Surfing in Bali a Few Essential Tips

One of the most important tips anyone is going to give you about surfing in Bali is that if you happen to be in Bali and it’s a month containing the letter ‘r’ go surf the east part of the island. During any of the other months go west. Simple as that. East coast is the best during the rainy season!

On Bali, you have dozens of absolutely awesome surf breaks to choose from, no matter the part of the island. From Uluwatu in the south in the Bukit up to Medewi or Balian on the west, the choices are endless for the avid surfer. Seriously, when it’s working and the surf is good, you will have the pick of some of the best surf breaks from any where on the planet.

Bali was the first place in Asia where surfing really took off and it shows absolutely no signs of slowing down, In fact, some of the best known breaks can get extremely crowded and if you happen to be staying in a holiday villa in Canggu then you will immediately see the crowds at Echo Beach. For that matter head up to Uluwatu and you will get a really good idea about crowds and the popularity of surfing in Bali it’s insane. Getting a wave to yourself is like winning the lottery. You can see the increase in tourist activity from this article: http://indonesia.embassy.gov.au/jakt/MR16_042.html

Most surfers buzz around the island on motor bikes that have board racks attached. Keep an eye out for these guys and perhaps chat with them to catch up on the best surf breaks for that day. You can always rely on getting some good tips from surfers on bikes. Perhaps rent one yourself and follow them as they search the east and west coast looking for the best waves.

Beginners should try the beach breaks of Kuta or Legian to start out with on the west coast. The beaches are fully patrolled here which makes it  a lot safer, but still keep an eye out for rips in the water and tide movements. It’s also a soft bottom, this way if you fall of your board you are hitting sand and not sharp coral. For the more advanced surfers, give Uluwatu, Padang Padang or Bingin a try. These can prove quite challenging so make sure that you’re up for it.  They are all left handers so if your a goofey footer then your in luck. Serious drownings and accidents can happen so be fully prepared if you are thinking about these breaks.

You can always hire a surfboard in Bali, but from experience the boards that you get are somewhat damaged and old. If you want to really give surfing a try then perhaps bring your own board from home. Most airlines allow you to take 1 board free of charge along with your baggage and I know that Garuda will allow you to take 2 boards. Make sure they are securely wrapped in plastic and a sturdy board bag cover. You can always buy your surfboards when in Bali and if you happen to be staying in one of our Seminyak villas, then there are heaps of surf shops selling big name brands like Al Merrick, Chilli, and Hayden Shapes where you can buy your board.

If you have any dings or fin snaps there are heaps of ding repair places on the island. I prefer the ding repair guys in Uluwatu. They are quick, cheap and very happy to help. Plus they did an awesome repair job on one of my board over Christmas where I got a huge ding surfing at Green bowl. It was fixed in 1 day for Rp 500 000 ( Aussie $50).

For the very experienced surfers the best place to go is the southern tip of the island, also known as the Bukit. You can spend your whole holiday here and never and I repeat never get bored. It’s an absolutely stunning place and has some of the best surf I have ever seen in my life. A great tip here is to try Greenbowl. Well worth it if you are looking for an absolutely amazing right hander. The walk down will test you, and make sure you have some energy for the 250-300 steps when you finish the surf.

Bali has tons of good breaks, the best way to see most of them it to spend a few days in each part of the island where the waves are. If your on holiday, like most people are, focus on the south as this is area has the highest concentration of surfable waves. There’s loads of Bali surf villas, hotels and home stays around the island so accommodation should not be an issue and they cater for all tastes, styles and budgets.

A really good tip is that getting injured in Bali is quite common when surfing over the reefs. All surfers know the dangers and they are prepared to take the risks to score some perfect waves.You can see the signs of injuries from surfing accidents everywhere. Scratched backs, legs and arms are all too common a sight. My tip is to take a medical kit with you in case your not near a pharmacy and something bad happens. There are tons or pharmacies ( also known as Apotek in Bali) but bring a kit with Betadine and bandages and have them with you at all times especially if your surfing over a reef. Below is your typical Balinese pharmacy in case you need it.