5 Best Surf Breaks for Beginners in Bali
Bali is a surfers dream but for most newbies, to the sport, the heavy reef breaks and powerful swells can be somewhat intimidating.
Many travellers coming from Indonesia have all heard about how fantastic the swell is in places like Uluwatu, Canggu and Padang but unfortunately cannot try it out because of the treacherous conditions that suit only advanced seasoned surfers.
Basically, anything that has a reef bottom you can forget about because chances are you are going to fall off the board while learning and the last thing you want to happen is hit the reef while you’re on holiday. A scarred and battered body is the last thing you want. You will get cut up and it will leave a bitter taste in your mouth about the whole surfing experience. Plus you will probably end up damaging the board which will cost you extra. While surfing is more common among locals and Aussie travellers it is starting to gain traction with many Indonesians from Java and other islands who are coming to Bali to learn to surf or refine their skills
This article is all about helping you, the Indonesian beginner to find the best and easiest surfing breaks in Bali where you can get out there without feeling too scared or nervous about the wave height or sharp reef bottom. At these surf spots, you can ease into the sport as well as limiting any hazards or dangers that go hand in hand with more advanced surfing spots.
The first thing you should know about these breaks is the best time of year to surf them. From April right through to December is when the best offshore winds are blowing in the western part of the island which makes offshore winds for ideal surf conditions. If you’re coming to Bali during the rainy season then the best places to surf are on the East Coast such as Sanur, Serangan and Keramas.
This is the most popular tourist area in Bali for many Indonesian travellers and this where most of the beginners head to, to learn how to surf. It’s got a sandy bottom and is patrolled by lifeguards during daylight hours. The waves here are generally small which is great to learn the sport. Renting a board here is really easy and there are heaps of vendors along the beach in this area. You will be paying about Rp 250 000 or $25 for a days hire. Wave heights here can vary but most days they are between 1 to 3 feet which is manageable for beginners. It’s a fun break and with a sand bottom so it won’t matter if you fall off. It can get crowded here due to its central location with loads of tourists but overall if you persist you will get a wave. There are also a few surf schools in Kuta where they will teach beginners how to stand and the very basics of surfing. Overall you have to just keep practising if you want to get good at it. Kuta would have to be top of my list for beginners heading off to Bali.
Located near the airport south of Kuta, beginners can surf the beach breaks here which are protected by the outer reefs known as ‘airport lefts’ and ‘airport rights’. Because you are in a protected area it’s a good way to learn to master the surfboard by paddling around and getting your balance. This area is quieter than Kuta so you will have more opportunities to get waves. Having said that the quality of waves here may not be as good so it’s an area really for beginners who have never been in the ocean or who are very scared of the water. Basically, it’s a good introduction to surfing.
Just north of Kuta, Legian is pretty much the same as Kuta; same crowds, same sandy bottom and same wave heights. It’s basically an extension of Kuta that is ideal for beginners. You can access Legian beach from the main road known as Jalan Pantai Kuta. This long stretch of sand goes on for about 1 mile and is a fun place to hang for the day after you have finished the surf. There are dozens of beachside vendors selling food, cold drinks and the mandatory souvenirs. There are also tons of massage ladies walking up and down the beach pestering you for a massage.
It’s best to surf Legian and Kuta in the morning as the winds shift onshore in the afternoon which makes the water surface too rough. The beach is also patrolled here as in Kuta but personally, I wouldn’t rely on the lifeguards.
As we make our way further north from Legian we hit the ultra-cool and very trendy area known as Seminyak. Again it’s a continuation of the same beach with all the same conditions etc but the only difference here is that after the surf you can hit the day clubs like Ku De Ta and Potato Head for a cold beer or lunch. All 4 breaks in this area; Tuban, Kuta, Legian and Seminyak are fairly similar. It’s just where you prefer to base yourself that makes the difference. Backpackers and 20 somethings tend to be in the Kuta area while most other holidaymakers tend to gravitate towards Seminyak and Legian / Double Six beach area.
Batu Bolong, Old Man’s & Echo Beach in Canggu
This is a completely different area and is about a further 3 miles to the north of Seminyak. Getting there is only by motorbike or taxi and will take about 20 minutes from Kuta. This surfing area is a bit more challenging than the Kuta area so only go here if you have had 1 or 2 hours practice under your belt. The Canggu area is a famous beach break and has heaps of quality restaurants and accommodation villas nearby Canggu.
Wave heights here can get quite big so check with the locals before you head out. Hiring a surfboard is also very easy here especially near the Old Mans car park area which is a magnet for beginners. Again, the best time to surf here is during the morning before the onshore afternoon winds kick in. Echo beach is a challenging break so I would only attempt this if you are at the intermediate level. Go to Old Mans or Batu Bolong first and spend time there before doing anything else. Echo Beach has loads of hidden rocks and is dangerous even for experienced guys & gals.
If you are looking for fantastic surf villas in Bali that are super close to the beach make sure you get in touch with our reservation staff.