The Bali Surf Season: When to Visit for the Best Waves
Unleash your inner wave rider and dive into the ultimate Bali surf season guide! Choosing the right time of year for your Bali surf trip can make all the difference in scoring the best waves. We'll talk you through dry season, wet season and shoulder season. Get ready to catch some epic waves!
Dry Season (April-October)
Known as the peak surf season, Bali's dry season brings consistent swells from the Indian Ocean. From April to October, surfers can expect solid waves, especially on the western coast, including famous breaks like Uluwatu and Padang Padang. The conditions are generally clean with offshore winds, providing ideal barrels for experienced surfers.
Best surf spots to visit during the high season
When the high season hits in Bali, surfers are in for a treat with an array of world-class breaks. Here are some must-visit surf spots that should be on every surfer's radar:
- Uluwatu - Situated on the Bukit Peninsula, Uluwatu is a legendary surf spot known for its consistent and epic waves. With its iconic reef break and stunning cliffs, Uluwatu offers challenging barrels and long rides that will leave you breathless.
- Padang Padang - Just a short distance from Uluwatu, Padang Padang is a dream come true for experienced surfers seeking hollow, powerful waves. This world-famous reef break delivers incredible barrels that will test your skills and leave you with lasting memories.
- Bingin - Nestled between Uluwatu and Dreamland, Bingin is a picturesque surf spot that offers perfect left-hand barrels. Although it can be challenging and shallow, experienced surfers will appreciate the hollow tubes and thrilling rides it provides.
- Impossibles - As the name suggests, Impossibles is not for the faint-hearted. Located near Bingin, this reef break is reserved for experienced surfers looking for high-performance waves with multiple sections and fast rides.
- Canggu - Moving away from the Bukit Peninsula, Canggu on Bali's west coast offers a more relaxed and diverse surf scene. With various breaks including Batu Bolong, Echo Beach, and Berawa, Canggu caters to surfers of all levels, from beginners to advanced riders.
- Keramas - Located on the eastern coast of Bali, Keramas is known for its powerful right-hand reef break. This high-performance wave is favoured by experienced surfers seeking fast and hollow barrels, making it an ideal spot to showcase your skills.
Ideal Wave Size
The dry season brings consistent swells from the Indian Ocean, resulting in wave sizes ranging from head-high to well overhead. Surfers can enjoy the thrill of larger, more powerful waves during this time, providing an exciting challenge for experienced riders.
With the larger swells, the dry season is better suited for intermediate to advanced surfers. The waves can be fast, hollow, and powerful, demanding skill and confidence in navigating critical sections and executing precise maneuvers.
Wind and Tide Conditions
The dry season is characterized by favorable offshore winds, predominantly blowing from the east or southeast. These offshore winds groom the waves, creating clean and glassy conditions ideal for barrel rides and high-performance surfing. As for tides, it varies depending on the specific surf spot. Some breaks work best on an incoming tide, while others may favor an outgoing or mid-tide. Consulting local surf reports and experienced surfers is crucial to determining the optimal tide for each break.
It's important to note that while the dry season generally offers excellent surf conditions, there may be occasional variations due to factors like swell direction, weather patterns, and specific breaks. Staying updated with surf forecasts and seeking advice from local surfers will help you make the most of the dry season's epic waves in Bali.
Wet Season (November-March)
While the wet season brings rainfall and occasional storms, it also brings favourable conditions for intermediate and beginner surfers. The east coast of Bali, such as Sanur and Nusa Dua, becomes more prominent during this time, offering smaller and more forgiving waves. The wet season can still deliver quality surf, especially in the mornings before the winds pick up.
Best surf spots to visit during the wet season
When the wet season rolls around in Bali, surfers have the opportunity to discover some hidden gems and enjoy a different side of the island's surf scene. Here are some of the best surf spots to visit during the wet season:
- Sanur - Located on Bali's southeast coast, Sanur offers a variety of breaks suitable for different skill levels. This beach break is known for its mellow and forgiving waves, making it an excellent spot for beginners and intermediate surfers to practice and improve their skills.
- Serangan - Serangan, also known as Turtle Island, is a reef break situated near Sanur. With its consistent left-hand waves, it provides a fun and challenging surf experience, particularly during the wet season when the conditions can be ideal for intermediate to advanced surfers.
- Nusa Dua - Nusa Dua boasts a pristine beach with several reef breaks. During the wet season, this area can produce quality waves, especially at high tide. Intermediate and advanced surfers can enjoy the fast and hollow waves that break along the reef, offering exciting rides.
- Medewi - Heading to the west coast of Bali, Medewi is a point break that offers long left-hand waves. This break is renowned for its consistency and mellow surf, making it a great option for all levels of surfers. During rainy season, Medewi can provide excellent conditions for longboarding and cruising.
- Balian - Balian, situated in West Bali, is a picturesque beach break that comes to life during the wet season. This break delivers powerful and fast waves, attracting intermediate and advanced surfers seeking a thrilling ride. Balian's natural beauty and relaxed atmosphere add to the charm of this surf spot.
Ideal Wave Size
The wet season in Bali can produce a variety of wave sizes, ranging from waist-high to head-high. While the waves may not be as consistent or as large as during the dry season, there are still plenty of opportunities for fun and surfable waves.
Rainy season often brings more forgiving and user-friendly waves, making it an ideal time for beginners and intermediate surfers to improve their skills. The waves tend to be mellower and less powerful, providing a more relaxed and enjoyable experience in the water.
Wind and Tide Conditions
The wind patterns during the wet season in Bali can vary. It's common to have onshore winds blowing from the southwest or west, especially in the afternoons. However, there are also periods of lighter winds and clean offshore conditions in the early mornings or during certain weather patterns. As for tides, it depends on the specific surf spot. Some breaks work best on an incoming tide, while others may favor an outgoing or mid-tide. Consulting local surf reports and experienced surfers will help you determine the optimal tide for each break.
Shoulder Seasons (April, October-November)
These transitional months often provide a mix of swells from both the dry and wet seasons. April and October-November can bring a variety of wave sizes and conditions, making it a great time to surf Bali's waves at different skill levels.
Best surf spots to visit during shoulder season
Here are some of the best surf spots to visit during the shoulder season:
- Balangan - Situated on the Bukit Peninsula, Balangan is a beautiful reef break known for its long left-hand waves. During the shoulder season, this spot often experiences less crowd compared to the high season, allowing surfers to enjoy the waves with a more relaxed atmosphere.
- Green Bowl - Located on the southern coast, Green Bowl is a hidden treasure. Accessible through a long staircase, this secluded spot offers consistent waves and pristine conditions. During the shoulder season, you'll find smaller crowds and a peaceful surfing experience.
- Pererenan - Nestled in the Canggu area, Pererenan is a black sand beach break that offers both left and right-hand waves. With a more laid-back vibe compared to its neighboring breaks, Pererenan is an excellent choice during the shoulder season, providing a mix of fun and manageable waves.
- Dreamland - Dreamland, also known as New Kuta Beach, is a popular surf spot on the Bukit Peninsula. During the shoulder season, it tends to be less crowded compared to the high season, giving surfers a chance to enjoy the consistent and playful waves without the hustle and bustle.
- Amed - Located on Bali's eastern coast, Amed is a charming fishing village with a few surf breaks. During the shoulder season, Amed offers smaller and more manageable waves, making it an ideal spot for beginners or those looking for a more relaxed surfing experience.
Ideal Wave Size
The shoulder season typically brings a transition in wave size, offering a combination of smaller to moderate swells. Wave heights can range from waist-high to head-high, providing a variety of options for surfers of different skill levels.
The shoulder season often presents a more manageable and user-friendly surf experience compared to the high season. While some breaks may still offer challenging waves, overall, the difficulty level tends to be more accessible for beginners and intermediate surfers. It's a great time to hone your skills or try new maneuvers in a less crowded lineup.
Wind and Tide Conditions
Wind and tide conditions can vary during the shoulder season, so it's essential to stay updated with local surf reports. In general, offshore winds are more prevalent during the early mornings and can create clean and groomed waves. As the day progresses, the wind may shift and become onshore or cross-shore. Tides can also impact the quality of the waves, with certain breaks working better on incoming or outgoing tides. Consulting local surfers and experienced guides will provide valuable insights into the best times to hit the water.
Checking Surf Conditions and Weather Forecasts
How to check surf conditions and weather forecasts before and during your trip:
- Surfline - Surfline is a well-known surf forecasting app that provides detailed information on swell and tide conditions, as well as wind speed and direction, water temperature, and wave height. It also features live webcams at popular surf spots around the world, allowing users to see real-time conditions and crowd levels. Surfline offers both free and premium subscriptions, with the latter providing additional features like personalized alerts and advanced forecasting tools.
- Windy - While not specifically a surf app, Windy provides detailed wind and weather information that is crucial for planning a successful surf session. The app offers a variety of weather models and forecasts, including wind speed and direction, wave height and period, and air pressure. It also features interactive maps and real-time updates, allowing users to track weather patterns and make informed decisions about when and where to surf.
- Local knowledge - Getting in touch with local surf shops, surf schools, or seasoned surfers in Bali is also an excellent way to get up-to-date information on surf conditions and weather forecasts. They can provide you with real-time information on the best surf spots and conditions, as well as any potential hazards or risks to be aware of.
Preparing Your Bali Surf Trip
When embarking on your Bali surf adventure, having the right gear is essential. Here are some items you should consider packing for both the high and low seasons:
Surfboard & leash: Bring your preferred surfboard or consider renting/buying one in Bali. Depending on your skill level and the conditions you expect, choose a board that suits the waves you'll be riding.
Rashguard or Springsuit: Bali's water temperature averages around 27-29 degrees Celsius (80-84 degrees Fahrenheit) throughout the year, making a rashguard or surf springsuit the best choice all year around. Click here to shop our collection of surf springsuits for women!
Reef Booties: Some surf spots in Bali have sharp coral reefs, so reef booties can be a valuable addition to your gear. They protect your feet from potential cuts and scrapes and provide added grip on slippery surfaces.
Surf wax: The water temperature in Bali is warm, so you need to use a tropical surf wax that can provide enough grip on your board. You can buy surf wax in Bali or bring your own. We recommend this brand.
- Hat: Bali is located near the equator, and the sun's rays can be very strong and damaging to the skin. A surf hat can provide much-needed shade and protection for your face, neck, and ears, which are often exposed to the sun during a long surf session.
Safety Tips for Surfing During the High and Low Seasons
Surfing in Bali can be an exhilarating experience, but it's crucial to prioritize safety, regardless of the season. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind during both the high and low seasons:
Know Your Limits: Be honest with yourself about your skill level and only surf breaks that align with your abilities. Bali offers waves for surfers of all levels, so choose spots suitable for your experience.
Stay Hydrated: Bali's warm climate can be deceptively exhausting, especially during long surf sessions. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and replenish electrolytes to avoid dehydration.
Sun Protection: The sun in Bali can be intense, so protect yourself by wearing sunscreen with a high SPF, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. Reapply sunscreen regularly, as it may wash off in the water.
Respect the Locals and Other Surfers: Bali's surf spots can get crowded, especially during the high season. Show respect to the locals and fellow surfers by following surf etiquette, waiting your turn, and avoiding unnecessary collisions.
Be Mindful of Tides and Currents: Understand the tides and currents at the surf breaks you visit. Strong currents can be challenging, especially during the low season, so be cautious and stay aware of changing conditions.
Use Leg Ropes/Leashes: Always use a leg rope/leash to ensure your board stays within reach. This prevents accidents caused by runaway boards and minimizes the risk of injury to yourself and others.
So, whether you're a first-time surfer or a seasoned wave rider, we encourage you to plan your Bali surf trip during the ideal season that suits your skill level and desires. Embrace the vibrant surf culture, explore the stunning beaches, and immerse yourself in the exhilarating world of Bali's waves. Get ready to paddle out, catch the best waves, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Start planning your Bali surf trip today for the ultimate surfing experience in this tropical paradise.