Bali and surfing go together like beers and sunsets. When some of the best waves in Bali appeared on the surf film, Morning of the Earth, surfers flocked to the island. Where surfers went, roads and development followed. This spurred an uptick in surf tourists, creating the tourist hub that is so famous among surfers today.
Wanting to see it for yourself? Come along as we show you the best waves in Bali.
Where to find the best waves in Bali: An overview
Most of Bali’s best waves break along the Bukit Peninsula, an arid region that’s home to tens of iconic waves crashing along its coastline. Here, you’ll find waves like Uluwatu’s, Padang Padang, and Bingin.
Bali’s western coastline spanning from Jimbaran to Negara also see waves that sneak in between Bali and the neighboring island of Java. Here is where you’ll find breaks like Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu, Medewi, and Balian.
Bali’s southeast coast is home to breaks of Sanur and Keramas. Waves tend to be a bit fickler on Bali’s eastern coastline, though you might have a chance of scoring nonetheless.
If you head to Nusa Lembongan, a small island within Bali’s boundaries, you’ll discover waves that range from beginner-friendly to scary at times. Lacerations, Shipwrecks, and Playgrounds are each named for their respective connotations. .
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Ready to surf? These are the best waves in Bali
The long and mesmerizing lefthander rolling in front of Uluwatu Cliffs might just have been the wave that inspired Bali’s greater surf scene. Today, warungs selling spicy mie goreng and Bintangs crowd the limestone cliffs at Uluwatu, and there is a major parking lot where you’re bound to see hundreds of motorbikes with surf racks on their sides parked at the long walk down’s entrance.
The wave of Uluwatu can handle just about any size swell and is famous for its clean, wide barrels. The paddle out can be tricky and is best left to more experienced surfers.
One of the best waves to watch when it’s big, Padang Padang is an unforgiving barrel that breaks left over shallow reef. Rip Curl hosts it’s “It’s On When It’s On” Rip Curl Cup at this iconic wave. Padang Padang needs a large swell to break. When it does, the crowds come running. Though it works at all tides, mid- to high-tide is best if you plan to get out of the water unscathed.
Beginners can have a better time at Baby Padang Padang, a friendlier reef break on the other side of the bay. The beach at Padang Padang has a handful of merchant stands selling souvenirs and a place to rent beginner-friendly surfboards.
Keramas is arguably Bali’s best east coast wave, making a name for itself as part of the WSL Championship Tour. Like all powerhouse waves in Bali, the crowds can get a bit hectic in terms of sheer numbers and attitude. It’s a righthander that breaks fast and long. Stay at Komune Resort for wave proximity and relaxing pool time.
At the bottom of a steep limestone staircase is Bingin Beach, home to the shallow and fast Bingin surf break (reef booties would be a good choice). The wave is like pisang goreng—short, sweet, and can handle a bit of heat. In between surf sessions, hang out at one of the many warungs perched on the cliff ledge. It can get competitive here, but the vibe tends to be a bit friendlier than elsewhere in Bali. Yoga sessions at the Temple Lodge atop Bingin’s cliff make for a prime post-surf stretch.
You don’t have to venture far from Bali’s international airport to enjoy a great wave. Airport Rights is one of the most popular waves that only breaks in the right conditions (look for SW-W swell and mid- to high-tide). Save your arms and catch a ride out to the wave for about 150,000 Rp per surf session. If the stars are aligned in your favor, you can enjoy one of the longest waves in Bali.
The name is a bit of a buzzkill, but surf sessions at Lacerations are anything bet. Some surfers say this wave in Bali earned its name from the shallow reef below while other surfers claim it’s the rusting polls jutting from the water. No matter, it’s a fun righthander that barrels in the right conditions and is located off the idyllic island of Nusa Lembongan (which also happens to be one of the best places to scuba dive in Bali). This wave is wedged between Playgrounds and Shipwrecks.
It’s nearly impossible to have a bad time surfing at Playgrounds, the peaky A-frame found on Nusa Lembongan. While you might have to dodge flying boards from beginner surfers catching their first wave here, this spot is still worth surfing at. Paddle out from the quirky cove known as Coconut Beach, where local surf shacks rent boards for about 50,000 Rp an hour. The snorkeling is decent here too so if it’s flat, pack a mask.
Balangan was one of Bali’s best kept secrets until recent years, a long and lonely lefthander that breaks in front of Balangan Beach. This wave breaks wide, and beginners might find themselves struggling on the inside during bigger sets. It closes out quite easily, but some surfers might find themselves up to the challenge of racing around this wave’s hairier sections. And unlike much of the Bukit Peninsula, you’ll feel as though you’re surfing in untouched Indonesia here at Balangan Beach.
Consider Medewi as one of the longest waves in Bali. While it needs a narrow S-SW swell to work well, those who make the trek up here during the right conditions. The lineup tends to spread out along the wave, allowing it to handle a bit more crowd than many other waves along Bali’s western coastline. Beginner-friendly waves also exist alongside Medewi’s main break, with plenty of peaky beach breaks for those who want a wave to themselves.
Old Man’s is a Bali classic among standup paddlers, longboarders, and those in pursuit a wave that’s more cruise than close-out. This fat and slow waves breaks left and right, with a more laid-back crowd than you might find at main break Canggu. Surfers in search of their first wave might have a shot here, especially with the help of a local instructor.
When to go surfing in Bali
Waves in Bali tend to be best from May to September along Bali’s southwest coast and on the Bukit Peninsula, with crowds rushing the lineup from June to August. This coincides with Bali’s dry season. If you come all the way to this magical destination, no doubt surfing is one of the best things to do in Bali.