A Backpacker’s Guide to Surfing in Indonesia

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The island landscape of Indonesia conjures up images of idyllic beaches, waterfront restaurants, and volcanic backdrops, which, understandably makes them a perfect vacation destination. And while there are some sides of Indonesia’s islands that have serenely still waters, there are others that offer a whole load of waves which makes them perfect for surfing in Indonesia.

Thanks to Indonesia’s great surf, warm climate and proximity to Australia (probably the world’s surf capital), it has become a huge hub for those seeking to ride the waves.

Beginners

Whether you’ve never even tried to stand on a surfboard before or you’re a seasoned professional, there are beaches in Indonesia that will have you wanting to get out into the ocean with your board time and time again. While most beaches will rent out boards for cheap prices, we’ve chosen the best places to learn how to surf in Indonesian so you choose the best beaches and surf schools to help you catch a break!

If you’re a beginner you want to be in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing in the water. Ideally you want a school that starts training out on the sand, giving you tips on how to jump on to the board and how to read the ocean. Once you’ve been given the basics then it’s into the wash to give it a go!

Padang Padang Rights, Bali

Padang Padang Rights is one of the best places to start out on your surfing journey thanks to its relatively soft reef and a lack of large rocks. The surf offers both left and right breaks so once you’ve mastered the wash, you’ll be able to move up to the waves, whichever way you turn! The Padang Padang Surf School are probably the most notable school in the region and will help you get started in a fun, professional manner.

Batu Karas, Java

Batu Karas is another beginners’ hotspot with easy wash and long low waves for those trying to catch a break. You can easily rent a board and any other gear you need on the beach or join a lesson at one of the local surf shops. Just make sure you don’t end up at Bulak Pendak beach as this one should definitely be saved for the professionals!

Selong Belanak, Lombok

The low-rise waves in Lombok are ideal for beginners and the views aren’t half bad either! The waves break quite close to the shore, so if you’re not used to surfing you won’t get too exhausted paddling out to catch a break. The waves generally fold straight over on themselves so you have time to ready yourself on your board before enjoying the ride.

Intermediate/Advanced

If you feel as though you’ve mastered the wash and the mini breaks you may want to step it up a notch and learn how to ride with the big boys. If this is the case, some of these spots in Bali will allow you to step up your game.

Canggu, Bali

Canggu has become one of the major surf spots on Bali (after Kuta Beach) and is great for intermediate surfers. The waves are continuous so you can practice over and over again with board rental at around $5-10 until sundown! Beginners may prefer the waves at Batu Bolong in Canggu while intermediate surfers might want to hit the waves in Echo Beach. In Da Surf Camp are a decent budget option in this area.

Berawa Beach, Bali

Berawa Beach in North Kuta is a surfer’s paradise that can be enjoyed day and night thanks to the nighttime spotlights turned on by Finns Beach Club! This is the place to be seen if you know what you’re doing with powerful left and right breaks riding between 3 and 8 feet.

The best surf schools will determine which beach you go to depending on the weather and wave conditions, so rather than choosing a school that guarantees you ride a certain wave, seek out some serious professionals who know what they are doing – you don’t want a wipeout after all!

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