BEST BEGINNER SURF SPOTS IN BALI
Bali, one of over 17,000 islands that make up the nation of Indonesia, is no bigger than the US state of Connecticut, but it is known globally as a mecca for perfect waves. Ever since “Mr. Pipeline” Gerry Lopez was featured in the 1972 surf flick Morning of the Earth; Bali has been the apple of every surfer’s eye!
Surfing in Bali
The 1972 film starring the smooth and graceful Gerry Lopez, showcased one of Bali’s premier left-hand waves, Uluwatu. Since those days in the seventies, with minimal crowds, few lodging options, and a complete lack of overall infrastructure Bali has transformed into one of the world’s top vacation destinations, and perhaps the world’s number one surf trip destination.
For surfers, there are plenty of reasons to come to Bali: Bali boasts warm water year-round, the island is hit by year-round swells, and the reef setups produce some of the finest waves on the planet.
But is Bali the right destination for you if you’re not an experienced surfer?
While Bali boasts a plethora of advanced waves, it also has a decent amount of beginner surf spots that are perfect for learning.
Many of those waves are right near our surf resort on the Bukit Peninsula.
There is no better place to learn to surf, than a destination like Bali where you can find a mellow beginner wave and also watch experienced surfers (even some pros) take on advanced surf.
Visit our surf hotel to experience Bali’s best beginner waves in person.
For now, take a look at our list for some surf and travel inspiration!
The Best Waves for Beginners in Bali
The best beginner surf spots Bali (in no particular order)
For advanced surf spots in Bali, go to this page
Baby Padang Padang or Inside Padang Padang
You may have heard of Padang Padang before; it is possibly one of the best left-hand barreling waves on the planet. Every time a large south/ southwest swell hits Indonesia, surf media is set ablaze with captivating images of the monstrous left in its best form. The famous wave has a steep take-off, a speedy cylindrical face, and for those willing to test it, an impossibly deep barrel that increases in size as it draws water off the shallow reef.
Now, you may be wondering why such a monstrous wave is on a list of beginner-friendly surf breaks in Bali? Well, Padang Padang also has a right. So, while the left at Pandang Padang is a ferocious, hollow, experts only wave, the right caters to entry-level surfers. The right-hander at Padang Padang breaks almost directly in front of the beach and works during most tides.
The right is a slow peeling, soft, mellow wave that is ideal for lessons and progression.
Today, Kuta Beach is known more for its nightlife, shopping, and tourism than it is for surfing.
Believe it or not, surfing has been present at Kuta Beach since as early as the 1930s. Surfers of all abilities flock to the waters at Kuta Beach to experience the fast-breaking, often hollow, sometimes crumbly beach break.
While Kuta is frequented by plenty of local surfers, many of whom are advanced surfers, there are plenty of peaks for beginners to hone their skills. Kuta Beach might be known to many travelling surfers as a beginner’s break, but the reality of surfing in Bali is that many of the waves are expert only and Kuta is a great place with plenty of peaks to progress.
Bingin is one of the most picture-perfect machine-like barreling waves in Indonesia ( or the world for that matter).
But on High tide and a small swell (under 4 foot, or 1.2 meters) it’s also ideal for learning to surf, or improving your surfing skills
However Bingin is tide affected so don’t go out there without some local knowledge, At Swell we can set you up with a surf instructor or guide that can take your surfing to the next level.
At Swell we are a few minutes walk to Bi9ngin Beach which gives access to the Bingin, Impossibles and you could even paddle or walk to Dreamland beach. See our location and the surrounding surfing beaches.
Old Man’s, Canggu
Located north of Kuta Beach, Canggu is a more relaxed and rural area and is home to some of Bali’s best views and most fun waves. Canggu is surrounded by terraced rice paddies and is known for its powerful surf. One of the most noteworthy breaks in all of Canggu is Old Man’s. Old Man’s is a popular wave amongst many longboarders and stand up paddle surfers. The wave, located on the southern end of Canggu on Batu Bolong Beach, is a long mellow right-hander that is slow, fat, and completely user-friendly.
While the wave does break over lava reef, the wave is mellow enough that surfers who have mastered the pop-up and have the ability to ride down the line can try their hands at the famous right-hander.
Also located in Bali’s favourite expat neighbourhood of Canggu, is Berawa Beach. Unlike Old Man’s or Echo Beach, Berawa Beach is a beach break, which makes it ideal for learning. The wave at Berawa is a bit sloppier than the wave at Eco or Old Man’s, but it will serve beginners well who are still surfing white water. There are a few scattered reef systems that will create waves away from the main peak for those who are looking to avoid crowds. Overall, the break at Berawa Beach is much less powerful, and therefore more beginner-friendly, than Eco Beach or even Old Man’s.
Expect big crowds though, which can get dangerous.
Located on Bali’s southwest coast, approximately 2 to 3 hours north of Kuta by car, is Medewi. The tiny beach village of Medewi is one of the least visited areas of Bali, but it has become known for its premier surfing in recent years.
While Medewi is significantly further north than any other surf break in Bali, it is due west of Denpasar, where the airport is located. The wave at Medewi is a sloping, left-hand point break that breaks down sand and smooth cobblestone point. The left at Medewi can actually be the longest ride in all of Bali during the right south/southwest swell.
It’s a mellow wave, however, it gets crowded and the big rocks are not easy to navigate when getting in and out of the water.
Slightly north of Kuta beach you’ll find Seminyak, a more upscale, shopping and hotel area that is bordered to the west by long stretches of open beach that connect all the way to Kuta.
Seminyak may not be the first spot that pops into your head when you think of Bali Surf, but the expansive beachfront is home to several shifting sand bars that create fun, peaky surf. The coastline of Seminyak is exposed to more direct swell than Kuta, so the surf can be substantially larger.
While Seminyak is a great learning wave, beginners should be wary of the strong rip tide that can appear during larger swells.
While Dreamland is no longer the remote, isolated beach it once was –now that there is a massive hotel, and golf course perched above the break— it does offer both a left and a right that break over deep sand covered reef.
Dreamland is not as fierce as many of the waves on the Bukit Peninsula and the reef, as previously mentioned is deep and covered by sand, which makes the wave great for beginner and intermediate surfers.
Dreamland Beach is a few minutes walk from Swell Bali
BEST BEGINNER SURF SPOTS IN BALI
Navigating Bali can be difficult, finding the right surf for your skill level can be overwhelming, and no one wants to find themselves in waves that are out of their league.
At Swell, we strive to create the ideal Balinese surfing experience by putting surfers into the best waves for their skill level.
Whether you are looking to score the waves of your life at one of Bali’s many world-renowned left-hand breaks, or you are learning to surf for the first time, come visit us at Swell Bali for a unique surfing experience.
Bali’s Best Surf Spots
We have made a new Bali Surf spot list with all the major surf spots and characteristics of them, including pictures and surf videos.
Bonus surf spot
Not for beginners, but a great wave for intermediate surfers, on mid or high tide:
Impossibles in a short walk from our hotel, Swell Bali.
Click on the Bali Surf map to the right to see our extensive list of surf spots in Bali.
Have any questions? Just shoot us an email from the contact us form page.
ADVANCED SURFING IN BALI
Already past learning to surf, and looking for more advanced waves for intermediate or expert surfers in Bali? Have a look at our Bali Bukit surf spot guide with maps, pictures and videos, or head straight over to the Surfing Uluwatu guide.
PURPOSE-BUILT HOTEL FOR SURFERS, STEPS FROM THE SURFING BEACHES
We built our boutique surf hotel in the centre of Bingin, so you can walk to Bingin, Impossibles and Dreamland’s surfing beaches.
Ideal for solo travellers
More info about the accommodation and the surf holidays we offer
What is the best time to surf in Bali?
Bali has year-round surf, so any time of the year is a good time to learn to surf in Bali. More info about Bali Surf Season‘s here
Where can I learn to surf in Bali?
- Kuta Beach
- Bingin (high tide)
- Baby Padang Padang
All the above beaches are well suited for people to learn to surf in Bali
Is it safe to surf in Bali?
Bali is a safe place to learn to surf, if you choose the right surf school to teach you about the safety elements involved in learning to surf.