East Bali starts from Nusa Dua (even though it is on the Bukit Peninsula, it is best in East coast conditions.) including the offshore islands of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan. It is typically much quieter than Kuta and the west coast, with Sanur and Nusa Dua serving as tourism hubs, but it caters to more affluent tourists than Kuta.
Nusa Dua is a gated complex that includes a number of high-end resorts with manicured gardens. If you’re looking for waves in that area, you’ll have to go through a security checkpoint. Sanur has a hotel-lined beachfront that stretches from Hyatt Reef to Sanur Reef. All of these hotels are more upscale. Sanur is where you can take the ferry to Nusa Lembongan, and it’s also where the coral reefs and clear water of the south end and the black sand beaches and dirtier water begin.
North of Sanur, all the way up the coast, is a little more sparse than Sanur and Nusa Dua, with a lot more space and fewer tourist-oriented accommodation and food options. Although a little Bahasa Indonesia can help you get around up here, there are still a few empty waves to be found, though they can be fickle. Keramas is home to a small flurry of resorts, as well as local accommodations and villas for rent.
Across the channel, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan provide a different orientation to the east coast, with the surfing coast facing west and best in the dry season. The island vibe of these islands draws a lot of tourists, and the accommodation and dining options range from cheap homestays to high end villas overlooking the bay. These islands also provide world-class diving and snorkeling opportunities.
East Bali Surf Waves
East Bali is best known for the wave at Keramas, located 20 minutes north of Sanur. Keramas was a well-kept secret until the 2000s, when it was thrust into the limelight of world surfing and is now home to a world tour event! In 2011, Kommune Resort & Beach Club was built directly in front of the wave, with huge spotlights allowing the wave to be surfed even at night.
While Keramas attracts the most visitors, there are numerous other spots along this coast, and because of the rural setting with little development, those who do their homework can often surf alone with no crowds.
The waves along this stretch of coast vary greatly. From Nusa Dua to Sanur, the waves are mostly right-hand reef breaks breaking over coral in clear water, and north of Sanur, the waves change to beach breaks and volcanic rock shelf, which are just as intimidating as their coral counterparts. All of these waves are typical of the wet season, occurring off shore in west to north west winds.
The Nusa Dua region attracts a lot of swell and rarely goes flat, but as you head north, the Bukit peninsula shelters a lot of the coast almost all the way to Keramas, necessitating a larger swell to light them up, which is unusual during the wet season.
When the conditions are right, the Sanur area hosts a number of quality reefs, including Sanur Reef, which can produce some of the best right handers in Bali.
Serangan Island is a swell magnet, so crowds will congregate there on smaller swells.
At low tide, the reefs along the southern east coast are set out from the beach, so expect a long paddle or a long walk over sharp reef. Some spots have boats available for as little as 100,000 rupiah, which can be a good option if you don’t want to surf with booties or would rather save your energy for surfing.
As many rivers spill out around here, the sand becomes black and the water becomes dirty north of Sanur. Keramas is the main wave up here and will always be the busiest, but there are other spots nearby that aren’t mentioned in this guide; get searching and you might find some rare uncrowded waves. Because much of this coast does not break at low tide, you should explore on higher tides to increase your chances. Rivers can provide a good geographical shape for various waves.
The east coast of the mainland is completely different on Nusa Lembongan Island, with the surf coast oriented to take advantage of the dry season offshore trade winds. All of the waves here break over coral reef in crystal clear water, and there’s something for everyone, with two rights, two lefts, and a fun beginner A-frame at playgrounds.
Surfing Ability for East Bali
The east coast of Bali offers waves for all abilities, but the waves are primarily recommended for intermediate and advanced surfers.
On the east coast, there are no lifeguard stations, no places to rent boards, and there are rarely enough people to confirm that conditions are safe or to assist in an emergency. If you are a beginner and want to surf some of these spots, it is best to go with a more experienced friend or hire a surf guide who can choose the best spot for the conditions and offer advice on paddling out and getting back to the beach safely.
Best Place for Beginners in Bali: Kedungu Beach Surf – Less Known Beach, Less Crowded Waves (Perfect for Beginners)
Surfing Season in East Bali
Nusa Dua all the way north on the mainland make the most of the wet season NW trade winds from October to March, but waves can be found year round and the mornings during the dry season can be glassy before the wind comes up, making it a fantastic option for less crowded waves.
Because the Southern Hemisphere summer has less storm activity, smaller, shorter period swells are more common during the wet season, making waves on this coast that require a lot of swell and NW winds a rare treat.
The shoulder seasons are your best bet for catching these waves because a long period swell is more likely and the winds are light. The east coast has the advantage of having mountains that come right up to the coast and can be quite cool at night, allowing cool air to sink off the mountains and provide great offshore conditions most mornings.
The SE trade winds are offshore for the breaks on Nusa Lembongan during the dry season.