Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
will be world-class, and anything over 10ft will be brown board shorts mate-
rial. There are other reefs further offshore and most of them are surfable.
Hyatt Reef, over 2km from shore, has a shifty right peak that can give a
great ride at full tide. Closer in, opposite the Sanur Beach Market, Tanjung
Sari gives long left rides at low tide with a big swell, while Tanjung Right
can be a very speedy wall on a big swell. The classic right is off the Grand
Bali Beach Hotel.
Another left runs off the cliff that forms the southern flank of the bay. It
breaks outside this in bigger swells, and once it's 7ft, a left-hander pitches
right out in front of a temple on the southern extremity. Out behind the
Peak, when it's big, is a bombora (submerged reef ) appropriately called the
Bommie. This is another big left-hander and it doesn't start operating until
the swell is about 10ft. On a normal 5ft to 8ft day there are also breaks south
of the Peak. One is a very fast left, and is also very hollow, usually only ridden
by goofy-footers, due to its speed.
Observe where other surfers paddle out and follow them. If you are in
doubt, ask someone. It is better having some knowledge than none at all.
Climb down into the cave and paddle out from there. When the swell is
bigger you will be swept to your right. Don't panic, it is an easy matter to
paddle around the white water from down along the cliff. Coming back in you
have to aim for the cave. When the swell is bigger, come from the southern
side of the cave as the current runs to the north. If you miss the cave, paddle
out again and repeat the procedure.
Bali-based Surf Travel
Online (
.com) has information on
surf camps, boat charters
and package deals for
surf trips to remote
Indonesian locations, as
well as Nusa Lembongan.
Look for the free
newspaper Magic Wave,
which is distributed
around Kuta and has
full coverage of the Bali
surfing scene.
The abortive development at Pulau Serangan (Turtle Island) entailed huge
earthworks at the southern and eastern sides of the island, and this has
made the surf here much more consistent, though the landfill looks like a
disaster. The causeway has made the island much more accessible, and
several warung face the water, where waves break right and left in anything
over a 3ft swell (see p147).
South Coast
The extreme south coast (p133), around the end of Bukit Peninsula, can be
surfed any time of the year provided there is a northerly wind, or no wind
at all - get there very early to avoid onshore winds. The peninsula is fringed
with reefs and big swells are produced, but access is a problem. There are
a few roads, but the shoreline is all cliff. If you want to explore it, charter a
boat on a day with no wind and a small swell.
Nyang Nyang is a right-hand reef break, reached by a steep track down
the cliff. Green Ball is another right, which works well on a small to medium
swell, ie when it's almost flat everywhere else. Take the road to the Nikko Bali
Resort & Spa, fork left just before you get there and take the steps down the
cliff. The south coast has few facilities and tricky currents, and it would be
a bad place to get into trouble.
Lombok has some good surfing and the dearth of tourists means that breaks
are uncrowded.
Desert Point
Located in an extremely remote part of Lombok, Desert Point (above) is legen-
dary if elusive wave that was voted the 'best wave in the world' by Tracks
magazine. Only suitable for very experienced surfers, on its day this left-handed
tube can offer a 300m ride, growing in size from take-off to close-out (which
is over razor-sharp coral). Desert Point only really performs when there's a
serious ground swell and can be flat for days and days - May to September
offer the best chance of the right conditions. The nearest accommodation is
about 12km away in Pelangan, down a rough dirt track, so many surfers either
camp next to the shoreline, or cruise in on surf safaris from Bali.
.org is a very well-regarded
international surfer-run
aid organisation that has
done impressive work
for the tsunami-ravaged
islands off Sumatra.
Indo Surf & Lingo (www by
Peter Neely tells surfers
where and when to find
good waves around Bali
and other Indonesian
islands. The topic also has
a language guide with
Indonesian translations
of useful words. It's
available at surf shops in
the Kuta region.
Ulu Watu
When Kuta Reef is 5ft to 6ft, Ulu Watu (p127), the most famous surfing
break on Bali, will be 6ft to 8ft with bigger sets. Kuta and Legian sit on a
huge bay - Ulu Watu is way out on the southern extremity of the bay, and
consequently picks up more swell than Kuta. It's about a half-hour journey
from downtown Kuta by private transport.
Teluk Ulu Watu (Ulu Watu Bay) is a great setup for surfers - local boys
will wax your board, get drinks for you and carry the board down into the
cave, which is the usual access to the wave. There are warung and nearby
there are cheap losmen (basic accommodation).
Ulu Watu has about seven different breaks. The Corner is straight in front
of you to the right. It's a fast-breaking, hollow left that holds about 6ft.
The reef shelf under this break is extremely shallow, so try to avoid falling
headfirst. At high tide, the Peak starts to work. This is good from 5ft to
8ft, with bigger waves occasionally right on the Peak itself. You can take
off from this inside part or further down the line. It's a great wave. At low
tide, if the swell isn't huge, go further south to the Racetrack, which is a
whole series of bowls.
At low tide when the swell is bigger, Outside Corner starts operating, fur
ther out from the Racetrack. This is a tremendous break and on a good day
you can surf one wave for hundreds of metres. The wall here on a 10ft wave
Gili Trawangan
Much better known as a scuba diving mecca, Trawangan (p307) also boasts a
little-known surf spot off its southwestern tip, offshore from the Vila Ombak
hotel. It's a quick right-hander that breaks in two sections, one offering a
steeper profile, and breaks over rounded coral. It can be surfed all year long
but is best at high tide. There are no surf facilities in Trawangan, though
both resident Westerners and locals may lend you a board.
About 18km west of Kuta, Lombok the stunning bay of Mawi (above) has a
fine barrelling left with a late take-off and a final tube. It's best in the dry season
from May to October with easterly offshore winds and a southwest swell. As
there are sharp rocks and coral underwater and the riptide here is very fierce,
take great care. Unfortunately thefts have been reported from the beach, so
leave nothing of any value and tip the locals to look after your vehicle.
The east coast of South Bali is popular for water sports. The close-in reefs off
Sanur and Tanjung Benoa (Benoa Headland) mean that the water is usually
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