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Surfing the Bali coasts: Newbies and Advanced

Booking a Bali villa is a surefire ticket to experiencing the colourful food, culture, yoga, and festivals this Indonesian island offers.

However, Bali offers one other thing: fantastic surf. From beginners to experienced, Bali offers something special for surfers of all levels.

Surfing in Bali. Truly one-of-a-kind activity as Bali harbours a unique collection of sparkling blue-water beaches with all types of sand and rock floors and a variety of breaks and qualities of waves.

Anyone from avid surfers to the newest novices can catch a wave somewhere in Bali. The best part is having luxurious Bali accommodation to return to after a long salty day in the sun. So whether you are staying in a Canggu villa, Seminyak villa, or somewhere else on this magical land, you can access waves suited to your experience. We’ve split up our favourites to target the more advanced surfer and the newbies while all levels can enjoy some.

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Waves for Beginners

Legian Beach

If you’ve booked in Canggu, Legian beach is only about 3 kilometres from your Seminyak villa or a bit over 10 K. If you’re really keen, you can walk along the beach to get there so you can get warmed up and enjoy the scenery. It takes about 35 minutes from Seminyak beach. Otherwise, hop on a scooter or have a driver drop you off at Jalan Pantai Legian. This spot is a little less crowded than Kuta and has fewer surf schools on offer, but there are enough to go around, and you’ll get a little more elbow room in the water. While swells tend to grow in the afternoon, during the day, you’ll enjoy waves under three feet and a sandy break, safe for toppling-over beginners.

Related article: destination Legian

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Echo Beach

This is your spot if you’re staying in a Canggu villa near Echo beach! That said, it’s not a far motorbike ride from Seminyak villas and surrounds. Wake up in your luxurious Bali accommodation and head down to Pantai Batu Bolong, “Echo Beach” as the residents now call it. Plenty of surfboard rentals are right along the beach, so there is no need to book or plan ahead of time. While waves here tend to be under 6 feet, and the rock bed is smooth and level, you’ll still need to have some discernment when the larger barrels come rolling along. Paddle out of the way if any waves are looking large and stick to the smaller ones. One of my favourite aspects of Echo beach is the calm evening surf on the sunset’s pink and purple waters. Perfect place to go for a drink to watch the sunset. Make sure you try Old Mans, which is right on the beach.

Kuta Beach

Perhaps one of the most famous surf spots for those in the learning phase, Kuta beach offers long sandy bottoms and relatively small swells. If you’re feeling unsure about the growing waves in the evening, head out earlier in the day to play it safe. If you’ve never hopped on a board before, book into one of the many surf schools along the beach so they can teach you how to cruise along the reasonably sized waves. It takes about an hour to get to Kuta driving South from Canggu.

Dreamland Beach

How could we leave off something with such an evocative name? Dreamland is a little farther from Canggu and Seminyak villas, but it’s less than an hour and a half drive down to the peninsula, and you’ll be in close proximity to go watch some of the experienced surfers catching big swells at Uluwatu. Because of the sandy-bottom break, this tends to be a safe spot for wobbly beginners who want to go falling off and get back up again! Occasionally swells get up over 6 feet, so watch for those and wait for the smaller waves.

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Waves for Advanced Surfers

Keramas Beach

A fun but a dangerous wave that sucks up over a reef, Keramas is one of the best rights on the  East coast of Bali, about 30 min north of Sanur. And,  to add to the danger factor, the crowds can get very busy with locals dominating the lineup. If you are intermediate to advanced, you should be able to handle the wave. Keramas works best in the rainy season when the other side of the island is onshore, which is why so many people come here.

Uluwatu Beach

If you’ve just accompanied a less-experienced friend to have a go at Dreamland, then you’ve almost made it to the illustrious Uluwatu already. It’s about a 25-minute drive since the road is just inland and about 1.5 hours if you’ve just rolled out of bed at your Canggu villa. With turquoise-blue waves crashing against the green cliffs below Pura Luhur, Uluwatu temple, Uluwatu is both a famous surf spot and a sensory download. As a practised surfer you’ll probably be amply prepared, but just in case, make sure you bring your board and check out the tide changes before you head out, as there tend to be dramatic currents. The best bet for pro surfers is to get when swells get bigger so you can ride barrels without battling the crowd.

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Binging Beach and Impossibles

You can think of this as a cousin surf spot to Uluwatu and lies only a short drive north, so it makes for a good second option if you’re beach hopping for the day. Binging is a good choice if you’re after slightly smaller waves and you don’t mind negotiating with the slightly larger crowd that comes with it. While the barrel rides tend to be slightly shorter than Uluwatu, they are also rather consistent, so you’re sure to get several good rides in before you head back to your Bali villa to put your feet up.

If you’re not quite done after Bingin, you can check out the long-reef surfing nearby at the Impossibles. Barrels aren’t massive, but they are fun and challenging and will definitely satiate the appetites of keen surfers.

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Green Bowl

We’ll definitely reiterate that this one falls in the experienced category. Not to mention, you’ll need to be motivated to get there as it’s a bit of a journey. From your Bali villa up in Canggu or Seminyak, you can get a driver to head directly to the Southernmost tip, roughly 40 kilometres, which takes about an hour and a half. The beach is often quiet, and you can explore the bat caves on your breaks from the persistent and challenging swells. That said, you’ve got to get yourself and your board down what feels like a thousand stone steps embedded into the cliff face. While these strong and unpredictable Southern Ocean currents make for an exciting and demanding day in the surf, you need to be confident in your abilities before you attempt these waves.

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surfing in bali - greenbowl

Medewi

Medewi on the  East Coast is so worth the trip if you’re staying in Seminyak or Canggu. Spend a day or two up here and surf the best left-hander in Bali.  It’s one of the longest left-hand breaks and suits intermediate to advanced as you can see from the video below.

If we wrote about every fabulous surfing beach in Bali it would be an endless rolling barrel of an article. The spots we’ve mapped out are many of the best on offer and at least make for great starting points. Now you’ll be able to book into your Bali villa with confidence about where you might catch your first wave.

Let us help you find the perfect villa in Bali for your dream holiday.

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About the author

Steven is a die-hard Bali island addict and committed surfie. When he's not writing or taking videos of the latest restaurants or cool places, he's at Echo Beach surfing or riding his scooter around Seminyak, Berawa or Canggu. Steve is part of the Bali Villa Escapes marketing team and has been living in and out of Bali for the last 15 years.