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Grajagan - G-land
Nias / Asu / Hinakos
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Grajagan – G-land
All types of waves
Kuta Reef, Echo Beach
Season: Dry (April - Oct)
Coral, Reef, Beach, Boulder
Crowd Factor: High
Ability: All levels
Crowd Factor: Medium
Keramas, Nusa Dua
Season: Wet (Nov - March)
Coral, Reef, Beach
The mere mention of Bali evokes thoughts of a paradise. It’s more than a place; it’s a mood, an aspiration, a tropical state of mind. – Lonely Planet
An island of stunning tropical, mountainous beauty filled with activities to please all as well as a range of waves for all surfing types and abilities. For this reason, Bali is one of the top destinations in the world to combine a surf trip with a family holiday or romantic getaway.
Bali is unique within Indonesia’s 2000 islands and stands out as the only island with Hindu as the predominant religion. The Balinese love to celebrate, and many visitors to the island will come across a ceremonial parade during their stay, filling the streets with rhythmic drumming and resplendent dress. For those wishing to get closer to the action, the Balinese kecak (“Ké-chak”) dances are performed in Ubud and at the Uluwatu temple and are well worth the effort. For recommendations on non-surfing activities see our article on surfing with families.
Known as ‘The Island of the Gods’, we think Bali (and the whole of Indonesia) must have been created by the surfing gods. Bali boasts an incredible range of waves suitable for heavy barrel hunters to long boarders, learners to advanced surfers. A roughly triangular island with a bulbous peninsula at its southern tip, this lush tropical paradise is home to waves all year round if you know where to look. Made famous for its reef breaks, other waves found on Bali include beach breaks, river mouths and boulder-bottom point breaks.
The Bukit peninsula is the region that has turned from a sleepy fishing village into a bustling tourist destination, with coral reef framed by sheer cliffs. From a surfing perspective, Uluwatu is actually a series of breaks accessed by traversing down a steep path now flanked by bars and shops and paddling out through the iconic Uluwatu cave. The secret got out in the 1970’s and the crowds on the name breaks such as Uluwatu, Bingin and Padang-Padang can be some of the thickest in the world. Patience and a smile go a long way when the conditions are perfect and everyone is out for a wave. For those willing to stray off the beaten track there are still gems to be found, but we’ll be sticking to the main breaks for the purposes of this guide.
In the Bukit Peninsula region, The south part of the East Bali Region and Nusa Lembongan you will find waves breaking on coral reef, some of these reefs such as Uluwatu – Racetracks and Shipwrecks can be shallow and dangerous but there are other waves that can be more approachable such as Padang-Padang Rights and Playgrounds.
North of Kuta in the West Bali region you will find a few more sand bottom breaks, such as Kuta Beach and Berawa, and the reefs up here are volcanic reef or boulder bottomed river mouths. The same goes for the East Bali region, once you travel north of Sanur a lot of the reefs become volcanic reef, and there are a few hidden beach breaks in the mix too.
With the ever-increasing range of surf craft around, we’ve jotted down some great spots for long boarding and short boarding so you can find the best waves for you.
Are you a learner looking to catch your first wave or a barrel hunter looking for heaving slabs? Because of the way Bali is shaped, there are many breaks to choose from depending on your ability and conditions. This is especially true of course when there is lots of swell as the crowds are thinned out on the more exposed breaks, leaving the more protected for the learners.
Click here for learn-to-surf spots and here for advanced waves.
Due to the range of conditions available, it is recommended to have a versatile quiver. If there is a swell running and you know you’ll score, then a performance short board and a solid step up will be fine, but if the swell is looking moderate to small then a good fish will mean you still have a great time regardless.
As the first stop for many traveling through to other surf destinations, Bali is a great place to stock up on all your essentials. Many popular surf board brands manufacture on Bali and pricing is incredibly competitive and the quality is generally pretty good. However, prices for apparel and surf accessories can often be equal price or more expensive than you may find at home, especially if you find yourself needing a new leash or fins at a more remote break where the local shop doesn’t have a high turnover.
With the unique shape of the island, Bali breaks all year round. So close to the equator, the temperature fluctuates 3-4 degrees between seasons and has around 12 hours of daylight every day of the year.
The wet season from October-March is characterised by hot, humid weather with afternoon storms but can offer fantastic surf along the east coast with significantly lower numbers in the line-up. Those in search of offshore glass will hit the waves early to make the most of the typically calm mornings as the weather during this time of year is predictably turbulent, particularly in the afternoons. Purchase a sturdy plastic poncho on arrival or hire a driver if you are particularly adverse to wet weather.
The dry season from April-September is the most popular time of year with slightly lower temperatures and less humidity. Offshore trade winds combine with large long-period S – SW swells generated by winter storm systems in the Southern Ocean traveling across the Indian Ocean to light up the Bukit Peninsula and Nusa Lembongan.
As a popular tourist destination in addition to its incredible waves, Bali is easily accessed through the international airport at the narrowest point on the island. With Kuta immediately to the north and Jimbaran to the south, most destinations are easily reachable within a 30-45 minute drive depending on traffic.
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