Surf schools: a very different kind of board meeting.
The idea of standing up on a surfboard may seem like ice-skating in your slippers. And yes, your first attempt at surfing will probably feel like this. But persevere and you’ll soon be shooting down a wave and paddling back out for another go.
The best way to learn to surf is at a surf camp. It’s essentially a guesthouse with guides who take you to the beach every day and teach you in the water. You will surf better, meet people like you and find spots only the locals know.
In the family of Indonesian islands, Bali got the dashing good looks and all the friends. Tourists flock here for beach days, nights out, massages on tap, and, of course, wave after lovely wave. While the experts get their kicks surfing big waves on shallow reef, Bali’s sandy shores are great for beginners.
Kima Bali Surfaris have six surf camps close to learnerfriendly ‘ breaks’ (shores with waves). Packages include accommodation, breakfast and two surf sessions per day, seven days a week. A typical day goes something like this:
6am: Rise and shine and hop in a van with two friendly guides and five other guests, with rental surfboards strapped on to the roof. A short drive takes you past green rice fields, Hindu temples and chic boutiques.
6.30am: On the beach, the guides show you how to lie belly-down on your board and pop up to your feet when a wave takes you. The sun rises as you paddle into the warm sea.
7am: After a stumble or two, you stand up in the white water and ride your first wave. You splutter and smile as the realisation hits you that you may have found your new favourite hobby.
9am: Breakfast back at the camp. Feast on tasty mie goreng noodles and nasi goreng rice, or fruit, pancakes, eggs and toast.
10am: Relax in a sun bed, soak in the pool, read a book, make new friends.
2pm: It’s time for your second surf session. A cameraman films the group from the shore. The guides offer tips and review your progress at the end.
7pm: The group watches the video back at camp. A guide corrects your faults and applauds your glories. Everyone laughs at each other wiping out.
8pm: Dinner at the camp restaurant, which could be local food, burgers, pasta, fish, steak, or eat outside the camp at a simple warung (food shack), a cool bar, pizza joint or beach café.
10pm: Retire to your plush villa, thatched bungalow, bedroom or shared dorm. If you’re in a party mood, the thumping clubs of Seminyak and Kuta are waiting to lead you astray.
What else? If you fancy a break from surfing, the camp runs regular day trips to active volcanoes, caves and temples. Don’t miss the sunset kecak dance at Ulu Watu temple, an amazing mix of chanting men, damsels in distress and spooky demons.