One of the things where Canggu is famous for are it’s perfect circumstances to learn surfing. A lot of surf schools are scattered along Canggu’s beach. You will see surfers with their motorbikes attached with boards driving towards one of the beaches to hit the waves all day long. Surfing in Canggu is one of the must things to do when you visit Bali and in particular when you stay in Canggu!
Canggu with its laid back digital nomad and surfers vibe has three well-known surf spots:
Echo beach (intermediate level)
Berawa beach (intermediate level)
Batu Bolong beach (beginners level)
After living in Bali for 6 months and watching the surfers dance with the waves, it was time to give it a try myself. There are a lot of surf schools in Canggu, but most important is to choose one who is certified. That’s why I choose to learn surfing in Canggu with Surf With Aldo and it was a great experience. If it’s your first time surfing, you will start at Batu Bolong beach.
My first time surfing
My personal experience learning how to surf went pretty good. I knew the balance in my core and legs are good because I did horse riding for 20 years and fitness for 5 years before we started traveling fulltime. After some theoretical explanation, safety checks and try-outs to stand up on the board it was time for me to hit the waves!
Together with Aldo I went into the ocean and paddled out of the shore break until we came in calmer water. The huge waves (in my experience) were impressive, and the first 20 minutes or so were kind of a struggle for me to conquer them. But once I was ready to catch my first wave, Aldo pushed me gently onto the incoming wave. I stood up on the board and was surfing! That feeling was so awesome and I knew immediately that this feeling of riding the waves was addictive. After 2 hours of surfing I was dead tired. My shoulders and neck were hurting from paddling and I just needed a rest and some water.
Watch the promotional film we made for Surf With Aldo below.
How to find a good surf instructor
Most important to check before you book a surf lesson is if the surf instructor is certificated by ISA (International Surfing Association). This is the official organization with systematized rules and policy. This certificate is proof that there is a professional at work with good teaching skills. To get such ISA certificate, a person must undergo a training course including first aid and pass an exam. Also a professional surf instructor in Bali knows all about tide chart, details of the current swell and waves at different surf spots around.
The Bali “beach boys/surf dudes” without a certificate are only focused on their own profit and will take you to a lesson anytime and anywhere. Which can even lead to dangerous situations. Therefore it is very important to only book your surf lessons with a surf school which has an ISA certificate (International Surfing Association certificate). Check this before you book and don’t be seduced by cheaper prices.
What is a normal price for a surf lesson in Canggu
Depending on the surf school you book with, a private surf lesson of 2 hours for 1 person costs 500.000 IDR which is around €30. Most of the surf-schools will pick you up from your accommodation and drive you to the beach. Of course, you can also rent a surfboard yourself and just go surfing yourself if you have more experience.
What to prepare for your first time surfing
- Watch the day before some YouTube tutorials about surfing and how to stand up on your board so you can practice your moves 😉
- Put enough biodegradable sunscreen on your face, shoulders and legs. Please be conscious about our reefs and buy biodegradable sunscreen!!
- If you don’t get a shirt from your surf school you have to think about putting on a shirt (preferably with long sleeves) because otherwise your chest will get scratched by the surfboard.
- For the girls; make sure your bikini is tight on your body because when you crash into the ocean, you might have a chance of losing your undies or top. Maybe you give your surf teacher the day of his life, but if you want to keep your personal areas private then make sure your bikini fits tight on your body.
- Take your own reusable water bottle to the beach. Some surf schools do offer water, but in single-use plastic cups. Don’t take this as it might end up in the ocean. Give them a great example to take your own reusable water bottle with you!
- Don’t forget a towel and dry clothes.
Best time to go surfing in Canggu
It can get really crowded in the waters around Canggu, so the best time to go is in the very early morning, preferably with sunrise, if your surf instructor recommends that too. They know how to read the ocean, waves and weather circumstances in Bali so listen to their advice!
Photo tip: If you book with Surf With Aldo, they can also arrange photo & videography material of your lesson. If you have a drone or telephoto lens yourself, the one staying at the beach can make some awesome shots!
We hope you will enjoy surfing in Canggu! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments.
If you want to read more in-depth about Bali, head over to these blog posts: