The reef is well suited for backhand surfing. Unfortunately it's not surfable
at dead-low tide, but you can get out there not long after the tide turns. The
locals can advise you if necessary. It gets very crowded here, but if conditions
are good there's another, shorter left, 50m further south along the reef, which
usually has fewer surfers.
North of Padang and accessible by road, this spot (p132) can now get
crowded. It's best at midtide with a 6ft swell, when it manufactures short
but perfect left-hand barrels.
web links and surfing info
.com has surf reports and
a message board.
North of Kuta-Legian-Seminyak, on the northern extremity of the bay,
Canggu (p125) has a nice white beach and a few surfers. The peak breaks
over a 'soft' rock ledge well, it's softer than coral. An optimum size for
Canggu is 5ft to 6ft. There's a good right-hander that you can really hook
into, which works at full tide, and what the surf writer Peter Neely calls 'a
sucky left ledge that tubes like Ulu but without the coral cuts', which works
Further along the south coast of western Bali is a softer left called Medewi
(p277) - it's a point break that can give a long ride right into the river mouth.
This wave has a big drop, which fills up then runs into a workable inside
section. It's worth surfing if you feel like something different, but to catch it
you need to get up early, because it gets blown out as the wind picks up. It
works best at mid- to high tide with a 6ft swell. There's accomodation.
There are four 18-hole
golf courses in Bali.
One near Danau Bratan
(p248), another near Pura
Tanah Lot (p272) and two
rather inappropriately on
the arid Bukit Peninsula
at Nusa Dua (p134) and a
new one at Pecatu Indah
( p134 ).
You have to go through Pecatu Indah resort and past the water-sucking golf
course to reach this spot (p131), which can also get crowded. At low 5ft swell,
this solid peak offers offers a short, sharp right and a longer more tubular
left. There's quite a good scene here and cheap places to stay.
During the wet season you should surf on the east side of the island, where
there are some very fine reef breaks. The reef off the Nusa Dua (p133) has
very consistent swells. The main break is 1km off the beach to the south of
Nusa Dua - go past the golf course and look for the whole row of warung
and some boats to take you out. There are lefts and rights that work well
on a small swell at low to midtide. On bigger days, take a longer board and
go further out, where powerful peaks offer long-rides, fat tubes and lots of
variety. Further north, in front of the Club Med, is a fast, barrelling right
reef break called Sri Lanka, which works best at midtide and can handle
swells from 6ft to 10ft.
Just north of Padang Padang (opposite), this outside reef break has three
shifting peaks with fast left-hand tube sections that can join up if the condi-
tions are perfect (low tide, 5ft swell), but don't stay on for too long, or you'll
run out of water.
Ketewel & Lebih
These two beaches (for Lebih, see p209) are northeast of Sanur, and access
is easy from the new coast road. They're both right-hand beach breaks,
which are dodgy at low tide and close out over 6ft. Most likely there are
other breaks along this coast all the way to Padangbai, but they need a big
swell to make them work.
In the Nusa Penida group, this island (p148) is separated from the southeast
coast of Bali by the Selat Badung (Badung Strait).
The strait is very deep and generates huge swells that break over the reefs
off the northwest coast of Lembongan. Shipwreck, clearly visible from the
beach, is the most popular break, a longish right that gets a good barrel at
midtide with a 5ft swell.
A bit to the south, Lacerations is a very fast, hollow right breaking over a
very shallow reef - hence the name. Still further south is a smaller, more user-
friendly left-hander called Playground. Remember that Lembongan is best with
an easterly wind, as are Kuta and Ulu Watu, so it's dry-season surfing.
Surfing Indonesia by
Leonard and Lorca Lueras
has about 80 pages
on Bali. It has great
photos, a comprehensive
coverage of the waves,
and some good surfing
For your first plunge into the warm Indian Ocean, try the beach breaks
at Kuta Beach (p95); on full tide go out near the life-saving club at the
southern end of the beach road. At low tide, try the tubes around Halfway
Kuta (p102), probably the best place in Bali for beginners to practise. Start
at the beach breaks if you are a bit rusty. The sand here is fine and packed
hard, so it can hurt when you hit it. Treat even these breaks with respect.
They provide zippering left and right barrels over shallow banks and can
be quite a lot of fun.
Further north, the breaks at Legian Beach (p95) can be pretty powerful,
with lefts and rights on the sand bars off Jl Melasti and Jl Padma. At Kuta
and Legian you will encounter most of the local Balinese surfers.
And again further north, there are more beach breaks off Seminyak (p101),
such as the Oberoi, near the hotel of the same name. The sea here is fickle
and can have dangerous rip tides - take a friend.
For more serious stuff, go to the reefs south of the beach breaks, about a
kilometre out to sea. Kuta Reef, a vast stretch of coral, provides a variety of
waves. You can paddle out in around 20 minutes, but the easiest way is by
You can ride horses
in Bali from stables in
Kerobokan ( p124 ), Yeh
Gangga (p276), Ubud
( p181 ) and Pemuteran
( p269 ). Many people
enjoy the chance to see
nature at a relaxed pace
and in some cases gallop
through the surf.
Just Padang for short, this super shallow, left-hand reef break (above) is just
north of Ulu Watu towards Kuta. Again, check this place carefully before
venturing out. It's a very demanding break that only works over about 6ft
from mid- to high tide - it's a great place to watch from the clifftop.
If you can't surf tubes, backhand or forehand, don't go out: Padang is a
tube. After a ledgey take-off, you power along the bottom before pulling
up into the barrel. So far so good, now for the tricky part. The last section
turns inside out like a washing machine on fast-forward. You have to drive
high through this section, all the time while in the tube. Don't worry if you
fail to negotiate this trap, plenty of other surfers have been caught too. After
this, the wave fills up and you flick off. Not a wave for the faint-hearted and
definitely not a wave to surf when there's a crowd.