a Mecca for tourism and travelling surfers the Hindu culture has not been lost and still remains prevalent throughout the island of the gods today. It’s not only the vast range of reef breaks that are spread along the coastline of Bali that makes it so special but the incredibly patient, accepting and tolerable Balinese people that greet millions of foreign visitors in search of Bali surf every year.

Travellers, surfers and expats see the island as a truly magical place. Most cannot bear to leave and make it their home. As for the unlucky ones forced back to reality, they are drawn back year after year in search of the next surfing odyssey, chasing the swell of their dreams. It really is no wonder that so many people travel to Bali in search of the ultimate surfing adventure, wave perfection and pumping barrels.

Surfing in Bali is most commonly known for its perfect barreling left-hand reef breaks, however, there is also a vast range of world-class right-hand reef breaks. The long list of famous surf spots means no shortage of waves for experienced surfers. There is also plenty of mellower surf spots for intermediate surfers and beach break options for beginner surfers.

If you’re planning on coming to Bali on a surf trip then this is the most up to date and in-depth surf guide for not only you but anyone else that may be coming to lap up the best beaches in Bali rather than surfing. Learn all the tips you need to surf Bali such as where to stay at each surf break, what the waves are like, how to get there, how to get in and out of the surf at each spot and much much more.

WHERE TO SURF IN BALI

Goldmines waiting to be discovered
Mick Lammers

SURFING IN BALI

Here’s the deal: there’s always surf in Bali. While it absolutely pumps certain times of the year, it’s rare that there’s an unrideable wave on the island. And if there is, it’s just an excuse to take a layday. There’s plenty of fun to be had on land.

Bali’s reefs and beach breaks lap up the swell in the dry season between April and October. Swells are pushed up from the south-west across the Indian Ocean and the trade winds blowing from the south-east are favourable for the breaks on the southwest coastline. During the wet season when the trade winds switch to the northwest the surf spots on the eastern coastline of Bali light up during irregular swells in comparison to the dry season.

While the mountainous north rises to 3,031 m (9,944 ft) at the top of Mount Agung, the south narrows into a flat landscape of white sand beaches with areas of cliffs that drop into ocean reef and spectacular white sand beaches. This little piece of Indo is a unique and breathtaking destination – it offers a delightful variety in geography, culture, and waves.

Surfing in Bali is geographically divided by region. To the north are spots like Batu Bolong, Kuta, and Kedungu. To the East are beaches like Keramas. Due west lies the beautiful Bukit peninsula, home to spots like Uluwatu. Each area offers a unique beauty – from the people that visit, to the landscape, to the waves. It’s worth visiting all of Bali to get a true grasp at how diverse and incredible the landscape is.

BEST BEGINNER SPOTS

BEST INTERMEDIATE SPOTS

BEST ADVANCED SPOTS

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FAQ

When is the best time of year to surf?
There are more waves to surf in the dry season (April to October) than the wet season (November to March). That’s not to say that there’s no fun to be had in the wet season – wet season offer less crowded lineups, cheap flights, and less traffic. And besides, if you’re jumping in the water for a surf, you’re getting wet anyways.

Wet season also just means that it rains sometimes – often days will be somewhat sunny, water will be glassy, and there are plenty of good times to be had. Some days will be full of torrential downpours and flooding, but hey, it’s all about perspective.

Is it safe to surf in Bali?
The ocean is a powerful force – regardless of where you are. The surf in Bali is both predictable and wild, safe and dangerous. It’s all about where you choose to surf.

As a rule of thumb, stick to your comfort level. If you’re eager to explore new spots, go with others or hire a guide. The sharp reefs, strong tides, and rough ocean can make surfing in Bali a thrilling adventure. It’s not unheard of for people to drown or seriously injure themselves in the water.

Bali is the most developed and tourist-friendly island in Indonesia. Millions of tourists pass through. There are plenty of hospitals and competent doctors, which means that if you were to injure yourself, there are facilities and knowledge.

In addition to the sea, the water in Bali (especially around Kuta and Seminyak) can become seriously polluted. In 2018, Bali declared a garbage emergency, referencing the amount of plastic pollution. If you have a cut or are sensitive to bacteria, keep cautious and check pollution levels. Surfers can become seriously sick because of the pollution in the water.

Where should I surf in Bali if it’s too big?
It 100% depends on your attitude. If you’re looking for thrills, expert surfers eager for a challenging wave will find their fill at Outside Corners, which comes to life at the 8-10 ft mark. Step-up boards are required. This is considered a legitimate big-wave spot in the Bukit.

Kuta or Canggu is a safe bet for more user-friendly waves when the surf is too big anywhere else. Even if it’s large, there are amenities a’plenty and it’s relatively sheltered.

What are the best waves in Bali?
While there are hundreds of opportunities for waves throughout the island, the highest concentration of consistent, picturesque, and readily accessible breaks are on the Bukit Peninsula. Dramatic steep cliffs, impressive temples, and white sand beaches dot the area.
How much does it cost to surf in Bali?
Surfing is one of the more delightful activities in life because it can be relatively cheap. If you’re flying a board over, expect to hand over some of your hard earned money for board fees. Other than that, you’re golden. Bali is an island that caters to surfers – scooters, chartered transportation, and accommodations have appropriate space for your quiver.

Beginners will find that there’s a big market for surf camps, rentals, and guiding. Pricing differs based on your location, the time of year, and how gullible you are.

Expect to pay at least $4 for a board rental, $35 for basic accommodation, and $30 – 35 for surfing lessons. This ranges drastically based on what type of trip you’re looking for and where you choose to spend your time. Hotspots like Uluwatu and Canggu tend to be a bit more pricey. Kuta can be a bit cheaper but lacks overall quality outside of the water. Keramas, a little bit further from the rest, has reasonable pricing and decent quality rentals.

Where should I rent a board?
Board rental shacks line popular beaches like Batu Bolong. While the boards on the beach aren’t the best quality, they are still rideable. Most formal board shops offer rentals, though at a slightly higher price.

If you’re staying on the island for a while, it’s worth negotiating long-term rentals. Often you’ll find that you can haggle the price pretty low.

That being said, it might be easier to just buy a board. Independent and international shapers provide the island with a wealth of rideable goodies. From the high-end boards at Drifter in Uluwatu, to the brick and mortar Chilli Surfboards outpost in Canggu, boards in Bali are cheaper than the mainland, and just as good. There’s also dozens of internationally recognized and respected shapers. Check out DHD at the White Monkey Surf Shop, Luke Studer, and Peter Mills.

What you need to know about surfing Bali’s East Coast?
Further away from the crowds of Denpasar, is the East Coast, a coastline rife with black sand beaches to the north, white sand beaches to the south, modest fishing villages, and pumping waves. It’s here that you’ll find spots like Keramas, Sanur and Nusa Dua. The East Coast is the place to be during the wet season – mostly comprised of right handers, you’ll find consistent and relatively uncrowded waves.
Bali secret spots
Bali is full of locals-only secret spots, but they fly under the radar for a reason. If you spend enough time in Bali and get to know the locals, you may be lucky enough to be invited to surf with them. Otherwise, it’s worth acknowledging and respecting that Bali is bombarded with surf-hungry tourists – some secret spots are sacred.