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10 of Bali’s best surf spots

Bali is home to at least 60 surf spots and there probably isn’t a bad one among them. So when you’re visiting an island with so many choices, how do you know which ones are best? Besides visiting them all you just have to rely on their reputation.

Luckily for you we’ve compiled a top ten list of the crème de la crème of Bali’s best surf spots. We’ve purposefully left off Kuta, Bali’s most famous, developed (and crowded) surf spot.

*Keep in mind that this list is in no particular order and what is considered “best” for some might not be for others. For example no one in their right mind would consider Uluwatu the best for those who are just starting out.

Rapture Surf School Bali

10. Padang Padang

Known as the “Balinese Pipeline”, this sandy beach is located on the Bukit Peninsula just 3km (2 miles) north of the temple at Uluwatu and is accessed via a stepped path off the main road. Padang Padang is actually two breaks — the famous left break and the gentler beach break. Don’t confuse the two, as one is for experts (Padang Padang Left) and the other for all levels (Padang Padang Right).

Padang Padang Left is a reef break with all the tubes, wave height and speed an expert could want. Like Hawaii’s famous Pipeline, it requires significant skill to attempt. During low tide it is dangerous and best left to pros and kamikaze surfers. Be careful of the jagged rocks and sharp coral reef that lurks just below the shallow water.

If you aren’t an expert you are advised to stick to Padang Padang Right, a picturesque beach break great for beginner and intermediate surfers with a long, unbroken wave at high tide — perfect for honing your technique.

8. Dreamland

100 meters of white sand beautiful cliffs have made this are a very attractive location for resort developers. Though more built up and less rustic than some of our other picks for Bali’s best surf spots, Dreamland has long been regarded for its killer waves. It’s also close to several other spots on our list.

While it is one of the island’s most famous waves for expert and pro level surfers, under the proper conditions Dreamland can still be surfed by the less experienced. However, this should be done with extreme caution. If you’re still a bit green or not at a high skill level, make sure you ask experienced locals — especially your surf instructor — if Dreamland is suitable for you.

7. Bingin Beach

BinginLineup2

Situated on the Bukit Peninsula about midpoint between Padang Padang and Dreamland, Bingin is another pro-level wave. In contrast to Dreamland, the location is rugged, scenic and more difficult to access, but as a wave it is big, powerful and world class. Being off the beaten paths has its benefits too, which come in the form of smaller crowds and a quieter, more laid-back atmosphere.

9. Keramas Beach

Located on Bali’s east coast about 24 km (15 mi) from Denpasar City, regularly plays host to top-level professional events, such as the Oakley Pro Bali and the Kommune Bali Pro, as well as some festive night surfing events and parties.

Keramas beach is black sand and the waves are big and fast. A tricky wave at times, pros return again and again to enjoy the thrilling ride it provides. It is also notable for producing good surf during Bali’s wet season.

6. Impossibles

impossibles

Pros and experts seek out places like Impossibles for the sheer thrill and challenge they provide. The gorgeous rocky scenery doesn’t hurt either. Just 5 minutes from Uluwatu temple (and nearby Dreamland, Balangan, Padang Padang and Bingin), Impossibles got its name due to how difficult it used to be to access the spot. Thankfully it can now be reached more easily, meaning you don’t need to be able to scale cliffs as well as surf!

5. Suluban

Located to the west of Padang Padang and about 5 minutes by car from Uluwatu temple, Suluban is a wide, white sand beach set off by a backdrop of stunning cliffs. Known also as Blue Point, this is a secluded beach that can only be reached by walking through a cave-like crevasse.

Make no mistake, with its big Uluwatu-like barrels, this spot is suitable only for those at professional level, but the spectacular views and rock formations make it worth a visit no matter how well you surf. Be careful of the jagged rocks and reef!

4. Green Bowl

Known as a bit of a “secret” spot on the Bukit, Green Bowl nonetheless offers some good surf. Unspoiled by even a warung (small family-owned shop or café), this little paradise is located about midway on the southern coastline of the peninsula. The wave can be surfed for most of Bali’s offseason (rainy season), and you may even get it all to yourself during weekdays.

While not one of Bali’s most well known or consistent spots, we’re including it due to its small crowds, hollow and fast wave and wet season surfability. The wave here is recommended for experienced surfers, especially on days with a big swell, which produces strong currents/rip tides. Beware the coral and sharp rocks.

Green Bowl is sometimes referred to as “Green Ball” or “Green Balls”. Perhaps something was lost in translation…

3. Nyang Nyang

This spot makes the list more due to its natural beauty than top-level waves. People come here for the view and the chance to surf in such a scenic place. However, the right side of the beach does offer a fun and short right-hander and further north along the beach can bring a larger and trickier peak.

The secret paradise of Nyang Nyang is only accessible via a rocky path off of the main Uluwatu road and then a taxing 600-step journey on foot down to the beach. Surfers should be at least of intermediate level and be careful of the rocks and temperamental waves. Crowds are small here, giving you the chance to experience a peaceful paradise all on your own.

2. Balangan

Balangan

An idyllic and extensive stretch of white sand that becomes a small peninsula, this highly valued surf spot ranges from huge waves on days with serious swell to multiple peaks and a long wall during smaller days and during medium and low tides.

Though the access road has made things… well, more accessible, it has also brought more surfers to this beautiful location for big dry-season waves. Close to Impossibles, Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Bingin, Dreamland and more, Balangan attracts a mix of local and international surfers and is suited for those with plenty of experience.

1. Uluwatu

photo by didiz rushdi (Flickr CC)

photo by didiz rushdi (Flickr CC)

Perhaps the most legendary of Bali’s best surf spots, Uluwatu is located on the southwestern tip of the Bukit Peninsula, under a spectacular 11th century Hindu temple. It is the southernmost in a line of top spots like (from south to north) Padang Padang, Impossibles, Bingin, Dreamland and Balangan. Known for its consistent good quality surf, variety of breaks and conditions throughout the day, Uluwatu surely deserves to be number 1 even though this list isn’t a ranking!

Besides Hindu gods, Uluwatu is the domain of experienced and pro-level surfers. Those who need to hone their skills should stick to nearby Padang Padang Right until they are up to the challenge of this spot — or rather set of spots. Uluwatu is in fact 5 amazing spots in one — The Peak, Racetrack, Outside Corner, Temples and The Bombie. Depending on time of day and swell, each of Uluwatu’s breaks has its own unique features.

Surfing Uluwatu is famous for consistency, so throughout the day conditions should be good at several different times.

So there you have it: A hopefully helpful, but by no means definitive list of 10 of Bali’s best surf spots. Come back for more lists, articles and helpful tips for surfing Bali!

 

About graham.land

Graham Land is a writer who grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, where he was part of the local hardcore punk scene. Through this musical movement he became involved in grass roots interests such as anti-racist activism, animal rights and Ecology. In 2000 he relocated to Europe, earning an MA in History from Malmö University in Sweden. Graham writes on a variety of topics including the environment, politics and history.
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