History of Surfing in Bali

Indonesia has become one of the most famous countries in the world for surfing. The 17,500 islands it has, warm waters all-year, diverse sizes of waves, and beautiful coastlines have tourists coming for surfing holidays year-round.

One of the most idyllic spots in Indonesia is the island of Bali. Given its excellent surfing environment, it is admired as one of the best surfing locations globally. Hundreds of thousands of surfers come to Bali every year for the sole purpose of good surf. But how did surfing begin in Bali when it was not native to Indonesian culture?

Origins of Surfing in Bali

The first surfer in Bali was an American traveler on the island in 1930 named Bob Koke. Adopting the sport as a hobby from his native California, he built a hotel on Kuta Beach – introducing the sport to his staff and local workers. Bob’s enthusiasm for surfing spread by encouraging those from abroad to come to Bali, considering it provided brilliant surf conditions.

As World War II started, the luxury of holidaying disappeared for many – and with it, the spread of surfing in Bali. In the 1960s, however, people began to travel again. Surfers from all over the world, mainly the United States and Australia, recalled Bob Koke’s enthusiasm for Bali as an ideal surf spot. Before long, many people returned with an increase in surfing popularity. Suddenly Bali was one of the most recommended surfing locations in the world.

Uluwatu cliffs and waves

Development of Surfing in Bali

As more people traveled to Bali searching for the best waves, numerous more spots were identified outside Kuta Beach. Padang Padang, Uluwatu, and Keramas also came to prominence, providing a surf spot that was beautiful, warm, and adapted to all skill levels. The ideal conditions have also led to surfing becoming a professional industry in the region.

Bali will see many international surfing competitions run on the island. Large surfing brands highlight the importance of the surf spot by basing their entire operations there. Companies like Quiksilver, Billabong, and Oakley have sizeable operations in Bali, celebrating the activity that is considered today as part of the local culture.

Surfing in Bali Today

The island of Bali is a destination that comes to mind when one thinks of a surfing holiday. The infrastructure that has developed accommodates a range of skills from beginners to world-class surfers. The waves are accessible all-year-round and littered with perfect spots to relax or compete amongst the medium of surfing and socialize with other enthusiasts.

Local governments now acknowledge how important surfing is to the island and the positive impact it has had on regional and cultural development. Today, the sport is contributing $4.5 billion annually to the economy of Bali.

Celebrate Bali’s Surfing History

The history of surfing in Bali was founded on passion – a notion that remains in place today. Visitors and locals alike gather consistently to celebrate and admire the island’s surf culture. Should you ever consider a surfing holiday – there’s not a better destination than Bali. Accessible to all and perfect for all surfing activities, you’ll revel in its rich wave history.

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