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Grajagan - G-land
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Grajagan – G-land
All types of waves
For the purposes of this guide, the West Bali region starts at Airport rights just south of the airport runway, all the way to the northern most spot, Medewi. As the coast heads north its changes orientation and faces more south, meaning that the southern waves such as Kuta Reef, and Kuta beach are offshore in the dry season SE trade winds, but as you travel further north these winds will become onshore and not ideal. From Berawa and the Canggu region north, mornings and afternoons are the best option, often with lighter winds.
This region host the tourist meccas of Kuta and Seminyak, where you will find no shortage of accommodation, shops, bars and nightclubs. A lot of people like to use Kuta as their base, and do day trips as you can easily access drivers to take you north, east and south with most waves within an hours drive. The nightlife around here is a highlight and a lot of tourists will tend to stay out late!
A little further north is Canggu, a little quieter than its southern neighbouring suburbs, but no less attractive. Canggu has a dizzying amount of quality places to eat, stay and party. The construction here is moving fast and Canggu is growing by the month. Because of its close proximity to some quality waves, Canggu is quickly becoming the surfers destination of choice.
If you decide to carry on further north, towards Balian and Medewi, things will get significantly quieter. Accommodation to suit tourists becomes more scarce, only really being available at a few beach side destinations up the coast. Food is the same, and local food is the norm away from the beachside hotspots. A little bit of Bahasa Indonesia will help out a bit up here. The mains road from Java to Denpasar runs down the coast and traffic can be a headache on the highway. Be careful taking a scooter as trucks can over take on blind corners without nay notice!
The waves along the coast of Western Bali are typically beach breaks, shorter reef breaks and long point breaks breaking over boulders or volcanic rock. The exception to this is in the south where, Kuta Reef, Airport Lefts and Airport Rights all break over coral reef.
The Kuta region has a coral platform that extends all the way around the airport runway. You can see the Kuta Reef, Airport Lefts and Airport Rights as the plane is landing. These waves can offer a powerful wave, but needs a little more swell than Uluwatu because the Bukit Peninsula can block the energy, particularly in a south swell. All these reefs are off shore and getting a boat out is the best option. Kuta beach is a beginner hotspot with an array of people offering surfing lessons in the protected bay, but it can get very good with a large swell! Heading further north through seminyak is a large stretch of beach breaks with no reef options, you can find quality banks if you are lucky, as the sand moves around a lot here.
North of here is Canggu, where there is a lot of quality waves, great for all levels. You will find a few beach breaks around here at Berawa and Echo Beach sandbar and volcanic reef setups such as Pererenan Rivermouth and Old Man’s.
Echo beach is the main hub for surfing in this area, and has 3 main waves, Echo Reef, Sand Bar and Pererenan River-mouth. You will find quality waves that break with power as the swell hits the coast more directly with less of a wrap than you would find down on the Bukit Peninsula, or around Kuta. Expect crowds in this area with a lot of good surfers. Old man’s and Batu Bolong are popular with long boarders and beginners or progressing surfers as they break over deeper reef and are more approachable than the echo beach waves.
Travelling further North again, Balian and Medewi have point break style waves, both breaking over smooth river stones and boulders. Both these waves a pretty mellow by Indonesian standards and offer long waves with opportunities to work on your turns. There are other waves in the north west region but in the interest of adventure we have left them out of this guide.
There is a huge variety available for different skill levels with great learner beaches directly in front of some of the most popular tourist spots, and quality, barrels can be found at Pererenan River-mouth for the more advanced surfer.
Progressing to intermediate waves is easy with Batu Bolong and Old Mans offering great opportunities to move into riding green waves over a deep, weed covered reef. This means that you’ll get a nice long ride and if you do fall off, the rocks are big, flat and covered in green weed rather than the coral found elsewhere. There are also peaky beach breaks available at Echo Beach Sandbar and Berawa that are great for intermediates on small days, although they can get heavy as the swell increases in size.
Didn’t bring the right board for the conditions? Bali is home to a number of popular shapers including Chilli, Channel Islands and Dylan Longbottom among many others, and good quality boards can be purchased for a fraction of the price seen anywhere else in the world.
With plenty of options depending on the conditions, any board will do, although the southern ocean swells have a fair amount of energy and most would choose a performance board for reef or breach breaks on larger days and maybe a fish for smaller days. For Batu Bolong a long board or fish is recommended with ample volume, if only to ensure you can catch your fair share of waves when you’re surfing with a hungry group of longboarders.
The southern region of West Bali is best in the dry season as the south-east trade winds blow straight offshore all day, and the large, long period swells are more frequent meaning that there is more chance of the Kuta reefs breaking well and swell getting into Kuta beach.
As you head north the coast is not really orientated well for the wet season or the dry season. The north west trade winds of the wet season blow cross-shore from the north, and the south-east trade winds blow cross-shore from the south. Early mornings in both seasons are best before the trade-winds come up, and sometimes in the afternoon the wind will back off offering some glassy conditions. The dry season can see consistent large, long period swells witch can max a lot of the north west coast out because there is no refraction to dissipate the energy.
During the dry season the lower temperatures and no rain make the area more comfortable.
If you study a map of Bali you will see that the airport sits on a narrow land bridge connecting the Bukit Peninsula to the mainland of Bali, and if you fly in during daylight hours you can see the surf breaks of Airport Lefts and Airport Rights underneath you, with Kuta and Legian stretching out flat to the north and the hills of Jimbaran and the Bukit to the south. Upon exiting Ngurah Rai airport, the southern border of Kuta is literally across the road and stretches northwest from there.
There is a multi-lane highway that runs inland from the airport to Seminyak which is fairly straightforward and easy to follow and takes around 30 minutes dependant on traffic. However, from the end of this road north to Canggu the road is not straight at all and the ‘main’ road actually runs significantly further inland through Kerobokan and the outer suburbs of Denpasar.
Use an offline map app such as MapsMe to find your way around, or hire a driver.
Many mid- to high-end hotels will have transport that can be arranged at the time of booking.
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