One of the original surf holiday destinations, Bali is a surfing Mecca with plenty of breaks, suitable for a wide range of abilities. In Bali, surfers can enjoy advanced reef breaks, beginner waves with low cost surf lessons, international surf competitions and a laid back attitude.
The best places for waves are along Bali’s South Coast, and South Western tip. Hot spots can be combined with a family holiday suitable for non-surfing partners, or equally road tripping all the islands best breaks with a group of surfing mates. Whichever way you choose to surf Bali, we’ve got your wave guide right here.
Intermediate – advanced
Uluwatu is located right on the Southern West tip of the Bukit Peninsula, just 20km from Bali’s international airport. By far the most famous break (pioneered in the 1970’s) with one of the best waves on the island.
There are 6 different breaks to choose from at Uluwatu (The Racetrack, Secrets, The Peak, Temples, Outside Corner and the Bombie, each spaced around 100 metres apart) and all are best reserved for intermediate to advanced surfers. Mostly because they’re reef breaks which involve surfing over coral, but also because reaching the breaks involves paddling through a cave first.
To reach the waves, head down the steps of Uluwatu, and paddle straight out from the cave. Because access is through the cave, it’s important to know your tides before heading out. Because of the rocky reef bottom, most riders wear booties at Uluwatu.
When the waves are big a technical ability is needed, and during monsoon season the waves can reach 15ft. For those who are experienced enough to ride at Uluwatu, you’ll be in for some of your best waves. Expect the water to be busy!
Secrets and Temples are similar waves with plenty of barrels. Bombie is deeper and demands an advanced rider because the wave tends to grow in both volume and speed. Peak and Outside Corner are the most popular waves in Uluwatu, where clean barrels roll over the shallow reef. Locals and travellers alike flock more to these breaks than the others. One the right tide, the waves mimic perfection. The Racetrack is another good spot for barrels.
Uluwatu is also home to the famous Single Finn bar. A perfect spot for a few post riding bintangs or for non-surfers to check out the riders.
Just North from Uluwatu (South of Bingin) on the same peninsula, Padang Padang is a regular spot for international surf competitions; testament to the waves that roll through. Padang-Padang is not for beginner riders. Board rentals are available from the beach, but don’t let that fool novices.
Expect a short, left hand break, and steady sets of hollow barrels that break over coral.
Less experienced surfers can enjoy the beach at Padang-Padang; its a 100 metre stretch of white sandy shores. An idyllic place to spend time.
Intermediate – advanced
Again on the stretch of coast where Padang-Padang and Bingin lie, Impossibles sits between the two. Expect a longer, powerful, reef break; hence the name “impossibles”: some of the breaks are hard to make!
There are 3 peaks, one of which can be caught from Padang-Padang. Breaks at Impossibles are consistent and the scenery is worthwhile too; trademark Indonesian rocky formations and pristine beach.
Bingin is close to Uluwatu and a favoured spot for the advanced rider. Expect left hand reef break with a solid, consistent, barrel. The waves are over reef which demands an experienced rider, even though they don’t tend to be as big or long as Uluwatu’s waves. It’s because of the smaller wave size though that Bingin can be a little more crowded than Uluwatu.
Head North from Bingin and you’ll find Balangan. This wave is probably the longest in Bali, and is known for it’s fun left handers. The wave is over sharp coral and most riders chose to wear booties at Balangan.
The beach at Balangan is an idyllic white sandy stretch. Perfect for non-surfers to enjoy or surfers to rest up on afterwards.
Beginner learn to surf schools
Kuta is the original of the Bali surf spots. Close to Denpasar on the Northern stretch of coastline, this is where travellers came during the 70’s to surf the waves and live cheaply. Nowadays though, Kuta has been replaced by more challenging breaks on the island, leaving Kuta for learn to surf schools and beginners.
Expect a long beach break, travelling all the way up to Legian. Kuta is often crowded with travellers swimming or surfing, and locals on the sand looking to make a few Rupiah from knocking off cheap sarongs or giving a shoulder massage.
A smart choice to become familiar with surfing before heading elsewhere on the island.
Canggu has risen in popularity over recent years, as a destination for the non-surf crowd too. Being close in distance to Bali’s popular tourist spots, shopping, and entertainment Canggu is busy by all respects.
As far as surf in Canggu is concerned, there are plenty of good breaks. The most popular is Echo Beach, then travelling North up the coast towards Pererenen Beach are more breaks. The waves are fast and larger than those normally found at Kuta.
At Canggu expect a black sandy beach, and the water can get crowded.
One of the more recently uncovered surf beaches on the East coast of Bali, Keramas is most famous as hosting some of the major international surf competitions. Expect fast left and right handers, and a rocky lava ocean floor. Keramas is another of Bali’s black sand beaches but unlike other spots on the island, Keramas has the prestigious Komune Resort & Beach Bali right in front of the surf with pool facing the break. Perfect for non surfers of a surfing group too.
Green Bowl is perfect for those riders looking for an adventure. It’s a secluded beach on the Southernmost tip of Bali, reached by around 300 steep concrete steps heading down a cliff face. Needless to say you won’t find the same crowds here as at Uluwatu.
Once you reach the surf expect consistent swells and strong current. Green Bowl is known for it’s unpredictable current, and big surf, hence bing strictly for experienced riders.