keramas

SURFING KERAMAS BALI

A heavy right-hander, breaking over a shallow section of reef off of a long stretch of black sand bordered by rice fields, Keramas paints a pretty picture for surfers and travellers alike.  Once only surfed by locals and expats-in-the-know, Keramas is slowly becoming one of the more popular waves in Bali.  Since the construction of a new portion of road, Keramas has been featured in edits from professional surfers globally and a Junior World Event.  While no longer a “secret” spot, Keramas more than lives up to the hype.  Expert surfers love the steep drops, long barrel sections, and powerful open faces for plenty of maneuvers, not to mention the regular opportunity for aerials.  Be warned: know your limits, Keramas is also known for dealing out its fair share of injuries and has a local crowd of pro surfers.

keramas-surf-map

SURFING CONDITIONS

keramas-surf

What kind of wave is Keramas?

In a land abundant with perfect lefts, Keramas stands apart.  Keramas is a thick-lipped heavy right-hander with a fast-breaking barrel section that breaks over a shallow chunk of volcanic rock.  The face can bowl out before closing out on the inside which offers an open right shoulder for big maneuvers.  Expert surfers take advantage of the steep shoulder for the occasional aerial.  You’ll find folks in the line-up on all tides but the incoming typically results in a longer shoulder and slightly slower barrel.  Onshore winds tend to pick up mid-morning most days blowing from the east.  The resulting slight crumble can be a great launchpad for airs.  Considering the world-class nature of the wave, you can also expect large crowds of locals, pros, and travelling surfers.  Dropping in on a fellow surfer at Keramas could be a death sentence so be respectful. Most surfers prefer Keramas from waist high to double overhead but the odd visionary has been known to paddle out when it’s bigger.  On big days the barrel breaks faster and the reef doesn’t get any deeper so be aware of your limitations.  

    • Wave type:

      Reef break

    • Wave difficulty:

      Experienced upwards

    • What way does the wave break:

      Right

    • Sea bottom:

      Shallow volcanic reef

 

  • Booties:

    Not necessary

  • Surfboard type:

    Shortboard to Semi-gun/Step-up surfboards

  • Crowd factor:

    Ultra-crowded

  • Hazards:

    The shallow reef, crowds, currents in the last section

    • Best swell direction:

      S

    • Best wind direction:

      NW

    • What tide does it work best on:

      High tide

    • Best tide movement for surfing:

      Incoming

 

  • How consistent is the surf:

    Consistent

  • Best time of year for waves:

    The start and end of both the dry and wet seasons

  • What is the vibe like in the lineup:

    An established line-up with a governed pecking order

  • What other names does Keramas go by?

    Pronounced “Kera-Mas”. In English Keramas means; “Shampoo” or “Wash hair”. Keramas is also known as “The Golden Monkey”.

How do you get in and out of the surf?

From the beach keep an eye out for the obvious channel.   

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

keramas-beach

What is the beach like?

Keramas breaks outside of a black sand beach that stretches for well over 10 kilometres.  The beach is known for beautiful views, sparkling volcanic sand and farmers moving their flock of ducks just like a flock of sheep.  Great for long beach walks, Keramas doesn’t seem to attract a ton of beachgoers aside from avid surfers so enjoy a bit of seclusion when you have a chance.  The black sand tends to get very hot so consider bringing sandals and maybe even an umbrella.

Where should I stay?

Being somewhat of a very quiet area in Bali there are still some great accommodation options for surfers in the immediate and surrounding area of the surf break at Keramas.

keramas-accommodation

Cheapest Price Range – Keramas Surf Camp

Keramas Surf Camp offers a taste of a bygone surfing era where simple surf accommodations surfers with simple amenities.  Rooms are clean simple surf shacks, often put together using an abundance of locally sourced resources.  Ducks inhabit the adjacent rice fields and in the early morning search for snails and slugs while you pass bintangs on your terraced porch overlooking the surrounding Balinese beauty.  You’ll have to take a drive about 5 minutes to access the surf spot at Keramas, but the beach is only 20 or so metres away and there’s a good chance you might discover your own private beach break. Expect good food and a friendly laid back atmosphere for an affordable price.  Great for single surfers, groups, Keramas Surf Camp offers a classic Balinese experience.  

keramas-bali-accommodation

Mid – Luxury Price Range – Hotel Komune Resort

Hotel Komune Resort and Beach club is ranked among the top 5 surf accommodations in Asia.  Located on the beach at Keramas, you really couldn’t ask for more.  Aside from the luxurious and comfortable rooms, health centre, spa, and restaurant, Keramas Komune Resort has a secret weapon: night surfing.  Hotel Komune Resort offers a permanent installation of floodlights overlooking the right at Keramas so that you can surf a world class wave at night.  You’ll have to book ahead for a night session which guarantees a crowd of no more than 6 surfers.  The 50-metre tubes at Keramas are definitely worthy of a Point Beak style night session, and you won’t have to deal with Gary Busey.  You can book a private session 7pm-Midnight or again 4am-6am.  Rooms, Suites, and Villas run a little steeper than some of the other options on this list but the perks are worth the extra chunk of change.  Great for families, couples, groups, and solo surfers with a bit more revenue than your average kook.   

keramas-hotel

Luxury Price Range – Komaneka at Keramas Beach

Komaneka at Keramas beach comes highly recommended from surfers and travellers around the globe. With modern luxuries and the occasional private pool, Komaneka offers the privacy, peace, and quiet that many areas of Bali are lacking these days.  Checking the surf is easy considering your ocean view and a short walk to the surf.  Komaneka definitely gives the feeling of paradise with amazing food, regular spa treatments, and the perfect waves in your backyard.  Great for honeymooners, couples, and families looking for a slice of heaven.  If your a single surfer, Komaneka could be great for you but you’ll miss out on some of the social opportunities available at other neighbouring surf accommodations.  

Is there food nearby?

While you can find food at the local warungs in the surrounding area at Keramas, here are a few restaurants to check out in the area.  

Keramas Aero Park is not your typical restaurant.  Aero Park offers a bar, Balinese and western food, great views of the surrounding rice fields, and a children’s playground all set within and adjacent to a Boeing 747 aeroplane.  If you’re asking yourself, did I read that right?  You did; the restaurant is built inside a 747 aeroplane parked above the bar and surrounding rice fields.  To access the aeroplane or restaurant, you’ll have to climb a few flights of stairs reminiscent of the Kuta airport.  A bit of a novelty, Aero Park gets good reviews from traveling surfers and will definitely be a quirky memory from your next surf trip.  

Spot Stonehenge over tea at Standing Stones Restaurant (The Royal Purnama)As our list continues, Spot Stonehenge over tea at Standing Stones Restaurant, part of the Royal Purnama Art suites and Villas, offers another semi-odd gimmick: the chance to dine adjacent to standing stones.  Don’t be fooled, these stones weren’t placed by wandering druids from the UK, the stones at Standing Stones Restaurant are an added aspect of the decor that gives SSR an interesting ambience.  Food is incredibly delicious and expensive.  Great for a romantic evening out.  

Warong Legong offers a more traditional Balinese dining experience with local and western cuisine in a quiet indoor-outdoor restaurant environment.  A great choice for families and couples, Warong Legong is great for surfers looking for a simple local lunch or dinner option void of architectural oddities you’ve seen so far on this list.

What else is there to do in the area other than surfing?

Hotel Komune Beach Club is a great spot for a rest in between surfing sessions at Keramas.  Located directly on the beach in front of the surf break, you’ll enjoy live music, cocktails, free wifi, and the occasional eye candy.  In addition to the pool, bar, and lounge areas, Keramas Beach Club offers an open-air cinema surrounded by coconut trees and an outstanding ocean view.  Aside from North Shore or Point Break, obvious classics in the surf film genre, the beach club often shows live sporting events and professional surfing competitions.  A great place for everyone keen to socialise.   

Bali Safari and Marine Park is a unique opportunity to engage with local wildlife and animals from around the world.  In association with PKSBI (Indonesian Zoological Parks Association) and CBSG (Conservations Breeding Specialist Group), the Bali Safari and Marine Park work with local organisations and volunteers to help ensure the longevity and survival of local species from Sumatran Elephants and Tigers to Komodo Dragons.  Bali Safari and Marine Park is a great place for families looking to keep their kids stoked between surf sessions and travellers looking to keep Instagram followers drooling.  

Bali Horse Riding provides individually guided horseback riding tours along the beaches of Bali.  There are opportunities for riders of all ability levels.  This is a great place to check out for couples looking for a romantic experience in Bali or families looking to spice up your selection of activities.  

Bali Jeep Tours are a great way to experience the landscape without having to exert yourself too much. If you’re looking for a relaxing trip through the countryside, and to give your body a rest from surfing your face off, Bali Jeep tours is the place for you. Tours are guided by locals who can give you the inside scoop on places to check out and things to do during your visit.

Bali Rides – While Bali is obviously known for its incredible surfing, the mountain biking is not half bad and makes for a number one option with the exception of surfing. Downhill through the real countryside, local villages, temples and rice paddies make for an amazing backdrop for your mountain bike ride.  Bali Rides receives great reviews from all travellers looking for an intimate experience with the authentic Balinese landscape.  

What else do I need to know?

There are a few beach breaks along the long stretch of black sand beach where Keramas is.  While they won’t often provide you with the same barrel riding experience, they’re a great option for getting away from the crowds.  

LOCATION

Where is Keramas?

Keramas is located a little ways North of the Bukit Peninsula on the Eastern side of Bali.  The closest airport is located in Denpasar.  

How to get around?

As for most of Bali, Scooters come highly recommended.  This allows you to weave through traffic and get from point A to point B a bit quicker than walking, biking or sitting in traffic in a 4 wheeled vehicle.

Is there parking fees?

One of the few places in Bali where you’ll find free parking on the beach!  

How to get to Keramas?

Step 1: If you’re headed from the airport or west coast of Bali, you’ll want to head north past Sanur along the east coast and turn onto the new road the Ketewel ByPass.

Step 2: Continue northeast along the coast through Ketewel, Pabean and Saba until you reach the Keramas area.

Step 3: Once you arrive in Keramas, you’ll need to take a small dirt track marked by a blue sign on the right-hand side of the road with the word “Keramas” painted in yellow letters by hand.  It is easy to miss this sign so stay alert as you enter the area.  You’ll find the beach at the far end of the road where free parking is available.  Drive to the end of the road and you are there.