Over the past few years, Bali has essentially become synonymous with being one of the best surf destinations in Asia. Peeling reef breaks, friendly beach breaks, and barrels make the Island of the Gods a diverse place to paddle out. In this guide, I’ll show you the best surf spots in Bali no matter what type of surfer you are.
Table of Contents
Overview of surfing in Bali
The best time to go surfing in Bali
Crowds tend to come during Australian and U.S.A. holidays, from June to August and again from December to January. The island itself is a swell magnet, with waves rolling through all year round. If you want to experience waves in their prime, the best time to visit is from May to September. The months of May and September especially will be great when it comes to sunny weather, uncrowded lineups, and the best waves the island has to offer.
Water temperature and gear
The water temperature in Bali tends to hover between 27-29 C all year long. You won’t need a wetsuit. However, the sun and humidity will take a toll on your skin. Pack a UPF 50+ rated rashguard and plenty of reef-safe sunscreen on your trip. If you can even find sunscreen, it’s expensive as hell. Reef booties and a first aid kit in case you get a reef cut are worth having on hand, also.
Surf shops are limited outside of Kuta and Uluwatu. Pack some extra accessories (surf wax, leash, ding repair kit) if you plan to go anywhere offbeat.
If you’re venturing to Bali specifically to surf, consider checking into a Bali surf camp. This way, you’ll be able to meet travel mates and discover some of the best surf spots in the area. Surf camps tend to sort their guests by experience levels, meaning you won’t be taken to friendly waves if you’re a beginner or a more challenging wave if you’ve been surfing for years. As a bonus, most surf camps organize trips with a surf guide who can advise you on where to sit in the lineup and offer a bit of protection if other surfers get aggressive.
Despite their price tag–which can come at a shock for some–surf camps are often offer better value than self-organized surf trips to Bali when you consider the included cost of lessons, gear rental, accommodation, transportation, and food. Many of the best camps also have affordable yoga classes, freediving trips, and cultural day trips for their guests.
The best surf spots in South Bali/The Bukit Peninsula
This friendly lefthander is a fun place to paddle out no matter if you’ve come with a log or a 5’5″ fish. It’s technically a right as well, but the tends to be more reliable and gets you away from the rivermouth that’s rumored to be frequented by bull sharks. Balian breaks deep over reef and bombs often come through without a head’s up. Don’t even think about surfing here after a heavy rain, the river funnels all sorts of trash into the sea. Best for: All experience levels Best conditions: S-W swell, NE winds, 2-10 ft, and all tides.
While it’s become famous for being the hub of laptop owners who dropship and exchange cryto currencies, there are peaky waves stretched along Canggu‘s main beach. Beginners and pretentious influencers crowd the lineup. Come sunrise for the best shot at having a spot without a crowd. Best for: All experience levels Best conditions: S-W swell, NE winds, 2-10 ft, all tides.
Umbrellas, beach hawkers, and drunk Australians patrol the ashy shoreline of Seminyak. In the water, it’s a hit or miss between peaky waves or walls of closeouts. Either way, it’s a fun scene. Sand banks shift around constantly but tend to be a little more solid at Double Six Beach (Legian), just a few steps away. Best for: All experience levels Best conditions: S-W swell, NE winds, 1-8 ft, all tides.
Like Seminyak and Kuta, Legian is a fun little beach break that changes daily. Crowds tend to be mellow and the beach is much more laid back than its rowdy neighbors. Best for: All experience levels Best conditions: S-W swell, NE winds, 1-9 ft, all tides.
I’d tell you to avoid Kuta Beach, but you probably won’t listen. Alas, Kuta Beach is a cesspool of debauchery and drunken idiots. Fortunately, that has nothing to do with its waves. Punchy beach breaks line the shore with clusters of beginners and arrogant tourists in between. 700 meters offshore, you’ll find Kuta Reef, a lefhander that barrels over reef. Best for: All experience levels Best conditions: S-W swell, E winds, 1-8 ft, all tides.
Out in front of the international airport, two left peaks link up if the swell rolls in just right. The paddle is long, so you might want to opt for a boat that’ll bring you there and back for about 50,000 IDR each way. Best for: Intermediate/Experienced surfers Best conditions: S-W swell, E winds, 4-10 ft, mid to high tide.
Save your arms and hire a boat from Jimbaran to get to this righthander that barrels 100m along the reef. Best for: Intermediate/Experienced surfers Best conditions: S-W swell, E winds, 4-14 ft, avoid at low tide.
Rent a board and have some fun at Jimbaran Bay, a thin stretch of beach famous for its fish markets and ideal for beginner surfers. The ambiance at Jimbaran tends to be friendly and upbeat, though you might have to dodge some unstable SUPs. Best for: Beginner surfers Best conditions: S-W swell, SE winds, 1-8 ft, all tides.
Balangan has long been one of the more secret surf spots in Bali with its rickety warungs set up on the cliffs and tedious walk down to the beach. Expect a nice left-hand wave with some more challenging sections. Crowds here can be hit or miss. Best for: Intermediate/Experienced surfers Best conditions: S-W swell, SE winds, 3-12 ft, mid to high tide.
Some of the foam board surfers flock to Dreamland, but that doesn’t mean experienced surfers won’t have fun here as well. If you’re a beginner surfer, avoid paddling out here during a heavy swell. Closeouts and strong currents are common. Best for: All experience levels Best conditions: S-W swell, SE winds, 2-10 ft, low to mid tide.
This fast and shallow left-hander is an icon for the Bukit Peninsula (when we’re not talking about Ulu’s, that is…). It works at all tides, though low tide will have you thinking twice about taking off too deep. Bingin–the sound your board makes when it smacks against the reef. Best for: Intermediate/Experienced surfers Best conditions: S-W swell, SE winds, 2-8 ft, avoid at low tide.
The crowd stretches out at Impossibles, a break with a handful of takeoff points. It works best during large swells. The paddle out is a beast and you might want to wear booties. Best for: Intermediate/Experienced surfers
Best conditions: S-SW swell, SE winds, 4-10 ft, all tides.
Just the name “Padang Padang” perks the ears of even the most out-of-know surfers. This barreling lefthander works best with a big swell. Pros come here to compete during the Ripcurl “It’s On When It’s On” surf contest.
If you’re a beginner surfer, head to the other side of the beach and paddle out at “Baby Padang Padang,” a friendly wave ideal for just about anyone. Best for: Padang Padang – intermediate/experienced surfers; Baby Padang Padang – all experience levels Best conditions: S-SW swell, SE winds, 5-12 ft, avoid at low tide.
Uluawtu is arguably the wave that put Bali on the map in the surf world. This break is beloved by locals and a must-surf if you’ve come to the island. The wave breaks wide and works in just about every condition. It’s a rite of passage to watch it for a while from one of the many warungs sat among the cliffs. The paddle in and out can be hectic (from a beach found wedged between the cliffs). Best for: Intermediate/experienced surfers Best conditions: S-W swell, SE winds, 2-16 ft, all tides.
The Best Surf Spots in East Bali
Paddle out to this wave in front of its namesake hotel. Crowds tend to be more chilled out than some of the region’s more popular waves and there are rights and lefts breaking throughout. Avoid low tide, this wave gets super shallow. Best for: Intermediate/experienced surfers Best conditions: S-W swell, NW winds, 3-10 ft, all tides.
This Bali surf spot is fickle wave that only works in a huge swell that locals swarm as soon as it gets good. Best for: Intermediate/experienced surfers Best conditions: S-W swell, W winds, 7-15 ft, avoid at low tide.
Keramas and its black glitter beach made headlines after Stephanie Gilmore scored a perfect 10 during the WSL stop in Bali. This right-hander barrels over limestone but can also be fun on smaller days. Crowds can be aggressive, but there’s a nice chill out cafe complete with swings to sit and watch just out front of the break. Best for: All experience levels (depending on conditions)
Best conditions: S-W swell, NW winds, 2-10 ft, all tides.
The Best Surf Spots Around Nusa Lembongan
A playful wave with a friendly crowd, Playgrounds on Nusa Lembongan breaks left and right over a vibrant reef. Paddle out from Coconut Beach, a little enclave where boards are available for about 50,000 IDR per day. Best for: All experience levels–especially beginner/intermediate surfers Best conditions: S-W swell, E winds, 2-10 ft, all tides.
With a name like Lacerations, you can’t expect this Balinese surf spot to be the friendliest place around. Fortunately, there’s a floating pontoon serving up juice and snacks for surfers in dire need of a break. This fast right-hander can be surprisingly fun even on small swells. Best for: Intermediate/Experienced surfers Best conditions: S-W swell, E winds, 2-10 ft, avoid at low tide. ,
The three surf breaks of Nusa Lembongan are kind of like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Shipwrecks is somewhat of a step up from Lacerations, mostly because the current tends to be much stronger here. This right-hander breaks on shallow reef. Watch out for the rusty hull of an old shipwreck. Best for: Intermediate/Experienced surfers Best conditions: S-W swell, E winds, 2-10 foot, does not work at low tide.