The best surf spots in Bali are mostly on the southern coasts and around the Bukit peninsula. These fun playgrounds are strictly for advanced surfers as they mostly comprise serious reef breaks and greater curls compared to the more popular and leisurely sandy breaks of Kuta and Legian. Hazardous for beginners, some of these reefs provide consistent waves that pros love, and some such as Padang Padang regularly host major surfing championships due to their long and consistent barrels, while the legendary breaks of Uluwatu provide an exotic towering temple backdrop with a steady supply of large swells.
Here’s our compilation of the best surf spots in Bali where you can line up and ride world-class waves together with skilled dudes from around the world.
Uluwatu is a classic, famous not only for its top waves but also for its location and the overall experience of surfing with beautiful scenery and Bali’s unique temple landmark. Where else in the world can you sit in the line up after catching a big one and look up on the hill to see an ancient Hindu shrine and magnificent cliff face? Crowds become a factor when the waves are under four feet, but it really shines as it begins to produce epic barrels of over four. It’s good to refer to tide charts or local knowledge on tide directions. Remember to bring your favourite board, reef booties, and some cash for a great after-surf massage at one of the warungs on the cliff. Beware of the current as the tide changes, or you may be swept all the way down to Padang-Padang before you know it. That’s one of our next spots. But our next closest is Suluban.
Not far north from Uluwatu is the secluded surfers’ paradise of Suluban. Suluban, which has acquired the nickname, ‘Blue Point’, is unique and has its own appeal, including a beautiful narrow beach where many sunbathers crowd. Getting to the beach is an adventure down steep staircases and rocky openings that require you to bend down a bit in order to get through. You must first make your way down the narrow path down the somewhat treacherous steps into a cave, then out onto the sand. Suluban in Balinese means to ‘crouch under’, which is easily understandable. The main appeal for surfers is its long and powerful swells and consistent barrels. The cliff top is lined with shacks overlooking the thrills and horizon.
3. Padang padang
Padang Padang is a favourite spot due to its consistent barrels, and most of all, its accessibility and unique hollow rock entrance that opens out onto an exotic, long white sandy beach. It is located between Bingin and Uluwatu, and the beach is a regular host for international surfing events, such as the regular Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang. The powerful and consistent waves are an average four feet and above. Definitely for the pros, sharp reef dwell underneath the beautiful barrels, which occasionally break onto the rocks. Although the waves are limited to advanced surfers, the beach gets crowded especially on the weekends.
Bingin is an hour’s drive down from Kuta, and only several minutes north from Uluwatu. The waves here aren’t as big as Uluwatu’s, but being on the same south-western side of the Bukit peninsula, it shares the same hazardous reef. Bingin’s barrels are consistent, much like its sister spot of Uluwatu but a little shorter. This makes it a bit of a challenge in catching a good wave in time. Tides similarly play a factor here, so it’s good to keep your tide charts handy or ask around some local surfers who know the playgrounds well. Expect more crowds here than Uluwatu, as the waves are less intimidating.
Just north from the now crowded and overdeveloped Dreamland Beach, Balangan is a surfing paradise with a kilometre long stretch of white sand and green seaweed covered rocks. The reef is right in front of the beach, and it has southern swells with one of the longest left-hander breaks on the island that range from four to six feet. The beach is slowly sharing the similar fate of Dreamland, as once secluded beaches that now have improved access. Expect some crowds.