Indonesia is the biggest paradise on earth for surfing. And I say this with complete confidence! From the smallest to the most significant waves, the perfection is incredible, and it’s no wonder that every year, thousands and thousands of surfers make their way to those islands on the Indic ocean.
But if you’re starting out in this sport, is Indonesia the best destination to go to? Completely! There are waves for all levels on every island, from Java to the Mentawai.
But if this is your first venture into these waters, I suggest a trip to Bali.
Yes, it’s the most touristy island of all, and it currently deals with a pollution problem, but the island is super tourist-friendly, and there are several surf spots in Bali for beginners. Want to know more about them?
Let’s start with the quintessential Bali beach for beginners. Kuta Beach is a stone’s throw from the town center and, for its simple access and sandy bottom, is the best surf spot for beginners.
The sandbar is very long, and the waves easier. But avoid low tide, since they close more and don’t allow you to enjoy it so much.
Along the beach, sellers and longboard hire abound. Perfect for those who are learning or just want to catch one or two waves in this classic Balinese spot.
Canggu has recently become one of the most sought after locations in Bali. Visitors are driven there by trendy cafes and restaurants, a relaxed pace of life and, of course, the waves.
When I was there, I surfed in a river mouth, with tougher waves and lots of surfers in the water. Most of them are foreigners, who choose Canggu to live, and know so well what they’re doing.
So my advice is to start with the sandbar area in Eco Beach, the best-known surf spot around there. Another excellent place to try surfing if you’re a beginner is Batu Bolong since the waves here are “fatter” and not so aggressive.
When I started to go to Indonesia to surf, this was one of my favorites surf spots in Bali, as it’s partly sandy bottom, which makes it easier to get in and out of the water.
Today, Dreamland is a carnival! Local visitors flock to the water’s edge to take a selfie, but also newlywed couples. You’ll see grooms — mostly Asians — fully dressed in wedding clothes, accompanied by large film crews capturing images for posterity. Such a scene is mainly due to the proximity of the large luxury resorts.
As for the surf zone, it is vast and gives surfers a chance to spread across various spots. But be careful with those who are learning. They often get scared and lose their boards, clueless if they can hit anyone.
I’ve said it before: Bingin is my go-to place in Bali. Usually, it’s on the slope of this beach that I stay when I’m visiting the island. After all, there’s nothing like first love!
The wave is demanding, and the crowd in the water very knowledgeable. So you have to know what you’re doing if you try to surf it to the left.
But for those still learning, wait for the high tide and catch the wave to the right. You can always take advantage of its reforms and ride it almost to the sand.
Remember “Eat, Pray, Love” with Julia Roberts? In the final part of the movie, when the main characters meet at a boat dock for the “happily ever after,” that beach is Padang-Padang.
The dock doesn’t exist and was placed there for filming purposes only. But you can find here two amazing waves that divide surfer’s ability. On the left side of the beach breaks the hardest one, where you may well hurt yourself. But, on the right side, breaks a much more fun and straightforward wave that will make the trip well worth it.
And if you're feeling confident…
Uluwatu is one of Bali’s best-known waves, and all surfers want to go there.
Try your luck only if you are already comfortable with your surf and the rocks.
You’ll have to go down a large slope until you reach the cave entrance that takes you into the water. The idea is to go at half tides because it’s easier. If it’s too low, it’s more likely you can hit the coral, and at high tide water usually invades the cave. Anyway, an adventure!
But it’s well worth it as it’s one of the best waves on the whole island.
If you are learning and still want to cross it off your list, choose to go out with one of the local surf teachers.
I won’t fool you into assuming that catching waves in Bali is easy… it’s not! If you are just starting out, I suggest you take some classes with local surfers. Many Indonesian surfers teach surf lessons and can help you catch some waves.
If you are already a regular surfer, observe the Indonesian surfers. They know precisely where to position themselves in the water. Just do what they do, but remember, you are in their country, so respect the locals.
Now, you! Have you ever thought about surfing? And if you’re already a surfer, is Indonesia on the travel plans? Share your thoughts in the comments box below, and if you have any questions, ask away!