Bali is renowned for having amazing surf all year long, at various locations around the island and for every level of surfer from beginners to world class athletes. The only thing you have to keep in mind, is the season – wet or dry, because of the prevailing wind direction. The island is blessed with both wet and dry season surf spots. The southern coast of Bali is where the main hotspots are, with a smaller selection to the east. Most breaks are located within an hours drive from each other, so in Bali, in terms of surfing its quite compact- it doesn’t really matter where exactly in the southern part of the island you stay, you can quite easily reach most of the locations.
If your wondering what kind of waves to expect in Bali? You will be happy to know you can find waves for all levels, most of Bali’s hot spots are intermediate to advanced level. Its suggested that short-boards are advised over long-boards, since there are limited breaks suitable for longer boards. Most waves are quite fast and hollow breaking on various forms of reef the beginner to immediate also have a good selection of beach breaks, but Bali is more about perfect reef breaks. There is no doubt it is the land of lefts, don’t expect to find many right handers here. Plus don’t expect to surf empty uncrowded lineups. Waves are so good here, they attract surfers from all around the world all year long. The high season months of July & August come with bigger swells, but don’t think that any other month’s lineups are going to be empty.
Dry season (from April to October) is usually the most popular time for surfers to head to Bali with the dedicate surf beach of Uluwatu being a firm favourite for it’s world class surf and services devoted to surf. Padang-Padang beach, Bingin beach, and Impossibles beach also attract large groups of travellers on surf holidays as they accommodate their visitors for the very reason they’re there. The best time to visit in terms of swell is July-August: you will get consistent waves with bigger days averaging 6+ ft. These months expect to surf in overhead or double overhead waves. Other months you still get big days, just a little bit less often. But still expect to surf most of the time in shoulder to head high conditions in such places like Uluwatu. Spots in Bukit, Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu and further to the west (Balian & Medewi) work perfectly and consistently in dry season. In wet season (from November to March) there are less surf spots that are working, so all the crowd is quite concentrated . Hotspots to surf in wet season are mainly on the east coast.
Kuta up to Berrawa work mostly in dry season; and have really good beach break for beginners to intermediate there are many surf schools in these areas. Plus there are few reef breaks around airport where more skillful surfing can enjoy riding left or right breaks. Longboarders can also enjoy surfing in this area, especially beach breaks on high tide.
The Bukit breaks are more suitable for shortboarders (not much to do for longboarders here unless you are really skillful), especially for advanced or those who are really good intermediates. Bukit most spots work in dry season, and in July-August Bali can get really big. Intermediates are advised to surf when it’s not more than 5ft and mid to high tide. Beginners can surf in Baby Padang (righthander) and Dreamland (lefthander) on small days (3-4ft) or Jimbaran beach on bigger days. Most waves are lefthanders.
Canggu is a nice mixture of spots for different levels and tastes: there are beach breaks and reef breaks, there are lefts and rights. But in Canggu its best to surf in the dry season. Also you should mostly surf in the morning, because winds pick up around 11am. Spots for beginners & longboarders are Batu Bolong and Oldmans; intermediate on average swell should go to Berawa, Canggu sandbar. Experts will enjoy Echo Beach and Pererenan. Canggu can get heavily overcrowded, so keep that in mind. A few other spots on the west coast include Balian & Medewi and are good options for a surf trip for few days.
Surfing in the East Coast of Bali
Nusa Dua is where you would head to in the wet season: Nusa Dua, Green Ball, Serangan, Keramas. Nusadua has advanced reef breaks and also beach break for all levels. Green ball and Keramas in most days are advanced, since they always get more swell than other spots.
The East coast in the wet season gets crowded everywehere. Serangan is the worst in terms of crowds, but it has several breaks and fits all levels (depends on swell size of course). I have to admit, that I am far from an expert with golf more my thing. But from what i hear it seems these spots there are mostly surfed by locals or local expats. But they all work well in wet season, so Sanur is good for surfing during those months, especially when Nusa Dua gets to big (Sanur spots needs a lot of swell to work properly). There are lots of right handers there. Locals are not always nice there and won’t give you many waves.