For the last eight decades, wave riders from around the world have been flocking to Bali’s beautiful beaches in hopes of catching the big one. With the peak surfing season running from May to September, there is no shortage of fantastic surf spots. However, if you’re stepping onto a board for the first time, the renown Balinese Pipeline at Padang Padang, or the challenging ‘Racetracks’ at Uluwatu can be a tad intimidating. So before you try anything death defying, there are a number of surf spots perfect for those first time wave riders.
It’s hard to believe the maze of alleyways that make up the island’s backpacker mecca was once a sleepy little fishing town. A quick motorbike ride from the heart of Kuta lies its namesake, Kuta Beach, a silty 3 kilometer stretch of sand that spans from Tuban to Seminyak Beach. This is the island’s most popular beach, and when the winds are calm, it’s an ideal place to get in the water for the first time. With a plethora of surf board rental stands, plenty of instructors on hand, and some of the best sunset surfing sessions imaginable, Kuta Beach should be your first beginner’s surf stop.
Batu Bolong Beach
If you’re looking for a spot that’s a little less crowded, a 5km car ride will take you to the picturesque Batu Bolong Beach in Canggu Village, in the Kerobokan District. There are plenty of board rental vendors on site, and there are bargains to be made here, so never take the first offer. There are a number of restaurants perched above the beach, and the panoramic views are spectacular.
Any pro surfer worth their salt will tell you the best surfing in Bali is in the Bukit. But lucky for you novices, there are a few spots calm enough to get some wave action. Dreamland promises mellow breaks, and the mid-tide beach break offers up the opportunity to catch your first barrel. This beach is one of the busiest on the island, but if you arrive early enough, you can snag yourself some prime beach real estate, and spend your day frolicking in the waves.
Merta Sari Beach
Located in the southern section of Sanur Village, Merta Sari Beach promises some of the gentlest waves on the island. With currents gentle enough to swim in, you can make a day at Merta Sari Beach a family affair. With a powerful shore break a few short yards in front of the beach allows both novice and experienced surfers to drop in on adrenaline-pumping waves.
Located around the corner from the more expansive, Dreamland, Balangan Beach serves as a new haven for surf enthusiasts, looking to escape encroaching construction and crowds. Now, a few pointers to ensure your surf session is an enjoyable one: Don’t forget reef shoes, and for beginners, it’s important to surf when the tide is high. And in between those epic sets, stroll back to the beach to build a sandcastle or two, laze around in a hammock and dine at any number of the quaint warungs perched at the foot of the cliffs.
Been to Bali before? What are your favorite surf spots?