Written by Emma Bukowski from Noserider Surf Club

I started surfing in my late 20s. Many might say that it’s a little late to pick up a new sport, but for me, it was perfect timing. I’d always been drawn to the ocean, and the idea of riding waves seemed like the ultimate blend of fun and peace. 

When I finally took the plunge, there was no turning back. Surfing became more than a hobby; it became a way of life. And of all the places I’ve surfed, Bali holds a special place in my heart.

The First Wave:

My first surf trip to Bali was nothing short of magical. Picture this: golden beaches, blue waters, and a vibrant culture that wraps around you like a warm embrace. The island isn’t just a surf destination; it’s a paradise where you can feel the heartbeat of the ocean in every corner. 

Bali’s charm is immediate. The locals, with their friendly smiles and laid-back attitudes, make you feel at home instantly. There’s a unique spirit here, a blend of respect for the ocean, and a deep-seated belief in the spiritual connection to nature. This cultural blend brings a sense of mindfulness and appreciation to every surf session.

Surf Spots for Every Level

This island is a top surf destination for good reason. It boasts an incredible variety of surf spots suitable for all levels. As a beginner, I found Kuta Beach to be perfect. The waves are gentle, and the sand is soft. The surf schools here are fantastic, with patient instructors who genuinely want to share their love for the sport.

As I gained confidence, I started exploring more challenging breaks. Uluwatu, with its powerful waves and stunning cliffs, quickly became a favorite. The waves here are fast and challenging, but they help you to become a better surfer. And the view from the water? Unforgettable. Watching the sun dip behind the cliffs while waiting for the next wave is truly memorable.

The Surf Culture:

What truly sets Bali apart is its surf culture. It’s not just about riding waves; it’s about community. After a morning session, you’ll find surfers gathered in local cafes, sharing stories over fresh coconut water. There’s a strong bond among surfers in Bali that’s hard to find elsewhere. Everyone, from seasoned pros to stoked beginners, respects the ocean and each other.

The local surf shops and shapers are part of this tight-knit community. They’re always ready to offer advice and ensure your gear is in top shape. The island is also home to some incredible surf festivals and competitions, giving you the opportunity to witness skilled surfers in action and fuel your love for the sport.

Why Bali?

Catching Waves and Catching Life: Surfing in Bali

So, why is Bali a top surf destination? It’s the perfect mix of consistent waves, stunning scenery, and a welcoming culture. The weather is warm year-round, and the water is inviting. The variety of surf spots means there’s always a new challenge or a new place to explore.

But beyond the waves, the island offers a holistic experience. Yoga retreats, traditional Balinese ceremonies, and beautiful temples add depth to your trip. It’s a place where you can connect with both the ocean and yourself. 

  1. Idyllic Beaches:

Beaches are perhaps one of the first things that pop into someone’s mind when you think about visiting Bali. And that too for a good reason – from beautiful stretches of white, sparkling sand to hidden coves tucked away near dramatic cliffs, Bali is home to an abundance of idyllic islands.

Moreover, Julia Robert’s Eat, Pray, Love was filmed in Bali’s Padang Padang Beach. Nestled between a few cliffs, the beach is a scenic spot – I loved the clear, turquoise water here! Apart from Padang Padang Beach, you must check out Echo Beach or Berawa for some of the most iconic sunsets. 

In fact, you will come across several beach bars where you can enjoy sundowners. On the other hand, if you are looking for something a little more isolated and quieter, Pandawa Beach is a great alternative with beautiful views and hardly any crowd.

  1. Fantastic Suf Breaks:

It’s not a secret really that Bali is a surfer’s delight. This gorgeous surfer’s pride attracts seasoned pros and amateurs alike. If you are new to surfing, you will come across several surfing schools where you can meet friendly instructors who will walk you through the basics of surfing. 

Interestingly, I can master twists and turns with only a few lessons. Moreover, you will find some of the most stunning surfing sports for both new and intermediate surfers at Kuta Beach, Medewi Beach, and Dreamland Beach. Since these beaches are home to medium-sized waves, I had a great time learning the basics of surfing during my time here. 

But if you are somewhat confident on a surfboard, you would want to head somewhere with larger waves. My partner enjoyed the breaks at Uluwatu Beach – the waves here can reach 15 feet during the rainy season, and the breaks are specifically advanced. 

Given a choice, I loved the long tube rides at Padang Padang Beach. The next time I head over to Bali, I’ll definitely visit during the suf season to watch Padang Padang Beach host the Rip Curl Cup, the longest-running surf competition in Indonesia. 

  1. The Rich Culture:

I have always found Bali’s rich and unique culture fascinating – if not for anything, you should go to Bali for its culture. Unlike the majority of Indonesia, Bali has a predominantly Hindu culture and is also known as the ‘Island of a Thousand Temples.’

While these temples mostly serve as spaces for religious worship, the temples are also centers for different cultural performances and activities, such as different dances. I also enjoyed watching a traditional musical ensemble, known as gamelan, involving percussion instruments such as drums, gongs, and xylophones. 

Moreover, we were spoiled for choice – there were so many temples to see in Bali! Of course, the island’s largest temple, Pura Besakih, is a must-visit spot. 

Apart from Pura Besakih, you can also consider visiting Taman Saraswati, Pura Lempuyang Temple, Pura Ulun Danu, and Gunung Kawi. Just remember that while visiting these religious spots, you need to wear a traditional sarong – you can find these at shops close to the temples. 

In addition to visiting the different temples, you can also check out the several celebrations and festivals that take place in Bali throughout the year. 

Perhaps the most popular celebration is the parade that takes place before Nyepi, that is, the day of silence. During this celebration, a large monster is seen floating across the streets, banishing all spirits away from the island. 

  1. Top-Notch Yoga Studios:

Bali is, perhaps, one of the best spots in the world for experiencing spirituality. Personally, if I wanted to get in touch with my spiritual side, I would always head over to Bali, home to some of the best yoga studios in the world. 

Most of the island’s yoga studios are based in Ubud, a beautiful town surrounded by verdant rainforest and lush rice paddies. You’ll find all kinds of classes, from Vinyasa and Hatha yoga to meditation, reiki, and sound healing.

There are so many studios to choose from, but one of our favorite places is Ubud Yoga House, where you can practice downward dog in open-air studios overlooking the rice fields – you may get a little distracted by the view. 

Intuitive Flow is another popular studio tucked away in a quiet corner of Ubud with views down into the valley. For a truly unique experience, many studios on the southern coast will have sunrise or sunset yoga sessions on the beach – or, to really work your muscles, balanced atop a paddleboard.

The Journey Continues

Surfing in Bali has been a journey of growth and discovery. It’s where I’ve faced my fears, and found a community that feels like family. 

So, if you’re ready for an adventure that combines the thrill of surfing with the beauty of Bali, grab your board and surf suit and dive in. The waves are waiting, and Bali is here with open arms.

Barsha Bhattacharya

Barsha Bhattacharya is a senior content writing executive. As a marketing enthusiast and professional for the past 4 years, writing is new to Barsha. And she is loving every bit of it. Her niches are marketing, lifestyle, wellness, travel and entertainment. Apart from writing, Barsha loves to travel, binge-watch, research conspiracy theories, Instagram and overthink.

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