Surf spots

Bali is perhaps the best known island in Indonesia, being a ‘dream’ destination with names such Padang Padang and Uluwatu with its famous entry cave. Bali gets the full force of southern ocean swells direct from the antarctic with its south-west and south-east coasts being littered with surf spots. The dry winter months (June-Sept) are preferred for surf conditions however this means that these are also the most crowded times. Given a bit of local knowledge it is still possible to find uncrowded perfect breaks on Bali.

Airport Lefts:

As the name implies, Airport lefts is in front of the northern side of the airport runway in Tuban, about 1.5kms south of Kuta Reef and approx 1km from the beach. Hire one of the local boats to get there, and save your energy for surfing.

Season – Dry Season (May-September)
Swell Direction – South
Ideal Size – at 4-5 ft – Airport Lefts begins to close when it gets bigger than this.
Best Winds – South East Trade Winds
Break – This break is a favourite of Japanese surfers so it can get crowded. The waves are not a super powerful and the wave only runs for about 70 mtrs.

Airport Rights:

Airport Rights is on the southern side of the airport runway and the wave can not be seen from the Kuta/Tuban area. The only way to reach this break is by hiring one of the local boats and do expect to pay a little more than for the other breaks in the area as its a lot further out.

Season – Dry Season (May – September)
Swell Direction – South
Ideal Size – 3 – 6 ft
Best Winds – South East Trade Winds
Break – When the swell is big on the reefs along the Kuta stretch it’s worth taking a trip around to Airport Rights as it does take a bit of big swell before this break starts to work. With a high tide in the morning and a big swell to go with it, the chances are that this break will be working. Airport Rights is a classic right hand wave with rides up to 100mtrs or more. When it’s working in the 2 – 4ft range you can generally expect it to be crowded.

Kuta Reef:

Kuta Reef is located approx 800mtrs offshore, just to the left of the Discovery Kartika Plaza Resort. Hire one of the local boats to get out to the break. For a few dollars they will take you out and then return and pick you up when you’re finished surfing (sometimes best to make a pre arranged time for a pickup with the boat operator that takes you out).

Season – Dry Season (May – September)
Swell Direction – South
Ideal Size – 4 – 5 ft is the best and also better on a middle to high tide
Best Winds – South East Trade Winds
Break – Kuta Reef is a very popular break and due to its convenient and central location it is not hard to find 60 – 70 surfers in the water.  Have patience and pick you times and you will end up with a fun surf.  When conditions are right, Kuta Reef produces a world class lefthander with waves traveling for up to 200 mtrs or more with some good barrel sections.

Canggu :

Canggu is situated on the southern coast between Seminyak and Tanah Lot.  If you travel by car there is only a very small carpark so can be more convenient with a motorbike.   This reef break has a regional classic wave that should be sampled while in Bali.  It has both lefts and rights but the lefts are much better than the rights and the waves can be very fast but the ride is short. Works best on the mid and high tides with a swell size of 5-6ft. Surfing hazards are the rips and rocks in the surfing area. A number of locals surf this break so be prepared for a little attitude from some of them. The surf can blow out if the wind picks up and the break can get crowded at high tide as it only supports about 25 surfers. The warung at the beach has a toilet and there is also a well where you can wash off after the surf.

Sanur:

Sanur and Tandjungs and Hyatt are the three main reefs at Sanur. To get there just follow the By Pass main road to Sanur and then turn right at either of the two sets of traffic lights in Sanur.  From any of the beach areas you should be able to see at least one of the reefs. Hyatt Reef is, as the name implies, out the front of the Bali Hyatt Resort.

Season – Wet Season (November – April)
Swell Direction – South
Ideal Size – 4 – 6 ft
Best Winds – West South West
Break – The breaks in the Sanur area require a lot of big swell to get them working properly.  It there is huge swell at Nusa Dua you will find some perfect right handers along the Sanur reefs. Be warned that the local surfers are very ‘wave hungry’ and also not too happy about sharing their ‘home break’ and they can make it difficult for any newcomer, especially when the waves are under 5ft and this can make it difficult to get waves.

Keramas:

Travel through Sanur and turn onto the new by pass road that is known as the Ketewel By Pass and keep traveling north along this road through Ketewel, Pabean and Saba until you reach Keramas. When you reach Keramas (approx 15-20 mins depending on traffic) you will see a small blue sign on the right hand side of the road with Keramas painted in yellow and this takes you down a dirt track.  Keep your eyes open as it can be hard to find.

Keramas is a traditional beach break with rights and left world class waves that are powerful and fast but fun. This break is more suited to experienced surfers.  Tides are best at mid and high tide with a swell from 3-5 ft up to 8ft and the wind is best from the West on a North West or Easterly swell.  If Keramas isn’t working there are three other beaches are within walking distance and the breaks on these may be working so worth checking out.  Generally not crowded, friendly and relaxing with great waves.

Serangan:

From Nusa Dua, Jimbaran or Kuta/Tuban areas follow the By Pass Road to Sanur.  About half way to Sanur from the large Kuta roundabout you will see a large wholesale store called Makro. On the other side of the By Pass, almost opposite the entry to the Makro store, you will see a new, unsealed limestone (white rock) road.  Do a U-Turn at the next turn-through area and turn into this road and it will take you through to the Serangan surf break.

Season – Wet Season (November – April)
Swell Direction – South
Ideal Size – 4 – 6 ft
Best Winds – West South West
Break – Not very long ago this was a ‘secret’ spot known only to the local surfers but these days it is very popular, particularly with the Japanese surfers and does get crowded.  Very early morning (if conditions are right) is usually the least crowded.

Nusa Dua:

To get to this reef you have to drive in to the town itself and then weave your way south, there are a couple of other good waves in this area also so it pays to do a bit of exploring.

Season – Wet Season (October – April)
Swell Direction – South
Ideal Size – 4 – 8 ft
Best Winds – West North West
Break – Nusa Dua is a popular break in the wet season so can get crowded.  Best thing with this break is that the actual reef stretches over a very large area and there are at least three or four take off spots to surf. Even though this is a popular break in the wet season it is not as crowded as the popular dry season breaks as it is also a low season for visiting surfers.  The waves are powerful with good tube section but be warned that the break usually has a very strong current running and this usually works against you and gives you a lot of work to do to stay on your take off point. The reef is almost a kilometer offshore so it is better to hire one of the local boats to reach the break in comfort.

Balangan:

Balangan is located on the southern (Uluwatu) peninsula.  Not too long ago it was a hard place to find but now there is a sealed road that will take you almost to the break. The reef is conveniently situated right in front of the beach and only a short paddle out required.

Season – Dry Season (May – October)
Swell Direction – South
Ideal Size – 4 – 8 ft
Best Winds – South East Trade Winds
Break – Before the new road, crowds were never a factor at Balangan but with the direct, easy access it is attracting more surfers.  The Balangan waves are very fast and best on a mid to high time.

Bingin:

Bingin is the next reef south of Balangan and has always been fairly easy to reach and is well known by surfers. Traveling from the Kuta area through Jimbaran and onto the Uluwatu road you are on a good sealed road, but be warned the last 500 mtrs or so is a very rough, unsealed road. The reef, like Belangan, is close to shore and a short paddle out.

Season – Dry Season (May – October)
Swell Direction – South
Ideal Size – 3 – 5 ft
Best Winds – South East Trade Winds
Break – Bingin is a very well known break and can get very crowded in the peak season.  There is only one take off area and the wave itself is good but a short ride.

Impossibles:

The well known Impossibles break is located between Bingin and Padang Padang, so if you’re surfing at either of these breaks you will be able to check out what’s happening at Impossibles.

Season – Dry Season (May – October)
Swell Direction – South
Ideal Size – 4 – 8 ft
Best Winds – South East Trade Winds
Break – Impossibles break, although popular, does not suffer from crowds as the reef stretches over a large area giving the surfer a large choice of take off spots.  When the wave at Impossible is lining up well and the height gets over the 5ft mark on a mid range tide you can expect to get some fast, long rides.

Padang Padang:

Padang Padang only begins to work when there is a big swell running. A sealed road now takes you all the way to the top of the stairs that lead down to a beautiful white sandy beach in front of the reef. An easy paddle out to the break through the channel.

Season – Dry Season (May – October)
Swell Direction – South
Ideal Size – 5 – 8ft
Best Winds – South East Trade Winds
Break – Padang Padang can get extremely crowded when it is working and this is due to it’s fame and popularity with surfers.  With a large crowd it is not hard for tempers to flare up and arguments begin which are often caused by drop-ins. Best time to catch a wave at this break when conditions are right is early in the morning.  A great wave and one that you will long remember.

Uluwatu:

Uluwatu is situated almost at the southern tip of Bali. Once it was quite a trek to reach the break but  these days you can drive or ride all the way to the warungs and steps on a sealed road. There are 4 different sections to surf at Uluwatu. Temples has a long, hollow wave that works well on a middle to high tide. The Peak is right in front of the warungs on the cliff and in line with the cave and this break is also best on the high tide. Racetrack is a super fast but makeable barrel that works on a low tide, but does get seriously shallow. Outside Corner is considered by many surfers to be one of the best waves anywhere in the world, The Corner won’t even begin to break until the swell is at least around 8′ then, if your game, you are in for one long, fast ride.

Season – Dry Season (May – October)
Swell Direction – South
Ideal Size – 3 – 10ft Uluwatu always seems to have waves and rarely goes flat.  All conditions seem to work.
Best Winds – South East Trade Winds
Break – Uluwatu would be the most well known break in Bali and has become the break that all surfer want to surf at least once.  Because of it’s popularity it can get crowded in almost any conditions but will always be crowded with the swell in the 2 – 6 ft range. When the corners are also breaking the crowd becomes less of a worry.  The crowd of surfer generally spread out over a reasonably large area between ‘Temples’ and ‘The Peak’ so if you use a little patience you will get enough waves.

Green Balls:

To get to the break at Green Balls, head out towards Uluwatu and follow the signs to the Bali Cliff Resort at the intersection at Balangan. Green Balls is just the other side of the Bali Cliff Resort and but be warned that there are over 600 steps to get to the bottom of the cliff.

Season – Wet Season (November – April)
Swell Direction – South
Ideal Size – 4 – 6ft Uluwatu always seems to have waves and rarely goes flat.  All conditions seem to work.
Best Winds – West North West
Break – The Green Balls break is at the bottom of a cliff so just follow the staircase down to the bottom. No problem getting down but remember that after you have been surfing for a couple of hours the return trip back up the steps will be quite a bit harder. There are usually people around that you can pay to carry your gear for you.  Because of these factors the break is never crowded.

Nyang-Nyang:

Nyang-Nyang break is on the old Uluwatu road.  Look for the Nyang-Nyang Hotel. It is a well known break and most people can direct you to the break. When you reach the break you will need to go down the cliff via the steps. The break has a quality right and left wave that produces a ride of 50 – 150 meters depending on conditions.  A wave that should be sampled and not missed on your next surfing trip to Bali. The break tends to work on all tides and begins working with a swell of about 3ft through to 8ft plus.  The break will never be crowded due to its location and access via the long set of steps.

Balian:

Balian is on the west road that travels to Medewi and Java (G-Land).  It is a great place to stop off and have a surf on your way to Medewi or Java.  About 1.5hrs after leaving Denpasar area you will see a broken surfboard on the left hand side of the road with Balian written on it. Follow the road for about 5 minutes and park at the warung at the top of the cliff.

The break is made up of reef and rocks and has a quality right & left hand wave producing a ride of about 150 meters on a good day and is suitable for all levels of surfer. The break can work on all tides and optimum swell size is from 3ft – 8ft. The lefts are usually longer and better shaped than the right handers. When you enter the water you will be taken out by the current to the right. Do not try to master the current because you simply will not succeed.  After a 50 meters offshore paddle to the left it’s a long paddle to the peak but you will be rewarded with some very long rides. Balian is a nice quiet spot, not crowed and a typically beautiful Bali surf break but, like Medewi surfing  must be done in the early morning as by mid to late morning the onshore winds will begin to blow the surf out.   When you enter the water you will be taken by the current to the right. Do not try to master the current because you simply will not succeed.  after about 50 meters offshore paddle to the left. It’s a very long paddle to the peak but at the same time you get very very long rides.

Medewi:

To reach Medewi you have to drive north west from Kuta for around 2.5 hours in hellish traffic conditions. As this is the main traffic artery between Java and Bali it is always clogged with cars, vans, trucks, buses and motorbikes so the best option is to leave very early in the morning and beat most of the traffic. There are also a number of good breaks at the river mouths along the way, and you will rarely see anyone surfing them. Leaving Kuta head through Denpasar and follow the signs to Tabanan and keep following the main road north west.

Season – Wet & Dry Seasons – Early mornings are best as the winds can blow the surf out by midday.
Swell Direction – South
Ideal Wave Size – 4 – 6ft
Best Winds – Early morning with light winds
Break Popularity – Usually no crowd problems, probably due to the distance from the main tourist areas on the Southern Peninsula.  Also many only make a day trip as there is no nightlife available but the locals are very friendly – even in the surf.  When working the Medewi waves will give you long ride but does not offer many tube sections.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: