Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting into surfing, Bali is likely to be on your hit list of top coastal spots to visit for a session riding the waves. However, if you are just starting to engage in this type of sports, it is better to pick up specific locations: to simplify your search, we have created a list of the best beginner surf spots in Bali. Home to countless beaches and an array of reputable surf schools, the Island of the Gods has developed a surf scene to rival the likes of California, Australia and Hawaii. Plus, many of the serene stretches of coastline come with a swell that’s simply perfect for beginners who are still learning the ropes.
The peak season stretches from April to October, Bali’s driest months. However, the wetter months still boast plenty of sunny days and can provide ideal conditions for surfing. Moreover, the beaches are likely to be quieter, too. The waves also tend to be consistently smaller during the green season, offering less intimidating conditions for first-timers, which is a definite bonus.
If you’re just starting out, it’s important to select the right stretch of shoreline to develop your skill base before heading to famous surf spots that tend to attract the pros. It’s never worth putting your safety at risk in order to ride the waves! Thereby, we’ve rounded up a selection of the best beginner surf spots in Bali.
High tide hotspot
- High tide hotspot. Image: www.asiaplacestosee.com
Stretched along the Bukit Peninsula in southern Bali, Padang Padang Right provides an ideal destination for beginners. The beach is situated 3km north from the temple at Uluwatu – and it acts as a mecca for swimmers and sunbathers, too. Unlike the famous Bali pipeline of Padang Padang Left that attracts surfing pros from across the world, the right side of the beach is suitable for both beginner and intermediate level surfers. During high tide, the waves are long and unbroken, providing advantageous conditions for those that want to hone their skills and make the leap from white water to unbroken swells.
If you’re on the hunt for a surf centre in this area, Impossible Surf School offers standard beginners’ surfing lessons of 2.5 hours. These provide the chance for you to learn how to handle the board, paddle out to the ocean and stand up on the board to catch the waves. Usually, after a couple of hours’ practice, beginners will have mastered standing on their board. With a few days’ worth of lessons, you might be mastering basic turns and taking gentle rides along smaller waves.
Tel: +62 81 338 206 162
Address: Melasti Street, Labuhan Sait, Padang-Padang
Email: [email protected]
Welcome to Dreamland
Dreamland – another popular spot with beginner surfers – is also positioned on Bali’s spectacular Bukit Peninsula. The waves here don’t tend to get too high, which makes the conditions ideal for beginners.
The sandy-bottom break and soft, flat waves provide model conditions to help you build up your skills. When the waves are small, the inside left of the beach is the best position to be in. When they’re greater than four feet high, the right and left outside of the beach is better. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the swell here can rise to up to six feet and above on some windier days. On these occasions, it’s probably best to leave surfing to the pros!
Stretching for over 300m along Bali’s idyllic coastline, Dreamland Beach is also a marvellous place to soak up sunset views in one of the many beach cafes once your surfing day is done. In terms of surf centres, the Dreamland Surf School Bali is conveniently-positioned for equipment rental and lessons. It takes about 40 minutes to reach the centre from the airport and Kuta Beach.
Tel: +62 857 38 704974
Address: Dreamland Surf School, JL. New Kuta Beach Pecatu, Dreamland Beach
Heart of the action
For those keen to be in the thick of the action, Kuta is the place to be. This buzzing beach essentially forms the heart of Bali’s surfing culture, and is undoubtedly the place where you’ll find most of the island’s surfers. Plus, there are plenty of surfing schools appropriate for the beginners to choose from in the vicinity.
While the beach can get pretty busy, particularly during peak season, the waves actually provide ideal conditions for beginners to have a go. As the currents here can get pretty strong, it’s advisable to surf when the water is gentler. Don’t worry – your surf school will be able to provide expert local knowledge on this.
Odysseys Surf School is the ideal place to pick up some lessons. The team of instructors here know their job, and will be able to guide you on everything from the absolute basics (keeping the board afloat, paddling, sitting, standing etc.) to locating your centre of gravity as you start to glide along the waves. Likewise, if you’ve got some experience but feel that you’d benefit from a refresher course, Odysseys also offers intermediate level lessons.
Tel: +62 81 558 218 778
Address: Odysseys Surf School, Mercure Kuta Hotel Arcade, Jalan Pantai Kuta, Kuta, Bali
Away from the crowds
Positioned far away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds populating Kuta Beach, Medewi Beach enjoys a serene spot on the Bali’s southwest coast. It’s a couple of hours’ drive to the northwest of Kuta, and provides a friendly, laid-back destination for those learning the ropes. Medewi is known for its smooth left-hander swell, and the glorious 30-second long waves that can really help you build up your balance and turning skills. The waves here tend to range from four to six feet, with light winds ideal for surfing at their best in the early morning. Medewi is also a wonderful place to grab a bite at one of the local seafood places once your day out on the waves is done.
Nestled in a stunning position, enveloped by rice paddies, coconut hills and the serene Indian Ocean, Brown Sugar Surf Camp is the place to go for surfing guidance in Medewi. The guides here know all of the best local surf spots, and can take you to as many as 15 positions, depending on what current conditions are. So, you can look forward to an eclectic selection of reef breaks, beach breaks, plus right and left handers.
Tel: +62 819 1639 1970
Address: Jl. Pantai Yeh Sumbbul 182261, Yeh Sumbul, Mendoyo, Bali
Favoured by locals and international visitors alike, Echo Beach has something for everyone, and it might be considered as one of the best beginner surf spots in Bali. Stretching away from Seminyak, a small rocky precipice hides the sandy beach from the road and parking area. But, as the stretch of white sand unfurls before your eyes, you’ll know that you’ve hit upon the perfect place for a surfing session.
A consistent swell and a flat rock bed provide the optimum, mellow conditions for beginners, with waves ranging up to six feet in height. Once again, absolute beginners should probably avoid some of the taller waves, as there are no lifeguards patrolling this particular stretch of coastline. Plus, some of the larger waves are better-suited to intermediate level surfers with a bit more experience. Once sunset has cast its peachy pink hues across the sky, a plethora of food and drink stalls open up, creating a lively atmosphere to soak up with your chilled bottle of Bintang.
Bali Local Surf School in Canggu is the place to go if you’re on the lookout for lessons in this region. Instructors here are skilled in helping you build up your skills base, step by step, enabling you to take on the waves once you’ve mastered the basics.
Tel: +62 877 61200600
Address: Jalan Pantai Sentosa, Canggu, North Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali 80361
Kuta’s little sister
Legian Beach is widely-known as the more chilled out, laid back sibling of Kuta – making it ideal for beginners looking to build up their surfing skills. Like in Kuta, the waves some in smooth and steady, with swell height averaging out at somewhere between one to three feet. The break here tends to grow taller in late afternoon.
There’s a number of reputable surf schools to be found along this sandy stretch, so you can take your pick depending on the kind of vibe you’re looking for. The Rip Curl School of Surf is one of the more notable establishments, and is situated next to Double Six Beach. While Bali is home to three Rip Curl-accredited centres, the branch at Legian is where the majority of beginners will go to catch their first wave.
Rip Curl’s Level 1 Beach Surfer course will take you through all the basics, setting you up with essential knowledge from basic surfing technique to all-important surfing etiquette. Once you’ve progressed past stage one, you can move onto Level 2 Reef Surfer before advancing to Level 3 Power Surfer.
Tel: +62 851 0087 1889
Address: Jalan Patai Legian, 80361 Kuta
Surfing in Seminyak
Seminyak Beach enjoys a scenic position just to the north of Legian. It’s ideally-suited to those who have already mastered the basics, and are keen to continue building up their proficiency on slightly larger waves.
There’s a great selection of swells that glide towards Seminyak’s shore, including plenty of left and right handers, plus short lengths for those that aren’t confident enough to soar along the wave for longer periods of time. You’ll find many first-timers learning the ropes in Seminyak, and even kids. Dhyana Pura Beach is nearby, and offers much the same kinds of waves but tends to be less crowded.
If you’re keen to be part of a small class of beginners, or even learn how to surf in a one-to-one session with your instructor, the Bali Green Surf School in Seminyak offers an array of different courses. Classes tend to be quite small, so you can guarantee you’ll get the individual attention you need to build up your skills. The beginner-focused lesson is aimed at first-timers and those looking to refresh the basics, with key objectives including how to handle the board, the correct paddle technique, take-off and forehand/backhand turns. Other vital content on the beginners’ course includes safety and how to assess ocean conditions.