Destinations to combine parental leave & surf trip

tiboolt's picture
tiboolt started the topic in Monday, 24 Jan 2022 at 3:01am

Hi everyone,

Question (that hopefully can give ideas to others!): If you had 6-8 weeks parental leave when baby is about 6 months ago, in October/November, where in the world would you go to combine the trip with good surf?

To give you more details, I'll be fortunate to have a generous paternity leave entitlement next year while my wife is off for a full year. In particular, I should have 6 to 8 weeks around October/Novembre when the baby is about 6 months old, so I thought it'd be great to start thinking of destinations that can be great both from a surfing perspective as well as for the wife and little one... To me, an ideal destination should allow you to stay walking distance from a very consistent spot (I'm trying to really avoid having to drive to the surf to minimize logistics and the time it takes), pleasant weather for the wife and little one to enjoy themselves too, be safe (both in general, and from a health standpoint), and ideally not be too complicated to reach (i.e. not remote Indonesian or PNG spots ;) ...)!

After giving this some thought, I have a few ideas but if that's all right I'll share them later as I don't want to influence the ideas you might have :)

You might also tell me that the ideal destination depends a lot on 1) budget and 2) time of year, so feel free to go wild with ideas if budget was unlimited, versus more "reasonable" destinations when taking budget into account! Same thing with time of year, we can explore ideas in general vs. the ones that fit October/November in particular... Also if you have specific accommodation ideas definitely don't hesitate as this will be a first for me to combine surf trip with family trip, so any advice will be welcome and greatly appreciated :) !

MrBungle's picture
MrBungle's picture
MrBungle Monday, 24 Jan 2022 at 10:56am

That time of the year and with a 6 month old I would probably just go to Bali near Canggu. Comparatively short plane ride from anywhere in Aus which makes things a lot easier with a baby. I think trade winds are good for the West coast that time of year, and you will likely find decent and possibly great waves. Also good accommodation options for the wife/baby and plenty of things to do around the area/short drive make it an easy sell. Haven't travelled or looked that much into travelling in this new COVID world so I can't really comment on that.

flollo's picture
flollo's picture
flollo Monday, 24 Jan 2022 at 3:46pm

Portugal, Morocco if you feel more adventurous

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming Monday, 24 Jan 2022 at 7:30pm

Considering you have wife and young baby with you..

-Arrive Bali
-Spend some time in Bali winding down get a few waves and do some touristy things.

-Head east to Nusa Lembongan, Gilli Islands, Lombok
-Spend some time in the Lombok area surfing and doing a few touristy things.

- Then target a few areas in the more eastern islands depending on what takes your fancy but much of it might be getting a bit remote (Sumba etc), maybe a stop over at Lakeys and a stop over at Labuan Bajo (Komodo islands)

-Back to Bali for a few days, before a trip to central Java for some touristy things and a few waves if like

With a 6 month old baby might be a bit challenging though, id personally wait until they are at least one year old if possible.

There is the option of hiring a nanny to travel with you and help your wife though, i dont know the rates but expect something like $20 a day plus paying for her accommodation & food.

October- November would kind of be a bit of a mix of winds and weather

You could exit via Jakarta with a side trip to Singapore before heading home, not cheap but lots if things to do and see there.

ringostarr's picture
ringostarr's picture
ringostarr Monday, 24 Jan 2022 at 11:04pm

Congrats on the journey you are about to commence toboolt. Get as many waves as you can on this trip, cos your freedom is about to be curtailed.

Here are some suggestions from some of the places I’ve been. I’ve got 3 kids – most of these places I went to without kids but my comments are based on how I reckon you would fare with a 6 month old and a wife that wants to enjoy either or all of nice beaches, good food, and good local culture in a nice environment. I’m assuming you don’t mind wearing a wetsuit on this trip – as you will need to be in some of these locations.

South West France. No more needs to be said.. This would be my #1 choice if i was in your shoes.

Portugal – great choice also. Highly recommend Ericeira. Its been ~25 years since I was there (3 week stay) but I continue to hear good things. Good array of waves nearby. Walking possible to many of these, but short car trips open the possibilities. Amazing food and plenty of other things to do nearby.

Bali – Nusa Dua. Just coming into its own at that time of year - shoulder season (glassy every morning) going into offshore season. Heaps of hotel options, and great option for the wife and bub. I spent some time in Bali with a 6 month old and 2 year old. I am not sure about taking a 6 month old to more remote parts of Indo – I’m no expert but question whether you would be giving a 6 month old the malaria tablets and would you want to rely on repellent etc.

South Africa. Jeffries is a great town. If you wanted to surf every day it isn’t prime season but you will get swells there and there are other breaks around. Durban and the area south of Durban (that they call the south coast) could be another really excellent option (haven’t been to Durban though so maybe others can comment.).

Morocco – great in winter but not sure about this with a 6 month old. Not prime season so there are likely to be flat spells at the prime spots. There would be driving if you were staying near the points and wanted to surf every day.

Some other options that I can’t comment on first hand but reckon could suit:
- Philippines – I have travelled here for work but not surf. Amazing country and reckon you will find a resort on a beautiful island near surf which is suitable for your family. Maybe Cloud 9 but there are loads of other spots too. It’s the right time for typhoon season. You might not surf every day but over that period you will get swells and you will score if you are at the right location
- Northern Nicaragua – some great beachies here that seem super consistent. Worth checking out.
- Sri Lanka – obviously Arugam Bay, which is surely overrun with hipster Euro wannabes who think they rule the point. Not prime season for there but I gather in Sri Lanka there are different prime seasons for different parts of the coast - worth checking out as I have heard there are plenty of fantastic beach resorts and beach towns that would tick a lot of the boxes
- left field one: NE USA – Long Island starts to gets good waves at that time of year. Combining a trip to NYC etc with surf would be pretty mental.

PS I just re-read your instructions, and sorry - I've assumed you'll be travelling in Oct/Nov - and that you want to get out of Oz.

soggydog's picture
soggydog's picture
soggydog Tuesday, 25 Jan 2022 at 10:09am

With a 6 month old and a new Mum, what’s the surf around your area like at that time of year.
I’ve just spent the school holidays at home with my daughter. Heaps of surf, almost everyday, my own fridge, cheap and very relaxing. Takes away a lot of the issues associated with travel ,especially fresh meat (the baby).
Believe me, if you’ve got a good chance of getting waves at home it’s a pretty good holiday.

Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw's picture
Ray Shirlaw Tuesday, 25 Jan 2022 at 10:11am

Barbados & Puerto Rico

tiboolt's picture
tiboolt's picture
tiboolt Monday, 31 Jan 2022 at 7:28am

Thanks so much everyone for the great options and sharing your experience! To come back on some of the ideas shared:

- South West France: Definitely a great option in autumn! Now what I didn't share in my initial message is that I actually moved 3 years ago from Sydney to Europe ;) , so I am definitely going to spend some time in South West France over the summer (using the "normal" annual leave, as opposed to parental leave), and the idea was to then go somewhere else in October/Novembre...

- Portugal: Same thing, it's hard to go wrong there in Autumn (especially Ericeira) however a recent trip last year to other parts of Portugal (around Porto + Alentejo) made me a bit less enthusiastic about the destination overall...

- Bali: I have to say, all things considered this was also becoming my 1st choice. I am actually surprised by my own thoughts given that I spent 3 months in Bali (+ Lembongan and Lombok) more than 10 years ago and although it was great at the time, I promised myself not to ever go back again in order not to witness the next rounds of overdevelopment... But with a 6 months old, I reckon it might difficult to beat (constant swell, great accommodation options, medical clinics if required etc.)... Now the thing is, 10 years ago I spent time mostly in Medewi, Balian, Seminyak and Balangan plus a brief stint around Bingin and this was between June and September, meaning I don't know the East Coast at all and I've never been to the West Coast in October. Do you reckon splitting October between a stay in Canggu and a stay on the Bukit is the way to go, or would you recommend something else (also, are winds starting to shift already?)? Regarding Canggu, I've actually never been there so I was wondering, is it still a relatively "natural" and peaceful / quiet environment (even though the rice fields have been mostly wiped out) or is it fully urbanized now (apart from the beach) and starting to resemble the craziness of Kuta? Now for the East Coast, what's your take? I had a look at the options and am pondering whether Keramas would be a good choice or whether I don't surf well enough... Or whether I should just stick to Nusa Dua... Regarding Nusa Dua itself, for those that have been there do you reckon it's a horrible "resort town" or could it actually be the perfect option with a 6 month old? As for the surf, is it all about Nusa Dua "main peak" (I'm just a bit concerned when reading that this is Bali's premier big wave spot as soon as the swell picks up...) or can you always surf other gentler parts of the reef / re-forms etc.?

Doublems111's picture
Doublems111's picture
Doublems111 Monday, 31 Jan 2022 at 3:40pm

I'd vote Hawaii:
Positives+ Waves, early season so a good bet, much to do for wife/kid/fam outings.
Negs- Expensive, busy, Americans(hehe)
Sidenote: Durban/South Africa is fully out of season- Think Gold/Sunshine coast in October. Bad winds and no swell.
I'm doing something similar in July/Aug with baby and long service leave. Europe for me. Enjoy
Keen to hear once decided. Keep us updated

Doublems111's picture
Doublems111's picture
Doublems111 Monday, 31 Jan 2022 at 4:00pm

*missed you on that last comment on considering Indo. Can't go wrong with that!
Nusa dua is pretty developed nowadays with golf courses and hotels though. I'd explore further... Lombok could be the new "old Bali"

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell Monday, 31 Jan 2022 at 4:58pm
tiboolt wrote:

s it all about Nusa Dua "main peak" (I'm just a bit concerned when reading that this is Bali's premier big wave spot as soon as the swell picks up...) or can you always surf other gentler parts of the reef / re-forms etc.?

Nusa dua picks up almost all the available swell and is a peak chasing wave, very fast and you have to know how to highline to make sections. It gets real big and scary handles 15foot plus, also can be surfed as small as 2foot hawaiian(chest high) but there are a couple of waves around the corner which these days are probably crowded with locals and tourists and ex pats if working.

One is called sri lanka, which needs a big south swell and one of the only spots in Bali offshore in a SW wind. Nusa dua is an early morning spot even in wet season usually as monsoon winds are cross shore.
Sri lanka is right in front of club med hotel and is an easy to surf fun tubing wave but usually best on lowtides. gets crowded these days i believe. Also works on cyclones between bali and Australia.

There are a few kind of islands between club med and nusa dua that also hold a couple of waves offshore in westerlies to sw winds. they are more hollow i think but ive never surfed them.
Theres also a left on the north side of the channel at nusa dua that gets good but ive only heard about it not surfed it.So dont know how big the swell has to be to surf it.

I would personally choose kuta lombok or grupuk. as it has less hotels than nusa dua area and less hassles from street people trying to hassle you for a dollar.

Before you book i recommend you buy indo surf lingo by Peter Neely for lingo tips and bali tips and another book called indonesia and the indian ocean by lowpressure stormrider guides. Its the best surf spot and travel guide for indo and indian ocean ive ever read.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Monday, 31 Jan 2022 at 5:33pm

Whoa…just cause you’ve never surfed a spot surely doesn’t mean you can’t try and tell everyone you’ve never met about them anyway?

Fucks sake GS.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Monday, 31 Jan 2022 at 5:39pm

Thankyou Blowin i was gonna ! ! !

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell Monday, 31 Jan 2022 at 6:41pm

They are mentioned in every indo guide book available anyway...they are not secret
But craig or ben could you edit my post to just say buy indo surf lingo and the other stormrider guide?

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming Monday, 31 Jan 2022 at 7:05pm

Other than Indo.

With mr's and young baby hiring a decent camper van and doing a Aussie road trip could also be an option.

Or even NZ in a campervan.

mickseq's picture
mickseq's picture
mickseq Monday, 31 Jan 2022 at 7:09pm

I have just spent some time over there and some of Indo is not in very good shape at the moment. I would give Lombok a miss and just stay in Bali. It may be busy by the time you get there, or it may not, so my advice is just don't take it too seriously, just have a good time. You can look at Alila group of hotels, they are absolutely top notch and you would never go wrong with the service they provide for your family if you are not around. - Seminyak, Mangiss, Uluwatu - not sure if this is in your budget, but you can hire a bike from each place and experience a wide range of waves over the duration of your trip, and you will always know you will be staying in a nice place.

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell Monday, 31 Jan 2022 at 7:27pm

One tip for a young baby, last time i was there a baby dived into a pool while the parents weren't watching at a wedding and the baby drowned...so needless to say where ever you go i recommend a place without a pool

tiboolt's picture
tiboolt's picture
tiboolt Monday, 31 Jan 2022 at 9:37pm
groundswell wrote:

They are mentioned in every indo guide book available anyway...they are not secret But craig or ben could you edit my post to just say buy indo surf lingo and the other stormrider guide?

I concur... I'm all for not exposing any secret over the Internet, but in my opinion @Blowin no need to get upset here, I did know about both guides as well as all spots mentioned just from browsing the internet but was just asking for first-hand experience which is always a lot more valuable than just reading books...

Doublems111 wrote:

I'd vote Hawaii: Positives+ Waves, early season so a good bet, much to do for wife/kid/fam outings. Negs- Expensive, busy, Americans(hehe) Sidenote: Durban/South Africa is fully out of season- Think Gold/Sunshine coast in October. Bad winds and no swell. I'm doing something similar in July/Aug with baby and long service leave. Europe for me. Enjoy Keen to hear once decided. Keep us updated

Enjoy the Eurotrip! Hawaii is definitely on my mind too but just a bit worried about 1) the budget side of things 2) whether it would be enjoyable to surf on the North Shore or just too heavy both from a wave & crowd perspective?!