The moment has come! You’re planning a trip to beautiful Bali. Home of some of the best surf breaks in the world. Finally!
Yah we know, Bali is a bit out of the way. Some of you will literally travel around the world to get here. But trust us. It is worth it.
Bali, also known as the Island of Gods, is widely regarded as one of the best places in the world to learn how to surf. There are stunning beaches, warm ocean water and consistently good waves for all levels, from complete beginners to super shredders.
But with so many options to choose from, where should you go as a beginner? In this blog post, we’ll explore the best surf spots for beginners in Bali and give you some tips to make the most out of your surfing experience.
Not only does Bali offer some of the best beginner-friendly waves in the world, but it also has a vibrant surf culture, which makes it an exciting and welcoming destination. So pack your bags, grab your surfboard, and let’s explore the best places to surf in Bali as a beginner.
Basic Surf Etiquette
Let’s start off with a few basic rules when your in the (Balinese) waters. As a beginner surfer, it’s essential to learn the proper surf etiquette to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment in the water. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Always Surf with an Instructor
First and foremost, always surf with an instructor, especially if you’re a complete beginner. Maybe this sounds extra. Maybe you are trying to save money. We get it. But to be honest, the most dangerous thing about surfing is when surfers in the water don’t know what they’re doing. Boards are hard, fins are sharp, and you are probably the most dangerous thing in the water with your flailing board and body (a natural progression to learning how to surf).
A surf instructor will be able to guide you on how to surf properly and safely, and teach you about the etiquette that should be followed in the water for everyone’s safety and max amount fun. A surf instructor’s guidance will protect you and everyone else in the water.
Observe Other Experienced Surfers
Pay attention to what more experienced surfers are doing, and listen to them. They have a lot of knowledge and can provide valuable advice on how to navigate that particular surf break and avoid potential hazards. For example, they know where to exit the ocean when the tide is high, currents are stronger and where reef or rocks are hidden. They will also be able to explain certain rules, like who’s wave it is, when to go for a wave and when yo wait, and what to do when you accidentally drop in on someone.
Don’t Drop In on Someone Else’s Wave
On that note. A crucial aspect of surf etiquette is not to drop in on someone else’s wave. This means waiting your turn and not trying to catch a wave that someone else is already riding. Translation: If you turn left on a wave, the person that is closest left (the first person on the wave before the white water), its their wave to surf.
Dropping in on someone can be dangerous – imagine boards and people colliding – and ruins the experience for others, including yourself.
Observe What Is Happening around You
Finally, always pay attention to what’s happening around you. Be aware of other surfers in the water, and don’t get in their way. Always look before you paddle and be mindful of any potential hazards, such as rocks or reefs. If a big wave comes and you ditch your board, make sure no one is behind you.
It may seem like a lot of things to consider in the water. But once you start surfing you will have a deep appreciation for everyone caring and paying attention to these small but critical safety details. By following these basic surf etiquette guidelines, you are miles ahead of any beginner. You now know the basics to surf safety and how to show respect in the water, while also having fun and enjoying the waves.
Tips for First Time Surfers in Bali
As a beginner surfer in Bali, there are a few important tips to keep in mind to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience in the water.
- Find a surf instructor or surf school that you feel safe with and confident in. This will help you to build a solid foundation of skills and knowledge, and ensure that you are comfortable and prepared for your time in the water.
- Rent or buy the right equipment for your skill level and the conditions you’ll be surfing in. A board can make a huge difference in your comfort and performance in the water.
- Pay close attention to surf conditions and only go out when it’s safe. Bali can have powerful waves and strong currents, so it’s important to be aware of your limits and only surf when conditions are suitable for your skill level.
- Engaging with other surfers in a respectful way. Listen and learn from more experienced surfers, and don’t try to be cocky or show off in the water. Learning about surf etiquette and following the rules can help ensure that everyone has fun and stays safe.
Don’t neglect dry land exercises to improve your surfing skills. Practicing things like pop-ups, balance, and paddle strength on land can help you to become a better surfer in the water. Remember, surfing is an art and a sport that requires both physical and mental preparation and training.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a confident and skilled surfer in Bali.
Ready to start your surf journey even before arriving in Bali? Here is an online course that can support you even before you get here. Your training can start now, from anywhere in the world!
The First Surf Spot for Beginners: Kuta Beach
One of the most famous, and accessible surf spots for beginners in Bali. Kuta Beach. It is where surfing in Bali was essentially discovered. Home to the OG surfers back in the 70s. Now it is a bustling tourist area, centered around this beautiful, white sandy beach.
It’s also an excellent spot for beginner surfers, with gentle beach breaks and white water waves that are perfect for learning. Kuta Beach is a great place to take lessons or rent equipment plus there are plenty of surf schools offering lessons that you can book right on the beach.
The waves at Kuta Beach are generally small and consistent, making it an ideal spot for beginners to practice their skills. The beach break creates a forgiving environment, unlike the reef that is below many surf breaks in Bali. This allows beginners to comfortably ride waves in the whitewater. Additionally, the wide-open space of Kuta Beach means that there is plenty of room for everyone to spread out and find their own space on the waves.
If you’re a beginner surfer visiting Bali, be sure to add Kuta Beach to your list of places to check out. With its friendly waves and abundance of surf schools and rentals, it’s the perfect place to learn the basics and start catching some waves.
Next on the List for Beginners: Canggu (Batu Bolong)
Canggu Beach is a popular surf spot for beginners in Bali known for its challenging waves, but it’s still suitable for beginners with the right conditions. The waves at Canggu are more fat and forgiving than other surf breaks, making it a great place to learn and improve your skills.
While Canggu can get crowded, the crowds are generally mellow and respectful of each other. However, it’s important to keep an eye out for other surfers and always be aware of your surroundings.
One of the unique features of Canggu is its gentle reef and sand bottom, which provides a stable platform for beginners to learn on. This, combined with the more forgiving waves, makes it an ideal spot to learn the first basics of surfing.
As with any surf break, it’s important to assess the conditions and only surf when it’s safe and appropriate for your skill level. But if you’re a beginner surfer looking to push yourself and improve your skills, Canggu Beach is definitely worth checking out.
Crystal Clear Waters: Baby Padang Padang
Baby Padang Padang is the smaller version of the famous Padang Padang surf break, also known as the Balinese pipeline. Baby Padang Padang offers a nice right and left-hand surf break over a reef, which is perfect for beginner surfers looking to improve their skills.
One of the advantages of surfing at Baby Padang Padang is the easy paddle out to the surf break, thanks to the channel that leads out to the reef. This makes it accessible for beginner surfers who may not have a lot of experience with challenging paddle outs.
In addition to the great surf spot for beginners, Baby Padang Padang also boasts a beautiful backdrop and crystal clear waters. Turtles are not a rare sight, making it a great spot for nature lovers as well as surfers.
Last but Not Least: Balangan Beach
Balangan Beach is another stunning surf spot in Bali that works for beginner surfers looking to learn the ropes. On smaller swells, Balangan is a great spot for beginners and longboarders, with gentle waves and a reef ocean floor.
However, on bigger days, Balangan becomes a big, barreling wave that is only suitable for experienced surfers. It’s important to assess the conditions and only surf when it’s safe and appropriate for your skill level. But don’t worry, surf instructors will make sure to not take you out on the bigger days.
One of the unique features of Balangan Beach is its old Bali vibes, with local warungs (traditional restaurants) on the beach and breathtaking views of the Indian ocean and Balinese volcanoes. This makes it a great spot to relax and soak up the local culture after a day of surfing. Out of all the beach shacks, we love the vibe at Froggy’s warung. Froggy’s is also home to the surf school “Dawn Patrol Bali”. A great surf school offering surf lessons for every skill.
Overall, Balangan Beach is a great surf spot for beginner surfers to learn surfing, with a variety of waves to suit different skill levels.
In conclusion, Bali offers a unique combination of beautiful waves, stunning scenery, and a welcoming surf culture that makes it an excellent destination for beginner surfers. From the gentle waves of Kuta to the more challenging but still forgiving conditions at Canggu and Balangan, there are plenty of options for those just starting out on their surfing journey.
Baby Padang Padang is also a great surf spot for beginners, and provides a chance to surf alongside experienced locals and take in the breathtaking backdrop of crystal clear waters.
While it can be intimidating to try a new sport in a new place, Bali’s surf culture is known for being friendly and welcoming to newcomers. With the help of a good surf instructor or surf school, first-time surfers can feel confident and comfortable in the water.
So, whether you’re a seasoned surfer looking to catch some of Bali’s world-class waves, or a beginner looking to try your hand at this epic sport, Bali has something for everyone. The combination of smiling people, beautiful waves and amazing scenery make Bali an unforgettable destination for any surf lover.
One more thought: You got this. This is a difficult sport. It takes muscle memory and mental/emotional strength. Know that whatever you are feeling, any great surfer also felt those feelings.
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