Guide to surfing in Bali - the best beaches and where to stay
Top sustainable hotels for surfing in Bali
Bali is a prime surfing destination, with more than 60 of the best surfing spots, year round swell and warm waters. Plenty of beach breaks make Bali idyllic for surf novices. More experienced surfers can enjoy consistent challenges and solid waves year round. The surf is intense during the wet season.
Surf enthusiasts have made the pilgrimage to Indonesia for decades. No wonder! Bali has some of the World’s best waves. Famed for being a lush tropical paradise, the island attracts keen beginners and seasoned pro’s. Made famous since the 60’s and 70’s by some of the world’s top surfers, the Bali surf scene has even been immortalized through movies depicting surfers scaling the watery peaks.
With so many great places to surf here are some pointers as to where to go:
Starting in the West, Medewi is the longest left point of Bali. It’s great for beginners as the bottom is bouldered. Fun for more advanced surfers too – there is still some mean wave, though the swell is larger at Kuta points. Come earlier to avoid the off-shore winds.
Heading along the coast to the East, Batu Bolong in Canggu, is comparable to San Onofre in California, with lots of long boarders and gentle, rolling waves. It is perfect for beginners. It’s worth staying day long to watch the gorgeous evening sunsets.
Legian is a great spot for novice surfers. It has the same wave that serves Kuta, but it’s a better learning environment. The Rip Curl Surf School is a quality surf spot with coaches who have long embraced the beach lifestyle.
Kuta is famed for its party loving lifestyle and can often be a crowded affair. Here, top-level professional events are hosted so if you’re interested in Oakley Pro Bali, or Kommune Bali Pro, this is the beach to hit. When the events aren’t being held, festive night surfing events are worth watching. There are always excellent beach parties where surfers commune.
Balangan is located down towards the Southern peninsula. The reef is right in front of the beach and only a short paddle out is required. The wave itself is very fast and hollow – best experienced on the mid to high tide.
Further South of Balangan is Padang Padang. It has a famous left-break called the Balinese Pipeline, and a gentler beach break, to the right. Pandang Padang is a suitable surf spot for all levels.
Uluwatu is perhaps the most legendary of all Bali’s surf locations. Definitely one for the pro’s. It has a variety of breaks and conditions that change throughout the day. With white sandy beaches, and a stunning clifftop temple, it is not one to be missed even if you just go to watch the experts.
Sanur, is the best surf beach for the wet season there are two main reefs at Sanur, Sanur reef and Tandjung reef. You can get perfect right handers here but it’s a popular spot with locals so when the waves are under 5ft you can struggle to find some free wave!
In the East, Keramas Beach is notorious for it’s thrilling but tricky wave and experienced surfers return again and again to attempt the ride. It has particularly good surf during wet season.
Need somewhere to stay?
These beautiful hotels will not only give you a relaxing nights sleep in true luxury but they have healthy food menus to die for.With all the surf searching, beach lazing, wave riding and partying, you are going to need somewhere pretty sublime to rest, revive, wake up and rejoice each morning. Here we’ve selected eight of our absolute favourites. All hotels are located on, or near, prime surf beaches.
These cottages are built in Balinese style and situated right by a tranquil beach spot, near to some of the most beautiful surf breaks in Bali. The West coast provides deserted beaches and powerful waves that break-off at the famous Medewi shoreline. The cottages overlook the coast providing visibility to some amazing sunsets. The beach is easily accessed and only several meters away. This surfing spot is not usually crowded, which attracts skilled surfers from all around the world.
Puri Dajuma Cottages & Spa Resort, Pekutatan, Bali
The Canggu area is famous for its hipster community of young people, sandy beaches, lovely sunsets, and a mass of surfers hanging out in the ocean, or at the famous beach bars.
Desa Seni, Canggu, Bali
Anantara Seminyak (Kuta)
Seminyak, is located next to the popular Kuta area on the West coast. Long stretching beaches offer similar surf breaks to Legian Beach. Anantara Seminyak luxurious beach resort is an exclusive retreat with views overlooking the ocean, an infinity pool and the beach at your feet. To improve your surfing skills and technique, surf sessions are led by Ripcurl school’s experienced experts.
Padma Resort and Spa (Legian)
Touristically famous Legian Beach has beautiful sands, a thriving nightlife and is easily reachable from the airport. Here you can surf along with the locals and enjoy quality beach breaks, which offer plenty of opportunities to ride the waves. If you seek more adventurous surf, it’s just a short drive to the Bukit Peninsular. Here you will find World renowned surf sites such as Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Green Bowl or Bingin.
The Leaf Jimbaranm (Balangan)
The Leaf Jimbaranm, close to Balangan, is a luxury resort offering tasteful decor, and an intimate and modern environment. If you want to laze in the beauty of the resort it is serene, tranquil and restorative. Numerous activities are offered though if you’re seeking even more adventure! Balangan, the surf beach close by, is gaining in popularity with it’s fast, hollow wave. The reef is only a short paddle through the turquoise waters from the white sand shore.
Elevated above the beach, Alila Villas Ulawatu, has breathtaking views over the ocean. In its private position, this is a luxury resort offering pure blissful relaxation. Exquisitely designed private villas and an infinity pool put the seal of perfection on this luxury resort. The surf beaches are a short descent away. Balagan beach is the closest with it’s fast wave and reef not far from the shore. Still peaceful, this well-kept secret beach spot is beginning to become more discovered by serious surfers.
Alila Villas Ulawatu, Ulawatu
On the East coast of Bali, set in Sukawati shore, Floating Leaf has plenty of options for surfers of different levels. You can choose their surf packages which include accommodation, teaching, meals and transport to prime surfing spots. If you are a beginner, instructors at Floating Leaf will show you the basics and take you to beaches with sandy bottoms and slow waves. Intermediate surfers can enjoy long rides to improve their skills. For more experienced surfers there are nearby beaches sought after for the advanced waves with plenty of barrels and hollow tubes. There is a great variety of surf throughout the entire year.
Floating Leaf, Sukawati, Bali
Candi Beach Cottage (Keramas)
Wake up amidst the resorts coconut grove gardens and wind your way through the tropical trees to the beautiful private white sandy beach. Peaceful, and away from any bustle, Candi Beach is a gem of tranquility. The resort is serenely designed using natural colours and materials to blend in with Bali’s unique beauty. This retreat is ideal after surfing the popular nearby surf spot, Keramas. Keramas has powerful right hander breaks producing tube rides. Here there’s a reef and rock bottom. Exhilarating and sought-after, the early mornings are best for avoiding the crowds.
Perfect off-shore winds, thrilling reef breaks, gentle beach breaks, warm waters, professional events and more. Bali is an exciting place to hone your surfing skills and learn from the experts. Take to the waters and experience first hand what all the fuss is about. Out of the water, it doesn’t get much more beautiful, balanced, harmonious and ‘chilled out’ than this Indonesian island.