Sunset wave at Padang Padang beach in Bali

Sunset Waves at Padang Padang in Bali



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The wave at Padang Padang beach on Bali’s Bukit peninsula has long been known as the ‘Bali pipeline’, named after the epicenter of global big wave surfing on Hawaii’s North Shore. During the southern hemisphere’s dry season from April to September, huge storms forming around Antarctica create massive waves caused by the wind blowing for hundreds (or thousands) of miles unchecked. By the time this groundswell crashes into the southern coastal areas of Indonesia, it forms the most perfect waves on the planet. Surfers from around the world time their vacations (and sometimes their lives!) to coincide with these big swells.

I love shooting at Padang Padang at sunset when the sun is dropping below the Indian Ocean horizon and creating the most perfect lighting conditions for surf photography. In September 2012, I met up with my friends Agus ‘Dag’ and Mega (two of Bali’s best local surfers) for an afternoon photo session at Padang. Those guys outcompeted a crowded lineup of international surfers to get some of the best rides that day and making it one of the most fun surf photo shoots of the entire year for me. A particular highlight was catching Mega’s air drop into the most dangerous section of the barrel, a smoking cauldron of ocean created by fifteen foot surf colliding with a solid block of jagged coral reef only a few feet deep. You can’t see the bottom in the photos, but trust me, there ain’t much water there and a wrong move could mean getting slammed into the sharp reef by (literally) tons of water.

They say that Balinese surfers get a lot of their distinctive style from the influence of traditional Balinese dance. After watching Mega land this difficult takeoff with the grace of a cat, it’s hard to argue with that point (just check out the sequence below to see what I mean).

The photo above was also featured on the National Geographic Traveler magazine website, you can download wallpapers for your computer, smartphone, or tablet from the National Geographic website here.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.

  • Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali

    Sunset Barrels at Padang Padang Beach in Bali
    Perfect conditions for a sunset surf at Bali's legendary Padang Padang beach came together in September 2012. Great waves, great surfers, and great light all came together to create one of the most memorable big wave sessions that I saw in Bali for the whole year.