Surfing in the legendary Uluwatu
Last Updated: 31 October 2018
The legendary place called Uluwatu holds a special place in surf lore. Surfing Uluwatu is associated with crème de la crème of the sport and the lifestyle. In fact it was Uluwatu that made the island of Bali internationally famous among surfers. Uluwatu is situated on the southwestern tip of the Bukit Peninsula, which protrudes like a golf club from the south coast of Bali.
Aside from surfing, Uluwatu is famous for the 11th-century Hindu temple that attracts tourists from all over the world. While surfers may love a visit to the stunning temple above the waves, it’s what lies below that draws them to surfing Uluwatu. And these are waves that deserve their respect.
“Uluwatu, in the southern end of Bali, is always pumping waves and gets good conditions with a South swell as well as Southeast trade winds. Expect 2-to-10 foot waves. It’s the most famous wave in Bali.”Surfertoday.com
Sightseeing in Uluwatu and Balinese culture
From a historical standpoint, Uluwatu is home to a spectacular 11th century Hindu temple (Pura Luhur Uluwatu), which has great views and is home to some very crafty monkeys, who are definitely not to be trusted. Consider yourself warned: keep your sunglasses, wallets, cameras and other belongings out of their reach! The temple features staggering views over the Indian Ocean, traditional Balinese dance performances and a host of other cultural aspects.
Bali is a country with a wealth of cultural and religious tradition, delicious cuisine and way more to experience than just the beach. Uluwatu sits in Pecatu village in Bali’s South Kuta district only 3 km from Padang Padang. It is accessible via taxi from Kuta in around 30 to 40 minutes. Other options in Uluwatu besides temple visits and surfing include a game of golf, getting married at Tirtha Wedding Chapel and having a spa treatment or two.
Surf in Uluwatu and become one with Mother Nature
Uluwatu’s potential for incredible surfing first caught the attention of global audiences with the release of the Australian environmental surf documentary “Morning of the Earth” in 1971. This film helped to establish and encourage the natural relationship between the surfing community and ecological values.
This deep appreciation comes from not only enjoying nature’s beauty, but participating in it. Some surfer’s even talk about “becoming one” with Mother Nature by catching that perfect wave.
Pros, as well as local surfers, revere Uluwatu’s waves perhaps as much as the priests in the temple above revere their Hindu gods. Experienced surfers will love the challenging waves of Uluwatu, but if you’re not a pro, it’s best to keep the surf for sightseeing. Make no mistake: these are big waves.
What if I am not an experienced surfer?
Surfing Uluwatu is mainly the domain of professional and expert surfers. Uluwatu can be dangerous for those without the proper skills and experience. Beginners should better go to nearby Padang Padang Right, a beach break with friendlier waves suitable for longboarders and those learning the art. Luckily, besides Padang Padang, Uluwatu it’s also in close proximity to other top breaks and beaches including Padang Padang, Bingin, Dreamland, Impossibles and Suluban.
Check out our guide to the best beginner surf spots in Bali
The 5 surf breaks of Uluwatu
Uluwatu is actually 5 breaks (starting from the north): The Peak, Racetrack, Outside Corner, Temples and The Bombie.
Each has a character all of its own depending on swell and time of day. Surfing Uluwatu is famous for consistency, so throughout the day conditions should be good at several times.
Things to keep in mind when surfing in Uluwatu
- Large swell with low tide means pros and experts only
- All tides provide good conditions for small and medium swells
- Wear reef booties
- Use a large board with a strong leash
- Ask local surfers and instructors about when to surf
- Surf with caution!
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