Kitesurf in Bali: is it worth the trip for kitesurfing ?

Kitesurf in Bali: is it worth the trip for kitesurfing ?

Régis Lacouture Régis Lacouture 22 February 2020 Kitesurfing

If you plan to travel all the way to Indonesia for the first time, your first idea is probably to check the famous Bali. We always encourage our kitesurf guests to allocate some time to visit different places in Indonesia. Many of them asking us whether kitesurf in Bali is worthy of the (long) trip ?

Well, here our opinion in brief:

  • No, if you are into 100% kitesurf holidays
  • Yes, if you are into multi-activities, and kitesurf is an add-on just for a try
  • No, if you wish the learn and be autonomous in just few days (limited time)
  • Yes, if you are into light-wind foiling only
  • No, if you are into 100% wave-ridding

Bali is not really what we can call a “kitesurf destination” … mostly because of super light wind. For some people, travelling all the way to Indonesia is a significant budget, and some also have limited time with their annual leaves. Fortunately, Indonesia has more to offers than Bali:  8 reasons to choose Indonesia for a kitesurfing trip.

Nevertheless, spending few days in Bali during your kitesurf trip is largely feasible since its airport is super well connected to all Indonesian islands, and some international connections.

 

Want to know more about what to expect in Bali ? Here, some insights:

Bali is pure magic !

Bali is a unique mix of surf, traditions and night life. It is more about a lifestyle than anything else … kinda exotic-hippy-bohemian-surf culture. This special vibe is mostly influenced by the Balinese unique Hinduism (very different than the Indian one).

Each places have its own identity attracting different types of travelers. Kuta, Sanur, Nusa Dua, Uluwatu, Canggu, Seminyak and Ubud are the main spots where people like to stay. All these famous places are concentrated in the South-East part of the island, closer to the airport, and expanding every year, to become even more saturated.

Map Bali kitesurf

Unfortunately, the mass tourism jeopardizes what has made Bali so famous, and traffic jam became horrific (avoid car as much as possible during your stay).

What we commonly call “Bali” is the South, but as you can see on the map, Bali is in fact way much bigger than the saturated South, with the North and West coasts still preserved.

 

Wind in Bali for kitesurfing

Surf is the mainstream sport in Bali. As far as kitesurf is concerned, let’s say … it is complicated.

Windugu Sanur Bali wind

 

The best period is the dry season from June to September. However, you can have few good days during monsoon peak (January-February), but this period is quite unreliable.

Since winds generally picked up around lunch time, it’s an unknown every morning.

The June-September wind comes from South-East, and an average windy day is about 14-16 knots, that’s why large kites are recommended.

The best wind is on the West Coast where the trade winds channel into the corridor between Java an Bali. The wind is often over 25 knots. The Balinese side is called Gilimanuk, and the Javanese side is named Banyuwangi. So far, it is easier to reach via Java with airport in Banyuwangi, meanwhile it is still challenging to reach via Bali with only roads access. A toll road is planned to be constructed by 2023.

 

Best kitesurfing spots in Bali: Sanur & Canggu

SANUR for all levels

Flat water with light to moderate onshore wind. Within the reef, there is a large area of flat, or you can reach outside the reef, where a shipwreck lies, for some wave-ridding.

CANGGUfor experienced riders

Wave spots – Wind strengths at Canggu can be 15-20 knots on good days. Just few kilometers North of Kuta, the beaches to launch are Brawa and Tugu. The wind is side to side-off and very gusty. Anyway, it worth to check since some days, it can be the only place with wind. If too windy, it is usually too much off-shore. Don’t drop your kite with the breaking waves, light off-shore wind, rocks and strong current.

BANYUWANGI (East-Java) and GILIMANUK (Bali)for experienced riders

Best wind you will find in Bali, and mostly unknown. However, the area is not suitable for beginners or rookies for 2 obvious reasons: no infrastructures and strong currents. If you opt for Gilimanuk, launch from beautiful white sand beach, and stay within the bay, so you are protected from currents. On the Java side, the best option is to reach by boat a northern island named Tabuhan where there are less currents. You can find also some islands at the North of the National Park … Just be careful and avoid to ride alone in the area.

 

Where to stay for kitesurf in Bali

Try to find an accommodation close by the spots, there are plenty of choices in Sanur and Canggu, and for all budgets.

The wind is capricious and forecast not pretty accurate, you don’t want to commute all day long to check the wind, or to stay on the beach waiting for the wind to blow (or not). No live-feed from weather station you can consult online from home.

 

Kitesurf gear for Bali

It is a light wind destination, so be ready to ride your favorite TwinTip with big kites: min. 12m in a good day, mostly 14-16m, depend of your weight. But if you are into foil, and courageous enough to travel with it, then you can pack smaller kites.

 

Kitesurf rental and kite school in Bali (Sanur)

Two official kitesurfing schools operate from Sanur, it is definitely the best spot for taking lessons. We believe that’s the only two place where you can rent equipment:

No idea whether you can rent foiling gear …

In Canggu, you won’t find any rental on the wave spots, but more West on Balian beach, it seems that a new rental exists (Balian kitesurf)

 

To conclude:

Yes, Bali still worth the trip … few days.

It is not the best of what can Indonesia offer, either for surf or kitesurf, but Bali remains unbeatable if you wish to mix kite & surf with shopping, visits, variety of good foods, and nightlife. The charm of its tradition is still there, if you are willing to go out of the beaten track, and stay away from the main touristic spots.

You can easily mix few days in Bali as a stop-over to your final destination, like Jeneponto, where you will find much better wind, or to rest before heading back home (the last one being the favorite option of our guests).

Just stick around where you stay, and don’t try to make too many day-trips too far … and enjoy Bali’s unique vibe.