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Drone Shot of Balangan beach

The Ultimate Guide to Surfing Balangan

Balangan is located on the Bukit Peninsula in southern Bali.

It’s part of a cluster of world-class surf spots in the Uluwatu area.

This iconic surf spot is a favorite among both local and traveling surfers.

Balangan is often associated with more experienced surfers, but it can cater to surfers of all levels under the right conditions and guidance.

So whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced surfer, Balangan can offer a rewarding experience for you on the right day for your ability.

Surfer riding a wave at Balangan.

In this blog post, we’ll provide you with an in-depth guide to surfing Balangan, so you can make the most of this incredible surf spot.

Balangan surf spot information

Balangan is a left-hand reef break with many sections, known for its long and consistent waves. The reef is quite flat so the waves tend not to barrel, except on the more powerful swells.

Almost every wave at Balangan breaks very fast. This is a great opportunity for you to practice maintaining a high line and learning to create and maintain speed as you race the wave.

In general, you can expect a ride of about 50 meters before the wave runs away from you or closes out.

But when the conditions are perfect it’s possible for the wave to connect over the entire reef. Read on to learn the best time and conditions for surfing Balangan.

Drone shot of the wave at balangan.

So you have the potential to get a very long ride at Balangan from the headland to the end of the warungs. While the potential ride is not quite as long as the neighboring break Impossibles, you can still get a ride long enough to make your day at Balangan.

Balangan is one of the most popular surf spots in Bali so it can get crowded, especially in peak season from July-August.

But due to the long stretch of the break, you can usually find a less crowded spot if you’re willing to paddle a bit. It’s worth getting up early to surf Balangan because the mornings are always less crowded.

Image of a wave at Balanagan.

There are plenty of warungs (local food stalls) on the beach where you can refuel after a surf session. Fresh coconut water, local Indonesian dishes, and cold beers are perfect for post-surf refueling and enjoying the incredible views from the beach.

Like all reef breaks, Balangan can present some hazards. So be mindful of the sharp coral reef, particularly at low tide. Later in this guide, you’ll learn how to enter and exit the water at Balangan, safely.

The currents can be strong, especially on big days. So always surf within your ability and consider taking a buddy or hooking up with an experienced local surf guide if you’re not familiar with the spot.

When is the best time to surf Balangan?

Balangan is a swell magnet, so it’s never flat and you’ll always find a rideable wave here.

The best time of year to surf Balangan is during the dry season, which runs from April to October. Because during the dry season, the wind direction is favorable for the wave to break optimally and swells from the Indian Ocean are at their peak.

In the wet season, the wind is predominantly onshore. But the headland offers some protection from South Westerly winds, so Balangan is a suitable surf spot in the wet season if the wind is not too strong from a westerly direction.

In other words, Balangan is a year-round surf spot.

Many surfers consider Balangan overrated because a lot of waves tend to break too fast, so it offers a short ride. Sections breaking too fast are very common at Balangan but this is an opportunity to practice your pumping to drive the board as fast as you can.

The swell direction is consistently from either an SSW or SWS direction so the wave nature i.e. how long the wave can be ridden, is mostly determined by the wave size, power, and tide.

When the waves get into the overhead region, then Balangan turns on and it’s more common to get longer rides. On bigger days the sections are makeable past the warungs giving a breathtaking ride of around 300-400 meters.

Surfer riding a long barrel at Balangan.

You can surf Balangan at all tides. But the wave typically breaks best on a dead low tide and high tide, on a big swell swell. This is when advanced surfers will come out to play. Balangan will sometimes be triple overhead or more, and this is for expert surfers with big boards.

A lot of the time the sections of Balangan are makeable. But surfers are often too slow to make the section because they fail to hold the right line or lack the ability to create and maintain speed.

Regular footers that surf with their left foot forward tend to struggle at Balangan because the sections are more difficult to make when you’re surfing backhand. It is much harder to pump the board riding backhand.

How to get in and out of the water at Balangan

There are plenty of warungs across the shorefront at Balangan. You can leave your items here while you surf, as long as you buy a drink or food.

On days when the swell is small and the tide is high, entering the water at Balangan is simple. You can paddle straight out or walk to the top of the reef.

When the tide is below mid-tide, you will need to walk across the coral reef. So booties are often a good choice if you are not used to walking on a hard and sharp surface. The easiest access to the break at low tide is to stay close to the headland. It is also possible to access the surf break from Dreamland at low tide. Getting into the water at low tide on a big day can be very challenging as the waves are constantly breaking in shallow water pushing you back.

Exiting the water also requires caution. There is a dangerous section at the end of the reef where the wave breaks heavily and closes out in very shallow water. If not sure where to get out on a big day, best to come out near the headland, as there is a very nasty section in the middle of the bay that can cause serious injury.

As the swell gets bigger the danger compounds. Often, there’s a current that nudges you toward the danger zone, as well as a vicious shore break that breaks on a nearly exposed reef.

So assessing the conditions as you observe from the beach and choosing your entry and exit point in advance is advised to ensure a safe entry and exit at Balangan.

Insider tip: About 50 meters from the headland is a deep water channel where the waves fatten out. This is the best place to paddle out when the swell is overhead.

Can beginners surf Balangan?

Balangan can be a challenging surf spot for beginners due to it being a reef break and having fast-breaking waves.

But Balangan is suitable for beginners when the swell is small and the tide is high. Beginners learning to surf at Balangan will want to stick to the inside, riding the white water. Be careful not to ride the wave too close to the shoreline, as there are rocks below the surface that your board or fins will get snagged on.

Surfer riding a wave at Balangan.

Since Balangan picks up a lot of swell, it can often be too big for beginners, especially in the dry season and Baby Padang is usually a better choice for beginners. Here are the best beginner surf spots in Bali.

Beginners should seek out the right supervision and there are many surf schools available that can provide surf lessons tailored to beginners.

Can intermediates surf Balangan?

Intermediate surfers often find Balangan the perfect place to step up their game.

Balangan is popular with intermediates due to its consistency and the size of the reed spreads people out. The break provides the opportunity to work on speed, positioning and timing.

Intermediates can surf the unbroken green waves on the outside of Balangan when the swell size is appropriate. The best conditions for intermediates at Balangan are a medium-high tide and on a small to medium-sized day (shoulder to head high).

Drone shot of an intermediate surfer riding a wave at balangan.

Balangan breaks best on a bigger swell when the tide is above 1.4 meters. But intermediates will want to avoid Balangan on a big swell since it can be overwhelming. Here are the best surf spots in Bali for intermediates.

On smaller days, you can find a right-hander that breaks into the deep water channel that’s suitable for intermediates.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Balangan is a beautiful surf spot offering consistent waves for a variety of surfers. Balangan is relatively undeveloped and still retains an old worldly charm. The white sand beach is magnificent and it’s a perfect place to spend the day.

The wave quality at Balangan may not be as good as some of the neighboring surf spots. For example, you’re not going to get the barrel of your lifetime here when compared to other near surf spots such as Bingin or Padang Padang.

Also, Balangan is not as consistent as Uluwatu and the wave here can be a bit finicky and close out often.

But this speaks more to the quality and variety of the breaks in Bali, rather than any fault of Balangan.

The abundance of high-quality surf breaks is one reason why Bali is probably the best surfing destination in the world.

In most other places in the world, Balangan would be considered a premium-level surf spot. And on the right day, Balangan is definitely a world-class surf spot.

Now that you know the optimal conditions to surf Balangan, you’re better equipped to get a stellar surf session.

You can get the ride of your life when you surf at Balangan on the right day.

Group of surfers in the water at Balangan.

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Bali, we invite you to Uluwatu’s finest surf camp, Padang Padang Surf Camp.

Located on the Bukit Peninsula, we are just minutes from Balangan and other renowned surf breaks.

Our expert surf instructors will choose the best location to surf on any given day according to the conditions and your ability.

Secure your stay at our surf camp today and discover the magic of Bali.