Bali is the ultimate wave rider’s playground, with world-renowned surf spots scattered along it’s south coast. Southern ocean swells from the Antarctic give Bali unique conditions for surfing, and earn the country it’s reputation for excellent surfing. In this Bali Surf Camp Guide we look at the best surf camps in four different areas.
In general, July is the best month to surf in Bali, but this can differ depending on which coast you wish to visit. On the West coast, surfing conditions are most favourable between April and October whilst the offshore wind is occurring. Whilst the East coast sees the best waves from November to March for the same reason.
The entire country is sown with world-class surf spots, in particular the Bukit Peninsular. This Bali Surf Camp Guide will focus on four major surfing destinations in the country. These are Uluwatu, Keramas, Medewi and Kuta.
The Best Places To Surf
Bali is unique in that it has two coasts with world class waves that cater for surfers all-year-round. Typically the dry season from May to September brings optimum surfing conditions, when the waves on the West coast break at their best.
Reefs further out from shore tend to hold larger waves, many of which are only accessible by boat. Other beaches are accessible by foot, and tend to have a greater variety of wave. In this section we will examine the best waves and surf spots in Bali for surfers of any ability.
Optimum conditions come with the dry season, with swells heading in the Southern direction and South-East winds. Uluwatu rarely lies flat and has a large swell window that spans most of the year, with waves sometimes reaching up to 10 foot!
However the beach is most crowded when waves are between 2-5 foot. Because of this, Uluwatu Beach is best suited to expert surfers. The outside corner is considered provide one of the best waves in the world!
You may recognise this beach from the perhaps the most famous opening sequence of any surf movie… In Morning of the Earth (1971) Ably Falzon surfed a golden backlit wave breaking in slow motion on Uluwatu Beach, giving huge traction to the Bali surfing scene! We have a number of Uluwatu Surf Camps for those who wish to check out this incredible location!
Padang Padang Beach
Padang Padang Beach is home to a rapid, long barrelling wave coming from deep water and breaking over the shallow reef. The challenge presented by this wave is suited to expert surfers best. The waves only appear in the presence of a very large southern swell, and are most consistent throughout the dry season. At their best these waves can reach 5-8ft, providing optimum surf conditions.
Crowds are more dispersed on Impossibles Beach since the wave breaks at 3 different points along the shore. Surfing conditions are most favourable in the dry season. The southern swell produces a 4-8ft wave which breaks rapidly to produce an extremely fast wave unique to Impossibles. The rapid break window means this beach is most suited for intermediate to advanced surfers.
This reef is easily accessible and is only a short paddle from the shore. High tide provides perfect conditions for beginners when the wave breaks softly. As this draws out the conditions become shallower and more suited for advanced surfers. Visitors find surfing conditions peak in the dry season, but the beach can get crowded due to the single small take-off spot.
Dreamland waves break over sand, providing suitable conditions for novice surfers. The beach is particularly picturesque, with a large area of white sand suitable for sunbathing and spending the day in a surfers paradise. Different breaks cater for different abilities, the favourite being an A-frame peak. This breaks best at low tide with a large swell.
Balangan is walkable from Dreamland, also providing a gorgeous white sand beach. However, this beach has an old Bali charm that other beaches in Uluwatu lack. This is primarily because the area is underdeveloped, quiet yet beautiful. Intermediate surfers find their home here, as do beginners on smaller days. Waves here can be ridden at any tide, but low tide is typically more challenging.
This beach houses a powerful right handed wave which provides deep tube rides over a delicate reef. Early mornings throughout the wet season oversee the best conditions, with waves typically reaching head to double head height. Keramas Beach is recommended for intermediate to advanced surfers. If you’re interested, check out our favourite Keramas Surf Camps!
Another beach that surfers can visit during Bali’s wet season for exceptional waves. The rocky reeves under the waves mean this beach is better suited to experienced surfers even at high tide. Waves on Ketewel beach are fast, powerful, hollow and ledgey. However, they are characteristically short (up to 50m).
Tanjung Sari Beach
Left and right hand breaks are provided here by the big bend in the reef and shallow channel. Left-hand breaks are recommended for beginners, with an easy paddle out and a shorter wave with a nice cover-up section.
Rights are both picturesque and lengthy if the conditions are right. Ideal conditions include a low tide and large southern swell. Tanjung Sari beach is densely populated with hotels, easily accessible and one of few beaches primed for surfing during the wet season.
Waves at Medewi are surfed by beginners and intermediates alike due to the soft left-handed point break. That being said, access to break points can be difficult. South is the best swell direction, and when combined with light winds, excellent 4-6ft waves are produced. We have some choice Medewi Surf Camps for those wanting to visit this incredible beach.
The most famous beach in Bali! Home to hotels, nightclubs and surfers alike. Surfing lessons for all abilities make use of the long-swelled, powerful waves on Kuta Beach. Waves can be ridden at all stages of tide, but again are best between April and August. If you want to check out the surfers hub of Bali, take a look at our Kuta Surf Camps.
Beginners up to experts can find their wave at Legian Beach, due to the versatility of tide ride-ability. Consistent, long, powerful waves break at several points. These are at their best in dry season when the water is at it’s warmest. Hours can be spent here with public facilities, swimming and other recreational activities also finding their home on Kuta’s primary tourist beach.
Surfers of any ability are welcome to surf here at all tides. The area provides several beach break points, both left and right handed. A powerful, fatter wave is produced averaging 3ft high.
Since this surf spot is located 800m offshore it is most easily accessible by boat, unless you fancy a good old paddle! Conditions here are best in the dry season, when waves are between 4-5ft. Kuta Reef accomodates all different levels of surfer, so can get crowded being fairly central. Whether you’re looking for a long ride or hollow barrel wave – Kuta Reef is the spot for you.
Airport reef has 2 surf spots (left and right) which straddle the airport in the centre. Both sets of waves are best between 4 and 5ft with a southern swell during dry season. The left reef is a softer wave, and recommended for beginners in the Kuta area. However, the right reef produces a classic right hand wave, occasionally stretching over 100m in length.e
Bali’s tropical climate has created a rich, diverse ecosystem both on the coast and in land. There is much wildlife to be seen, making the country a fantastically varied surfing destination. In place of summer and winter seasons, Bali has a year-round warm climate with wet and dry seasons.
The dry season spans from April to September, whilst the wet season stretches from November to March. Swells are largest and most favourable on the East coast (e.g. Keramas) in the rainy season. This switches to the Western side of the Bukit peninsular during dry season.
During the wet season water can accumulate and cause flooding. Bali does also experience monsoons throughout this time period. But with this rainier period comes a plethora of advantages. Those who prefer cooler weather will favour this time of year. Surf spots are less crowded, and the rain brings a new lease of life to Bali with the hills turning vibrant shades of green.
Bali is just 8 degrees south of the equator, so days are consistent in length. Sunrise take place around 06:30, and sets roughly 12 hours later at 18:30.
Bali sees consistently warm temperatures between 24 and 33°C (75-91°F). Night temperatures fall respectively by only a few degrees.
On the West Coast, water temperature is consistently warm and above 28°C (82°F). This falls to 26°C (78°F) between July and September. Surfers can easily surf with simply a rashguard or no wetsuits at all, meaning day-long surf sessions!