We asked Bali surfing expert, Yeni Canelon, to share her tips on where to surf in Bali, what to wear whilst on the surfboard and what exercises to do to get wave-ready!
As much as we try to channel our inner Johnny Utah, [if you haven’t seen the classic 1991 film Point Break yet, you’re missing out], unfortunately, our knowledge of surfing in Bali is limited. So we thought we would talk to a woman in the know. Here, owner of the awesome Salti Hearts Surf and Yoga Camp for Girls, Yeni Canelon, shares some helpful tips on how to look and be the part, and why surf camps are the ‘in’ thing:
Surfing, yoga and travel have always been my passions, and Bali provides the perfect alchemy of all three, hence why I have fallen in love with this island paradise! I am happy to share my essential tips for your next surf adventure to beautiful Bali, including when to travel to Bali for good waves, where to surf, and what to pack.
Bali is a tropical paradise with great surf conditions most of the year, but here is my first tip! If you are thinking of booking a trip here to enjoy the waves, try to come between March and November. December through to February is technically Bali’s wet season, meaning it rains a lot, making the waves less consistent.
Bali’s surf spots have been well documented since the late 70s and there are waves here for all surfers of all abilities. However, the surf can change here very quickly depending on the swell, tides and wind; the same surf spot that offered perfect rideable green waves at 8am might be too shallow for beginners to ride by 11 am. So, my second tip is to ensure you find out as much local knowledge as you can about the surf spots you are interested in. The best surf camps and retreats will have a team of experienced coaches and guides who will be able to get you to the right location, keep you feeling safe and comfortable in the water, and make sure you get that all important perfect ride. (They will also have a host who can let you know about other essentials like cafes, restaurants, shopping and spas!)
There are so many amazing waves in Bali suitable for all surfing levels, but my faves have to be Kuta and Padma beach for beginner surfers, Oldman’s and Batu Bolong beach for the intermediates, and for those with more surf experience, try Berawa, Echo beach, Pererenan, Uluwatu and Bingin beach.
Anyone who has tried surfing knows that it is most definitely harder than it looks! You will need a basic level of fitness to get the most out of it, so make sure you are partaking in exercise regularly before you plan to surf. Be sure to include some strength work in there as you’ll need some power behind you when paddling for those waves! Yoga also has fantastic benefits for surfing, including strength, flexibility, or simply just breathing better – all hail the downward dog!
Sun Cream: It pays to try and surf early in the mornings to avoid the scorching sun (and the crowds!), but whatever time you are out in the water, always remember to lather on the high factor sun cream. Zinc is a great way to protect your face from the burn too, as it is completely water-resistant [and you can even get a funky pink colour to jazz up your surfing look!]. You can buy sun cream and zinc from most pharmacies and surf shops on the island.
Swimwear: The main thing is to be comfortable, so whatever you decide to wear, you will be the part. We love bikinis by Zealous Clothing and one pieces by Onepeace swimwear.
Rash Vest: This is something you can wear over your bikini or one-piece, and it’s pretty handy! Surfboards can tend to give you a rash on certain areas of your body where the board rubs against your skin – this vest protects against that! Most surf schools or camps will provide you with a rash vest, but if sharing isn’t your cuppa tea, you can buy one from most surf shops.
Ding Repair Kit: This could totally save your surf trip, so we suggest investing in one if you own your own board, [plus being able to fix your own surfboard dings is an essential part of surfing!]. Again, you can pick one up from most surf shops.
Surfboard: If you don’t have your own surfboard, don’t worry – all surf schools and camps will have lots of different types of surfboards to rent [and should be no more than IDR 100,000 per hour]. Your board will usually come freshly waxed, so you can just relax and concentrate on having fun! If you are part of a surf camp, your board hire will usually come included in the total cost.
So those are my main tips to enjoy surfing in Bali, and don’t forget to consider signing up to a surf camp. It is a brilliant way to try surfing and feel safe in the water, but they also allow you to meet new people, be inspired and challenge yourself. We at Salti Hearts believe that inspiration is one of the most powerful and creative forces in life; it can be derived from many different experiences and it engenders great affirmation and feelings of satisfaction and wellbeing. At Salti Hearts, our inspirations are the ocean, the waves, nature, the beach and the simple things in life that matter. We are inspired by the women that come to our camp and share their wisdom and love with others and us. So, always remember to travel with an open heart, savour the moment, embrace the beauty of this journey, share your story with others and enjoy every moment on the road!
Originally from the Caribbean, Yeni has been teaching surfing and yoga around the world for the last 12 years as an Oceanographer. Yeni has also worked for a number of clean water charities around the world, and in her spare time, she enjoys adopting puppies and drinking hazelnut lattes.
For more information on Yeni and Salti Hearts, check out the website and follow them on Instagram @saltihearts
This article was originally published by Amy Nicholson.