Surf’s up on the shores of Bali

People from all around the world head to these beaches and all with a main objective -  to catch some of the most awesome waves that South East Asia has to offer

marc_casolani
Marc Casolani
25 November 2016, 8:22am
Most surfing spots are located in the areas of Kuta, Seminyak, Uluwatu, Nusa Dua and Sanur
Most surfing spots are located in the areas of Kuta, Seminyak, Uluwatu, Nusa Dua and Sanur
Bali, need I say more? But I must. It is not only one of the top destinations in South East Asia for its beaches, parties and spirituality. There is another key dimension to it, and that is surfing. 

People from all around the world head to these beaches, not just the pros, and all with a main objective – to learn, better themselves or simply catch some of the most awesome waves that South East Asia has to offer. In fact the pro-surfers do rate a specific place in Bali, called Uluwatu, as having some of the best waves in the world at high tide and big swell. Being a “surfer” myself, one who is more of a pro at taking on wipeouts than actually cleanly riding the waves and ripping them, I have come to really appreciate the true nature of surfing and the waves themselves.   

To start off, you need to get to Bali. Emirates offer some great deals to get here from Malta, just book in advance. Another way to get here is by boarding the island ferries – not the safest on record but a cheap and effective way to explore all of Indonesia and its many islands. The best time to get here is during the dry season, from April through to October. Accommodation is in abundance and scattered everywhere, from remote areas to bustling streets. The best though are all on the beaches or on the rocks on the water. These however are mainly resorts, retreats and surfer camps, of which the most famous surfer camp is probably Rapture Surf camp down south in Uluwatu. 

Most surfing spots are located in the areas of Kuta, Seminyak, Uluwatu, Nusa Dua and Sanur. These are the most popular surfing spots in all of Bali and are close to all the key locations for shopping, nightlife, chill out bars, and your various urban adventures. 

Another spot to surf would be up north in Lovina – not the best of spots but you can get some easy surf
Another spot to surf would be up north in Lovina – not the best of spots but you can get some easy surf
However if you want to go on a kind of “surfer’s retreat”, you can look outside these areas and head to Medewi beach, which is located in Pulukan. Here you will find some amazing barrels that stretch along 10 kilometres of black volcanic sand, pretty exquisite. This area is simply great for sunsets, surf, meditation and a chill out max factor. It is also great to integrate with a lot of friendly locals and get an interesting taste of the culture. 

Another spot to surf would be up north in Lovina – not the best of spots but you can get some easy surf. Lovina itself used to be the old capital of Bali, however it is now pretty run down and choked with people. This is where they also carry out the dolphin tours, which you will come to realise have exploited the dolphins and are causing great risk to the local dolphin colony’s survival. 

Getting around is pretty easy and Bali is actually very well equipped for surfers. It offers small jeeps for rental and a huge fleet of mopeds, all equipped with surfboard racks on the side. Pretty hard to manage at first, but you will get used to it. The dangers are the other people on the road – you have to drive mad if you want to survive. You can find rental companies all over Denpasar and Kuta. 

 If you do not have much time for surfing, I would still recommend having a bike but I can also suggest hiring a driver for the day who will take you to the surfer spots of your choice or his recommendation
If you do not have much time for surfing, I would still recommend having a bike but I can also suggest hiring a driver for the day who will take you to the surfer spots of your choice or his recommendation
If you have time and you have come here for a surfing holiday, I would recommend hiring a bike and going around the Balinese coast slowly with your board. Boards themselves can be rented out from shops and shacks, often situated just metres from each other. Boards are plentiful and not a problem to find. If you do not have much time for surfing, I would still recommend having a bike but I can also suggest hiring a driver for the day who will take you to the surfer spots of your choice or his recommendation. 

For those of you who just want to try it out or perfect beginners’ skills, I suggest you head down to Kuta, Seminyak and Sanur. Lovina is the other destination for low-level surfers. For the rest of you who have already gotten the hang of it and are up for taking it up a notch, definitely head to Uluwatu. Medewi is also for pros, however Uluwatu is like surfing amongst the gods with scenery of epic proportions. 

The owner at Blue Point Beach club had this to say: “There are four different sections to surf here at Ulu. There’s Temples which is a long and hollow wave that works on the mid to high tide. The Peak right in front of the warungs in line with the cave also best on the high tide. Racetrack is a super fast but makeable barrel that works on the low tide, but gets very shallow and can cause some serious injuries. Outside corner is considered by many to be one of the best waves anywhere in the world, the corner won’t even start to break unless the swell is at least in the 8-foot range, and then you are in for one long and fast ride”. 

Medewi is also for pros, however Uluwatu is like surfing amongst the gods with scenery of epic proportions
Medewi is also for pros, however Uluwatu is like surfing amongst the gods with scenery of epic proportions
I hope this got every surfer reading this to pick up their phone or clicking on their laptops and looking up flights to Bali. You’ll have a jaw dropping experience, I promise you. Just look out for southeast winds at Uluwatu and if that is what presents itself, expect to have a few people out there. 

You walk down through the crevasse of the cliffs and find yourself immersed between two faces of the cliffs, standing on some nice soft sand. Then grab your board and head out of the cave to fight off some intense swell that gathers at the mouth. Once you are out, you find yourself looking at some amazing water and a beautiful cliff setting in front of you. All you need to do now is catch a wave. 

For those of you who get yourselves down there, have a super time but be safe.

Marc Casolani is a freelance photographer and a chronic traveler. Bitten by the travel bug...