Surfers around the globe are always in a constant search to find the best places to surf during their vacation. Whether you’re a free surfer, or a competitive one, choosing a great surf spot is crucial for every surfer.
Now, what’s a better place for a surfer than being in a ‘surfer’s paradise?’ Bali, Indonesia is home to arguably some of the best beaches in the world. Known for their ample east coast swell and a growing performance wave-Surfing has been a popular attraction of Bali for decades. Among the many ultimate surf spots located in Canggu, Kuta Lombok, and Uluwatu, Keramas makes no exception here.
Keramas Surf, famous for its legendary waves, has been slowly gaining training traction as a top wave in Bali. Surfers used to frequent Keramas when it was a coveted secret spot. Lately, Keramas gained hype and it has only grown in popularity ever since.
Want your surfer’s soul to be captivated by the high-tide waves and the serene beauty of Keramas? Here is your ultimate guide to having a good surf in the Keramas!
What kind of wave is Keramas?
The river mouth waves that you will find at Keramas are typically heavy, thick-rimmed right-handers possessing a striking barrel section. The waves break on to the black-sand shore and over a shallow section of volcanic reef. Before the wave closes-out on the inside, it exposes massive maneuvers while creating opportunities for open right shoulders.
Bali is a surfer’s playground with its world-class waves which can be found on the east coast towards Keramas. Intermediate surfers who look for steep right-handers and occasional aerial will find Keramas to be an ideal surfers spot. The barrel breaks faster against the reef on big days, therefore, it is vital to know your limitations.
Surfing in Bali automatically means you are likely to get a commendable experience out of almost every wave you surf. It is no wonder Keramas is regarded as a legendary wave! There are ample opportunities for all kinds of surfers at Keramas but particularly for intermediate ones because of its challenging fast waves. Depending on the season the tides can be fun while offering kind round sections and some occasional small barrels.
How to get to Keramas?
You can get to Keramas easily by bus, taxi or car. To visit Keramas head north from the west coast of Bali past Sanur following the east coast and turning to Ketewel ByPass. You will reach the Keramas area as you proceed northeast along the coast, passing by Ketewel, Pabean, and Saba. After you arrive at Keramas take a small dirt track and drive towards the end of the road until you notice Keramas beach.
You will need to stay alert as you enter the dirt track to find the blue sign that directs you to Keramas as it often goes unnoticed. You’ll find the yellow hand-painted ‘Keramas’ signboard towards the right. The long end of the beach’s road offers free parking in case you need to park your car.
What time of year is best to surf Keramas?
The best time of the year to surf at Keramas would be from March to May, or August to October. Early wet/off-season is ideal for surfers to surf at Keramas as the east coast caters to heavy-right handers and state of the art waves. The direction, tide, swell, and wind conditions are sensitive elements that break on the shallow reef shore. The conditions are inconsistent and can change in a matter of minutes alone. However, finding the ideal timeframe to surf at Keramas is essential so that you don’t miss the mark on scoring those high-performance waves.
Is Keramas dangerous? What is the beach like?
Yes, Keramas can be dangerous on big days with fast, heavy waves breaking on the shallow and sharp reef. The end section can have fierce currents making it difficult to exit the water at times. You will also need to keep an eye out for ex-pats and the crowd there. The 10-kilometer stretched Keramas black sand beach is home to serene, beautiful views. The beach is mostly for avid surfers and has a captivating beauty and is known for its sparkling volcanic black sand.
Top 5 Keramas Surfing Tips
Seek help from local Balinese surfers
Balinese people are known for their respectful attitude and their way of showing immense hospitality to all kinds of tourists. Don’t be shy to engage with them and just remember to approach the locals with a positive attitude. The local surfers might even be willing to hit you up with a few surfing tips to improve your performance. Keramas can be very crowded during some seasons so you better watch out for the over-zealous ex-pats present there.
If you’re someone who’s looking to polish their surfer’s skills a bit, know that there is absolutely no shame in mingling with the locals there. Balinese people are mainly pro surfers and if you’re having trouble having a good surf just ask one of them to help you out.
Not everyone is an expert surfer and if you are tempted by the waves, don’t be afraid to dive in! Fortunately, Bali offers several training programs as well as intermediate and advanced surf lessons at KFC Keramas, Bali. You can always turn to these intuitions for assistance or simply consult your local friends instead.
Watch out for the tides at Keramas surf
No matter how good of a surfer you are, DO NOT test your limits. While we understand how intimidating the sight of pro surfers rocking the waves can be, Keramas does not have any red flags about the tides and safe spots that exist and it is tidally sensitive so be sure to practice (if you have to) when the tides are low.
Learn to search for the right waves when you can. It is essential to understand how a wave breaks. Look out for high sections and waves that peak at the horizon, that is when most pro surfers prefer surfing at Keramas. Note that a leveled wave line is a strong indication that it is closing out soon.
Keramas carries ideal intermediate waves that complement high tides exquisitely well. The tides pick up quite brilliantly on the east coast swell as it is emphasized on an irregular reef, battered right before the wave curls towards the inside and finally resting against the black sand beauty. Keramas is known for it’s barreling, long right-handers that strip in at the reef break making it quite enjoyable for the righties.
Keep in mind that Bali possesses a few tsunami danger zones that you should be aware of while you are hitting the tides. While it may look like the perfect surf opportunity, steer clear for the currents when they get bigger. You don’t want to end up in an unpleasant situation during your ideal vacation.
Choose the perfect season to visit Keramas surf
As a surfer you must generally be familiar with the seasons that prove to be favorable for surfing, it is important to keep track of the weather conditions of the destination you wish to visit for an exceptional surf experience. Indonesia has a tropical climate with the average temperature being around 28°C throughout most of the year. The major difference lies in the amount of rainfall that differs between the seasons. At Keramas there are primarily two surfer periods namely ‘the on-season’ and ‘the off-season.’
A lot of surfers prefer visiting the east coast in the off-season (also known as ‘the wet season’) that runs from November and through March. This is the time when swells are inconsistent and trade winds begin to accelerate. Wet season comes with fewer crowds and lesser warmer days catering to plenty of offshore winds and barrels, not to mention it is an ideal season for right-handers as the east coast waves begin to break properly.
The dry/on season makes no exception too. From April to October, the summer weather is pleasant and can be your best bet if you’re ready to take on the challenges of the legendary reefs. However, the offshore winds are directed towards the west coast and may not give you the best right-handers relative to the wet season. Tourism begins to peak during this season and you might often find yourself competing against pro-surfer line-ups, this can be intimidating especially if you are looking to up your surfing game a bit.
Select the best board option
Most of the surfers that visit Keramas, Bali intend on bringing their own boards, which is generally a great idea! You will be rocking some of the most legendary, dreamy waves in the world so why not pick something you are already familiar with? Bringing your own board to the shore will not only save you a lot of cash but will be comfortable for you to ride on as you will feel the most confident using it. However, if you think your quiver may not be the best that you own, don’t worry there are other options too.
Bali can have the best surf deals you could ever ask for! The surfboards make a noteworthy comparison to other countries in terms of price and quality. You might easily be able to buy yourself a brand new baby for approximately $700-$800.
If you’re visiting for a couple of days and are not too hyped about investing in a surfboard catering to baggage issues on your way back, consider renting or buying a second-hand surfboard. Engage with locals or ex-pats for advice or assistance on finding yourself a good deal for your quiver. Be careful while buying second-hand boards, Indonesians are great board shapers and can easily repair a snapped board which often goes unnoticed.
Pick an appropriate surf time
Once you’re all set to start your vacation in Bali, you don’t want to miss out on the picture-perfect surf timings at Keramas. Early mornings can be nice when you wish to avoid crowds and practice your surfing skills, but the surf can tend to be a bit glassy. It is a good idea to surf through early-afternoon towards mid-day to experience incoming high-performance waves with long right-handers.
Keramas is no longer the ‘secret spot’ that it once was. The crowd pours in right before the sun dips, giving you plenty of time to enjoy by yourself beforehand. Regardless of the time you choose and depending on the moon phase, you should be good to go as long as there is plenty of water on the rocks. Late evenings and early mornings are when there is a lot of swell at Keramas, ideal for surfing.