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Surfing in Bali - Best Surf Spots in Bali

Why Bali is Hot for Beginners and Expert Surfers Alike

By

Bali surfer

Bali surfer

© Aisha Mustaffa

Surfing in Bali began in the 1930s; from then on, Bali's top surfing spots have been a major part of Bali's cachet as a top notch tourist destination.

Bali's small size and unique geography means you don’t have to go far to find the surfing conditions you like. The variety of surfing conditions also promises a good time for veterans and newbies alike.

Finally, Bali’s position in the southern Indian Ocean ensures the arrival of swells all year round - a godsend to surfers who desperately need an off-season fix.

Bali Surfing Seasons

In July, the water is cool, the skies are clear, and the western side of the island get favorable trade winds. Strong offshore winds contribute to the big swells rushing up to the west coast.

From December to March, the rainy season hits and the wind shifts to favor the eastern side of the island.

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

Canggu

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

Kuta

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

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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