History states that the first surfer to come to the island arrived on a steam ship, way back in 1936. It was Robert Koke, photographer and Charlie Chaplin’s tennis coach. Chaplin already knew the island and perhaps he spurred Koke’s curiosity to visit this earthly paradise with future wife Louise. Enchanted by Kuta Beach, the only actual established beach at the time, they soon opened the first tourist resort on the coast - the Kuta Beach Hotel, which was later destroyed during the war. However, Koke’s surf board’s remained intact and are still held on the island today, including the very first one, brought in from Hawaii, which was used to introduce and teach this incredible sport to the Balinese people. Now, people from around around the globe come to visit the numerous beaches on Bali to “drop in” on a wave and compete in a myriad of organised competitive events. Thanks to its particular geographic position, the island offers every type of imaginable wave. From Kuta to Cangu, then on to Seminyak, it is possible to learn how to stand on a board for the first time, improve on the intermediate waves near the reefs of Uluwatu and Balangan and then ride to perfection on the expert waves of Kuta Reef or in the crystalline waters off the white sands of Green Bowl. Other serious surfers prefer the vertical waves and exceptional tubes of Keramas and Padang. In Bali, it is possible to surf year-round, thanks to the mild water temperature, but the perfect combination of weather and waves can be found on the island’s West Coast during the dry season between May and September.
A fascinating attraction brings us to the eastern side of the island, just a handful of kilometres from Karangasem, gathering visitors amidst the former royal palace, as well as a series of pools and ponds.