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Surfing in Bali

 

Bali is a good place for surfing for a number of reasons. These include warm water, relatively uncrowded breaks, when compared to California and Australia. Bali gets some kind of surf most of the year, there are beach breaks and Kuta and Dreamland and also reef breaks on the rest of the Bukit, including the famous Uluwatu. Bali?s unique geography, means that you can get a selection of left hand breaks on one side of the Bukit, drive for 20 minutes and get another whole selection of right hand breaks. In Lombok, for example, you?d have to ride for 4 hours or more, to get from one side of the island, to the other. During the dry season (April-October), the trade winds favour surfing the western side of the coast, including the breaks on the western Bukit including Uluwatu and Bingin. During the wet season (November-March) the tides and winds favour the eastern coast including the eastern Bukit breaks such as Nusa Dua and Sri Lanka.
There are 4 basic surfing regions in Bali:
West Bali (Medewi, Balian)
South Bali (Canggu, Gado Gado, Padma.
Bukit (Bingin, Balangan, Nusa Dua, Sri Lanka)
East Bali (Ketewel, Keramas, Nusa Lembongan (Playgrounds, Shipwrecks, Lacerations).

For a new beginner in surfing, Kuta Beach is the best choice. Complete with long sandy beach, plenty of people on hand as well as a surf recuse tower and jet-ski. Competition isn?t too fierce either making this beach a good learning environment.

Best waves in Bali:
The most famous wave in Bali is Uluwatu on the tip of the western Bukit. This is actually 5 breaks that combine to draw the top surfers from around the world. Padang Padang on the western Bukit is known to be one of the best performance waves in Bali. Balangan is a reef break, but at high tide is suitable for beginners. Great sand beach and long fun ride. When people think of surf spots in west Bali, they think of Medewi. Balian is located on the SW coast of Bali west of Soka Beach, not as far as Medewi. Balian offers a tranquil setting with ever increasing accommodation options. Bingin is one of the famous surfing breaks of the Bukit Peninsula. The short, fast barrel is a joyride for those who dare. Exactly what is out there at Bingin and who is it good for? One place that is ideally suited for surfers who have to be close to the water is Chocky?s Place. This guest house is run by Australian Kenny Cole and offer decent accommodation right on the beach at Bingin. For surfers who are planning their first trip to Bali, Bingin is a short fast left-hander. The take-off point is often crowded, but when you catch a wave there, you?ll see what all the fuss is about. Ketewel is no Kuta Beach when it comes to beauty. This black sand beach is littered with driftwood and the remains of offerings. Tourist don?t come to this beach to sunbathe, they come to surf. When I showed up today, there were about 20 people in the water, the sun was shining, winds were down and there was some swell. Access to the beach is easy and there is a limited amount of parking right at the beach. The one warung serves simple snacks and drinks. A teh panas ( hot tea cost Rp 1,000). Asking the warung owner about accommodation in the area for surfers, he’ll say ‘ tidak ada’ (don’t have). Most people either stay in Kuta or Sanur, coming out to surf then heading back. The surfing crowd at Ketewel usually consists of locals and Japanese, including girls on body boards. Sitting next to 2 Japanese guys admiring the view the atmosphere seemed quite civilized. Another 12kms east along the Bypass and you?ll come to Keramas, another wet season surf spot. Ketewel seemed like a place beginners / intermediates might enjoy, not people looking for epic surfing. Surprisingly WannaSurf describes it as a ‘regional classic, pro’s and kamikazi’s only. Beach access has improved. Driving time from Kuta 30 minutes. The next best wave location is the Green Ball. You head up the hill onto the Bukit, from Bypass Ngurah Rai (heading to Nusa Dua), then at the 4 way intersection (Nusa Dua, Uluwatu, Balangan), turn left towards Nusa Dua. You will see a sign for the Bali Cliff Resort, and the surf beach at Green Ball. Arriving at Green Ball you?ll see a dirt parking area, with an old guy selling drinks. A small water was 3,000rp, so best to bring your own drinks if price in a concern. There are a couple of hundred concrete steps leading form the cliff, down to the sand beach. For us non surfers, Green Ball is an okay beach to relax on. Devoid of trees, the cliffs provide some shade. The water is relatively clean and to the right of the beach is a large cave with bats.

Tips when you start learning to Surf in Bali

Renting a surfboard in Bali
Do not rent from the guys on the beach. All those boards are snapped, and will snap again at some point, in the same place. When that happens, the owner will demand $300. Australian Palu from Byron Bay, has 3 shops in the Kuta area selling boards, as well as a surf school. He also has a selection of used boards for rent of sale. Palu does a range of boards, focusing on the learner end of the market. Ollie did find a fish type board, ideal for an experienced surfer in small swell. The prices for the brand new rental for a week was 600,000rp. The price to buy its was 2.5m rp. Short term rental include 20,000rp per hour, 150,000rp, 600,000rp, deposit or passport required. Day surf trips can be arranged, including lunch for $100.

Buying a surfboard in Bali
The Kuta area offers plenty of choice for those wishing to buy a new surfboard. Epoxy boards are available in the Kuta area as well as brand name boards in the big surf shops such as Rip Curl. Bali surfing local resources Magic Wave is a local community newspaper available for free in the Kuta / Seminyak area.

 

Find your surf gear
Surfer Girl is one of Bali?s most well known shops. Located on Jl. Legian in Kuta, the shop offers bright, fun beach wear for ladies. Surfer Girl is owned by an Australian guy, who is a great supporter of local charities, and helps out at the Kuta Karnival.

If you want to surf in Bali please contact me at :
E-mail : info@baliwiditours.com