Great Spots to Learn to Surf
So you’ve decided to try surfing on your Bali holiday, or maybe you want to learn to surf and have chosen Bali as your surfing destination.
Why is Bali such a great place to learn to surf?
1. There are great learner waves, and many spots to move onto as you progress from white water onto riding ‘green waves’.
2. The water is warm – it’s just much nicer when its warm and you won’t get as tired as if you had a wetsuit restricting your movement.
3. Hire boards at the learner spots for 50,000 rupiah (roughly US$4) for an hour and have a go yourself, or choose from any number of beach-side surf schools and all-inclusive camps with surf guides, photographers and air conditioned cars to taxi you between spots. There are options to suit any budget.
4. There are also a huge range of non-surfing activities gives you plenty to do when your arms are just too tired to paddle any more!
What makes a good wave to learn on?
These waves have been chosen for their ‘friendliness’. This generally means a fatter wave in deeper water that gives the surfer time to get to their feet.
The reef breaks detailed below are typically set back from the beach, so the wave finishes into deeper water. Surfing at high tide will give you deeper water and a better wave for beginners as it will be less steep than at low tide.
The beach breaks chosen are not on steep beaches, so will give a nice long line of white water and more time to get to your feet. Please remember that wind, tide and current may still factor into these waves, and sand can shift so the beach may become steeper than usual after a large swell or heavy weather.
Bali West Coast
a white sand beach break that typically has fairly small waves as it is somewhat sheltered from the large south swells by the Bukit Peninsula. There is are also a number of reefs around Kuta that are great to progress onto including Kuta Reef, Airport Lefts and Airport Rights.
Legian Beach is also easily accessible and perfectly fine for learning although the Kuta area is generally preferred as the reef offshore creates better sand banks. If the swell is from the south, the further you head up the west coast the bigger the waves as it is out of the shadow of the bukit peninsula and therefore more exposed.
Batu Bolong and Old Man’s
Batu Bolong & Old Man’s are right next to each other and are set out from the beach in front of the Old Mans bar. Long lines of whitewash in front of the temple to the south of the car park are a great place to learn to stand on a board, progressing onto the reef when you’re ready to ride green waves and have a grasp of the basics. A hot favourite for surf camps and surf lessons, there are always many learners in the water at this spot. Although the wave itself is fairly friendly, the shore dump at high tide can catch you unawares so plan your entry and exit before you get in and look for lots of Whitewater to push you to shore rather than smooth water to ride the last few meters to the beach as this will be less likely to catch you off guard.
Padang-Padang Rights is a mellow right hand reef breaking over sand and weed covered reef. This is a good reef to start on if you are nervous about surfing a coral reef as you can paddle out off the sandy beach, it breaks into a big channel and this reef has a fair amount of sand and sea grass on top of it making it less likely to cause injury if you happen to make contact. NB: Padang-Padang Lefts is for advanced surfers only. If in doubt of where to go, look for people having surf lessons and surf near them.
Dreamland is a beach break with beautiful white sand. This wave is better for smaller swells when there is less current and the waves are manageable.
Most of the surf lessons take place on the west coast as there are lots of spots to choose from, but we’ve included these two spots for those who may be traveling in groups of mixed abilities and want to travel away from the crowds. NB: it is unlikely there will be boards to hire at these spots and there are no lifeguards, so it is recommended to take your own gear and ask a more experienced surfer if you are unsure if the conditions are appropriate for you.
Known as more of a performance wave breaking along reef, there is a great beach to the south that can be a great learner wave, when conditions are small.
Hyatt reef is situated off-shore on a coral reef, and when the conditions are small this can be a great place to learn to surf or develop your skills. It is best to go here with a guide so they can show you the ropes.