Like the rest of Indonesia, Bali has two seasons: wet and dry. The wet season begins in October and ends in April, and the highest amounts of rainfall are usually recorded in the months of January and February. The good news is the season’s westerly winds often help create world-class right-hand breaks along the island’s east coast — made possible by the geographical characteristics of the island.
We chat with 17-year-old Cinta Hansel, the two-time ASC junior champion surfer from Bali, who shares some of her favorite spots for the season.
Keramas Beach, Gianyar Regency
One of the better known east coast breaks on the island, Keramas has hosted international surf competitions and appeared in many a YouTube video. This right-hander provides big barrels and fast waves. “The waves are challenging and make for an exciting surf, and the 1.8km-long black-sand beach is an additional attraction that both surfers and non-surfers can appreciate,” says Cinta.
Nusa Dua Beach, Badung Regency
A popular spot that’s roughly 500m offshore — there’s always a wave to catch and the winds provide solid swells
that can rise as high as 3m in height at Nusa Dua Beach. It’s also less crowded during the wet season. “It’s a good place for beginners, but take care to sit out the big waves, as the currents can be quite strong,” says Cinta. “If you do get out to surf, you might glimpse the beautiful coral reef below too.”
Sanur Beach, South Denpasar
Take a boat from the touristy white-sand beach, situated in southeastern Denpasar, to reach the surf. Sanur, a favorite with local surfers, is a double-reef location. “Tanjung is less crowded, best tackled on a low tide and good for intermediate to advanced surfers, whereas Sanur Reef is for advanced and expert surfers only,” says Cinta. “Be careful of the corals!”
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Cinta’s tips for first-time surfers in Bali
1. Learn from a local. They know the best places with the best waves.
2. Take on the so-called ‘crumbly’ waves. These aren’t fast or powerful, and they break gently. Their forgiving nature is perfect for beginners, whose first task is to stand on their boards.
3. Seek out the beaches in Nusa Dua, Kuta and Legian, which are safe for learning and picking up the sport. The waves are mellow and not too difficult for students. You’ll be up on your feet, literally, in no time.
This article first appeared in the January 2019 issue of Smile magazine.