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10 Best Water Sports in Bali


10 Best Water Sports in Bali

Great Activities on Bali Beaches

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These best water sport activities in Bali are for those looking for something beyond mere swimming and snorkelling, where adrenaline junkies can get their fix from some boat-towed action, high altitudes, and splashing wind-in-hair moments. The majority of the best water sport activities in Bali are focused around the Tanjung Benoa peninsula, which is the island’s de facto playground for these exciting sports, offered by numerous operators. Surfing remains the main feature at most of the breaks around the famous beach resort areas, including the likes of Kuta and the more challenging reefs around the Bukit Peninsula. Other thrills – from walking on the seabed to discovering Bali’s great underwater scenes – are offered at various coasts, including Nusa Lembongan Island. Here are some of the best water sport activities in Bali to please your thirst for action.

1.  Surfing Kuta, Canggu, Medewi, Uluwatu and Bukit

Surfing, undeniably, is the sport that led to the rise of Kuta as Bali’s most famous beach. Vagabond wave riders from around the globe continued to search for the perfect waves all over the Bali coastline, from the challenging barrels around the Bukit peninsula, the black sand beach breaks of Medewi and Canggu in the island’s western shores, and Keramas in the east. Surfing in Bali tops the list as the best water sport activity to enjoy around Bali’s waters, though board riding comes in many forms beyond the normal short and long boards. Body boarding or ‘boogie boarding’ is another way to slide, while challenging forms include windsurfing, kite surfing and wakeboarding. Beginner’s courses, rentals and tours are available from various operators in Kuta, Sanur and the Tanjung Benoa peninsula.

The Bali surfing scene started along the island’s southern shores, where rolling waves and quiet, beautiful beaches evolved into the popular wave riders’ playgrounds we now today. The origin of surfing in Bali is down to the first wave-riding visitors who discovered the incredible waves in the 1930s, and more have flown in being drawn by Bali’s sun, sea and surf ever since. Bali’s surfer crowd comprises experienced riders and beginners who want a piece of the action. Pros can head to the outer reef breaks of the southern Bukit Peninsula, while newbies can opt for smaller waves in the lagoons. Bali is a great place to pick up the sport, with board rentals and surf schools widely available. Surf shops are also abundant, so you can easily source your wax, rashguards and any other gear you might need.
2. Scuba Diving Amed, Tulamben, Lembongan and Menjangan Island 

Deep below Bali’s waves lie some of the world’s best dive sites. Being part of a string of islands in the bio-diverse Indonesian archipelago, the island’s temperate waters are teeming with coral reefs and marine life. The underwater sites also include varying terrain such as drop-off walls and shipwrecks. If you are new to the sport, Bali is also a great place to get certified, with numerous dive centres available in the main resort areas. Great dive sites to discover include Nusa Lembongan, Sanur reef, Amed and Tulamben in the remote eastern shores and Menjangan Island up north. 

Bali Scuba Diving – submerge yourself in a thriving and vibrant underwater world. Explore excellent dive sites and a collection of underwater gardens. For many years, Bali has been extremely popular with divers. This is due to the warm waters around the island. They’re abundant with extensive coral reefs and magnificent marine life. It’s common to see sharks, turtles, manta rays and a kaleidoscopic range of tropical fish. Spectacular dives include drop-off walls, shipwreck diving and drift diving.  Dive centres in Bali operate from all the main resort areas. They offer both fun dives and PADI-certified Open Water diving courses and adventures. During the rainy season, diving may not be at its best as storms reduce visibility. But there are certain dive spots where you can expect calm waters and clear visibility at almost any time of year. These include Menjangan Island and Pemuteran on the North Bali coast. 

3.  Snorkelling Nusa Lembongan, Tulamben and Pemuteran

Snorkelling in Bali is perhaps the easiest way to enjoy the island’s underwater wonders. You don’t need to carry a full air tank on your back and you don’t need too much diving experience or any scuba diving certifications to be able to discover vibrant coral reefs teeming with tropical marine life. Most snorkelling spots in Bali are also readily accessible – simply bring your mask, snorkel and fins and hit the shoreline! The tropical waters around Bali are ideal for snorkelling; temperatures are an average of 27°C and most sites are calm throughout the year

4.  Rafting Ayung River, Telaga Waja River and Payangan 

Rafting lets you experience the ‘real Bali’ as you immerse yourself in nature, cruising along either rushing rapids or steady streams on inflatable rafts. Besides the thrills, you can see some of Bali’s rare flora and fauna from up close. The main rafting rivers in Bali are Ayung River in Ubud and the more challenging Telaga Waja in East Bali. Meanwhile, for a very unique rafting experience, there’s canyon tubing adventures along the Siap stream in the village of Payangan that allows you to cruise through a ravine at a steady pace and in your own personal-size inflatable



5.  Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Jimbaran and Sanur 

Often referred to simply as ‘SUP’, Stand Up Paddle is a fun and different way to ride waves. Specially designed boards allow you to stand upright firmly due to their larger size, while a long paddle allows you to cruise along at your own desired speed. You can even ride over larger swells, just as you would with a regular surfboard. Most surf schools in Bali can introduce you to paddle boarding and most claim that it is easier than it looks, so it can surely get you hooked! It is also a cool way to enjoy sightseeing along Bali’s beautiful coasts from a different angle



6.  Sea Walking Sanur, Tanjung Benoa and Lembongan Island 

Those wanting to enjoy Bali’s underwater beauty of coral reef gardens and colourful marine life without a PADI certification may opt for this unique tour which lets you walk the seabed with a specially designed underwater helmet. There are several sea walker operators in Bali, and one of them is the long-established Bali Seawalker in Sanur. After a boat ride out to the reef site, participants don reef shoes and these helmets, which are fed by oxygen tanks aboard the boat, providing them with a constant flow of air to breathe underwater. Seven metres down, you can freely interact with the fish while supervising guides in scuba gear watch over you and hand you fish feed to attract schools of triggerfish, angelfish, regal tangs and many others



7.  Water Jetpacks and Flyboarding Tanjung Benoa 

A novel addition to the array of aquatic activities in Tanjung Benoa is water jetpacks and jet bike rides. Live the moment and feel like James Bond with his fantastic new invention or Tony Stark trying on his new Iron Man suit, but with water jets as thrusters. These specially designed kits let you levitate up to 10 metres high. After a bit of briefing on the controls and how these things work, you strap on the jetpack or straddle the ‘bike’ version and start flying around the coast for an allocated duration of about 15-20 minutes. These high-density propulsion devices can lift you up in stationary position, or move in any direction as you please. To add a more tech edge, waterproof radios inside your helmet let you listen to tips and manoeuvring guidance from the instructor on shore.


8.  Kitesurfing Sanur 

This might not be as popular as regular surfing, but it can certainly bring your wave riding thrills to the next level. Kitesurfing combines surfing with some elements of wakeboarding and even bits of kite-flying. With some practice, you can speed and ‘fly’ over waves gracefully and effortlessly. It is the easy answer to those sloppy and windy days out on the beach, where it’s usually hard to find a good curl or barrel to ride



9.  Wakeboarding Benoa 

There’s a great place for wakeboarding in Bali: Bali Wake Park. It is located near the entry to the Bali Mandara toll road and Benoa Marina in Pesanggaran, featuring five hectares of artificial lakes and verges sculpted and landscaped out of a marshy plot. Here you can hone your tricks on a series of slides and obstacles throughout the park, while kids and beginner’s courses are available if you’ve never tried the sport before


10.  Banana Boat and Flying Fish Tanjung Benoa 

These rides are a great way to share some thrills on the waves as a group of up to five or six, depending on the size and capacity of the craft. It’s a fast-paced bumpy rodeo ride on these inflatable craft towed by a boat and, at certain times, deliberate sharp turns add to the excitement of seeing who manages to hang on without being flipped overboard. A similar ride is known as the ‘Rolling Donut’. For a higher level of adrenaline rush, try the Flying Fish, which lets you experience some airtime while strapped onto a large inflatable that looks a manta ray. Even higher altitudes can be achieved by taking another boat-towed activity: parasailing.

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