Beaches Abroad: Uluwatu and the Evolution of Single Fin - 30A


Beaches Abroad: Uluwatu and the Evolution of Single Fin

Many people lament the loss of the old Uluwatu. Still, if there is one place that has ridden the most radical wave of progress, it is the Bukit peninsula on Bali, of which Ulus is the centerpiece.

Days of Yore

Uluwatu was “discovered” as the ultimate surfing destination in 1972, due to the making of the old-time classic surf movie called Morning of the Earth. It was filmed in 1971, by Alby Falzon and David Elfick. But watching the movie today will soon reveal why it is a classic; with stoner music, hippy artwork and a free-wheeling vibe, it caught the zeitgeist of the time.

Entering the Cave

Back then, getting to Uluwatu required a long hike descending down the temple and emerging through the cave at the beach of Uluwatu. There were no steps, so a makeshift bamboo ladder and ropes had to be used to enter the cave. After the film’s release in 1972, Uluwatu received immediate attention from surfers across the globe. Today, Uluwatu is one of the most famous surf destinations in Bali.

The Setting

After discovering the wave, the Uluwatu cliffs soon became a sprawl of warungs. A warung is a small family-owned business, usually made of wood, bamboo, or wooden thatch, and sometimes it’s just a deck in front of a house where the family stays. A warung usually offers food and homemade items like clothing and jewelry and a safe place to store stuff while surfing. Over time, as more and more people visited Uluwatu, these warungs became solid structures. Sitting alongside Blue Point Hotel, one of the top warungs became Single Fin and officially opened its doors in 2008.

Single Fin/Blue Point Collaboration

A few years ago, they did something else that was very clever. Right alongside Single Fin is the Blue Point Hotel, with a vast rim-flow pool, a wedding cathedral, and a large area for outdoor music and chilling. So when Blue Point and Single Fin formed a partnership, you could then enter Single Fin if you were a paying guest of Blue Point. You could also enter Blue Point and get some room to move if you had already paid to enter Single Fin; there are entrances on both sides. It was a massive win for everyone and soon encouraged the two to host sunset parties with live DJ sets and thousands of people.

Best Sunsets in the World

Getting to Uluwatu now involves a very tricky climb down a long series of semi-broken and oddly sized stairs with gaps, broken steps, and slippery sections. The entry to Single Fin is at the beginning of the steps, so it is at the top of the cliff with the best sunset views in Bali. These sunset views have become world-renowned, and just before the sun goes down, there is a massive influx of scooters from all over the peninsula as visitors all want to get a glimpse of the famous sunset, get a few selfies and a few photos of their friends at sunset. The top of the cliff – the best view spot – has limited space, and a decent-sized strip of the cliff is Single Fin, so they literally have a captive audience.

Surf Bar

Despite the many visiting European tourists and the penchant for progressive house DJs, Single Fin is a surf bar at heart. You will see all the people you surfed with during the day, including those who might have been aggressive in the crowded lineup, so it does have that duality. Just remember to keep it cool in the water during the day because any argument in the crowded surf might have a comeback up at Single Fin later, but that’s rare. Usually, it’s just a bunch of stoked surfers chilling out.

Single Fin also premiers new surf movies on big screens, and their premier of Snapt 4 was a big evening. There is no best time to go to Single Fin. While Wednesday and Sunday nights are the most crowded and noisy, it also depends on the weather. A drizzly and cloudy Sunday will be a fizzle, while a clear-skied Monday will reveal the most fantastic sunset and could be the best night of your life at Single Fin.

Wednesday and Sunday, People

Thus began the Wednesday Sessions. A midweek sunset party, and the perfect time for letting your hair loose, not that midweek means much to people on holiday and having a party. Still, the Wednesday Sessions are incredibly popular, with tables booked up left, right, and center, with a DJ stage on the cliff edge and dancing fans going wild. The Wednesday Sessions can only be beaten by the Sunday Sessions, where they usually book better DJs. Sunday is generally busier than Wednesday, and the party goes to 1 am.

Attire and Prices

There are many good-looking people at Single Fin every night of the week, including people on gap years, travellers, influencers, and young and carefree travellers everywhere. Everyone is suntanned and wearing skimpy clothing, bikinis, and board shorts on the Blue Point side. Many people end up in the pool at Blue Point anyway, where you can still be right next to the DJ set while cooling off in the water.

A Bintang will cost about Rupiah 55k, while a cocktail costs about 120k, but it can be bought in jugs, which are a bit cheaper. With names like Hanalei Bay, Last Wave, Reef Break Rita, and Good Vibrations, you will find a cocktail that you love. Wine prices are exorbitant, as is wine all over Indonesia.

In Closing…

Nothing is better than a late afternoon high tide, not too many people in the water, and a good swell direction for Racetracks. While in the water, you can hear the music kicking off at Single Fin and the crowds watching the surfers as the sun starts to set. Then it’s a quick scramble up the stairs to quench your thirst with your first liquid gold Bintang before the music, the vibes, and the beautiful people start making you smile and realise that all will be good in your world, at least for today, because that’s all we have.

To learn more, visit Single Fin Bali on Facebook and Instagram.


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