5 Best Bali Surf Spots for Beginners

Best Bali surfing spots for dummies

Bali has many famous surf spots, but for beginners they can be either slightly intimidating, or just too dominated by the territorial pros. It might seem surprising, but one of the best breaks to find out whether you’re a goofy or a regular-footer is possibly the most recognizable one – Kuta. Along Bali’s sandy south-western coast, Kuta’s sister beaches with sandy beach breaks provide the best spots to improve your wave riding. These selections are all accessible and located not too far from the major surf schools and are all within main destinations.

You can leave the more serious reef breaks and greater curls of the far-flung southern Bukit peninsula to the pros – and reserve them as your future wish list as you advance, because being constantly wiped out by five to six-foot curls is no fun when you’ve just found your balance on your board. Best waves for most sites are during the dry season, from April to August with good easterly winds and without much flotsam around.

Kuta Beach

The island’s first ‘surfer’s beach’, Kuta was an empty coast back in 1936, when Robert Koke, an American expat hotelier, set out riding waves here on his homemade Honolulu-style board, soon followed by young locals. Although much has changed, Kuta is still a favorite spot for learners. The long sandy stretch has fun waves for beginners in small swells. Beware of the currents when they get bigger later in the afternoon. Along the beach are peddlers, some selling cold drinks and others renting out used surfboards for up to 25,000 rupiah an hour (variable and mostly negotiable). Complete novices can book a course at any of the surf schools lining the beach. Kuta waves offer a variety but are consistent, with average waves measuring one to three feet.

Tuban Beach (near airport)

The Ngurah Rai International Airport’s strip juts out to sea around 1.5 kilometers south of the Kuta break. The surf spots here are aptly named ‘Airport Lefts’ and ‘Airport Rights’. The greater swells of up to five feet are beyond a reef that requires a rented boat ride out, while beginners can enjoy the considerably ride-able waves near the shore. Lefts is north of the airstrip, while Rights is accessible from Lefts via boat ride encircling the runway to its south. Crowds are unpredictable, but most of the time it is not as busy as Kuta.

Legian Beach

Legian Beach borders Kuta to the north and is considered its sister resort, accessible via the same Jalan Pantai from the south and many other side streets north of Kuta’s great white beach wall. Legian’s waves come in a variety, similar to Kuta, with a sandy break and average one to three-feet waves. Although there are not as many board rentals and peddlers as in Kuta, Legian has several notable surf schools such as the Rip Curl School of Surf, which you can find on Jalan Arjuna. The Ombak Legian Store & Surf Academy at the Legian Beach Hotel, accredited by the Australian Academy of Surfing Instructors (Asi), also offers wave-riding courses on the waves in front of its garden pool. Like at Kuta, swells grow bigger later in the afternoons.

Seminyak Beach

Seminyak is a beautiful white-grey sandy beach just north of Legian. It offers plenty of swell, which can be double the size of that found at Kuta. Almost all the famous establishments in Seminyak have views of great ride-able waves in front of them, the likes of Ku De Ta and La Lucciola, best known as Petitenget Beach, owing to the landmark temple there. Here you’ll get lefts and rights, with short lengths suitable for kids and beginners. Another favorite coast belonging to Seminyak is known as Dhyana Pura, right on the borders of Legian. It’s a good beach break, about the same quality as Kuta, but less crowded and there are several surf camps and schools along the coast, that enable you to eat, sleep and hone your wave riding skills.

Echo Beach, Batu Bolong and Canggu

This gorgeous beach is a half-hour drive from Kuta and is called Pantai Batu Bolong by locals after the temple of the same name there, and nicknamed ‘Echo Beach’ by expat surfers. The coast features small rocky crags that hide a white-sand beach from the beach road and parking area. A favorite site for sunset surfs, you can rent surfboards from various stalls near the parking lot and just behind the temple. The waves cater to all types of surfers, from beginners to pros, although learners should take care as no lifeguards patrol the coast. A consistent break, flat rock bed and under six-feet waves make Echo Beach a favorite beginner to intermediate-level surf spot. During and after sunset, the warung food stalls come to life offering great seafood grill and cold Bintang.