First of all I want to congratulate you. You are lucky to have the opportunity to surf some of the best waves in the world. Bali is one of thousands of islands in Indonesia that offers world class breaks and is considered to be one of the best surfing areas on this planet. The more I explore to discover new surf spots, the more convinced I am of that fact. So if you are a surfer who still in search for the best surf in the world. I’d make Bali my last stop. I say that with confidence because after surfing Indonesia, you won’t want to go elsewhere to find better surf.
What makes Bali so unique other than warm waters, is that it offers waves year around in a variety of different breaks for all skill levels. From reef breaks, to beach, there are ample opportunities for surfers to progress rapidly. You can choose from several surf schools, camps, and private coaches if you feel the need for formal training. Its always good and I highly suggest it so that you learn not just the basics, but safety, and etiquette. Talk to a few locals to get some ideas on which to choose from.As I mentioned previously, Bali has no surf season since its good year around. There are no issues with shortages of waves and can always find good surf everyday if you explore. Waves can sometimes be big and if you are a beginner, choosing the right surf school would be beneficial. They have the skill and knowledge to take you to the right spots suited for your level.
Speaking of seasons, there is one thing that you should consider before planning your ultimate surf trip to Bali. During the months of June, July, and August are the peak season where waves will be the biggest and at their best. This draws crowded line-ups, competitive, and aggressive surfers from all over the world. Around the holidays in the months of November through February is what we call the wet season. It rains constantly and you will need to travel to the other side of the island to find better surf. I suggest coming April, May, September, and October. Its the best months in terms of weather, waves and crowds, best for beginner surfers.When choosing a school, I suggest an international, well established surf school. They are well experienced surf instructors who know how to teach. Avoid local beach boys walking around offering private lessons right on the spot. It might seem like a cheaper option but, in the end, it will take longer time to learn because those guys usually don’t know how to teach. Trust me I’ve seen a lot of that.
You don’t need to book a school in advance. Just show up one day early before you want to start your lessons and sign up. The more lessons you book, the cheaper each lesson becomes. An average cost per lesson are around 35-40$ if you book 5-10 lessons in advance. If you are not sure how many lessons you want, I suggest do 3 lessons first. When planning your lessons, consider the following: One lesson usually lasts about 3 hours, so will probably not be doing more than one lesson per day. Depending on your physical shape, be ready to surf around 5 days a week, with a break every 3 days.
Before making a choice about which surf school to choose, ask for how many students they will have and the number of instructors for each group? Some surf schools will try to offer cheaper lessons but end up with 15 students in a group with one instructor. It’s impossible to get the attention needed for each student to succeed. Another reason for choosing an international surf school is to teach you about ocean safety, surfing etiquette, and wave knowledge, which is something local guys can’t teach. They know spots well because they’ve surfed it most of their lives, but fail to explain the reasoning for the rules in the surf community. You don’t want to learn the hard way especially if you plan on surfing in different parts of the world.
Besides surf schools there are several surf camps and retreats to choose from. The difference between just taking lessons at a school vs. surf camps if they offer a full package including: surf lessons, accommodation, meals and others. Consider doing a surf camp if you want your itinerary laid out for you and surfing is your main goal to come to Bali. Most surf camps are located in Padang Padang (Bukit), or Canggu area. Space is limited so booking a surf cam in advance is suggested.
Be careful and keep smiling. Remember, it’s the key to every door.