Balangan Spot Guide
An underrated gem or a glorified closeout? Depending on who you talk to, what tide and how big the swell is, both of these descriptions are accurate.
The first left reef set-up on the Bukit, Balangan is a consistent performer during the dry season (April-October) and is popular amongst intermediate surfers. One of the reasons for this is that it doesn’t tend to barrel very often and the overall quality of the wave is at the lower end of the spectrum compared to other spots on the Bukit.
The reef itself is about 300 meters long, but you can expect mostly 30 to 50 meter rides that speed away from you or simply closeout. Waves that link up for longer rides do roll through, but make sure to keep a lot of down the line momentum to get through the faster sections.
These semi-closeout conditions are a symptom of smaller swells and once the waves get into the overhead or bigger range Balangan takes on a whole new look and 100+ meter rides are common and the crowd also tends to thin out during bigger swells.
Best size & tide: Balangan is somewhat of a swell magnet so there is usually something to surf on a daily basis from April-October. On smaller swells and higher tides the lineup can get flooded with newbies, but it’s best on lower tides and the bigger the swell the better.
Beach Scene: Balangan has a super laid back vibe with a bunch of timber built warungs lining the beach. They’re a great place to watch the surf from and you’ll be more than welcome to leave your gear here while you surf on the proviso you buy something.
Some of these places offer cheap accommodation and is popular with Euro backpackers. The wave sits in front of a beautiful bay with a long white sand beach complete with rock pools to lounge in on low tide.
The Reef: On small to medium sized days this wave is fairly forgiving and paddling out during high tide or walking to the top of the reef is very straight forward. The most dangerous part of the reef is the end section, this is where the wave will often speed up and suddenly closeout, often in very shallow water. It’s pretty obvious when looking at it from the beach, but when you’re racing along trying to make the next section it’s easy to forget or underestimate how quickly this section pops up.
On bigger days it’s even more critical since there’s often a current that will push you into this zone and a hideous shorebreak that explodes on almost dry reef.
Hold Downs: Balangan is a deep water wave so you can expect a decent hold down even if it’s only just overhead. Apart from the inside end section, this would be your main concern on bigger swells, so make sure to use a thick legrope.
Best Wind: East - South East
When To Surf Here: April till October is super consistent here for swell and offshore winds.Watch the best days at Balangan here
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