The ‘Island of Gods’, Bali is synonymous with beaches and surfing in the same breath. Bali finds a place in every surfing enthusiast’s travel diaries and is fast catching up to Australia, Hawaii, and California in being the top 5 surfing destinations. The best part about Bali is the fact that it is blessed with a weather perfect for surfing all year round. Bali got its first beach surfing location way back in 1936 when Californian surfer, Bob Koke set up his surf business on the Kuta Beach. Gradually, the surfing fever caught on and spread in Bali with locations like Uluwatu, Bukit, and Old Man’s Canguu becoming the favorites of surfers. Today, surfing in Bali has made it one of the desired holiday destinations and it calls out to surfers from all across the globe. With almost 60 plus surfing spots scattered all over the island, before heading out to one all gung-ho, you need to check some points off your list and then decide where to begin with and when.
Let’s start with the when first.
Time to hit the waves
Though Bali is welcoming in all seasons but the peak time is from April to October when the waves really swell up and are a surfer’s delight. The reefs around Uluwatu, Kuta, and Nusa Dua are brimming at this time with pro surfers or the daredevils of the sea. The wet season begins from November continuing through March and this is when the surf looks less daunting and more inviting to the amateur surfers. The waves don’t peak as high and touch a maximum of only 3 to 5 feet. The preferred locations by novices in this season are Nusa Dua and Sanur. The change in the wind direction during monsoons are good for places with right-hand waves like Green Bowl, Medewi, Sanur, Keramas, and Balian. If you are an expert surfer, well, you can surf anywhere, anytime!
You wouldn’t want to get your spirits dampened by planning extensively for your surfing adventure but forgetting to pack your surf gear along. You would surely also not want all the money and time spent on planning to go waste, for the lack for some basic essentials. Bali, being the hub of surfing in Indonesia has surfboards available on hire easily for the surfers, at all popular locations, especially Kuta Beach. But, if you are as attached to your favorite surfboard as you are to your dog, then you might as well carry it in your bag. Board rentals start from 50,000 IDR ( Indonesian Rupiah) for 1 hour for a soft board that is preferred by most learners. Malibu or Funboard is for the next level of surfers and you can hire them for a day or for the entire duration of your Bali trip. Also pack in your surfboard bag, surfboard fins, leashes, surfing booties, surf wear and hat, SPF protection, sunglasses, and travel insurance.
When you are the new kid on the surf block
One of the top surfing locations of Bali, Kuta delights the novice and the professional surfer equally. The beach is thronged by the maximum number of surfers and so you might find it a little tough to locate a quiet spot. The waves at Kuta are kind to the new surfers and let them have their fun without worrying too much. They come in small swells and are perfect for beginners. You can learn on the go while you surf at Kuta.
Padang Padang Right
You guessed it right. This one is adjacent to Padang Padang Left which is its big brother in terms of the mighty waves rocking the shores. Located on the Bukit Peninsula which falls on the south side of Bali, Padang Padang Right has a wonderful beach and long unbroken waves during the high tides. For a surfer who is trying to take the next step of moving from the white water to unbroken waves, this place offers the perfect practice pitch. The beach also has several other water sports for when you wish to take a break from your surfboard but not from an adventure.
The next best after Kuta is the Legian Beach which has a lot to offer other than the waves, like its fabulous nightlife. The white sandy beach is a favorite among celebrities hopping to and fro between the ongoing parties at the beach and the waves, which are not more than 3 feet at most times. Like Kuta, the beach has a lot of Surfing schools but not a lot of places from where you can rent a good surfboard. So this is where the surfboard you packed would come in handy.
Set on the right of Legian Beach is the Seminyak Beach which has wave swells similar to Kuta and is welcomed by the learners and kids. Seminyak has Dhyana Pura at its edge, and you can shift there if you wish for a little solitude while surfing. Dhyana Pura has a lot of surfing schools as well.
Batu Bolong Beach( Echo Beach)
Seminyak leads away to Batu Bolong, also nicknamed the Echo Beach by locals. You will love it here if you have been riding the waves for long or even if you have started to befriend them off-late. A little tricky for learners because of the absence of a lifeguard on the beach, the waves mostly keep below six feet.
School away to surfing
Bali is one surfing destination which you can head to being an absolute novice also, as there are a couple of good surfing schools at all popular beaches. You can learn the techniques and etiquettes of surfing in a short period, from fully trained, experienced and certified trainers at these schools. If you are on a long vacation to Bali, it is a good time to enroll in one and pick up some great surfing tips. Canguu Surf School, Balangan Wave Surf School, Rip Curl School of surf are some of the top surfing schools of Bali.
Make sure you check the swell charts, weather forecasts, and tide charts before you head out to surf.