Watersports in Bali
Information on watersports in Bali, with details on the various sports available and the popular areas for them...
Bali is renowned for its wide choice of watersports, with surfing, scuba-diving, snorkelling and windsurfing among its most popular sea sports, and whitewater rafting and kayaking among its most popular inland water sports.
There are numerous privately-run companies offering these sports, and certain areas have become hubs for enthusiasts and beginners alike; in particular Kuta, which is a central location for surfing equipment and tours. Nusa Lembongan, the small island opposite Sanur, has developed into a haven for surfers and divers, and Sanur and Tanjung Benoa, which have the greatest range of water-sport operators, offer water skiing, jet skiing, parasailing, windsurfing and chartered sailboats. It is also possible to rent speedboats, paddle cats, canoes and banana boats.
Bali is one of the world's greatest surfing destinations, with regular competitions held on the island. A fluid Balinese style of surfing has evolved, which has been attributed to the grace of Balinese dancing.
Bali's breaks are a great draw for advanced surfers, but there are also plenty of gentler beach breaks which are ideal for beginners (see below). There are formal surf schools on Legian beach and Kuta beach.
Kuta is the central location to rent or buy boards and to find out about surfing conditions. The best places to surf for beginners are Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Medewi. For intermediate surfers the waves at Bingin, Kuta, Ketewel, or Canggu might be more challenging. Experienced surfers enjoy Kuta Reef, Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Canggu or Nusa Lembongan.
Windsurfing is particularly popular on Sanur, Tanjung Benoa and Nusa Dua beaches, but other locations include Gangga Beach, near Tabanan, Balina Beach on the west coast, and Tulamben on the northeast of the island, which is known as one of the windiest spots in Bali.
It is possible to dive throughout the year in Bali, and Bali's dive sites offer a great variety of marine life and excellent visibility.
The best places to dive are in the offshore waters of Tulamben (where the shipwreck USAT Liberty is located), Amed and Candidasa, Nusa Penida in the south, Menjangan Island in the north-west, Gilimanuk Bay, Sanur, Nusa Dua, and Lovina.
Kuta, Nusa Dua and Sanur are areas known for easy to moderate diving, with easily accessible reefs.
Seven world-class dive sites lie off the coast of Menjangan Resort at Menjangan Island, in the West Bali National Park. This small, uninhabited island is considered one of the most spectacular coral reefs in Bali, with clear water and minimal waves.
Bali is a major teaching centre for scuba diving, with many reputable dive centres offering courses accredited by PADI and SSI. A wide range of courses take place at Kuta, Sanur, Lovina, Pemuteran, and Candidasa. Courses available include Discover Scuba, Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue and Divemaster, as well as specialities including Underwater Naturalist, Deep Diver, Wreck Diver, Night Diver, Equipment Professional and Enriched Air Diving.
There are excellent snorkelling opportunities at all Bali's dive sites. Abundant marine life can be enjoyed on the reefs off Sanur, Nusa Dua and Benoa, all of which are accessible by boat, and all relevant equipment can be hired.
Further afield, good destinations include Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan, Padangbai, Candidasa, Tulamben, Amed and Lovina. One of the best places to snorkel is Menjangan Island, which is enclosed by a spectacular coral reef.
Sea-walking is becoming popular in Bali and is open to everyone, from children over nine years old to those up to seventy, including people with disabilities. There are several private companies operating sea-walking tours, in which participants are taken out to sea-walker stations. Here they are equipped with specially-designed helmets connected to scuba tanks, and, under the supervision of a qualified instructor, are free to walk along the seabed.
Whitewater rafting / kayaking
There are many privately-run companies offering whitewater rafting and kayaking in Bali. All rivers are class 2 to 3 but may rise to class 4 during the wet season between October and March. Three of the most popular rivers for rafting are the Ayung River, the Unda River and the Telaga Waja River.