What’s the Surf Spot Series ?
It’s the Salty Team’s favorite surf spots 😉
When it comes to surfing, it’s never easy to pick the right spot, especially as beginners. There are so many and they all work better at different time of the year, with different swell direction, tides etc. In this series, we will be sharing informations about those surf destinations we adore.
This month, the spotlight is on the break that saw me experience surfing on my backside for the first time; Balangan in Bali, Indonesia.
I remember clearly the first time I went to Bali and how excited I was to see what’s call the “surfers paradise”. I soon discovered why it’s called that; crystal-clear water with perfect, powerful waves. I was with my boyfriend and his friends who are all really good surfers and as any advanced surfer, they were chasing barrels; in other words; powerful waves breaking over sharp reef. Me, on the flipside, had about three months surfing experience and definitely wasn’t looking for the same type of waves… So, I started going to that surf spot that was, let’s say, a bit less gnarly than what they were surfing: Balangan.
Balangan is located in the southern part of Bali on the Bukit peninsula, about 30 minutes away from Denpasar airport. In the early 90’s, Balangan almost got destroyed for big business interests that wanted to build a huge breakwall and a five-star marina. A local surfer known as “The Fly” started lobbying against this plan and luckily won his battle which saved Balangan as a surf spot 🙏.
Balangan Beach is famous for its long, white sand beach and crystal water. It’s a reef-bottom left point break divided in 2 main peaks. If you’re a beginner, aim for the first section since the wave is a bit slower. If you’re an intermediate or advanced surfer, you’ll also love the second peak which provide a nice fast wall.
Surf Spot type: Left point break with reef bottom
From April until October
- Beginners should aim for high tide for a slower wave and to avoid getting injured in the reef.
- Intermediate/advanced can surf at all tides. A lower tide offers a fast & hollow wave, sometimes barreling in the second section and a higher tide offers a nice peeling wave.
- Beginners: 3 – 5 feet.
- Intermediate: 3 – 7 feet.
- Advanced: 3- 15 feet. The biggest I’ve personally seen was 12 feet and it was more than impressive so I can only imagine at 15 feet ! 😲
South, Southwest and West
- It’s a perfect peeling wave that works pretty much all year round.
- The white sand and massive cliff surrounding the ocean is a treat for the eyes.
- It’s a very nice place to chill, either on the beach or in one of the many beachfront “warungs” – restaurants in balinese.
- The water is warm ! It can sometimes be a bit chilly but wearing a rash-guard or a 1mm jacket/spring suit is way enough. Plus, it will protect you from the reef : 2 for 1, Bingo 😉
- There’s an easy access to the spot.
- It’s possible to get cheap and decent accommodation close to the spot.
- There’s no “localism”. I personally never surfed with a lot of locals and the few that were there were friendly.
- You can get a nasi/mie goreng (fried rice or noodles) for $2 while watching the wave machine 😝.
- You can get a massage for less than $5 after your session ! AMEN !
- Be careful with the reef, especially at low tide. Always try to fall doing the starfish to avoid touching the bottom aka the reef.
- If the direction of the swell isn’t good, it can close out a lot: no open face to surf.
- It is a popular spot in Bali and one of the few “friendly” spots in the Bukit so it can be crowded by beginner surfers and advanced surfer that also want to enjoy that perfect wave.