Indonesia seems to be on everyone’s bucket list, but Bali is the real steal of the Indonesian islands. SUP surfers will find a welcoming and established community of SUPpers where they can easily rent a board and take to the seas. The best part about this SUP dream destination is its equatorial climate, which makes SUP surfing possible all year long. From April to October Bali is rain-free and swarmed with tourists, but also the best big west coast waves. The rainy season brings smaller waves to the west, but that might be a good time for beginners and intermediates or those just trying to get away from the crowds. The wet season is also a good time to check out the east coast, where the change in climate also brings some better waves to that side.
On the southeastern side of Bali lies one of Bali’s best SUP spots, Sanur. Most of Bali’s surf and SUP schools are located there as well, so it’s a good place for beginners to take their first ride. Heading out of the coral reefs at sunrise is sure to lead to windless skies and spectacular reflections of pastel hues. To find some waves, head to Sindu Beach and paddle past the reef to ride the low cresting reef-break back in.
Nusa Lembongan and Penida
Make your way to the small islands on the eastern side of Bali, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida. They might be tiny, but in terms of SUPping they offer many diverse experiences. The north-west side of Nusa Lembongan has several reef-break surf spots, but on the opposite side, Penida forms a thin channel that’s perfect for some leisurely exploration on a SUP board. If you’re brave enough and have a good team, challenge your stamina by crossing the 11-mile channel between Sanur at the mainland and Lembongan.
Bali’s southern tip culminates in a teardrop peninsula, and although looking at a map it might seem a bit out of the way, it’s also conveniently close to the airport. The southwestern portion of the island, Uluwatu, is widely recognized as one of the best spots in Bali to SUP surf, and the entire world. There are four major reef breaks along the cliff-lined shore, all with a distinct personality. The outside corner is for big waves that easily reach over 8 feet high when the tide is low while the inside corner sees 6 feet barreling swells. If it seems crowded, it’s because people come from around the world to ride these waves.
Padang Padang Beach
Any avid SUP surfer has heard about Hawaii’s famous pipeline, but that’s not the only famous one. The Balinese Pipeline at Padang Padang Beach just north of Uluwatu, arguably, forms the best tunnel in the world. This epic left-hand reef break might be fickle, but it still has enough power to draw an international crowd eager to conquer this beast. If you don’t have the skills for the likes of the pipeline, stay closer to the beach.
The thin strip of land that connects the peninsula to the mainland is also riddled with great SUP surf spots. Despite the quantity, its location near world class resorts and the airport also makes it one of the most popular and crowded spots. These right and left-hand beach breaks also make Kuta safer to surf than the reef break spots typical to the island. The Halfway swells up to 10 feet and has the capacity to form tubes suited for experts. For a little less competition head to Blue Ocean.
Passing just north of the peninsula on the south-west side of the mainland is another epic SUP spot, Canggu. This small village interspersed with rice fields is the perfect oasis for SUPpers looking to escape the crowds of Kuta. For fun waves 6 to 8 feet high, head to Pererenan or Eco Beach when the tide is high in the morning. For something geared more toward beginner SUPpers, try Tugu with its low swelling waves.
Escape to the secluded northeastern side of Bali for a fun SUP surf over longboard style waves that work best between 4 and 6 feet. Breaking over flat rocks, it’s one of Bali’s less dangerous spots and also perfect for all levels. While everyone is flocking to the seaside luxury resorts in the south, you’ll have the small village of Medewi, and the waves, mostly to yourself.
With such beauty and opportunity, it’s no wonder Bali’s breaks entice hundreds of SUP surfers every year. Use your paddle board and the waves as a compass to explore the incredible and varied wonders of ancient architecture, sunken statues, and typical tiered rice fields on this piece of paradise.