Uluwatu was “discovered” in the 1970’s by Aussie surfers travelling to Bali to party. They could see the long perfect waves from the aeroplane and made the trek from Kuta. Until the 1990’s access was quite difficult to Uluwatu and even after the paved road went all the way you still had to climb up and down the ladder holding your surfboard. These days there are steps and railings to help you to and from the famous cave. Uluwatu is never flat and never empty but the reef is very big and there are many sections. Can comfortably hold 100+ surfers when the waves are pumping. Surfable all tides, it takes some time to know which section works best on which tide. While the peak is consistently pumping out the biggest waves it attracts the crowd like a moth to a flame. Easy paddling distance from the peak is temples which is best on high tide and is a fast barrelling wave that is usually less crowded than the peak but has a hard core crew of expats.
The surf camp favourite section is the racetrack which starts directly in front of the paddle out of the cave and can go all the way to the big rock where the water photographers are waiting to get the barrel photo of a lifetime .The racetrack requires patience and steely resolve not to follow the herd to the peak, but when the right one comes your way you will be well rewarded. It’s not called the racetrack for nothing and even when shoulder high you can get a powerful ride 400 metres that will amaze and delight.
Unlike other breaks on western coast of Bukit the swell hits Uluwatu directly, which gives greater size and power but it is not always as clean as the other breaks on the coastline. From Padang Padang to Balangan and the breaks in between (Impossibles, Bingin and Dreamland) the swell refracts and cleans up the swell. Uluwatu can be perfect on a small to medium sized swell but there is a lot of water moving when the swell is double overhead+ so a bigger board is required. Outside corners is the premium big wave spot in Bali and can break fast and perfectly before mellowing out in deep water. On massive days (Uluwatu can hold 30-40 foot swells) it is possible to get a ride from the bombie all the way through to outside corners which is approximately 1 mile but be careful as drownings are not unusual.