Bali Fun-size Waves in November

November is a time of transition across the globe, one of those months where no particular hotspot will clearly pump over several weeks’ time. Sure, there will be some opportunity in Central and South America this month, but nothing really sustained. The North Atlantic will also pump out swell at certain times, and it’s still a little early to make any bold calls for Hawaii, in spite of the big October event.

One thing we love to do at Surfline is listen to our users. We have a fantastic crew, led by Annette Rodriguez, who’s been working hard to find out just what surfers are looking for: preferred size, conditions, water temps, etc. After gathering and analyzing feedback from thousands of surfers around the world, Annette found that most of our users are looking for surf in the chest to head-high-plus range, and warm water.

So, this Best Bet is for you — the everyman surfer just looking for some fun-size waves. One area that’s showing promise of steady surf right in our users’ wheelhouse, with possible bigger swells sprinkled in to push the limits, is Bali. Here’s why.

1. Weak La Nina

There is no real big climate driver in play at the moment. We have been seeing cooler than normal water temperatures off the South America coast and equatorial east Pacific. And after analyzing global patterns during a similar scenario last year, we’re looking at a weak La Nina at the moment. The biggest signal indicating potential for storm activity came up over the southern Indian Ocean. So climatology tells us this is where we should be looking in November.

We also analyzed our wave database for swell in the 4’ at 12s or greater range — right in the wheelhouse of our users’ preferences. November is typically still pretty consistent, with that parameter being met 78% of the time. When we look only at weak La Nina years, November becomes a little more consistent, meeting that threshold 80% of the time.

2. Swell

We are looking at some good-size surf to kick off the month, with head-high to overhead surf for the upcoming weekend. Behind that is another decent-size swell that will keep fun surf in the water heading into the second week of November. After that, we are looking at lots of 3’+ at 12s surf into the middle of the month. Swell with these parameter coming out of the deeper waters around Bali roughly translates to chest to shoulder-high surf with standouts likely to pull in some head-high sets. It’s a good bet that some longer-period swell will impact the region during the back half of the month, as well. Overall, November should be very user-friendly and right in the wheelhouse of most surfers, based on our user feedback.

3. Shoulder Season

November is a transition month into Bali’s off-season, and things become much cheaper, resulting in more bang for your buck. On top of that, the crowds — overwhelmingly the single biggest pain point among our surveyors — are much lighter than peak season. Plus, if you eye a good swell on the charts for some of the other islands, boat charters tend to be cheaper this time of year. Overall, the combo of lower costs and lower crowds sounds like a win-win.

Although the wet season starts to become more active in November, the frequent rains don’t really kick in until January or February. Even so, passing showers can often help the winds lay down, setting up the glassy conditions which many of our users prefer. The dominant trade winds of the dry season typically transition to a more SSE direction. But there are plenty of breaks around offering a wide variety of conditions, so winds are usually not much of a problem.

4. Warm Water

This one is pretty much a no-brainer. Almost everyone likes warm water, and this tropical paradise offers plenty of it. Most sessions will require minimum gear — boardies or a bikini. However, it is always a good idea to bring a vest for overcast days or some cooler water due to rain runoff from the rivers.

5. Intangibles

The culture in Bali is rich and vibrant and culturally enlightening — from exquisite temples to elaborate carvings to electrifying works of art. It’s home to many yoga and meditation retreats, perfect for getting your chakras aligned. Another intangible that is very well received after a long day of surfing are the massages offered on the beaches. For only a few dollars you can get a professional rubdown.

In summary, fun-size swell, lighter crowds, plenty of spots offering decent/good conditions in warm water and some bonus intangibles. If you need to get away, Bali is a good bet to meet any surfer’s needs this November.

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