Bali is arguably the best and most consistent surfing location in the world with an amazing variety of waves. The Bukit is the prime surfing area and has an incredible concentration of surfing breaks which work in almost all swells and wind.
There are so many advanced waves we decided to pick the best 5 but we got to a short list of 6 and couldn't take any of them off the list as they are so good.
Advanced surfers love Uluwatu due the power and length of ride. Always picks up the most swell on the west coast of the bukit due to it's west facing exposure to all swell directions. Even on the smallest of swells, there is always some head high waves to be ridden. It is a very long reef with many sections and the reason that surfing Uluwatu is world famous is due to the consistency and length of ride. The racetrack is the favourite section of the wave for Padang Padang Surf Camp due to the length of ride. While the peak breaks more frequently it is a shorter ride and always more crowded. On a medium size swell can handle 100+ surfers on the different sections and there is always a wave breaking somewhere on the reef.
On the bigger days outside corners roars into life and is the premier big wave spot in Bali, possibly the whole of Asia. Very long ride ending in deep water it is perfect for advanced surfers but you need a bigger board to catch one. If Outside corners does not give you enough thrill, then try the bombie which can handle 40 foot swells and is sometimes makeable all the way through outside corners but as it breaks in deep water it is a very thick wave and you need to be seriously fit to handle a flogging out there. Only for the bravest of the brave or the stupidest of the stupid. 10 foot+ Hawaiian style rhino guns + flotation vests recommended.
2. Padang Padang (Balinese pipeline)
Padang Padang is known as the Balinese pipeline and breaks similar to it's more famous equivalent in Hawaii. Perhaps the biggest difference between these 2 breaks is that Padang has a nasty end section that is extremely shallow and causes the barrel to pinch shut. The Hawaiian pipeline fades into deep water and while the Hawaiian wave is more powerful (due to the bathymetry of the volcanic islands), it does not have this nasty end section and the shoulder of the wave is quite manageable. The Balinese pipeline is only suitable for advanced and expert surfers.
The wave comes in fast out of deep water and the take off is relatively easy, but after the bottom turn the wave reaches shallower water, slows down and throws incredible barrels. The pros make it look easy and by definition there is a lot of room in a stand up barrel but the power of the wave will punish severely any mistakes. The wave does not break good in the 3 to 4 foot size but it is possible to surf it mid sized uncrowded. When it's in the double-triple overhead range all the top surfers in Bali descend here and you will be joined by packs of travelling Brazilian surfers.
Aptly names as most of the waves are impossibly fast but on a large SW swell it can be perfect and rideable from the first peak all the way to the warungs at bingin. Does not break good at head high, this wave is usually best in the double-triple overhead size and is much more manageable than Uluwatu as there is no current on the outside. Even on the biggest days it is not too difficult to get out the back, as you can access the break from the channel at Padang but if you get stuck inside the sweep is merciless.
This is one of the surf camp's favourite waves when the conditions are right and we get many guests who say they had the longest ride in their life. Hardly every possible to do a cut back, it is mostly high line pumping through the sections which will throw the occasional barrel. Deep water out the back, the only danger of hitting the reef is on the inside either accessing the water or at the end of the wave. Can be frustrating waiting 15 minutes for a set, then 10 close out waves but if you are patient and select the right one, then the ride is well worth the wait.
Machine quality wave that is arguably the easiest barrel in the world. Take off, stall, pull in, barrel, one or two turns and ecstasy. Bingin is a short tide but what it lacks in length it makes up for in power, quality and thrill factor. After the barrel there is always an easy exit section, but if you ride it too far you will end up on greedies - a nasty dry reef section where there is an army of crabs waiting to feed on your skin. The locals always seem to know which ones are makeable through greedies but the travelling pro surfers who try a floater or to get another barrel end up with a trip to the local hospital. Best to wear a Gath helmet and lots of rubber if you want to attempt the greedy end section of the wave. On a higher tide the local kids call this mini pipeline but at low to mid tide it is so sucky and dangerous.
Bingin does not handle a big swell as the wave gets fat. Best in the overhead size it is always crowded and when it's on, the local boys dominate the line up. It looks easy from the beach but is a very technical wave and to get a set wave you need patience and great skill, or be accompanied by a local surf guide. At high tide the wave also breaks right into deep water but this is not a quality wave, and also not to be confused with Bingin rights which is located further up the beach.
5. Airport rights
Very close to the airport this is Kelly Slater's favourite wave in Bali, for good reason. Super fast long wall which is not always makeable, wave selection and speed is required. The end section bowls very much like a Mentawais wave due to the shallowness of the reef causing the section you are riding to slow down while the section in front of you curves. Frequently the end section will barrel and is a regular foot's paradise if you don't make it. Fortunately if you don't make it the SOS clinic is located in Jimbaran and they have a lot of expertise in scraping the reef from your laceration. Goofy footers either need amazing skills + balls of steel, or failing that, straighten out. Punishing paddle out if you don't make the end section.
The rip constantly pulls you deeper when in the line up so you need to be constantly manouvering towards the shoulder. So far out to sea there are no landmarks. Challenging but well worth it if you get just 1 set wave and can make it all the way.
Keramas was a secret spot for a very long time but then they built the highway further up the east coast and the wave was "discovered". Perfect right hand barrel this a favourite of the visiting professional surfers and locals alike. Keramas was selected for the WSL 2018 world tour and is a favorite competition destination for both international and local events.
If you look on the map at the swell direction which is always from the SW or SSW then it's hard to see how Keramas gets any swell at all as it's protected by the bukit and far up the East coast. The reason is the very deep water in the Lombok straights which funnels the swell north between Bali and Lombok. A very consistent wave you might think that in the dry season the SE trade winds would make it blow onshore but due to it's proximity to Mount Agung which is 3,000 metres cool mountain air will blow offshore most mornings. During the rainy season from November to March the SW or W winds are offshore so can be surfable all day.
Most advanced surfers stay with us because we are experts at choosing the best location to surf on any given day, the best tide and also the best section of the wave to surf. Even if you have visited Bali previously it still takes many years of experience to determine which is the best surf spot to choose on any given tide and swell size. We know all the surf spots and our surf guides are sponsored competition winners and some of the best surfers in Bali. Check out our surf guides profiles. Unlike some other operators, we only employ local surf guides who are highly respected both in and out of the water. If you want to get the most out of your visit then we recommend private surf guide who will help you maximise your wave count and also give tips to improve your surfing.