Whether you’re a complete beginner or a competing champion, Bali, one of the world’s best surfing destinations, has the perfect beach for you. What’s more, many of the best places for surfing in Bali – from Bali’s famous Padang Padang pipeline to beginner’s paradise Kuta – are easily accessible by either scooter or car in less than an hour’s drive from Bali’s main hub Seminyak.
But it’s crucial to pick the right beach for your level of ability; you don’t want to be caught in a huge barrel when you’ve only just picked up a surf board, and equally, Kuta’s early morning baby waves aren’t going to challenge you if you’re hoping to compete at the next Oakley Pro Bali competition.
So, we’ve put together a quick guide to the best surfing spots near Seminyak, based on your level of experience. Read on to find out which beach is best for you.
Kuta is definitely best for beginners. Its soft tide and relatively small waves make it the perfect spot to try out white water surfing (surfing the waves after they break and roll towards the beach) for the first time.
It’s also super convenient – only a 10-15 minute drive from Seminyak – and there are (literally) hundreds of surfing instructors to choose from. These range from Indonesian surfer dudes who have spent their lives riding Bali’s world-renowned waves and hanging out on the beach to official surfing schools like Odysseys. Most of them will guarantee to have you standing up within the hour. (And, believe us, if we can, you can too!)
Do be careful though. Although the waves might not look too dangerous, there can be quite a strong undercurrent. So when your instructor lets you loose on the waves on your own (which they often do for the second hour of your lesson), stick to the white waves, or you might find yourself getting a bit more battered and bruised than you’d like!
Canggu is a step up from Kuta in terms of difficulty and has some of the best intermediate surf on the island.
Located about 20 minutes from Seminyak (the other way from Kuta), Canggu is suitable for all ability levels, however the beginners’ courses tend to be a little bit more challenging than Kuta’s due to the tougher waves. If you’ve never surfed, the waves are still manageable and there are surfing instructors to help, but Canggu really comes into its own with its awesome intermediate-level waves.
Of course, this entirely depends on the tide; when it’s up, Canggu’s waves can be a real challenge even for the professionals, so pick your time carefully!
For the experts amongst you, there are also plenty of options. We recommend trying out Padang Padang, home to Bali’s famous pipeline, Keramas, hidden away in the south east, and Uluwatu, which boasts some of the biggest swells that hit the island.
Home to the yearly Rip Curl Cup, Padang Padang, which is about 45 minutes from Seminyak, is best known for playing host to the most serious wave on the island – the Balinese pipeline – strictly for expert surfers as it breaks over a shallow coral reef. It also happens to be an absolutely gorgeous beach and an excellent place to watch the sunset.
Keramas, quietly hidden away on the south eastern side of Bali, just under an hour’s drive from Seminyak, has also become one of the most popular spots for expert surfers on the island due to its constant waves and big swell.
Or you could head all the way south west from Seminyak to Uluwatu. This renowned surfing hotspot can hold a lot of surfers with its five breaks – the Racetrack, the Peak, Temples, Outside Corner and the Bombie – and it’s also quite an experience getting out to the waves, as you have to paddle through the famous Uluwatu cave. Remember, you also need to exit the break through the cave, so beware of strong currents.