Muklis Anwar stood on a plot of grass and sand next to Tuti’s Warung on the cliffside overlooking Bingin Beach in Bali, Indonesia. A line of surfers was out in the distance taking turns dropping in on the short, perfect lefts. Anwar had just come in from his own session, cruising parallel to the shoreline with his unbuttoned maroon flowery shirt looking more like a superhero’s cape flapping in the wind than a rash guard.
The local pro was smiling from ear-to-ear as he was being interviewed about surfing, particularly in his home of Bali. That’s how the surfers — and most people, for that matter — are on the Island of Gods. They’re happy-go-lucky, mellow and friendly.
“Bali is super bagus (nice),” Anwar said flashing his teeth again and adding a chuckle. “There are waves like every single day, you just have to know where to go. I don’t mind going anywhere else to surf, but I just can’t leave Bali. This is the spot. Beers are cold, waves are barreling. What more do you need?”
Anwar did his best as local expert and tour guide for the other Volcom pros who were in Bali for a month. Volcom rented a house in Canggu for July in order to give their riders a central location to surf. Approximately 25-30 riders — including eight groms ages 11-15 — spent two-week blocks at the house, traveling around Bali and other nearby islands for the best waves.
Bali’s variety in breaks and swells provides the ultimate playground and testing locale for a surfer.
“There isn’t another place in the world where you can showcase surfing with 15, 16 or 17 different locations,” said Matt Bemrose, Volcom Global Surf Team Manager. “It can showcase your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Other countries only give five or six locations. You get a big understanding of what surfers you have as a coach in a place like this. What do you have, what they can learn and what do you do moving forward?”
Spots like the Bukit Peninsula, Kuta, Canggu, Dreamland, Uluwatu, Keramas, Padang Padang, Bingin — the list is endless — are all ideal waves for locals and foreign riders alike. Not only are the waves good, but the water and weather are warm.
“Bali is probably one of the most influential and biggest places in surfing for all the kids and pros,” said 15-year-old Volcom grom Nolan Rodgers. “Coming here for the first time was definitely an amazing experience in terms of catching waves I’ve dreamed about and surfing with people I really look up to.”
Even though Harry Timson grew up surfing in England and Scotland, Bali is his favorite spot in the world.
“We’ve scored sick waves non-stop since I got here,” he said. “Every day it’s been pumping. Indonesia as a whole is a really great place to score waves.”
Another bonus for surfers in Bali is the proximity between the beaches. If the waves aren’t good enough or it’s too crowded at Padang Padang, for example, other prime spots like Canggu on the west side of the island or Keramas on the east are barely over an hour away. Bali has an area of approximately 2,200 square miles.
“Surfing in Bali is about as unique as it gets,” Volcom pro Nate Tyler said. “Obviously it’s a little crowded because it’s one of the best places on Earth, but there’s such a variety of waves; it’s amazing. It’s hard to go wrong here just with the quality of waves and conditions.
“If you go in the right season it’s almost dummy proof—you’re going to get something of substance. Indonesia is always good.”
Leon Glatzer (Pavones, Costa Rica)—”This is my first time here and I can say it’s now one of my favorite places. I think everyone is just kind of living life and nobody looks really stressed. You see people on the side of the roads just playing cards or saying hello to you. In other countries everybody’s like so stressed going to work and doing this and doing that. Here I’ve met so many people and they’re super happy just to talk to you. Everyone (on the coast) has that surfer mentality even if they don’t surf. There are so many sculptures and temples. The food—it’s just amazing—I like spicy food. And Bali has good waves; the waves are amazing and some of the best in the world.”
Jarvis Earle, 12 (Sydney, Australia)—”I’ve been to Bali three times before this trip. It’s a really fun place because there are so many different surf spots, the water is warm and it’s just a great spot to surf because there are so many good waves. You can go from one side of the island to the other and there will be good waves. It’s just really fun.”
Keanu Taylor, 12 (Maui, Hawaii)—”This is my first time in Bali. It’s been super fun, the waves are fiery. This is the best experience I’ve had yet, surfing perfect waves with all my friends, and meeting new people. Where I surf in Hawaii there’s a lot of barrels, breach breaks and isn’t as shallow as Bali. Bali has really good barrels. It’s perfect.”
Santiago Hart, 14 (Santa Cruz, Calif.)—”It’s pretty sick. It’s definitely different than the States. There’s a lot of lefts here, and in California, the way the coast is slanted, it’s pretty much all rights. Here all the best waves are lefts. I’ll probably come back. It’s sick here.”
Travel and accommodation in Bali provided by Volcom.