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The Ultimate Guide to Surfing Keramas

Keramas Beach is located on the east coast of Bali.

It’s home to one of the world’s most exciting barrelling right-hand reef breaks, Keramas.

Keramas has earned global fame for being a high-performance wave.

Once a well-kept secret, Keramas is now a popular surf spot in Bali and is one of the most anticipated stops in the World Surf League.

Bali is known as the “Land of the Lefts” because of the many excellent left-hand breaks such as Uluwatu.

So Keramas stands out as a paradise for regular footers looking for similar machine-like quality barrels as Bingin.

This guide will give you all the information you need to tackle the waves at Keramas.

Keramas surf spot information

Keramas is a powerful right-hander, breaking over shallow volcanic rock. It’s known for fast, hollow waves, and perfect barrels.

The initial take-off section is a steep drop. As the wave continues to peel along the reef, it creates hollow sections for you to get a barrel. The take off spot is a little bit shifty, and always someone out there prepared to go deeper so you need to be patient to get the right wave.

The key draw and defining aspect of Keramas is the barrels. This spot is known for its world-class barrels and it’s a dream destination for surfers seeking the perfect tube riding experience in Bali.

In English, Keramas translates to “washing hair” or “shampoo”, which is slang for getting barreled.

Keramas is also known as “The Golden Monkey”. This is because the break is pronounced as Kera-mas and Kera and Mas translate to “Monkey” and “Gold”, respectively.

The end section offers performance walls for you to carve turns and powerful maneuvers. As the wave face tends to form a bowl before reaching a closeout section on the inside, it offers an opportunity for impressive maneuvers.

Pro surfers often exploit this section to pull a big aerial.

John John Florence landed one of the most significant airs ever recorded during a competition at Keramas in 2013 and earned a perfect score.

The length of the ride here is not particularly long. But it provides an intense and high-quality ride from start to finish.

Given the quality of the wave, Keramas is a popular break so it can get crowded. Early mornings are typically less crowded, and midweek sessions are also a good option to avoid the weekend crowd.

Keramas is one of the rare places where you can surf at night. The Kommune Resort has installed lights to illuminate the waves, providing a unique surfing experience. These sessions require booking and offer a less crowded surfing environment.

When is the best season to surf Keramas?

You can find a surfable wave at Keramas year-round. But, like all barrelling surf breaks, it needs offshore winds to break optimally.

So the best season for surfing Keramas is during the wet season, which runs from November to March because this is when the winds are most favorable.

But the swell is usually smaller during the wet season. It’s during the dry season, which runs from April to October, which is when the swells from the Indian Ocean are usually bigger.

Change over moths from wet to dry season (March-April) and from dry to wet season (October-November) can be an excellent time to visit as the swell size is usually big enough and the winds are favorable. Many light offshore days during the change-over months.

Due to the proximity of Mount Agung which is 3,000 meters high, there is a cold wind blowing from the mountain almost every day of the year, which is offshore at Keramas. During the dry season, it is offshore almost every morning until around mid-morning, when the trade winds kick in and turn the surf into mush by lunchtime.

Keramas is surfable year round but is known as a wet season wave, along with other surf spots on the east coast of Bali, which is why Bali is a great place to visit during the wet season.

What are the best conditions for surfing Keramas?

The wave’s power, and shape depend on the size and direction of the swell, as well as the tide and the wind.

When the conditions are optimal, Keramas produces perfectly shaped barrels and offers a thrilling ride.

Almost all Bali ground swells are in the range of 195 to 22 degrees. The more south in the swell, the bigger Keramas will be. If you look at a map of Bali and compared it to the swell direction, you would think Keramas would pick up hardly any swell. There is very deep water between the east coast of Bali and Nusa Penida which explains why the East coast picks up so much swell.

In terms of swell size, Keramas is surfable in a variety of sizes. It can hold waves from around 3 to 10 feet. The sweet spot for most surfers is in the range of 4 to 6 feet. You need to be an expert surfer to go out there on the biggest days.

Keramas attracts intermediate-level surfers on smaller days when the waves are about head high or less.

But Keramas turns on once it gets into the overhead range and will start to throw barrels. This is when experienced, advanced, and pro-level surfers will come out.

In terms of tides, Keramas works on all tides. But it has a different character depending on the tide level.

The tidal pull at Keramas is the largest in Indonesia. So the incoming tides significantly impact the wave size and it’s essential to consider tide levels when planning a surf session here.

Keramas works best on a mid to incoming high tide because this is when the wave shape takes its best form and tends to produce more makeable barrels.

Of course, you can surf Keramas on lower tides, but the wave becomes less reliable, challenging to surf, and it can be more dangerous as the wave tends to close out in shallow water.

Can beginners surf Keramas?

Keramas is not an easy wave. It’s fast, hollow, and powerful.

So Keramas is not suitable for beginners.

Beginners are advised to seek out advice by hiring an experienced local surf guide or joining a surf school that can help beginners choose the right place to surf according to their ability.

Here are some appropriate surf spots for beginners in Bali.

How to get to Keramas

Keramas is located on the east coast of Bali, directly in front of the Komune Resort, and about an hour’s drive from the airport.

To get to Keramas from the airport, you’ll want to head north, passing through Sanur along the eastern coast.

There are a few ways to get from the airport to Keramas.

Taxis are the most convenient way and you can expect to pay around Rp. 250,000-300,000.

You can also find shuttle options that operate to Keramas. Shuttles are usually more affordable than taxis, costing around Rp. 150,000-200,000.

Once you’re in the Keramas area, you’ll find the beach signposted from the main road.

What are the other surf spots at Keramas?

Keramas Beach is a black sand beach and it’s home to 2 additional surf spots, Carparks, and KFC (Keramas Fried Chicken).

Carparks is aptly named because it occupies a central location among the 3 breaks at Keramas Beach. It can produce hefty right-hand and left-hand breaking waves that often result in a closeout.

The wave quality at Carparks is less favorable than the likes of Keramas, but you might just get a good barrel here if you’re lucky. And due to the fickle nature of the wave, Carparks tends not to draw a large crowd.

The ideal conditions for Carparks include small to medium swells with a mid-tide.

KFC is humorously named because the only way to get there is to run across the black sand beach. On a sunny day, the black sand absorbs the sun very well and reaches a scorching heat that can burn the soles of your feet.

So the run down to KFC can result in your feet feeling (and perhaps looking) like fried chicken, hence the name.

KFC is an average to good wave and tends to attract fewer crowds and fairs best with small to medium swells during mid-tide.

While KFC may not be outstanding, it will likely meet your immediate needs, mirroring the convenience of its fast-food namesake.


Keramas is a world-class surf spot.

A high-performance right-hander that caters to a wide range of surfing styles.

From progressive maneuvers, epic barrels, and power surfing, Keramas is a playground for the advanced-level surfer. It’s one of the best surf spots in Bali for advanced surfers.

This once lesser-known surf spot was a hidden gem, discovered only after a photograph of it was published. This led to rapid development to accommodate the influx of surfers eager to ride the waves.

Now Keramas is considered the best right-hander in Bali and it’s a regular competition surf spot.

In conclusion, this high-performance wave is a bucket-list destination for any surfer.

Whether you’re looking to carve turns on the performance walls, seeking the perfect barrel, or pulling a big aerial like John John Florence, each ride at Keramas has the potential of being unforgettable.

Bali is the world’s best surfing destination and home to a huge variety of breaks to suit any level of surfer.

So if you’re ready for your ultimate surfing adventure in Bali, we invite you to stay at Padang Padang Surf Camp.

Together, we’ll surf the best surf spots on any given day.