"Bali is beautiful because you can enjoy good surfing all year round here. Dozens of surf spots on different sides of the island allow you to surf in almost any wind, tide (tide chart for Bali), and swell.
On average, during the summer (May-October), the waves in Bali are better and more stable, often with swells, less wind (light southeast wind), but the water is colder, so a wetsuit is needed. Spots on the western side of the island, starting from Uluwatu and heading north, work well.
In winter, the western wind intensifies, and spots on the eastern and southern sides (Green Bowl, Pandawa, Payung, Nusa Dua, Serangan, Keramas) work well. The water becomes very warm.
Below is a description of surf spots to help you get oriented for your session. And don't forget some advice:
- If you're at a spot for the first time, take some time to observe and understand the conditions for about half an hour.
- It's better to go to a new spot with those who have surfed there a lot.
Here is a general overview of the spots:"
Important! When you go surfing, do not leave anything valuable in your bike, not even your clothes! Leave everything in the nearby warung!
List of surf spots in Bali
Canggu, Thibubeneng, Pererenan
Changu right (Pererenan)
Bukit - Jimbaran, Pechatu, Ungasan, Kutuh
Padang for children
Bukit - Benoa (Nusa Dua)
Nusa Dua center
Serangan Left Peak
Serangan Central Peak, main
Serangan Right Peak
(description of the Kuta area)
The main spot for beginners' training. Very long, with many peaks. Sandy bottom, good white water, many peaks, simple waves (but in a good swell, they can barrel).
Almost all surf schools conduct their first few lessons in Kuta. Ideal tide from 1 meter to 2. There are quite a few locals, not-so-great surfers, and people just swimming. Be careful not to hit anyone with your board! Be polite and attentive. There is affordable rental for 50,000 rupiahs for unlimited time.
You can leave your things with the rental provider. In a good swell, Kuta can be very cool.
The most famous peak is Half Way, across from SurfDiscovery.
You can find a good map of the Kuta area on the EndlessSummer school website: http://www.surfbali.ru/school/surf-spot-bali
It's also a good beach break with both left and right waves. There are relatively few people. When there's a good swell, the right wave can barrel. The left wave is quite long. The best tide is also around the mid-range. It's located closer to Seminyak.
Located quite far, you need to take a boat from Kuta, which costs 50,000 rupiahs. Boats run as per demand but not very frequently.
It offers a very good, long, and not very fast left wave. Excellent for intermediates.
It works best at medium tide and slightly lower. It becomes challenging to paddle on high tide.
Sometimes it can get quite crowded, so it's a good idea to arrive early.
This spot is located between Kuta Reef and Airport Left. It's also a decent left wave.
Usually, when you go by boat, you can first check out Kuta Reef. If it's crowded there, you can then proceed to Middles. If it's crowded at Middles as well, you can continue to Airport Left.
It's also located far from the shore, and you need to take a boat from Jimbaran, costing 50,000 rupiahs per person.
It offers a good right wave, not very fast. For some reason, this spot has become popular with Japanese surf schools, and they are there almost all the time. But if they're not there, you can have a great surf session with your own group.
This spot is also located quite far from the shore, and you need a boat to reach it. It offers a good left wave, a bit faster than Airport Left, but not extremely fast. It's not known for heavy closeouts.
Changu, Tibubeneng, Pererenan
(description of the Canggu )
A good spot with several peaks, a sandy bottom. Offers both left and right waves. Suitable for continuing your surf education. The lineup is relatively close to the shore. It works best at medium tide, and it can be more challenging on high tide. There are not too many people, and there is rental equipment available.
A very good spot for those who have completed surf school and want to ride calm, long waves. Located in Changu. It features long left and right waves. The waves are quite thick, so most people use larger boards at Batu. There is good and affordable rental equipment. This spot is generally considered ideal for longboarding. It works well in various conditions but is sensitive to wind, so it's better to surf early in the morning. At low tide, the waves push better, making it suitable for a small swell. The optimal swell is 4-6 feet; it can't handle swells over 7 feet, as they tend to close out. It's often quite crowded, with an average to low skill level among surfers. When entering, it's best to approach from the right near the river, where there is also a channel. At low tide, it can be slightly dangerous due to rocks, so don't go too far down, and make sure to exit where you entered. Be cautious as there are many rocks near the shore.
Old Man is located near Batubolong. It offers both left and right waves. These are relatively simple waves and it's a great spot for longboarding. It works best at low and medium tide. It's suitable for intermediate surfers. Often, it can be even more crowded than Batu. The ideal tide is at the medium level.
Echo Beach features a rather fast left wave. Conveniently, the lineup is not far from the shore. The best tide is at the medium level. The skill level of surfers here ranges from intermediate to advanced. This spot is not suitable for beginners.
Changu Right (Pererenan)
A highly popular right-hand wave with quality and speed. There are always many skilled surfers here, even if you arrive at 6 in the morning. The peak is quite small, so competition can be intense. This spot is not suitable for beginners. The ideal tide is at the medium level. Occasionally, competitions are held here.
Bukit - Jimbaran, Pecatu, Ungasan, Kutuh
(Description of the Jimbaran area)
It's a beach break with low-quality, unimpressive waves and weak swell. Surfers come to this spot only when everywhere else has extremely high waves (over 9-10 feet) and lessons need to be conducted out of necessity. For beginners, the white water and small waves might not be too bad. More experienced surfers typically do not choose to surf here.
It offers a fairly fast left wave. It's sensitive to the direction and should ideally come from the south. The wave often closes out quickly, so wave selection for take-off needs to be done carefully.
It can handle almost any swell. On larger swells, rides along the entire length of the spot are possible, and they can be quite long. The peak near the rocks is more consistent, but the wave isn't very long. Thanks to a channel and the right swell direction, riding near the rocks can be enjoyable.
The typical working tide is from 1.5 meters and above with smaller swells. During high tide (around 2 meters and higher) with a medium swell, right-hand waves may start forming on the inside, much to the delight of regular-footed surfers.
When the swell is around 6 feet, it works well on a low tide (up to 0.5 meters). The waves become slower and more organized, but entering and exiting without surf booties can be challenging.
On average, the surf at Balangan is quite good, slightly less consistent than Uluwatu. The skill level of surfers here ranges from intermediate to low. The spot has a relatively large capacity, but it can get crowded at times. There are rental shops and surf schools available, and there are very few locals.
The left peak works best at a very low tide, close to zero. The wave is relatively mellow at the start, but it requires a decent size, at least around 4-5 feet. On a shortboard, it can be challenging to paddle out, and the wave tends to die under you. In general, a good-sized swell is needed to ride at this spot, so it's best to bring a bigger board.
The right peak is slightly better. There are moderately good right and left waves, although they aren't very long. Again, a decent size, at least 5-6 feet, and a low tide are required. On larger swells, it can barrel.
Overall, this spot is of medium quality, and there are many novice surfers. If you're going to the main parking area, it's usually a paid parking lot, about 5,000 rupiahs. It's better to approach the spot from the hill on the left, assess the situation from there, and then decide.
Be cautious in the water near the shore, as there are many rocks. It's better to enter through the channel, which is roughly in the middle between the peaks, near the rock.
A consistently barreling left wave. It breaks consistently and in a specific location with an almost ideal shape. There are many highly skilled surfers here. It makes no sense for beginners to venture into this spot, and even people with 1-2 years of experience will find it extremely challenging due to intense competition.
The capacity of the spot is not large, and surfers are usually sitting closely together, which intensifies the competition. There is a dangerous reef, and it's easy to get injured. On a medium swell and high tide, a short right wave appears.
This spot is highly sensitive to the swell direction (southerly is needed) and wind. It's best to surf here at medium to high tide and with a swell size of at least 4-5 feet. When all conditions align, it can offer excellent, fast, and long left waves with several peaks.
The spot has a fairly large capacity and can handle a decent swell size. If the swell is substantial, an unlucky set can wash you about 200 meters toward Bingin. Exiting there can be quite challenging, and you might have to paddle back for about half an hour, even if you've changed your mind about surfing.
Don't overestimate your abilities! Impossibles can be risky.
A beautiful beach that's always crowded with tourists. The parking here is paid. There are two spots here that differ significantly in terms of skill level.
Padang Padang Kids
Located across from the main Padang Padang beach, it offers a decent but short right wave, while the left wave often closes out. There are often many surf schools, and, in general, the spot tends to be quite crowded. The skill level of surfers here is typically low.
Padang Padang Adults
This spot is located to the left, closer to the cliff, and is not very visible from the main beach. It offers a fast, high-quality, and challenging left barrel. The take-off is very quick and difficult, requiring precise wave selection. Beginners have no place here. The ideal tide is at the medium level, and it works well with a swell size of at least 5 feet. The annual Rip Curl Padang Padang Cup takes place here, attracting a very high skill level among surfers.
Uluwatu works well with almost any swell, and the waves are always of excellent quality. The skill level of surfers at Uluwatu is very high, so it's not a suitable spot for beginners, and you should try to choose a time with minimal crowds if possible.
On the cliffs, there are many cafes where you can leave your belongings and change. Parking is paid, but the view is stunning. There are several peaks, and the spot has a very high capacity. There are some local surfers, but not many. There isn't much current in the lineup, but there is strong current near the cave at the entry and exit toward Padang. The current is such that when exiting, you might easily miss the cave, and you'd have to paddle back around, so start exiting closer to the beach, not directly in front of the cave.
Race Track works well with different tides except for the very high tide. The lower the water, the further right you should go. Even with minimal swell size, there can be small but well-shaped waves. Under ideal conditions, the wave can be super long, with a medium speed, an excellent face, and slight barrel sections.
At low tide with a normal-sized swell (4-5-6 feet), it can barrel heavily and demands a high level of skill, as it breaks in a shallow and sharp manner.
The wave is good for coaching advanced-level surfers, but it's better suited for individual surf coaching. The lineup is quite spacious, and there's plenty of room.
The largest central peak at Uluwatu. Waves often set up with a powerful take-off, and it's common to start with a drop down the face. Rides from here can extend all the way to Race Track. It often barrels, and there's always a large crowd of skilled surfers.
The furthest left peak at Uluwatu. It offers a fast left wave, but it tends to close out more often than Race Track. There are typically fewer people here on average.
This spot is located at the southwestern tip of the Bukit Peninsula. To get down to the beach, there's a staircase with more than 500 steps. The main peak here offers a right-hand wave. The spot is known for being a swell magnet, and you can find good-sized waves even when there's nothing in other places. The ideal tide is at the medium level.
Access to the spot is not very convenient, and there are no warungs (small local restaurants) except for a small tent. So, it's recommended not to bring valuable belongings with you.
Green Bowl Left
There's a staircase with 300 steps leading to this spot. At the top, you'll find warungs, a place to leave your belongings, and paid parking.
This left-hand wave spot works well at tides ranging from 0 to 1 meter. It requires a swell size of at least 3 feet. The wave is left, with a gentle start, relatively mellow, and not prone to barreling. It is highly sensitive to chop and storms.
Green Bowl Right
A powerful, fast right-hand wave that occasionally barrels. It's not recommended for beginners. The best tide is at 1-2 meters. It can get quite heavy, and it's better suited for those who know what they're doing, especially beyond 5 feet. The reef here is quite sharp.
Green Bowl has the strongest current on Bali; be cautious! Swimming here is not advisable, as it can be dangerous and potentially lead to drowning.
The main peak is located far to the left of the channel. You need to go all the way to the far left, then walk to the left, cross the channel, and paddle further to the left.
It's a powerful, high-quality left-hand wave with a strong rip, which can be potentially dangerous. The reef at the bottom is very shallow, so avoid going there when the wave is big if you're not confident. Occasionally, there is a right wave, but it's not as good. The crowd here is moderate, and the skill level is high, making for stiff competition. There is often a current towards Padang.
There's also a peak to the right of the channel, where you'll mostly find right-hand waves that are easier but not as good in quality. Tides work best at medium and above.
Access to the beach is paid. The beach on the right side of Pandawa (not on the left where the channel is) is beautiful and suitable for swimming during medium and high tides. Board rentals are available, but it's not recommended for learning, at least not during the first few lessons. From there, you can walk further to Padang during low tide.
This spot is located on a very beautiful beach in the Bukit area, and you'll need to descend a couple of hundred steps to get to the beach. There are a couple of peaks with good right-hand waves. Occasionally, there's also a left, but it's of lower quality. Gunung Payung works well and typically doesn't have too many surfers. It's best to visit during the medium tide, but it also works during the high tide. There's no channel here, and during a big swell, it can be quite challenging to paddle out. The reef is quite sharp and alive.
Benoa (Nusa Dua) - Niko
Niko is a relatively fast right-hand tube wave. There usually aren't many surfers, but those who are there surf well. There is one warung on the beach where you can leave your belongings. This spot is not suitable for beginners. A medium tide is preferable. It's located just to the right of the Grand Nikko Bali Hotel. There are several peaks to the left and right of the pier.
Benoa (Nusa Dua) - Geger
Geger mainly offers right-hand waves, and they are very good. They can barrel with the right swell conditions. Sometimes, there can be a left as well. There are several peaks. Geger is a swell magnet, and it often produces bigger waves than other spots. It can handle almost any size of swell. There is often strong current pushing towards Black Stone Beach. Paddling out can be quite far, and some surfers opt for a boat. It's safer during the medium tide. To get there, follow the signs to Geger Beach near the Mulia Resort. This spot is not suitable for beginners.
Nusa Dua Center (Nusa Dua Area Description)
This spot is in the center of the beach, near the channel. With no wind, a medium swell, and medium tide, the wave can be quite good. However, it's been inconsistent lately. Local surfers often frequent this spot. There's often a strong current towards the rocks, especially with a big tide change.
Black Stone offers a fairly decent left wave with a sharp takeoff. The ideal tide is medium. Many locals surf here, and the wave can be inconsistent lately.
Mushroom Rock has a fast, powerful, barreling right wave. It can be very dangerous in a good-sized swell. Many people get injured or break their boards here. It's suitable only for those who are highly skilled at riding right-hand waves. Beginners can try it in very small swells and during high tide. This spot can have smaller waves compared to other spots due to its location.
Sri Lanka features a good right wave. In small swells, it's suitable for learning, and surf schools often visit this spot. With a decent swell, the wave starts barreling and becomes quite challenging. Like the other spots in the Nusa Dua area, it can have smaller waves due to its location.
Serangan is the main spot during the winter season when strong west winds blow. It works consistently. There's an entrance fee to access the area. The lineup is quite far from the shore, so you'll need to paddle quite a bit. There's a good channel on the left side. Serangan can have very active currents, so you need to constantly monitor your drift and paddle against the current when necessary.
Serangan Left Peak
This spot features both left and right waves, with the left being better and more consistent. It works well on almost any tide. It's an excellent wave at the full low tide, but it requires some size. It also works well on medium tides and full tides with the right size. Rapid tidal changes can result in strong currents to the left. When the swell reaches 4-5 feet or more, it can be considered ideal. On larger swells, it can become very heavy and dangerous with strong "sucking" action. There are typically fewer people at the left peak compared to the main spot. The reef is sharp and live.
Serangan Central Peak (Main)
This is where the main-sized waves come in Serangan. It has a good right wave and a slightly less consistent left, but the left can still be good. This spot is often crowded in the winter season and works on almost any tide. It can also experience strong currents at times.
Serangan Right Peak
This is a good right wave but usually has fewer surfers compared to the other two peaks. It's a spot where instructors often bring their students.
Sanur is a spot located approximately opposite the Grand Hyatt hotel. It features a good right-hand wave. For this spot to work well, you need a good swell. This spot is known for its localized surfing scene, which means that the local surfers can be quite aggressive towards newcomers.
The optimal tide for surfing at Sanur is medium to high. There are also about 10 other spots that you can reach by boat. You can arrange boat rides with the RipCurl surf school to access these spots.
Keramas is known for its fast, barreling right-hand wave. There's also a left-hand wave, but it's usually not as good. Keramas is a popular spot for professional surfers, and there's intense competition. The lineup is quite close to the shore, and there's a convenient channel for paddling out. Many local surfers frequent this spot.
Keramas hosted an ASP World Tour surfing championship event in 2013. It's important to note that this spot is not suitable for beginners, especially during the first few years of surfing.
(description of Balian)
Balian Beach is known as a swell magnet, and it consistently has good waves. There are outside peaks that are larger and gentler, making them challenging for smaller boards. Both left-hand and right-hand waves are present, with the right offering quality surfing. Inside, there's a left-hand peak that produces sharper and faster waves, ideal for shortboards.
One important thing to note is that a river flows directly nearby, and after heavy rains, the water can become dirty. It's advisable to check the weather forecast in such cases. The surfers here are mainly travelers, so you can never predict how crowded it will be; sometimes it's quiet, and other times it's bustling. Arriving early in the morning is recommended as it can get windy during the day.
Balian Beach works almost on any tide, but when the swell reaches 6-7 feet, it might become too much, leading to a messy break. There's also a right-hand wave beyond the river, which can be quite good when there's no wind.
The drive from Kuta to Balian takes about one and a half hours.
Medewi is perhaps the most remote spot in Bali, located about 30 minutes away from Balian. In the outside section, you can find a good, mellow, and incredibly long left-hand wave. You can ride one of the longest waves in Bali starting from there. It's better to use a larger board for this part.
In the inside section, the wave is sharper and suits smaller boards, and it's still a left-hand wave. The ideal tide for surfing here is medium to high; it can be dangerous during low tide due to rocks. There are local surfers at this spot, so it's important to be respectful.
Medewi is great for spending a couple of days, with surfers typically riding twice a day to make the most of favorable conditions. However, be cautious of the dangerous entry and exit due to rocks in the water. If you're a first-timer, ask for guidance or observe how others enter and exit.
The drive from Kuta to Medewi takes around 2 hours.
In fact, in Bali, there are at least a dozen lesser-known spots and a couple of dozen unexplored ones. You can rent a scooter and set off in search of them along the coastline! ;)
Brief description of dangers awaiting newcomers without an instructor at popular spots, from a user named Alexey Nefedov:
I've compiled a summary of the spots so that everyone understands what awaits them:
Uluwatu - you'll get carried away by the ocean current and you'll die there, or you'll be swept onto the rocks, and you'll die there.
Green Bowl (GB) - you'll die of dehydration when the current carries you into the ocean.
Nyang - you'll die from big waves, either they'll break you or your board, and you'll be swept into the ocean.
Geger - a big wave will impale you on the reef, and you'll die, or the classic scenario: you'll be carried into the ocean.
Bali Soul (BS) - you'll be killed by a neighbor's board to the temple, or you'll be run over by a board.
Mushroom Rock - you'll be impaled on a rock or skewered on protruding reinforcement and you'll die.
Serangan - you'll be swept away by the current, and you'll die, or you won't be able to pass the shore break and you'll die on the uninhabited island of Serangan.
Baby Reef - here, the Koreans will eat you, and you'll die.
Balangan - here, it's clear, a shark will eat you.
Changu (all spots) - you'll die from poisoning due to sewage, if not, there's a high chance of dying from diarrhea.
Kuta - you'll choke on garbage, and the ocean might carry you away, with zero chances of survival.
Padang Padang - the locals on the lineup will poke you with their fin in the side, and that's where you'll stay.
Baby Padang - a high chance of dying from a heart attack due to encountering a dugong or a jellyfish.
Peyang - you'll die while paddling out or while paddling in.
Balangan - if you're lucky, you'll get scraped across the reef, if not, you'll get smashed against the rocks.
Pandawa - the channel will drag you to Australia (*Irina insists it'll drag you in the opposite direction), or if you make it out, you'll finish on the reef. According to Irina, Italians who provoke everyone to fight will likely get killed, probably mafia.
Lembongan - death from hypothermia is guaranteed. The water is 23 degrees.
Surfing is only possible after 5 years of surfing lessons; before that, it's better not to go into the water.
Choose your spots wisely.