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Best Surfing Spots in Bali

Bali has traditionally been the starting point for nearly all Indonesian surfing tours. Bali boasts over 20 top quality breaks on the southwest and southeast coasts of the island and around the Bukit (Uluwatu) Peninsula. Some of these, like Padang Padang & Uluwatu, are world class barreling reef-breaks. Others range from fun waves on the beach-breaks around Kuta and Sanur to serious heavy, sucking waves.

Having so many surf options available within such a short distance to the Kuta and Legian beach area means that after your surf  you can return to a plush hotel and enjoy a long, lazy meal, lounge by the pool, take a nap in an air conditioned room and watch satellite TV.  Alternatively you can party at the discos each night, enjoy some of the local brew, all of which has definite appeal after spending one or two weeks on a surf charter boat, or in a very basic surf camp on Java or Sumatra. The peak of the surf season for Bali is April – October when solid swells are produced by the roaring 40’s and can be surfed on the reefs around Kuta, Uluwatu, and Nusa Dua.  Unlike most other areas of Indonesia where it is all heavy reef breaks, Bali also has a lot of beach-breaks on offer which are less likely to cause a surfer of novice or intermediate ability to get injured as can happen on the larger waves on the reef-breaks.

Medewi Beach

Medewi Beach appeals to less experienced or ambitious surfers with its softer and more workable left-hand breaks. The beach is lined with restaurants and hotels, adding to the relaxed atmosphere. The best surfing conditions in Medewi happen at high tide when you can catch an eight-foot swell on a good day.

  • Wave Direction: Left
  • Swell Direction: S/SW/W
  • Swell Size: 2-8 feet
  • Ideal Tide: Mid to High Tide
  • Ideal Season: April-October

Kuta Beach

Kuta’s crowds and intense development might make you forget that this is where surfing first found its footing in Bali. Surfing newbies can take advantage of the many surfing schools, stores, and rentals in the area. The waves, too, are friendly to the beginner, with extremely consistent and forgiving beach breaks.

At high tide, expert surfers can take advantage of Kuta Beach’s long stretch of sand bar breaks to try multiple maneuvers in succession.

  • Wave Direction: Left and right
  • Swell Direction: S/SW/W
  • Swell Size: 2-6 feet
  • Ideal Tide: Mid to High Tide
  • Ideal Season: May-September

Canggu Beach

Canggu is a short motorcycle drive from Kuta. It’s all things to all surfers depending on the time of year – big barrels for the expert, tame rolling waves for the beginner, and everything in between. Just watch out for the undertow and jagged reef bottom.

  • Wave Direction: Left and right
  • Swell Direction: S/SW/W
  • Swell Size: 2-8 feet
  • Ideal Tide: Mid to High Tide
  • Ideal Season: May-September

Bingin

Bingin’s hollow, fast barrel is addictive for experienced surfers who know how to handle it. However, expect competition from every visitor and local for all the barrels they can score for the day. You should also watch out for the “stop sign”, the raised coral that has prematurely ended many a great surfing vacation for visiting surfers. Take Bingin for what it is, a short left-hand wave that can cost you if you try to get more out of it than you deserve!

  • Wave Direction: Left
  • Swell Direction: SW
  • Swell Size: 3-6 feet
  • Ideal Tide: Low-Mid Tide
  • Ideal Season: May-September

Dreamland

Dreamland is tamer than the other Bukit surf spots, attracting surfers who want to avoid the heavy waves and sharp rocks of Bingin and Uluwatu. Dreamland’s relatively mellow breaks and beautiful scenery combine to give the place its well-deserved name.

Beginning surfers can take on Dreamland at mid-tide on the beach break that’s more forgiving of the occasional wipeout. Its outer reefs can be really challenging at the right time of the year at low tide, when big swells can create some really sweet barrels.

  • Wave Direction: Left & right
  • Swell Direction: NW
  • Swell Size: 3-12 feet
  • Ideal Tide: Low Tide
  • Ideal Season: May-September

Uluwatu

Uluwatu has been attracting surfers since the Seventies. Uluwatu’s five breaks offer surfers consistent swells with multiple chances to show off their skills. Not surprisingly, the place has grown quite crowded over the years!

Uluwatu provides the most exhilarating challenge during monsoon season, when the biggest swells hit the island. The temptation of taking on those fifteen-foot waves should be tempered by knowledge of the dangerous conditions – don’t leave shore without a big board and a sturdy leash.

  • Wave Direction: Left
  • Swell Direction: S/SW/W
  • Swell Size: 4-8 feet
  • Ideal Tide: Low to High Tide
  • Ideal Season: May-September

Nusa Dua

Newbies be warned: Nusa Dua’s shallow, sharp reef bottom and powerful, huge right-hand waves should be left to the experts. Nusa Dua is always ready with a wave on hand, the biggest and baddest ones in town at about fifteen feet on a good day.

Nusa Dua is Bali’s best rainy season surfing destination, peaking between October and April with good access at any time of the year.

If you want to save yourself the effort of paddling out to the break, some local fishermen may give you a lift for 5,000rp (about $0.50).

  • Wave Direction: Right
  • Swell Direction: SE/S/SW
  • Swell Size: 5-15 feet
  • Ideal Tide: Low to Mid Tide
  • Ideal Season: October-April

Padang Padang

The “Bali Pipeline”‘s surprising ferocity keeps professional surfers on their toes with huge swells and gigantic barrels that are about as fun to watch as they are to surf.

The downside: a wipeout here is more painful than most, as the sharp reef bottom and powerful create board-breaking, flesh-shredding situations that no one should attempt at low tide. Avoid if you’re a beginner, take precautions if you’re an expert.

  • Wave Direction: Left
  • Swell Direction: SW/S
  • Swell Size: 3-12 feet
  • Ideal Tide: Low to High Tide
  • Ideal Season: May-September

Balangan

Balangan at high tide is great for beginners, who can easily ride this reef break’s long left-hand waves. On really good days, the big waves provide an irresistible challenge to expert surfers.

The vibe at Balangan is friendly and low-key, with less competition due to the smaller crowds compared to Kuta and Uluwatu.

  • Wave Direction: Left
  • Swell Direction: S/SW/W
  • Swell Size: 3-10 feet
  • Ideal Tide: Low-Mid-tide
  • Ideal Season: May-September

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