Sarah’s little step back in time: Bali surf trip, June 2007

After reading the first version of this blog post, I was duly reminded by some friends that there are a few crucial locations I missed! So I could not in good conscience leave it unamended…

Bali, an aspiring surfer’s paradise…and IMHO the top three spots for relative newbies like me are Batu Bolong, Bingin beach, and then the coast between Seminyak and Kuta Beach.  I am not good enough, or local enough, to know any super secret spots but have enjoyed some amazing waves and some even better face plants at these locations.

Batu Bolong

This is my top choice.  A wilder and windier stretch of the coast away from the crowds, it has a long clean run in and plenty of time for a “slow” pop.  The perfect place for beginners.

Seminyak –> Kuta

This stretch of beach is the busiest on the island but it gives a reef-free break with surf that usually is not too intimidating.  There are tons of shacks that rent boards out and plenty of places to chill out with a beer (or pancakes, see below) afterwards.

Try to surf at sunrise to dodge the tourists….unless you want to put on a show!


Bingin Beach is a beautiful and quiet cove, surrounded by cliffs.  The surf’s not usually too big but it’s not a sandy break, so beginners beware and take it easy.  There are shacks up on the cliffs renting boards, barbecuing seafood and selling beers for some chill out time before, during or after.


Then there’s the spots for the pros: Uluwatu and Dreamland.

So I’m not quite sure how I found myself surfing at the latter. That swell is deceiving, the waves are beautiful but enormous and fast for a beginner, not to mention over some reef.

This “through a hedge backwards” pic [Ed.: this looks more ‘beach babe’ than ‘hedge-y’ to me!] was post washing up on the beach on countless occasions…would be better to have an action shot, but this was before I even had a digital camera let alone a smart phone so my records are limited! Probably a good thing…


The experts show us how its done, from the cliffs overlooking the magnificent and famed surfing mecca of Uluwatu.  On a small day it can be great fun even if you don’t have much experience but certainly isn’t recommended for beginners – the only way in and out of the break is through a cave, and if you get it wrong it’s you between the breaking waves and the jagged rocks. On a big surf day, expect to be chased away by locals who have a few more rights to those world class waves. At that point, there’s a superb selection of cliff top bars and restaurants, surf shops and little hostels from which to enjoy the show.

But the thing no one can disagree on is that at whichever location, after all that exertion, saltwater cleared nasal passages, and a few bumps and bruises, no surf day is complete without a stop at a beachside stall selling copious amounts of banana pancakes. Divine.