Your First Surf Trip To Indonesia

Estimated read time 4 min read


All you need to know to have a great time. 

Indonesia streets hustle and bustle

Bali in Indonesia has been one of the most popular surf trips on the surfers’ radar ever since it was discovered in 1973. The perfect, dreamy waves of Uluwatu have been attracting surfers since then, and the surfing tribe continues to pour into Bali and the rest of this wave-rich archipelago in a bid to get a few perfect waves.

For the first time visitor however, Bali can be quite intimidating, and there are a few basic rules and some advice to adhere to that will go a long way in making your adventure that much more enjoyable.

Indonesia, and especially Bali, can be a noisy place with shouting people and hooting taxis, everywhere. It can be a bit unnerving at first, but it’s one of those things you’ll have to get used to. After a few days you’ll hardly notice it. 

The most basic advice would be to figure out the local currency, the Rupiah, beforehand, and work out the exchange rate from your own currency. It has gotten much better these days but there are moneychangers that do take chances,.

It’s also good advice to always take a couple of fresh 10 and 20 Dollar notes with you in case you need a bit of help from a local official, and always have a couple of Rupiah notes with you as well, for small emergencies like water or a cold coke. It gets seriously hot in Indonesia. You dehydrate quickly there. 

This is what surfers visiting Indonesia dream of.

Best advice with surfboards is to bring two boards. Your normal everyday board, and another one that is a little bit bigger, thicker, and a bit heavier. If the surf gets big you’ll have something that’ll help you paddle. If you damage a board, there are a number of ding repair guys at Uluwatu who will fix your boards really quickly. Best to negotiate a price before the resin sets.Also, make sure you pack your surfboards rightbefore you go.

If you’re planning on getting out of Bali and checking out the waves in Java, Sumbawa and other surrounding islands, you’re going to need a few other travel necessities. 

An important item is a decent first aid kit. It needs to have all the basics like plasters, sutures, topical antibacterial cream, a general antibiotic and a few bandages and alcohol swabs. 

It’s a good idea to have prophylactics and anti- mosquito sprays and creams. A long sleeve cotton shirt will not be amiss in malaria country, and neither will a set of surgical gloves. 

You need to pack loads of sun cream, as well as possibly a surfing hat, a surf vest, some board shorts, and some Vaseline for surf rash. Don’t forget extra wax; spare fin screws, a spare set of fins, fin keys and maybe one of those solar activation ding repair kits.  Matches and mosquito coils make up the package.

A good waterproof backpack can literally float on water and things inside will stay dry.

It rains a lot in Indonesia, so one of the most important items is a good waterproof backpack to keep your essential travel items and clothing dry. That way, if there is a downpour, and there will be a few for sure, you’ll have some essentials like a set of clothing, your electronics, matches and your medical kit perfectly dry afterwards. There are quite a few different waterproof backpacks out there, make sure you take one that is not just a big sack but also lets you organize your things and is comfortable to travel with. I really like the DryTide pack for instance.

A good tip for beginner surfers would also be – don’t surf on low tide because it gets shallow.

Talking of electronics, if you’re going to be off the beaten track a bit you might need to pack in some entertainment. Surprisingly, you can get onto the Internet a lot easier than you think around most of the surfing destinations, and you can usually find a warung or a losman that’ll come with a USB plug and decent Wi-Fi, so you should be fine with Internet entertainment.  

Still, a tablet with a couple of downloaded surf movies, a few surf magazines and maybe even a downloaded book or two will all help kill time if you need to, either traveling to surf spots orwaiting for the next swell.

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