Sanur Reef

Tipi Jabrik, Sanur Reef, first big swell of May. Photo Tim Hain
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One of the world’s best right reef breaks when over 8 feet. But unfortunately fickle Sanur only breaks about 20 days a year, because it needs a very big swell from the right direction. Only a few days each year get over 10 feet. Nusa Dua is far more consistent and reliable, so surfers rarely stay at Sanur.

For Sanur to be 6 feet, Nusa Dua usually needs to be over 15 feet, depending upon swell direction. Under 4 feet Sanur sections badly and is dangerously shallow. From 5 to 8 feet it gets good but very crowded, with locals dominating. When it hits 10 feet it is a sight to behold as long-time Sanur devotees draw speed lines on 8 foot guns for 200 metres. Many surfers just live for those precious few days a year when Sanur pumps. Some say it is in the top 10 waves of the world, while others say it breaks far too rarely to be even considered, a bit like the freight train rights of Maalea in Hawaii.

If you get to surf Sanur over 8 feet you can really count yourself lucky!  But be warned - it is best to pull out before the inside dredge-out or you could end up in Denpasar hospital, if you survive. The nearest doctor is conveniently located just 100 metres away at the Grand Bali Beach Hotel. 

Rocky Fast Boat leaves Sanur for Lembongan island every hour. $45 return. Or discounted if you book a room at Tarci Bungalows

The classic seventies surf movie “Free Ride” showed one incredible tube ride at Sanur - Wayne Rabbit Bartholomew back-doored the dreaded inside dredge-out section. Ten feet behind the lip, dry coral reef right next to him, with no escape for over 50 metres. The tube sucked up so much water, he was actually surfing below sea-level (with his heart in his mouth!). He made it, but we don’t know if he tried it again.

Even a master tube rider like Rabbit admitted he was terrified, and few people even attempt this horror end section. Reports say it is only makeable in 12 foot swells, but the consequences of a wipeout onto dry coral at that size are just too horrible to contemplate. But it looks so tempting...

Indo Surf & Lingo author Peter Neely tried for it on a 10 foot day in 1979 but had to prone out, scraping his single fin on the shallow coral before being picked up and thumped into the reef. Three discs in his back were cracked and his legs went numb for 10 minutes. But Sanur is still his favorite wave.

Sanur is a great wave to watch if the crowd gets too much. There is a good restaurant right in front of the break on the sand called ‘Sunrise’. You can rent outriggers for a relaxing sail, or waterski in the lagoon with a motorboat from the Grand Bali Beach Hotel

Our #1 Recommendation for Sanur Reef

It's definitely worth the $5 a day for TRAVEL INSURANCE to avoid having to pay $50,000 for an Emergency Flight if you get badly injured on the sharp coral reefs or crazy roads.

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