Canggu: A Surfer's Guide

By Chris Binns

Canggu is so damn hot right now. If you can find a place to park, a seat at a café, or a spot in the lineup then make sure you grab it with both hands because they don’t come along too often.

The Waves

There are five waves along Canggu’s Echo Beach / Pererenan stretch. Out the back of the southern end is the mythical bombie. It never breaks and nobody ever surfs it, but know it’s there so you sound legit if it comes up in conversation. Inside the bombie is a left that sometimes gets called “Tahiti” and can gets fun, but generally looks better than it is.

In the middle of the beach is the “Sandbar”, a hoax right and long left that grows across a bulletproof sandbank. It gets crowded with rippers but if you keep your wits about you and use the rip wisely you might luck into a draining tube on a low or mid-tide.

On the north side of the river mouth is “Canggu Right” which works best above medium tide and around head high of swell. It’s often home to teams of visiting pros and their multimedia mates, turning the break into a photo studio. It can get crazily crowded but play by the rules and you’ll get your share of super shredable walls. Paddle wide on the way back out – there are plenty of empty waves out there, and the sets will evilly suck unsuspecting victims into the impact zone where things can turn into human Jenga pretty quickly. Fun and games!

The last break is the often overlooked “Carparks” peak to the north. The left allows for a few turns before it ends on flat rocky-reef, so pull off before you get yourself into trouble.

A few hundred meters to the south of Echo Beach, at the end of Batu Bolong road, lies the busiest water in Bali, teeming with logs and ladies, first-timers and over-excited GoPro wielding frothers pushing themselves to catch as many user-friendly waves as they can. If you’ve never surfed in your life, this is the place to learn. Batu Bolong might just rival Waikiki in Hawaii for the world title of Most Surfers Of All Abilities Crammed Into A Single Stretch Of Beach.

The Scene

Along the shoreline at Echo Beach (but for how much longer?) OThree and Surfer’s Bar are the spots to escape the heat for a fresh coconut or cold Bintang. On the Echo Beach side Mandira is the OG warung of choice and next to them the Echo Beach Club does a pretty deadly fish BBQ on sunset. Newly opened La Brisa has raised the “bar”, serving up refreshing cocktails and quality cuisine. Across the rivermouth is Pondok Nyoman, a locally owned restaurant that has a swimming pool overlooking the beach.

Over at Batu Bolong the crowds are chaotic but friendly and there are plenty of places who’ll happily rent softboards to first-timers and push them into waves. It’s easiest to park in the big carpark right on the beach next to Old Mans, and this is where most of the surf schools are based too. Secure yourself a patch of sand, order a coconut from a drink vendor, and enjoy the show.

Canggu Webcam

Streaming LIVE from Pondok Nyoman at Pererenan, Canggu, Bali.
Check the Waves

Map

Gallery

Surf Shops

Chasing surf gear or repairing a ding? Gone are the days when surfers had to head into Kuta feel up a new board. Here are your best options in Canggu’s Echo Beach, Batu Bolong, and Berawa areas.

Surf Gear

Onboard

OnBoard is located next to Old Mans bar, just a few steps from the water at Batu Bolong beach. They have funboards, retroboards, longboards, soft tops, and hi-fi shredder shapes if that’s your thing. Best shapers, best materials – Channel Islands, Christenson, Simon Anderson & more are in da house!

Chilli

Chilli have opened a slick new shop on Jl. Padang Linjong stocking their popular signature models like the Fader and Black Vulture. Custom order one before you arrive and have it delivered to your address. Full details on their website.

 

Dylan

For those wanting the real deal and not simply an off-the-shelf model, renowned Australian surfer-shaper Dylan Longbottom has set up shop in Berawa, with a selection of his handcrafted shapes available, as well as custom orders.

Rip Curl

Rip Curl just moved into the neighborhood and came fully loaded with shiny new DHDs, …Lost, Firewires, Pyzels, and the biggest range of accessories in the area. New board? Check. Leash, grip, and wax? Check-check-check. “Will that be cash or credit sir?” Ummm.

Kartel

For the budget-minded traveler that has caught the surfing bug, Kartel offers good quality boards at a reasonable price, even before it’s bundled into a +grip +leash +boardbag package. Also, if needed, they also offer surf lessons.

Deus

The Deus Temple’s modest shaping bay has been blessed with a constant stream of talent over the years with the likes of Rich Pavel, Bob McTavish, Thomas Bexon, Neal Purchase Jr., Ryan Lovelace and others all serving within its foam covered blue walls. Step into their incredible showroom/cafe/gallery to admire their latest creations.

Boardriders

It’s impossible to miss the Boardriders store when you access the beach from the Echo side. In addition to Quiksilver and Roxy tees, boardies, bikinis, and the rest, they have a rack of boards by JS, Hayden Shapes, Slater Designs, and …Lost that will stop you in your tracks. Also – it sounds kinda odd – but they also do haircuts. Ask for the “Mikey Wright” 😉

Ding Repair

Aki Repair

Get your boards fixed by the fine craftsmen at Aki Repair, strategically located on the “Short Cut” that connects Berawa with Canggu. These guys come from the Naruki / Freedom repair shop bloodline so you know your baby is in good hands.

Food & Drinks

There’s so many new spots popping up in the Gu it can be hard to keep track. Here’s some of our fav’s in the Echo Beach / Batu Bolong zone.

Breakfast

Refuel after your morning session at Betelnut, the original and best café in the area, serving every kind of healthy food. French bakery Monsieur Spoon delivers good coffee and great croissants with a breezy garden to sit in. Nalu Bowls takes smoothie bowls to the next level, pick the acai one. A short bike ride inland is Crate – the most-Instagrammed, popular café on Batu Bolong for a reason. Or, if the waves are still pumping smash a simple nasi goreng Mandira and get back out there, dude.

Lunch

The Shady Shack offers great grinds, rad vibes and beautiful people for days. Warung Bu Mi has your back for Indonesian food – dozens of dishes ready to serve… Just add sambal! Canteen is worth a visit just to check out the insane vintage surfboard collection in the rafters, but the food is more than worthy too! Eat clean and nutiecious at  Motion Cafe – a favorite amongst the fitness freaks. Walk Batu Bolong and you will find an endless array of options.

Dinner

La Barraca is an awesome Italian restaurant that delivers fine friendly food in a very fun atmosphere. Mai Tai serves up the most delicious Tahitian eats – think fresh fish – just too damn good to miss. Ji at Tugu Hotel serves some of the best Japanese on the island, with a view of the Indian Ocean to match, while The Slow is a hip new bar & restaurant that offers incredible tapas and cocktails, and puts on all manner of groovy shows and art exhibitions. For the pizza lovers hit up Luigi’s (next to Deus) and Fabricca.

Drinks

The Deus Temple of Enthusiasm caters to everyone, and all of the categories above. Well worth your time whether you’re chasing art, bikes, food, drinks, a halfpipe, a haircut, or attractive potential partners. On the beach at Batu Bolong The Lawn is incredible for sunsets, people watching and its legendary 50 Fridays parties (50% off beer & pizza), while Old Man’s has a Wednesday session that has to be seen to be believed, and is a damn fine spot for beers with pals the rest of the time. New on the scene is La Brisa at Echo Beach; it’s a breezy sunset hangout with classy cocktails and amazing decor.

Spot Guides

Planning a Bali trip? Here's our tips on where to surf, shop, eat, and drink.