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Indonesia forum

Learning to Surf

Posted by Steve81 on 7/6/2010 at 01:26

I'm going to be spending a couple of months in Indonesia (initially heading to Bali, no definate plans from there) from September and I'm really keen to try and learn to surf, easier said than done I know.

I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice on the best way to go about this? Should I go to one of those surf schools or just go to the beach and hope someone takes pity on me?!

Any specific reccomendations of places would also be great.

Don't worry I'm not expecting miracles, I'm fully aware I will suck at it for a long long time, but I really want to give it a go!

#1 Steve81 has been a member since 12/3/2010. Posts: 23

Posted by Indoluso on 7/6/2010 at 03:37


Great idea!
A good thing about surfing is that even when you've tried 50 times to stand up on the board it remains really cool. Definitely go for a surfing school in the begining and once you've learned the basics of technique and ocean currents go by yourself.

#2 Indoluso has been a member since 22/12/2009. Posts: 133

Posted by somtam2000 on 7/6/2010 at 09:14 admin

Great idea!

Bali is a great spot to learn for two reasons -- there is a great variety of breaks (from beginner through to more advanced) and the waves tend not to be too crowded (at least compared to Australia).

If you've never tried before, I'd really recommend doing some classes -- it will save you a lot of grief and you'll get to the enjoyable part quicker. It isn't super cheap -- three courses with someone like RipCurl Surf School (http://www.ripcurlschoolofsurf.com) will set you back around $150, but you'll learn a lot -- and expect to be EXHAUSTED at the end of each day!

There are cheaper operations around -- mainly based in and around Kuta.

#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,062

Posted by Steve81 on 7/6/2010 at 14:31

Brilliant stuff, thanks for your advice guys, much appreciated. Will definately do some classes when I get out there. Can't wait to get going now!

#4 Steve81 has been a member since 12/3/2010. Posts: 23

Posted by humpdawg on 7/6/2010 at 19:25

Yeah I agree with Sontam and Indoluso here. Getting a few lessons at the start is for the best. You'll get the basics quicker and less chance of you picking up bad habits. As someone who starting surfing about a year ago I've found that one of the things that can hold you back the most is running out of stamina when paddling. If there is a swimming pool near you try and go as much as you can before you head off. Even twice a week will help but the more the better. Honestly this will make things alot easier when you start surfing. If your near the coast you could do this in the sea or even better getting a couple of surf lessons before go will give you a great head start when your away. Even practicing pop-ups at home. You'll feel like a tit but it will help.

Theres a wealth of info on the web on surfing. Try Youtube for beginner lessons and Magicseaweed.com for forecasts and Surfing-waves.com for great in depth forums. Check out this link too for info on Bali and other spots - www.wannasurf.com/spot/Asia/Indonesia/

I'm heading over next year so I'd love to hear how you get on.


#5 humpdawg has been a member since 18/5/2009. Posts: 40

Posted by somtam2000 on 8/6/2010 at 20:26 admin

Just a quick note that I got all inspired through this and signed up for a three-day surf school course (not the one I mentioned above) that started this morning with five hours of one on one training and tuition.

Lets just say there isn't a part of me that isn't aching and I'm now firmly acquainted with the seafloor at Kuta.

Before this I could surf at a pretty basic level but knew I had a few bad habits. Turns out I have a lot! I learned stuff in the first ten minutes that immediately saw me catching -- and riding -- more waves.

Will report back with contact details for the teacher etc at the end of day three. But for now I'm going to bed to nurse some aching limbs... early start tomorrow!

#6 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,062

Posted by Steve81 on 8/6/2010 at 20:31

Awsome stuff man, Good for you!!

Look forward to hearing how the whole course goes, and if you recommend it. Enjoy your rest!

#7 Steve81 has been a member since 12/3/2010. Posts: 23

Posted by Steve81 on 13/6/2010 at 19:58

Hey, how did the rest of the lessons go?

#8 Steve81 has been a member since 12/3/2010. Posts: 23

Posted by somtam2000 on 16/6/2010 at 09:15 admin

Hey Steve,

Lessons went great -- most of the pain has faded and I'll off for another surf tomorrow -- without teacher!

I've just put up a story about the whole thing that covers some of the different options for classes. I was extremely happy with Budha and if you're keen on private classes I'd suggest you call him direct (rather than go through the site) when you arrive to sort out classes.

Story is here:


#9 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,062

Posted by Steve81 on 16/6/2010 at 14:48

Brilliant article, thanks ever so much for your help. I'm hugely excited to get out there and give it a go now! Will take your advice and give Budha a call when I get out to Bali in September.

Might see you out there 'carving up some waves'!

Thanks again for the help.


#10 Steve81 has been a member since 12/3/2010. Posts: 23

Posted by SBE on 16/6/2010 at 15:10

How's that for service Steve, you ask a question on Travelfish and Somtam goes and checks it out for you. Good for you Stuart, and great write up.

I hadn't realized surfing was quite so physically demanding before, but I'm sure Steve will become an expert in no time at all too. Have fun both of you!

#11 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,055

Posted by tezza on 27/7/2010 at 17:33

Surfing is one of those things that look easy, is extremely difficult. Surfing is MUCH harder than snow skiing for instance.
I was self-taught as a kid but had the advantage of watching all my mates - I surfed for several hours per day, EVERY DAY, but it took me a full year before I could do everything I wanted on a wave.

I half-look at surf schools as con-jobs. No way can the average person with no prior experience learn to surf in 3 or 3 lessons. Mind you, sometimes I see some-one who does this and I think - hell, there is a potential Kelly Slater or Layne Beachley if only they keep it up. Mind you all that potential probably gets lost - they go back home to Bleak City with just good memories of the experience.

Which is the other half of my regard of surf schools - maybe not money wasted. You may spend all 3 lessons basically falling off and getting smashed on the paddle-out - but you go home with the experience. Been there- done that (and usually got the t-shirt).
PLUS USUALLY GOT THE PHOTOGRAPH! Most schools have a photographer on the beach and he/she is an expert at snapping learners in the instance between getting to their feet on a wave and falling off. Something to show all yer friends back home in the pub.

#12 tezza has been a member since 13/4/2006. Posts: 1,358

Posted by hutty on 28/7/2010 at 05:44

tips for surfing:
1. learn to paddle without falling off (tip of board just sticking out of the water)
2. Learn to sit on the board when out the back.
3. Dont have too big/small a board. 6'10" perfect for learning
4. Catching broken waves (ie whitewater) is harder. Catch waves where other surfers are further out the back (you wont die).
5. dont be afraid of the experts or worry about 'dropping in' when learning. good surfers will stay away from you anyway
6. have fun and try to stand on at least 5 waves. Catching a wave when it is green gives a better ride.
7. go sideways on the wave. Kelly Slater never goes straight towards the beach.
8. When a wave comes paddle and kick like a madman until the board takes off with you on it. Then stand immediately. When you get good, you develop twitch muscles that have explosive energy for a short time, when you learn you dont have these and paddling and standing sucks.
9. To get out the back ride the rip from the beach. It is the surfers express. then paddle sideways when you get out there.
10. dont go out when it is too big when learning, but it is never too small.
11. the best training for surfing is surfing

have fun

#13 hutty has been a member since 4/6/2009. Posts: 19

Posted by somtam2000 on 2/8/2010 at 18:06 admin

This is how you surf:
Get in water
Stand up

See, it's easy!

What I really got out of the classes was having an instructor spend time with me telling me what I was doing wrong -- over and over again and fine tuning his advice as I picked things up.

I try to get out there now two or three times a week, so think it was money well spent (though I'm yet to get those "twitch muscles" -- could certainly have done with a few of those the other day!). However, if, as tezza says I lived in the desert and would likely never see a wave again, then perhaps it wouldn't have been such a wise spend.

"11. the best training for surfing is surfing "


#14 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,062

Posted by bedders on 19/8/2010 at 04:28

aaah!!im doing exactly the same thing, never surfed before but can't wait!!the info on here has been a great help. Was mainly looking at doing a class style one so i can meet a few people as i'm going traveling for the first time and going to be on my todd! Is it better to do it over the internet or shall i just wait until i'm there go on a wander and choose which looks the best, what do you reckon?

#15 bedders has been a member since 19/8/2010. Posts: 5

Posted by somtam2000 on 19/8/2010 at 05:23 admin

Wait till you get here. There are quite a few schools to choose from (most are in the Kuta/Legian area).

Have fun!

#16 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,062

Posted by etn75 on 22/10/2010 at 17:58

Hey guys!
Reading your stories, suggestions and experiences is just great!
I'm also planning a trip in Indonesia, and a Surf school (starting from below zero...) is a big part of the plan...
I'm jus worried about the weather, since I could be there between november and february.
Is it possible to surf, or is it a bad rain season?


#17 etn75 has been a member since 13/1/2008. Posts: 1

Posted by piranha on 4/12/2010 at 18:11

Surfing? in Indonesia?

#18 piranha has been a member since 3/12/2010. Posts: 18

Posted by piranha on 8/12/2010 at 20:19

Where can I get more information?

#19 piranha has been a member since 3/12/2010. Posts: 18

Posted by mooball on 9/12/2010 at 10:33 TF writer

@pirahna Here. What do you need to know?

@etn75 It is the rainy season and it's still possible to surf. You might just get wet??

#20 mooball has been a member since 19/6/2010. Location: Australia. Posts: 439

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