The 8 best surf beaches of Bali
There are quite a few places in the world well known for it’s killer breaks, massive tubes and the ever ongoing fun of waves rolling in. Bali is definitely one of those places and surfing Bali is as popular as can be. Even though the island does get more crowded every day, there are still quite a few good spots that aren’t discovered by the masses just yet. As long as there are waves, we don’t need much, do we? Here’s an overview of our favorite surf beaches differing in level and crowdedness on the beautiful island of Bali.
One of the most well known surf beaches is definitely Canggu. With different breaks along it’s coast line like Berawa, Batu Bolong, Old Man’s and Echo Beach, there’s something for everyone. Whether you still gotta learn how to stand up or you have been riding waves since you could walk, Canggu is a popular spot for everyone. It’s mostly a reef break with both lefts and rights, that seem to work best with high tide. The easy access is definitely a plus. It does also mean that everyone knows this place and it gets pretty crowded. Don’t be surprised if it’s you and a hundred others in the line up when the swell is good.
On your way to Canggu? Don’t forget to read our Canggu guide for some tips and tricks!
Just a little north of Canggu and Tanah Lot, there’s the stunning beach of Kedungu. Here you’ll find a long stretch of black sand and an almost always working wave. While all the breaks around Canggu get really crowded, Kedungu is just a short scooter ride away and gives you empty lineups. With both a left and a right hander on offer, there are good waves for everyone. We had quite a few good sunrise and sunset sessions out here. The rewarding beer afterwards is just what you need (after the sunset sessions of course). The wave works best during low or mid tide.
Pantai Balian is not yet on the travel radar. It’s mostly surfers that make it out here and not without reason. Plenty of people say it’s their favorite wave in Bali and we can’t disagree. Balian’s waves are normally bigger than anywhere else on the West coast. So when all other places on the West coast are flat, Balian most likely still got some nice waves rolling in. There’s both a left- and right-hander, although the left-hander usually works better. However, do watch out for sharks here, especially after heavy rains.
A perfect place to stay in Balian is Pondok Pitaya. You simply can’t get any closer to the waves and the beach, as it’s literally two steps from your room. Sleep in indigenous houses from Java, do some morning yoga or get a massage when the muscles are sore from all that paddling. When the waves aren’t working you can wait and keep an eye on them from the pool with a cocktail in your hand.
This is my absolute favorite beach. A little hidden, a bit of a mission to get there, but a massive treat the moment you arrive. Palmtrees, check. Golden sand, check. Bright blue ocean, check. Waves rolling in, check. Every time we got to Pantai Balangan, the waves were pumping and there weren’t that many people on them. It’s a fast and hollow wave, that works best during mid or high tide. This left hander offers plenty of good long rides, while the paddle out is fairly easy.
Bingin Beach is a great place to stay if you fancy to surf the peninsula’s waves for days. This cute little beach town is build against the rocks offering stunning views every morning you wake up and every night you go to bed. There’s a really consistent wave that breaks on all tides and provides a different wave for different standards of surfers. At mid tide Bingin produces nice left hand barrels breaking over the reef. During low tide it really is only a wave for advanced surfers as it gets shallow and hollow. At high tide it is a much more surfable wave.
While we stayed here the Rip Curl Cup was about to start, which must be a sign of being in the right spot. The reef break of Padang Padang only seems to work when there’s big swell coming in. It’s a long and hollow left hander that should be saved for the advanced among us. Surfing Bali’s pipeline isn’t for the faint hearted. It’s a popular place among the experts and can get pretty crowded with a competitive vibe. Booties aren’t a luxury here, since the reef is pretty sharp.
Surfing Bali isn’t complete without a day out on the waves of Uluwatu. A surfer’s dream where waves keep on rolling in no matter the season, no matter the tide. Probably the most well known surf spot as well, so don’t expect empty lineups. This spot is for intermediate or advanced surfers only, so if you’re a beginner fix a spot at Single Fin and watch the big boys to their tricks. To reach the reef you must paddle through the Uluwatu cave which can have very strong currents.
There are four different sections at Uluwatu. Temples is a long and hollow wave which works best during mid or high tide. The Peak is best on high tide and offers steep drops. Racetracks is a fast wave with possible tubes that work best during low tide. It does get really shallow and is definitely not for the faint hearted. Outside Corner starts to work from 8ft up. It’s a fast and long ride, that can be really rewarding for the daredevils among us.
Last, but definitely not least is Keramas! You haven’t been surfing Bali properly, if you haven’t paid Keramas a visit at least once. Located on the east coast, Keramas has an endless black sanded beach, with palmtrees swaying in the wind and powerful waves rolling in. Keramas’ wave is a powerful, very fast and hollow right hander. It’s best surfed during mid or low tide, or during early mornings before the wind picks up. And it does have another trick up it’s sleeve…
For those who don’t feel like leaving this piece of paradise after a day of awesome surf, check out Komune Resort. This dream of a place has anything you can wish for on your surf holiday and more. Comfy beds, great food, yoga lessons, a spa and a swimming pool with the best view possible. Did I mention the night surfing at Komune? That should get you sold for sure. ‘Cause at Komune the surfing goes on even when the sun goes down.
Surfing Bali waves
With about 60 different surf spots, Bali attracts both beginners and daredevils from around the globe. Depending on the spot it can get a bit busy and competitive here and there, especially on the well known spots. However, there is lots to make up for that and thankfully Bali still has a few hidden treasures as well. Somehow talking about surfing Bali is always a bit doubtful. Do you share your favorite spots or will you keep them to yourself? I know the opinions about this differ, but for me sharing is caring. That is what Mokum Surf Club is all about, showing you those off the beaten track places. And getting “WOW-ed” by them. So let those Bali waves wow you and feel free to share your treasures as well.
Photos by: M. Barends & J. Roeland©.