Offering out-of-this-world surfing conditions throughout the year, it’s no wonder pros and beginner surfers from around the world flock to Bali to ride the waves. Not only is the "Bali Pipeline" a draw card, but the island itself is a paragon of rich culture, exploration and adventure. If those don’t sound quite up your alley, you can always enjoy good beer and spectacular sunsets on Bali’s magnificent beaches.
Thanks to consistent and solid swells from the Southern Indian Ocean, surfing is a year-round activity in Indonesia. That said, the surf in Bali is relative to its wet and dry seasons. The cooler dry season from May to September is the best time for Bali’s west coast, which is jam-packed with breaks, many of them world famous like Uluwatu and Padang Padang. From June to August, the winter in Bali brings in large swells and strong offshore winds for the west coast breaks. The Bukit Peninsula in Southwest Bali has some of the best surf in Bali and its off-the-beaten-path feel is perfect for those who want to avoid the busy touristy areas of Kuta and Seminyak.
Where to surf
Kuta Beach: Beginner-Intermediate
The easiest and most beginner-friendly beach to try your surfing skills. The soft tide and average height of the waves make it a good first step for trying out white water surfing (surfing the waves after they break and roll towards the beach). There are plenty of lifeguards on the lookout, in case you get into trouble as the undertow can be strong. Surfing lessons can also be easily arranged by locals renting out boards at Kuta beach.
Slightly more challenging than Kuta, depending on the tide. Canggu is close to Seminyak, about 30 minutes from Kuta. It’s a popular spot to surf for both experienced surfers and beginners as there’s a variety of beach and reef breaks, with a few soft rolling waves for the freshies and some fast, rippable peaks for the seasoned.
Located off Sanur, in the direction of Gianyar near the Ubud area. This once-secret hideaway is now one of the most popular surf spots on the island. Keramas has an excellent reef break, promising consistent waves and a large swell, as long as you get up early. After 7a.m, on-shores wind may affect the barrel and the end section can get really shallow. Sharp reef and sea urchin are rife here, so wear booties to be safe. It's less crowded compared to the others, so if you’re looking for a world-class surf without having to battle for position, Keramas is the place to be.
Arguably the most famous wave in Bali and therefore always crowded, especially in the high waves seasons around August to September. The Peak in front of the Cave is the most consistent; Racetracks is great for tube riders; while Outside Corner only works with big swells or a low tide. This area is only recommended for intermediate-level surfers and above, as it poses several risks that include shallow water, reefs and other surfers. If you’re planning to head here, be prepared for the reef.
Surfboard rentals: Things to know
Bali is a renowned surf destination, so you have plenty of options when it comes to surfboard rentals. That said, some rural locations like the Bukit Peninsula at the southern end of Bali offer fewer options for board rentals. If you’re a beginner, don’t bring a surfboard—many surf schools and lessons will include board rental. And even if you’re not taking lessons there’s plenty of boards you can rent hourly or daily.
If you’re an intermediate or advanced surfer, there are obvious pros and cons to bringing your own board. You'll have to pay airline surfboard bag fees , risk board damage, and lug your boards around; but then you’ll be all set when you arrive in Bali and don’t have to search for the right board to rent. Plus, vendors typically rent by the hour, and not by day. In some more tourist areas, like Kuta and Seminyak there are more options for surfboard rentals, but in rural areas like on the Bukit Peninsula (Uluwatu area), there are slim pickings rental-wise.
Take your pick of the many surfing lessons and camps available on the island, especially around the easier breaks in Kuta, Seminyak, and Canggu. Surf lessons vary in cost depending on the number of people in the lesson, and the number of lessons purchased.
Where to stay
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