Beginners surfing in Bali - Canggu or Kuta?

nate123's picture
nate123 started the topic in Monday, 2 Jan 2017 at 3:05am

Hello everyone,

Am new here and was looking for some surf advice - if this has been covered in another thread please feel free to link me to that and delete this, but I couldn't see anything.

I am travelling to Bali in April and wanted some advice on a good spot for beginners/intermediate surfing. My girlfriend is still trying to master her pop up so is at beginner level so am looking for somewhere suitable for her primarily.

We want to be somewhere where it's easy to rent boards/get lessons and not too remote so we have some choices in terms of restaurants/cafes. I think I've narrowed it down to Kuta and Canggu. I understand they are very different - in that Kuta is super busy/crowded/dirty and Canggu has a bit more of a trendy/laid back/surfer vibe - but which place would be better for her to surf?

From what I've read, Kuta beach is better for learning to surf as it's a beach break and also you don't have to paddle out so far to catch some waves. Is this true? My only concern is that it might be so crowded to make it hard for her to learn?

Canggu sounds like a much nicer place to stay, but I understand it's reef breaks and you have to paddle quite far out to catch the waves, so might be tricky for her as a beginner?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Nate

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell commented Monday, 2 Jan 2017 at 5:03am

Kua would be perfect except ive hardly ever seen good makeable waves there. If you're really fast to your feet on the beachies you might race a short section for a little bit but it often closes out.
If she isnt concerned about getting some faces and wall riding in and just catching whitewash it might be the go. Canggu is makeable and fun but usually crowded with good or bad surfers.
I would recomend playgrounds on nusa lombongan but wear booties if she is learning.
Its a fun right that sometimes barrels with a mellow left. Another option is medewi when its small. Can be cheap in some places there, around $8 a night to $15 a night and long very mellow lefts. just the boulders and urchins to watch out for.
Also you need to be up early before the trades or monsoons come in.

Even though the boulders and urchins are dangerous its a very easy wave to learn turns etc on and even for rusty advanced surfers to get used to boards on before going to other places.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 2 Jan 2017 at 7:21pm

High tide Kuta to Legian would be perfect.

sypkan's picture
sypkan's picture
sypkan commented Monday, 2 Jan 2017 at 7:52pm

Go to kuta and work on the basics, paddling with your nose one foot out of the water, floundering in the white water, floundering in the way of other surfers in the white water, and throwing your board away when a 3 footer lands on your head. Do it where most of the other surfers are, because that's where the best waves are, that's where you want to learn, even though your not riding them, and would learn much quicker on a more isolated stretch, where there's literally hundreds of metres of beach without sufers.

That should take about two hours, and the boys on the beach will give you a half day board rental price, (about half the value of the shit board they give you).

While that may not sound very inspiring, the beauty is your now ready for the reefs, just ask the boys on the beach.

Someone, anyone, will organise a car, boards, and surf coach for day two, where you can go to uluwatu. Don't google it, you'll educate yourself, and that can be dangerous. For day two, take the special surf coach package, where they won't just find you the best waves on the island, they'll get you into them. I know your thinking surely the best waves should be left to the best surfers, but this thinking is very 1980s (and a bit negative). Go with it, god knows your 'coach/guide' will encourage it. Feed of his positivity, it's very 'mindfulness' and will aide you in the afternoons yoga session.

At uluwatu ask questions, lots of them, your guide will answer 90% of them with "yes", and appear like he doesn't understand your questions, he doesn't, but go with it, anything else would be appear negative, and you don't want that (see above).

Uluwatu will seem dangerous and like you shouldn't be there, you should be there, you paid to be there, it's bali where dollar is king. At uluwatu, your guide will intimidate other surfers and push you onto waves. This will seem terribly unfair, as other surfers have spent years getting to a level where they can legitimately surf uluwatu alone. Don't think about it, that's negative (see above) and you paid for it (see above). When a freak set comes through, as eventually they always do, you'll be shit scared and surrounded by people, just do your double floundering, board chucking routine you perfected on day one. It may seem dangerous, it is dangerous, but your laughing guide will reassure you and quell any doubts you may have. He will also police any attempts at common sense that the surfers around you may try to instill into you.

After you've 'got a few', be it white water over the falls take offs, or screaming walls, depending on you and your guides proficiency, you'll probably be bleeding, don't worry about it (see above) you've now got your first 'bali tattoo' the towering height of surf coolness. Go to the warung and have a bintang with your guide (you're really killing it now!). Then return to your accomodation at kuta (if you're a bit bogan) or canggu (if you're a bit better than bogan) and prepare for an afternoon of culture served on a platter of mindfulness at an appropriate yoga studio, presented by some hot, white, blonde 'local' chick, who appears to have not come from said culture and guru-ness, and also appears to be stealing a job in a third world country, from a browner, dramatically poorer, but potentially still hot chick, closer to said culture, don't think about it, (see above).

Day three, repeat day two, and so on and so on, until your visa is up, and you're now ready get your own dodgy visa, and steal some other dramatically poor person's job as a 'surf instructor' or possibly a yoga teacher (depending how hot your girlfriend is), again don't think about it (see above).

Enjoy your trip.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Monday, 2 Jan 2017 at 7:52pm

Thank you SO much for sharing your journey with me Sypkan, I’m so blessed and it really resonated with me.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 2 Jan 2017 at 8:10pm

.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 2 Jan 2017 at 9:46pm

Nailed it Sypkan.

saltyone's picture
saltyone's picture
saltyone commented Wednesday, 4 Jan 2017 at 12:49am

Ditto, absolutely nailed it!

nate123's picture
nate123's picture
nate123 commented Wednesday, 4 Jan 2017 at 8:42am

Thanks for the tips groundswell and blowin.

Sypkan - no idea what your problem is. It's unfortunate if there are lots of tourists like the ones you described. Equally, I would assume there a certain number of tourists who go to Bali and are respectful of the local culture, and know their limits when it comes to surfing. I think it's unnecessarily negative to assume I am the former - the exact reason I am researching on forums like this and trying to get advice on beginner spots is I know most of the spots on Bali are for intermediate/advanced only and I wouldn't go to those if not ready! So why you'd assume I am going to go there and be an asshole is beyond my comprehension.

Anyway, I am sorry you are so filled with negativity - must be hard work being so full of hate.
But I am looking forward to my trip and will have a good time, whilst as always, being respectful of all who I cross paths with :)

nicko74's picture
nicko74's picture
nicko74 commented Wednesday, 4 Jan 2017 at 9:36am

Wouldn't worry to much nate, there's a lot of old timers out there that look back to when they were young and remember Kuta when it was a small fishing village and Ullus when it was a long walk in. I only started going to Bali/Indo in the mid 90's when I was young. Apart from a new airport a few new nightclubs and a swathe of new hotel/resort developments ,fundamentally Bali for me is still the same. The best part about Bali and greater Indonesia apart from the waves are the people . Put a big smile on ya dial, don't fight the kaos that is Indo,take note of grounswell's advice and you'll have a blast.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Wednesday, 4 Jan 2017 at 10:03am

Can't go wrong staying in Kuta if you want lessons. There is no shortage of surf schools to help you out.
Indo is one of the funnest places you can travel too.
That's a pretty negative depressing post from sypkan, you asked an honest question, not sure why he felt the need to pay out on you and come across as an all superior indo surfing legend?
Anyway just stay in Kuta or Legian, don't be a pissed idiot and have a ball.
Good luck!

cgrover's picture
cgrover's picture
cgrover commented Wednesday, 4 Jan 2017 at 10:37am

goofyfoot well done... great advice - especially the not being a pissed idiot bit. Skypan i'm sure you were born being able to surf, the rest of us had to start somewhere and learn

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Wednesday, 4 Jan 2017 at 11:06am

Sypkan's post might have been overly-cynical but I think there were a few points in there worth considering.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Wednesday, 4 Jan 2017 at 11:31am

I'd say Sypkan just took this as an opportunity to write a humorous, observational piece on Bali. I wouldn't take it to heart.

#notallbeginners

sypkan's picture
sypkan's picture
sypkan commented Wednesday, 4 Jan 2017 at 2:21pm

Sorry for being so negative and hateful nate. My mindfulness is a constant work in progress, as it should be for everyone.

I actually was being mindful, positive, and taking the opportunity lostdoggy descrbes, to give others a laugh, and beginners good advice...if they have the ability to read between the lines.

When you see the yoga studios and the irony attached to this modern cliche of mindfulness you might understand...or not...

Don't take everything so personal mate...it's the internet...

And if you reread my post I think you'll find it directed in a general sense to the question posed

nate123's picture
nate123's picture
nate123 commented Thursday, 5 Jan 2017 at 8:38am

Thanks for all the advice. Fair enough Skypan - sometimes it's hard to pick on subtleties with posts on the internet and perhaps I misread the tone of your post!