The mix of temperate weather and tropical water makes Bali a water-sports wonderland. Though all kinds of water sports are available, surfing is the popular. The spectacular underwater sea life and beautiful beach locations only enhance the surfing experience.
Surfing started to grow in popularity in the 1960s and 70s when hippy travelers sought Kuta as a refuge for their lifestyle that was frowned upon by mainstream society back home. How ever, they were not the pioneer surfers. In the 1930s Hawaiian Robert Koke, who had set up Kuta Beach Hotel, had already brought in a huge teak board to ride the swells of Kuta Beach.
Ever since those time, many people have been attracted to Bali because of the great surfing it has to offer, and it is now one of top surf travel destination in the world. Bali is ideal for both hard one surfers who are keen to ride huge waves that are equal to the best, as well as beach goers who are content just to float in the warm waters.
Having its roots as alternative lifestyle, surfing has created huge commercial spin-offs. Finding high quality surf gear from a range of well-known surf-wear companies should be the least of the problems for surfers. Understandably, most of the surf shop are in the Kuta area. Newer shops like surf Girl, No Fear, The Curl, Seven Shore, Da Hui and Aloha are even better than the best shops in Australia, USA, Europe, and Japan, and this is no exaggeration. Quiksilver, Billabong, Rip Curl, Spyderblit, Volcom, and all the established brands are yours for the picking. Brands bought from such shops are guaranteed genuine, and best of all, their prices are lower than the American, Australian, and Japanese price.
Hang-outs catering exclusively for surfers are thriving in many parts of the island. Many surf restaurants and warungs offer menu items such as surf-and-turf and Californian hamburgers and cocktails like Rip Curler and Smooth Swells. Continuous surfing videos, an array of surfing memorabilia, and life-sized fiberglass boards on larger than life molded waves (providing the opportunity to immortalize a surfing move on camera) are now common in surfers establishments.
So popular is surfing that contests are even held every year in Bali. The surfing scene is not dominated by foreigners. Local surfing heroes who have made an impact internationally such as Made Kasim, Wayan Suenda, Ketut Menda, Wayan Ganti, and Made Switra are often seen in hot action at Bali beaches. Rizal Tandjung, Ismael Dooley and Made Adi Putra are among the new talents who have potential of world Champions. Tandjung shot to fame when he scored a perfect 10 in the 1996 and 1997 Quiksilver Pro against the best surfers in the world.
The options are endless
Once you can drag yourself out of the surf shops and restaurants and actually into the surf, you will start to discover the real attractions of surfing in Bali. There are a few reasons why the surf is so good on this island Apart from anything else, stripping down to your boardies (board shorts) and dunking your self in the water is a refreshing option. And there are many spectacular beaches to surf at.
However, Bali is most unique for surfing because of the huge swell that is built as it travels north from the southern oceans wrap around and fully cover a 360-degree area, it can catch a swell traveling in any direction. There is always somewhere to surf, too, in many wind conditions. As off-shore winds are required for the best surfing conditions, the westerly winds of the dry seasons mean that the point breaks and beach breaks of the western coast are ideal while, conversely, in the rainy seasons the reefs off the eastern coast are perfect. With an almost circular isthmus at the southern tip of the island, most of these destinations are only a short distance apart, so checking the conditions for the best surfing spot of the day is not a problem.
Dry Season (best spot)
Beginner: Kuta Beach, Legian Beach, and Medewi. Intermediate: Canggu, Kuta Reef, and Balian Advanced Uluwatu, Padang, Bingin and Airport Lefts.
Wet Season (best spot)
Beginners: Sanur, Nusa Dua, and Jimbaran Intermediate and Advanced: Nusa Dua and Sanur reefs. To avoid the hassles of searching for a wave-perfect destination to surf, one can go on a surfing tour conducted by Island Wave Tours and Travel, located in Legian, Kuta.
Essential surf information provided by this company is incredibly accurate. Their services include transfers, transportation, guide service, domestic and international ticketing, and sightseeing tours. Island Wave has also successfully organized a big surfing championship.
Australian Surfing Portal