The island paradise of Bali is a surfer’s dream, with endless miles of exposed coastline picking up incredible waves for all levels and tastes. For longboard lovers and intermediate wave riders, the Canggu area is one of Bali’s most fun and exciting places to surf. This buzzing beach town has a bit of it all: colorful Hindu culture, ancient temples, world-class waves, cool cafes lining every street, local and international cuisine, and funky boutique shops everywhere. Here’s a rundown of the best surf spots at Canggu, including our favorite break there, Old Man’s.
Batu Bolong – beginner
Although Batu Bolong is a reef break, it breaks in deep water, so beginners can surf it on mid or high tide with few worries. Thankfully, the paddle out is also a breeze. This break is ideally suited to newbie longboarders or anyone wanting a little practice before going out to the bigger waves nearby at Old Man’s. It’s a mellow and slow-breaking A-frame that’s close to the shore, and a favorite spot for surf lessons. If you’re out for an early morning session, you may see the locals laying their daily offerings of flowers and incense at the nearby shrine that faces the sea.
Old Man’s – beginner/intermediate
Named after the happening beachfront bar where everyone heads for an afternoon Bintang, the surf break Old Man’s is also a beloved playground for surfers of all levels. Located just north of the beginner break Batu Bolong on the other side of a channel, the Old Man’s wave tends to stay fat and friendly up to head-high, making it a longboard favorite. While it stands up slowly and peels over a deep reef, it can also get quite big, offering a nice adrenaline rush for those in search of the Bali stoke. This is one of the island’s ideal spots for surfers with a bit of experience to work on catching some more sizeable waves. Unlike some nearby breaks, Old Man’s can hold many of the larger sets that break a long way out, offering thrilling, long rides that are also generally forgiving.
Sitting in the lineup at Old Man’s also delivers a take-your-breath-away view of a pretty wild creation found only in Bali. A 400-foot-tall statue of Lord Vishnu riding on the mythical bird Garuda sits several miles to the south, towering over the horizon. One of the tallest structures in the world, it’s so massive it can be seen from airplanes entering Bali. Garuda, the mammoth bird with its wings spread for flight, is known to be a watchful protector and the mightiest of all birds. There’s something totally epic about dropping into a dream wave while Lord Vishnu and Garuda look on from afar.
Echo Beach – advanced
This is the prime spot in Canggu to watch advanced surfers and aspiring pros (and often actual pros) charge some fast, powerful waves. If you’re a confident, experienced surfer, go for it! If not, sip on a sunset cocktail and enjoy the show. The heavy waves at Echo Beach break over a shallow reef, delivering fantastic hollow tube rides, and there’s often fierce competition for takeoffs from the frothing surfer crowd. At the casual cafes and bars that face the action, the scene is much more mellow. There’s usually live music at as the sun goes down, and several warungs (basic Balinese local eateries) line the promenade, offering an opportunity to taste some authentic Indonesian cuisine and enjoy an ice-cold drink. Upscale, chic restaurants are also steps away, where the sunset crowd continues the good vibes throughout the night.