Canggu Spot Guide
Bali's original high performance playground, Canggu has a mix of super consistent lefts and rights, relentlessly pursued by the hip and shredders alike.
Pererenan Rivermouth: The right hander of The Rivermouth offers tubes, ramps and cuttie sections. Because the wave has such great shape and pace, plus the easy access from the beach via a defined channel, you’ll often find an absurdly broad spectrum of surfing abilities in this lineup; from World Tour pros all the way down to the guy getting to his feet for the first time (even though it is reef bottom).
It’s not uncommon to see 20 to 30 people out here and although it’s not a particularly long wave, there are wider sets and ‘insiders’ that can spread the crowd out just a touch.
Best size & tide: Small to medium sized swells with a mid to high tide are what you’ll be chasing, on a dead low tide it sections out.
The Sandbar: Less than a hundred meters to the south of The Rivermouth and breaking very close to the beach is another quality wave with an equally imaginative name: The Sandbar.
At its best it’s a wedging left that can get quite round and grunty, but it’s mostly just a great performance wave breaking on sand. The right off the same peak is much shorter and often a bit of a letdown, but still has its moments.
Much like The Rivermouth, this lineup is heavily populated with shredders, but with a shifty peak anyone can snag a good one out here.
Best size & tide: Small to medium swells with a low to mid tide are best and hollowest.
Echo Beach: Another left hander a couple hundred meters south of The Sandbar is Echo.
Normally less hollow than its neighbours when it's small, it’s popular with intermediate surfers, but on a head high swell with a low to mid tide it can transform into a thick lipped, ledging tube.
It breaks over a reef/rock combo with a ‘dry hair’ channel all the way to the takeoff zone.
Best size & tide: Medium size swells are most reliable. Try and surf it on a mid to high tide.
Carparks: At the bottom of most people's list is Carparks, a short right that breaks over rock/sand and a longer more walled up left that breaks over rock/reef. The least ‘shapely’ of the four breaks means this is also the least crowded spot along this stretch with mostly learners and intermediate surfers calling the shots.
Best size & tide: Wait for a small to medium swell with a mid to high tide to go get some Carparks
Beach Scene: Retro boards and yoga pants are over-represented at Canggu compared to other surf spots in Bali, but the biggest thing you’ll notice is the wide variety of people here; young, old, local, foreign, skilled surfers, beginners, long-boarders, short-boarders, body-boarders and even the odd knee-boarder.
There are a few ‘fancy’ cafes at Echo Beach, which is where most people access the beach from, and then as you head north there’s about a hundred meters of small warungs and cafes overlooking the beach complete with beach umbrellas, deck chairs and surfboard rentals.
The Crowds: Canggu is one of the most crowded surf zones in Bali. There will usually be a few shredders or pros in the lineup, but these are usually out-numbered by average to below average level surfers. If your skills are above average, this can equate to a better than average wave count - tempered with the frustration of dealing with the seemingly oblivious ‘zombie’ surfer.
The Water: The river that flows into the ocean directly in front of ‘The River Mouth’ break doesn’t impact the water quality too much during the dry season (April – October), but after consistent rain the water will turn a chocolaty Milo brown that ain't sweet.
Stories of ear infections aren’t uncommon during the wet season, but this doesn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the hordes that still flock here when the waves are pumping.
The Reef: Most of the breaks in Canggu have at least some section of rock or reef underneath, but apart from really low tides and bigger swells, ‘reef rash’ is less of a factor compared to a lot of other waves in Bali.
Best Wind: East wind is straight offshore. A light South East trade wind will still provide clean conditions but once it starts blowing more than 10 knots you can expect some cross-offshore bump.
When To Surf: The most reliable time of year for Canggu is the dry season (April – October), you can expect clean waves in the mornings that will often deteriorate into cross-offshore junk by the afternoon.
Outside of the dry season can still produce great waves since these breaks pick up whatever swell is available and even a 2-3 foot swell can throw up something fun to take a swing at.
During the wet season when Westerly winds often blow, there’s no protected surf spots along this part of the coast but there can be breaks in this wind pattern and so some clean waves to be had.
Watch the best days at Canggu here
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