Surfcamp Bali Blog

Yesterday evening, August 4, the best riders of the 2014 Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang, Bali had the opportunity to to ride the contest spot without the pressure of the contest.


The pictures turned out to be pretty much aawweeessomme. Amongst the riders had been Matt Wilkinson, Owen Wright, Bethany Hamilton and the great Rizal Tandjung. Enjoy the eye-candy.

Rip Curl Cup 2014 Contest Information

Mini-Malibu, Egg, Longboard, Fish, Step-up, Semi-gun, Shortboard? So many different shapes of surfboards, but which one is the right pick for you and what is the best board for Bali?

Beginner Surfboards


The neverending search for the right board to learn surfing

It's not the board that decides wheather you will be a surfer one day, or just one more kook, playing in the whitewater. Your individual ambition and what you know from skateboarding, will not make you a better surfer. And neither will a board, that does not have enough flotation and stability to send you off to the first couple of good rides in your surferlife. Competitive swimmers might have a learning advantage, but due to their experience, they are usually very reasonable in terms of the appropriate board size. Taking a board too short, is a waste of time. As long as you haven't trained your stability on a bigger board, it's useless to try catching waves with a shortboard. If the board is too big, it will be harder to do maneuvers, without having advanced skills. The boards that you should consider to become the first allround piece in your quiver will mot likely be a funshape/mini malibu board in the 7'ft. range.

The most simple way to calculate the length of a beginner surfboard is: Body-height + 17 ‘Inch

The usual suspects around beginner boards

Widely used for surf classes and amongst beginners in general are mini malibu boards and softtops between 7″2′ and 7” 10′. These middle sized beginner boards are built very solid, which makes them a little heavier, but at the same time gives them more stability in the water, but is still able to get some good turns done. If you are not convinced, ask your surf guide to take a wave on a beginner board and you will see, that beginner boards can be fun, too.

If you have around average body measurements, start with a board like that. They are inexpensive and can be sold at a good value. They are the best option, too learn your take off quickly. It's a common mistake, to buy too short. If you skip that stage, you probably safe at least three weeks of surfing time.

Mini Malibu Surfboard

Exeptions for beginner surfboards

Longboards might not be suitable for the average beginner, but if you have the BMI of a NFL linebacker, a sumo wrestler or a professional basketball player, a board above 8 foot can be a good advice. Nevertheless, the smooth style of longboard riding is up to date again and if you really want to lay hands on one, it is probably the best, to contact your local shaper. A longboard can be a real fun machine – if it has the right dimensions. Egg shapes can make sense, if the surfing student is still growing, or rather one of the small and dainty people. The same features apply to fish boards. Just to be clear, hybrid boards and step-ups can have a fishtail, but real fish, depending on the definition, has a maximum length of 6” 3 ‘and that’s no size for a beginner board at all.

The best surfboard for Bali

Even experienced surfers tend to take longer boards when they travel Bali. Especially in high season, the waves can easily extend your comfort zone on a 5"9' freestyle chopper. Better look out for a barrel gun, or just surf another beach that day, cause every day there is a perfect wave for you somewhere on the island.

Last words before you chose your very first own surfboard

If you are not completely sure about the size and type of your future board, try to rent different boards and whenever possible, test each plank you can get under your feet.

If in doubt, go to your local shaper, take his/her advice and order a custom-made board. A perfect board will never be too big or too slow. It will keep up the fun for the rest of your life. Although this might be a major investment, it will be only about a third more expensive than a board from the factory. In addition, you will probably never be unconfident with your quiver. Better buy one good board only once instead of buying cheap. In the end you will pay double if you buy a less matching board in the first place. If you are searching for new surfboard, he will ask you the right questions.

Here is you're checklist, what you should have accomplished on your beginner surfboard, before you look out for a smaller size..

  1. Catching whitewater and smaller waves safely, have your popup under control
  2. Position yourself in the lineup and on the peaks
  3. Control yourself, be aware of mistakes from other surfers
  4. Catch frontside and backside waves from the peak
  5. Botttom turn, Top turn, Cutback, Speed pumps

Ps: Stay close to the curl. Front hand points, where your nose goes next. Backhand supports the rotation and up and down flow of your upper body. If you want to test our quiver, with over 25 different boards, then book your stay at the Stormrider Surf Camp Bali now.

Even though, Bali is known as the most consistent surf travel destination in the world, from time to time the swell gets too big or the wind blows our home beaches. But Bali would not be Bali, if there wouldn’t be an option! While the east coast of Bali can be a good option during rain season and for expert surfers, the west coast can be in dry season. Especially the famous lefthand pointbreak Medewi is always worth a visit, when the breaks around Canggu and Kuta can no longer hold the swell (10- 12 ft. and bigger).

Bali Corduroy

An outstanding lefthand pointbreak - Medewi

Medewi beach is located in the left corner of a bay and the swell does not hit the spot as hard as in the south and south-west. Speaking in numbers, the waves at the Medewi spot usually are 2-3 ft. smaller, compared to Canggu. In addition, this spot is an interesting training ground for intermediate to advanced surfers. On a good day, even step up beginners can have a look. Although Medewi is breaking over rounded rocks, the wave is much smoother than many other pointbreaks and not as dangerous as if it would be breaking over sharp coral reef. Usually it is also not as crowded as many other breaks along the coastline, especially compared with those spots closer to the Bukit peninsula.

Left Pointbreak Turn

Medewi, a village between past and future

Contrary to many villages in East Bali, Medewi has a large muslim population. Like anywhere else in Bali, they get along with the surrounding Hindu culture very well. But that’s not the only contrast found over there. The little village is just about to improve to the next step. Shortly after the first tourist resorts have been built in the nineties, Medewi experienced a serious drawback after the terrorist bombings in Kuta in the early 2000’s. Now that the situation is obviously stable again, the village has recovered and as a first sign, you can see a constant effort to improve the infrastructure. The road to the beach gets repaired, some new houses are built close to the shore, more and more little shops open at the main road. In only 5 -10 years, Medewi will probably have changed a lot and the local people are really looking forward to that.

Fiherboats Bali

The Medewi Boardriders Club

Soon after your arrival, you will notice some of the local beach bums. Most of them are members of the Medewi Boardriders Club and their main business model is selling their t-shirts to tourists. With the money from the t-shirt sale, the club helps local kids with equipment and organizing an annual surfing competition. The shirts are quite pricey compared to a typical sweatshop in Bali, but if you are not short on money, maybe consider to buy a shirt or make a little donation to the club. You won’t regret it. The locals know how to appreciate a friendly gesture and will always help you with information about the village, the spot, the conditions and everything else.

Medewi Boardriders Club

Besides our surf camp Bali FAQ, that offers the most useful information about all needs and requirements regarding your travel, visa, customs as well as all questions about the surf camp and the surf lessons, here are some more questions that we get asked quite often. Most of them are about the daily life in Bali and easy to answer. If you have any other questions, you are invited to contact us via our contact form or in a Facebook message.

Please be aware of the time difference. If you write us an inquiry from Europe and for example its early in the day, our office is already closed over here and most likely your email can not be answered on that same day. If you have an urgent question, you better give us a call.

The ultimate Q&A for questions you may never think of:

1) Which sunblocker should I use?

- We recommend sunblockers with SPF +30 minimum. If you know you have sensitive skin, go for SPF +50. Products containing zink oxide are usually the most reliable option. Just to name a few products that have a good reputation by experience as there are: Daylong, Headhunter and … Better buy your sun blocker at home, cause they can be pretty pricey in Bali, since they are mostly imported. Never forget to put in on your feet, behind the ears, on the back of your legs and your lower back as surf jerseys tend to slide!

2) Can I use my mobile phone in Bali?

- Using your mobile phone from home is mostly too expensive, but you can buy pre paid sim cards and similar items almost everywhere, even in the smallest shops besides the road. The cost of telecommunication is very low in Bali and you can use whats app and facebook for a low rate, too.

3) Is there a lot of crime in Bali?

- The crime rate is very low around rural areas, such as Canggu, where our surf camp is located. Even though you should always be aware of some basic rules, especially you are around more touristic areas, like Kuta. We haven’t had an incident with one of our guests for a very long time, but always be cautious of pickpocketers, money changers and if you enter a taxi, make sure it is a registered official cab with a taximeter or negiotiate the price before you get in the car.

4) And the narcotics?

- Don’t even consider to buy illegal drugs. You probably won’t get what you pay for, tourists are often blackmailed and if you get caught, you face serious penalties starting from several thousand dollars to even death penalty for trafficking. Also be cautious with alcohol, regarding a few recent incidents with methanol, sold as wodka. Even if you buy a cocktail in a bar or a sealed bottle of booze, you can’t be completely sure. Better stay with beer, the stuff you brought from the duty free or ask expats for reliable sources.

5) How about insurance?

- No matter where you come from, your health insurance will probably not cover all the costs of medical treatment in Bali. There are some real good travel insurances around, for example worldnomads. If you are from Europe, a simple holiday insurance like Ergo direct will cover your trip up to 2 months for less than 10 Euros. You should definitely check before you start your travel. No matter what, you will probably have to pay for your treatment in Bali in cash or with your credit card and keep the bills for a refund as soon as you’re back home.

6) Can I come to the surf camp alone?

- Our surf camp is perfectly suitable for everybody, regardless if you travel alone, as a couple or in a group. We always arrange our rooms to fit the needs of our guests. If you come alone, a place in the dorm is usually a good option. We often have guests that travel alone, so you will find company soon enough. By the same time, the camp has various areas to hang out, so you will always find a spot on one of the terraces, where you can have a moment on your own.

7) Is it dangerous for women to travel alone in Bali?

- Bali is not an Islamic Island, even Indonesia mostly is. People are determined by Hindu culture and they are open minded, always friendly and helpful regardless your gender. You will most definitely never face rude behavior by Balinese men. Our camp is certainly very women friendly too.

8) Are there dangerous animals?

- Well, there are some wild animals that could also be harmful to humans, but in the more populated areas, they are hard to find. There are some small scorpions, snakes, sea urchins and jellyfish. The most dangerous animals around here are for sure dogs, which like to bark when you pass by their house/territory and can get aggressive if provoked. Rabies are no longer a problem along the coast. There are some sharks, but the number of shark attacks in Bali per year tends to zero. Statistically seen, your risk of having a traffic accident or food poisoning is a lot higher. Mosquitos could, but will most likely not spread dengue fever. Malaria in Bali is not a problem anymore, since vaccination and medical treatment wiped it away. If you are not travelling to other parts of Asia, there is no need for malaria prophylaxis for Bali.

9) Where can I find the best waves?

- To find good waves you still need to search, even in the most swell consistent area of the world. Depending on the swell size, wind directions and tides, we provide daily guiding to the most interesting spots for our guests. Since we are located right in the middle between the Bukit and Medewi, we minimize our time on the road, to maximize our time in the water. Our local spots around Canggu are probably the most consistent surf spots in Bali, if the swell is too big we take the action to the Bukit to less exposed spots, like Kuta or Jimbaran. With the right conditions we also like to check out the famous Bali pointbreaks like Medewi or Airport Reef.

10) How expensive are the cabs and transport in general?

- Like we mentioned before you always should negotiate the price before you begin the ride. Taksis and drivers in Bali can be hired for less than 3 $ for a short distance. The way back from Echo Beach to the camp is about 3 $, Seminyak ~8 $. From Kuta to Canggu you should reckon with something in the 12-15 $ range. A driver for a whole day including surfboards will cost 50 $.

11) When is the best time to visit Bali?

- The dry season starts in April and ends in October. The rain season is usually a bit hotter, but not as rainy as you might think. It’s not like we are having 6 months of monsoon. Normally we only have very few days during the rain season which are completely rainy. In the rest of the time, it just rains for a short while in the morning or in the evening and there are ven periods with no rain for many days in a row.

12) Is there nightlife in Canggu?

- Canggu doesn’t have a night club, but a bunch of nice bars and party venues like the famous “Deus Ex Machina”. If you want to visit night clubs and discos, we recommend to go to Seminyak, which is a little more sophisticated than the typical tourist clubs in Kuta around Poppies Lane etc.

13) Can I buy boards in Bali or should I bring my own?

- There are many places in Bali, where you can buy a used board for a reasonable price, as long as you want to buy a shortboard. Used beginner boards, Malibus or longboards are nearly impossible to find. Our board rental offers beginner and step up boards, that fit your surfing skills perfectly and the best of all, you can return it. If you have found the perfect board for you, we can certainly help you to find a board at one of the local shops. New quality boards without fins start at around 400$, as used ones go by 200 $.

14) Is the tap water drinkable?

- No. If you won’t risk an infection with streptococcus or similar bacteria, you should avoid tap water. Bottled water is available everywhere for as little as 3k – 5k IDR / liter.

15) How much does food cost in Bali?

- Eat Indo, pay Indo. Eat western, pay western. If you eat at local warungs, you need 1 - 3 $ per meal. If you order a pizza or burger meal at a typical beach restaurant you have to reckon with 6 – 15 $. Beware! Tax and service fees are not included on the menu and can double up your bill.

16) Can I rent a scooter in Bali and what does it cost?

- Scooters in Bali are the most used transport vehicles and widely used by tourists as same as locals. The rates differ from 2 $/day to 6 $/day depending on the season and the term of lease. Fuel, or “Bensin” can be bought in “Absolute Wodka” bottles at many little shops besides the road for 0,6 – 0,8 $/liter.

17) Can I walk barefoot in Bali?

- In Canggu you can, but not in Kuta. The Balinese usually do not drop many bottles, so there is not as much glass on the ground as on French parking lots or in Orange County. But in the more populated areas, there is a lot of litter beneath the road and we would not recommend walking barefoot there. In addition, the streets get insanely hot during midday and a pair of flip-flops is available for less than 1 $.

18) Can I pay with my local currency in Bali?

- The local currency is IDR (Indonesian Rupies). US Dollars are widely accepted, as long as the notes are in a very good condition. Some places accept Euros, for example at the airport, but better go for dollars or even better, just get some local currency from an ATM with your credit card.


Bali daytrip to Uluwatu

Instead of a lazy weekend, most of our guests at the surf camp choose the option to go on a daytrip on sunday. We usually don’t offer surf lessons during the weekend. The surf spots in Bali are mostly too crowded then and our surf guides need a day off from time to time, too :) This time, it was decided to go on a tour to Uluwatu, which is one of our favourite destinations, besides Ubud, the Kings Graves, the monkey forest and the temple of Tanah Lot. On the way to Uluwatu we usually stop by at another famous surf spot of Bali, that goes by the name of Padang Padang. Afterwards we often join the traditional firedance ceremony at Uluwatu.

Kuta Traffic Jam

The streets of Kuta are a little less crowded during the weekend, but still busy, compared to the roads in Europe or anywhere else in the western world.

Padang Padang – one of the best surf spots in the world

Padang Padang is not only a lovely beach, it is also one of the most famous surf spots in the world, that offers perfect conditions nearly all year long. Just 30 meters away from the parking lot,the beach of Padang Padang is entered through a steep stairset, cutting through between the cliffs. The beach itself is just a short stretch of 200 meters, next to a high cliff on the left and sharp rocks to the right. The waves break over a shallow reef 70 meters away from the beach and even if you don’t surf you will be well entertained by those who do. The real Padang Padang, a shallow, barreling lefthander, which is not visible from the beach cause it is hidden behind the cliff, usually hosts a bunch of real good surfers on the. Beginners and intermediates are well served on the smaller break, right in front of the beach, that goes by the name of “Baby Padang”. Like usual, the beach is pretty busy with vendors of all kinds of souvenirs, surfboard rentals and little warungs. Since the beach is not that extended, it gets crowded early and runs out of shady places pretty fast, but if you stay longer you can rent an umbrella to stay cool.

Padang Padang Beach

Overview from the above the beach at Padang Padang

The famous Uluwatu cliffs and reefbreaks

After Padang Padang, it’s not that far until you arrive at Uluwatu, which is another well known surf spot in Bali, famous for its long and hollow tube rides in front of a stunning view from the cliff. Both spots are considered to be “pro spots” and only well trained surfers should go out there, especially at a swell size which brings the spots to life, somewhere above the 6ft. mark.

Uluwatu Channel

The Channel, your way into the break at Uluwatu

Aussie Surfer at Uluwatu

Big spray and cutback at Uluwatu

Watch the surf and relax

All the way down the cliffs at Uluwatu, many small shops, cafés and restaurants are built into the cliff walls, which offer everything to satisfy the needs of the visitors. On a good day, you can spend hours and hours, just catching affordable food from the restaurants, have a few cold beverages and watch the incredible surf. If you surf there yourself, every single wave will be caught by professional photographers on the cliff and you can buy your shots later in one of the booths, that are specialized in that business. A common price for your shots is about 150.000 IDR.

Uluwatu Restaurant

Campers hanging out at one of the restaurants on the cliff.

Traditional Balienese firedance

If you are not too tired after your Uluwatu experience, our drivers take you to the temple where you can enjoy the traditional firedance ceremony at Uluwatu, before everybody gets transferred back to the Stormrider Surf Camp.

Uluwatu Fire Dance

Firedance ceremony, Uluwatu at sunset

Travel vocabulary for indonesia. Surfers talk and useful phrases for Bali.

Indonesian Language and vocabulary

Indonesia is the 4th most populous country in the world and 140 Million people in the world speak Bahasa Indonesia. Even though many people in Bali are comfortable with basic English, the language barrier can be a hassle sometimes. Indonesian is a artificial language, so it is easy to built simple sentences, without having much knowledge of the grammar. In addition there are a lot of loan words (fe. 10000 from dutch).

Bahasa Indonesia for Surfers

No matter if you're from Australia, South America, Europe or any other place in the world, if you are interestes in languages in general, you can generally adapt some Indonesian language skills pretty fast. A few words in the mother tongue may help you with your daily life or at least earn you a friendly smile and a gesture of respect here in Bali. If you travel on to Java, Sumatra, Lombok or other parts of Indonesia, it might also help a lot, when you ask the local surfers about for the conditions at their local break.

Basic indonesian words and phrases


Bahasa Indoesia





Take away


Good morning

Selamat pagi

Good day

Selamat siang

Good Afternoon

Selamat Sore


Selamat Tingal

Good evening

Selamat malam

Thank you…

Terima kasih…

…Very much


Your welcome

Sama Sama

Please (requesting)


Please (offering)


Excuse me


How are you?

Apa kabar

I’m fine

Baik Baik

My name is

Nama saya

What’s your name?

Siapa nama Anda?

Where are you from?

Dari mana?

I am from…

Saya orang…

Where do you live

Anda tinggal di mana

I don’t understand

Saya tidak mengerti



The menu please

Tolong daftar makanannya

I would like to eat.

Saya mau makan.

Can I have a…?

Boleh saya minta…?

Enjoy your meal.

Selamat makan.


Selamat minum

I would like to pay

Saya mau bayar

Was does it cost?

Berapa harganya?

Where is …?

Di mana …?












Batu karang



Is this the road to…?

Apa ini jalan ke…?

I wanna buy…

Saya mau membeli…

Too expensive for me

Ini terlalu mahal

See you later

Sampai jumpa lagi

Have a good trip

Selamat jalan

No worries

Tidak apa apa




Bukan / Tidak (with verb)

Do you have?


No thanks.

Tidak mau.

Make a better price


Apa boleh kurang


What is this?

Apa ini?




























Tiga belas



Two Hundred




Two Thousand


































Our Staff tries to teach our guests some words here and there (if you’re interested), but if you really wanna learn some Indonesian, let us know, so we can arrange your surf sessions around your lessons, for example at Cinta Bahasa, right around the corner in Canggu.

Black board Surf camp

Our announcment board

Rip Curl Sponsorship for Bali Surfer

Today, Rip Curl proudly announced to renew their contract with Bali barrel charger and everybody's darling Garut Widiarta. Garut is not only one of the best surfers from Bali, that is well known around the Balinese Surf scene for his outstanding performances at legendary spots like uluwatu, he currently holds place two in the 2013 Asian Surfing Championship Tour.

In a recent interview about his latest signing Garut stated: "I've been with Rip Curl since I'm 12 yars old. Rip Curl is like family for me and I'm so stoked I can continue my dream of living the search." So big ups at this point from our team here at Stormrider Surf Camp Bali. Always proud if one of the Bali riders has the chance to enter the game of professional surfing. Stay save, have fun and never forget your roots.

Garuta Widiarta

Garut Widiarta surfing in Bali

As well as Garut is travelling all over the world, he surely loves his home and spend every possible second around the awesome spots in Bali. Here, you can wtch his promo clip, if you wanna know what his surfing looks like. The video contains footage from some of the most famous spots in Bali, like Uluwatu and Kuta beach. Both spots are on the regular guiding plan of the stormrider camp.

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How to get sponsored in Bali

Garut Widiarta is 25 now. By the time he got signed on Rip Curl with his first contract he was 13 years old. So the easiest way to answer this question is - start early boys and good luck!

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