Bali and surfing are like John Lennon and Paul McCartney. They cannot be separated. Once they are separated, everything will fall apart. Everything. Not just the Beatles.
Surfing has become part of the scene in Bali. It is easy to spot tourists seeking for the most adrenaline-pumping waves around the island wandering back and forth on motorbikes that have been equipped with surfboard racks. There will always be people paddling their boards on shoal waters, waiting for the moment to pop-up once a good wave arises.
Since more than half a century ago, a countless number of people has been paddling on the shores of Bali, searching for good waves with no name. Generation after generation of world-class surfers has visited the island to ride the legendary breaks and enjoy the ambiance of the Island of the Gods.
And it seems that people have never got bored with Bali waves. The surfboard rentals along Kuta Beach are still on business, the surf-dude mannequin in front of Hard Rock Hotel is still smiling, let alone the custom surfboard makers which has got attention from surfers from all around the world.
Below are the reasons why..
Photo credit by Roxy.co.id
Shot featured in surf film ‘Morning of the Earth’
It is the first surf spot in Indonesia. Before a dude named Bob Koke, a Californian, introduced surfing in Kuta in the middle of the WWII, it never occurred to the Balinese mind that one can ride the ocean wave using a shaped wood. The Californian rode the waves for some time before fleeing to the neighboring Java. Somehow afterwards, surf haven was then forgotten.
It was not until the legendary surf movie “Morning of the Earth” had been released in 1974 that Bali once again became part of the surf scene. Since then, thousands of surfers have come to ride the waves of the Island of Gods. Many surf competitions have been held and countless legends have born.
Photo courtesy: inbali.org
Surrounded by the ocean from all directions, Bali is bestowed with all kinds of waves and breaks. You are free to choose among tens of surf spots depending on your skills and experiences. Shores of Bali accommodate all surfers, from beginners to pros.
Kuta-Legian or Balangan Beach is relatively safe for beginners. But if you spoke surf slangs fluently and had done surfing for some time, you’d want to try the more challenging breaks like those of Echo Beach or Bingin Beach.
Photo credits: balisurfexpress.com
No need to equip yourself with a second skin, unless you want to free dive while waiting for a good wave (which is not a bad idea). All you have to wear while surfing in Bali beaches are your pants..
Look around and you’ll see breathtaking views—white-sanded beaches, coconut trees, limestone cliffs, and bikinis. And everytime you finish the day’s session, you can sit on the sands, a can of cold beer on your hand, and gazed at the setting old sun on the horizon. Bali will never let surfers down, except when they duck.
Photo courtesy: kimasurf.com
It is unquestionable that you can surf whenever you want—as long as there are an ocean and the wind—in the dry season. But how about the rainy season?
In fact, Bali also has surf spots on the eastern part of the island which are okay to be ridden in rainy seasons, such as the left-handed Keramas Beach, the swelling Nusa Dua Beach, the once-a secret Serangan Beach, the famous Sanur Beach, and other spots like Hyatt Reef, Mushroom Rock, and Turtle Island. Here, you’ll never curse, “Oh No! Wrong season.”
Picture by: balisurfadvisor.com
There is no better surf buddy than the locals. Since the beginning of surf era in Bali, the locals have already been a part of the surf scene. It is said that Bob Koke taught them—and some foreign tourists—how to surf and even build a surfboard. No wonder local surfers know the local breaks back to back.
And Bali has many friendly local surfers which will take you to hidden beaches, guide you to amazing breaks, and accompany you to unforgettable tunnels while theyfill you in about cultures and other things about Bali.
Picture credits: tommyschultz.com
Understanding a wave takes time. So you need to stay for a while around the spot. For a couple hundred dollars you can stay in Bali for two weeks or even a month, depending on where you stay and what you eat, and local foods aren’t pricey. If you were into Jack Kerouac’s, you could as well practice the Beat Generation lifestyles: wandering around by rented car and sleeping in a tent. But make sure to ask the owner before entering one’s property.
Text by: Fuji Adriza