There’s little in life that can drown out the sound of a roaring wave as it scrapes over the top of a shallow barrier reef, except of course the sound of a 747. Imagine sitting in the lineup, about a kilometre from shore as a roaring Virgin Australia Jet zips 100 metres above your head and you’re surfing Airport Reefs. Read on to find out more about how to make the best of your next Airport Rights and Airport Lefts session.
Nestled at the end of the Ngurah Rai International Airport runway, you’ll find Airport Rights. Considering it’s not exactly visible from Kuta with the naked eye, you’ll want to hire a boatman to trolley you out to the line-up. Expect to pay a little more for a ride to airport rights as it’s a longer journey than other breaks accessible by boat in the area unless you catch a boat from Jimbaran Beach.
It might be a little crowded, but if you hit ideal conditions; high tide, no wind, decent swell, it’s well worth the extra few Indonesian rupiah you’ll have to shell out along the way. From 2-4 feet you can expect Airport Rights to be breaking for nearly 100 meters with the odd barrel or two. It is rare you’ll catch this wave on your own so be patient and respectful in the line-up.
About a kilometre offshore, and south of Kuta Reef, you’ll fine Airport Lefts at the far end of the runway extending into the water. Unless you’re willing to make the paddle, (which more than most don’t) you’ll want to hire a boat for the journey outside.
Here’s a tip: don’t forget to book your boat ride home or you’ll find yourself past sunset hitchhiking for aeroplanes. There are two peaks at Airport Lefts that are known to line up during the right conditions. Anything above a midsized swell will probably close out but under the right conditions, you can expect an open rippable wall for 50-70 meters on higher tides.
Airport Lefts is more exposed than Kuta Reef and Airport Rights so it can be affected by a crosswind. This spot tends to get very crowded but as is true in much of Bali the vibe is mellow if you’re respectful and don’t get aggressive.
Airport Rights: Reef break
Airport Lefts: Reef break
Airport Rights: Experienced
Airport Lefts: Intermediate
Airport Rights: Right
Airport Lefts: Left
Airport Rights: Very sharp reef
Airport Lefts: Sharp reef
Airport Rights: Personal preference
Airport Lefts: Personal preference
Airport Rights: Shortboard
Airport Lefts: Shortboard
Airport Rights: Medium crowds
Airport Lefts: Crowded
Airport Rights: Sharp reef, far from shore
Airport Lefts: Sharp reef, far from shore
Airport Rights: W
Airport Lefts: SW
Airport Rights: E
Airport Lefts: E
Airport Rights: High
Airport Lefts: High
Airport Rights: Mid to high
Airport Lefts: Mid to high
Airport Rights: Inconsistent
Airport Lefts: Consistent
Airport Rights: April – October
Airport Lefts: April – October
Airport Rights: Competitive take-off zone
Airport Lefts: Wide range of abilities
Airport Lefts: Pertamina
By boat. Approx 50,000Rp per person. You can organise a boat at the end of the Kuta Art Market lane, out front of Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel or if staying in Jimbaran on the south side of the airport from Kedonganan Beach in Jimbaran. Otherwise, make the long paddle and really test out those shoulders.
Considering Airports reefs is located so far away from shore, this probably isn’t the spot to take your non-surfing friend or partner for a day of sunbathing. As mentioned above, there are boats for hire from Jimbaran Beach; a narrow isthmus connecting Bali and the Bukit peninsula. Jimbaran is notable for its high-class resorts, occasional celebrity sightings, and beautifully coloured boats lining the white sand shoreline. This is a great place to check out but you won’t be catching any waves unless you’re willing to hire a boat.
For surfers planning on surfing the airport reefs regularly, a great option is to stay on the southern side of the Ngurah Rai International Airport at Jimbaran. There is a wide range of accommodation options in Jimbaran right on the beach with easy access to boats that can take you out to the surf breaks. All of them offer a great level of comfort for the travelling surfer and a mellow atmosphere. Below are three great options that will aid you in your surf trip research. Of course, you can stay on the northern side of the airport in the Kuta area as well if that is more preferable. There are also many good options to stay close by to where you can pay for a local to ferry you out to the surf.
A Bali style modern resort complete with an enormous pool, Sari Segara Resort Villas and Spa was at the top of the list for high-class Jimbaran accommodations… about a decade ago. Today it is still comfortable and clean but receives mixed reviews from travellers. It’s always good to remember you get what you pay for and at around $13 a night, you probably won’t find much better. Travellers report good seafood, beautiful views, spacious clean rooms and comfortable mattresses. A 1-minute walk from the beach, if you’re a low maintenance surfer looking to rest your head then this could be your spot. If you’re not exactly low maintenance, check out some of the other spots on our list.
Another modern hotel which oozes Bali’s unique flair, Jimbaran Bay Beach Resort and Spa is a greatly priced accommodation with lots to choose from. Most travellers rate Jimbaran Bay Beach Resort highly and are impressed by the beautiful pool, close proximity to the beach, and spa treatments. That being said, with the growing popularity of Bali as a surf destination and travellers paradise, the island is beginning to show some wear and tear. Overall everyone is stoked on the rooftop bar and friendly staff to notice. If you’re travelling on a budget and looking for a great place to stay, Jimbaran Bay Beach Resort and Spa could be your ideal location.
Luxurious, modern, spacious, peaceful, gorgeous, and relaxing are all words used to describe Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran. As mentioned above, Jimbaran is a well-known Hollywood haunt for celebrities and I would be willing to bet you may spot a few sunbathing, drinking, or eating poolside. With high-class dining, shopping and drinking options this is a great accommodation for honeymooners or couples looking for a romantic getaway and the odd sneaky surf. Also on offer are kids programs and entertainment to keep the little ones happy while your scoring waves, or otherwise. If you’re a single travelling surfer looking for a place to rest your head, this might not be your ideal location. But if you’re a parent, honeymooner, or simply prioritising ease and comfort Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran is a great option.
In Jimbaran, there is a long array of beachside cafés and a lineup of international restaurants that make Jimbaran Bali’s seafood heaven a must-visit and a great option to refuel after a long day of surfing the airport reefs. Considering you’re a short distance from more urban areas of Kuta and Jimbaran’s notable touristy flare, you’re sure to find plenty of good places to eat – while most modern and close to the beach.
Jimbaran fish market is a traditional fish market is located at the northern end of the bay right by the beach at the Jalan Tukad Ayung junction. Fresh fish comes in every morning and customers include most of Bali’s fine dining restaurants. All manner of fish and shellfish are made available for sale and the best time to visit between 6-9AM. You can even get your purchases grilled at a grilling area in the market for a fee if you like!
Tegal Wangi Beach is a hidden beach in Jimbaran near Ayana Hotel Jimbaran. With a unique view that is even more exotic than other beaches in Bali, the high limestone cliffs and green trees around it can provide plenty of peace and quiet, turquoise water, white sand decoration and calm waters for pleasant swimming.
Garuda Wisnu Kencana a local cultural park with gorgeous statues and architecture on offer is worth a visit at least once.
It goes without saying but sunbathing and sunsets are high on most peoples list here as well.
On big swells, a fun kid’s beach break appears at high tide on the inside of Jimbaran Bay, near the seafood restaurants. Keep that one in mind if you’re on a surf holiday with the family.
I repeat: don’t forget to book your boat ride back! Post surf sesh at Airport Lefts or Airport Rights, you’re sure to have plenty of bicep burn to make a kilometre plus paddle (currents included) challenging on your way back to shore.
When your flying into Bali and your plane comes into land from the West, take a look out the window when approaching the runway and see if you can spot either of the surf breaks.
The most efficient is by scooter, particularly if you are travelling through the roundabout on the eastern side of the airport at Taman Ngurah Rai as it is almost always backed up at certain times of the day.