It has long been overcrowded, the place can get a bit violent, and there is the perennial stench of pollution, but Bali is still a plug-and-play version of the exotic surf holiday. The waves are really fun, they seem to be there all the time, and it’s possible to stay for extended periods on the cheap. Yet a holiday to Bali needs to consist of one most important element – surf.
Here are five little tricks to help ensure a decent wave count in among the crowds.
For those who live in Bali, this is not a problem as the waves always seem to get better in the afternoons, but if you’re on a short visit and want to go home with a decent wave count, then the early morning dawn patrol is always a good option.1. The Dawn Patrol.
Indonesian surfers are not the early morning type, as they need to go through their religious rituals and other such locals customs and idiosyncrasies. As a result they never get up for the early session. Most of the other holidaymakers tend to party it up until late at night on the streets of Kuta, and are rare to be seen at the beach in the early mornings.
2. Have Your Documents In Order.
While the corruption in Indonesia has declined drastically since the rule of President Suharto, it can still be problematic and if your papers aren’t in order you might find yourself missing waves as you stand in queues to get VISA stamps and other such documentation. For most countries there are different regulations on entering and departing Indonesia and if you get it wrong you could be in limbo in the Bali Ngurah Rai Airport for a few days while the waves are cooking both at Kuta Reef as well as at home.
Whilst in Bali everyone wakes up and heads for Kuta or Uluwatu and that stretch. Sometimes even during season it goes onshore, and then it’s time to head to the other side of the peninsula.
Here you’ll find a few good right-handers and some other fun waves that are uncrowded. Nusa Dua, Sanur and the modern day discovery that is Keramas are all good waves, with some others just up and down the stretches. You just have to look to the right of Keramas, for example, to spot another good wave. Grajagan is another wave nearby that works on different winds
As the Bukit peninsula slowly gets totally over run by rampant and intrusive development, one has to travel further and further away from Bali to discover the real Bali. Belangan, just further down the peninsula from Uluwatu, is a quiet and hidden away beach that has not been gripped by the development craziness and still has a little of the old Bali about it. The wave gets pretty fun on the high tide but if you want to hang out, get some sun and not get too harassed, it’s a good choice. More on bali can be found here -
The left-hand waves pouring down the peninsula on a good day eventually hit a part of the reef known as Impossibles – named due to the fact that the waves are fast and unpredictable and pretty much impossible to surf successfully. The name keeps many people out of the water, and the general unfamiliarity of it keeps out the rest. If you get the courage to paddle out there and have a look, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how user-friendly it is and how convenient it is to up that previously- mentioned wave count and have a satisfying Bali excursion.