It was intrepid surfers who first discovered the charms of Kuta beach way back in the 1970s and it remains at the forefront of Indonesia’s vibrant surfing scene. It is the most picturesque beach in Bali, winding its way for over five miles and lashed by huge waves. Kuta beach is the ideal place to learn how to surf, and to mix with other dedicated enthusiasts. Kuta Beach Road is filled with surf schools and board hire kiosks.
Check out Pro Surf (website:www.prosurfschool.com) for professional instruction. Tuition starts from around rp450,000 for a 2.5-hour lesson and there are tailor-made courses for complete beginners and intermediate surfers. Dedicated kids lessons and women-only lessons are also available at some surf schools.
You can also rent boards from the haphazard collection of kiosks right on the beach for no more than rp30,000 per day. However, there is much better choice and quality a five minute walk away atPoppies Lane and Benesari Street. This area is the heart of Kuta’s lively surfing village which extends all the way from the beach to Legian Street in the centre of town. It is wall to wall board hire rental shops and trendy surf wear fashions along with a host of juice bars, tattoo parlours, spas and second hand book sellers.
The vibrant atmosphere continues well into the early hours in dozens of surfer bars, bohemian all night cafes and live music venues. This is also Bali’s backpacker haven where you can expect lots of cheap eats, lively happy hours and inexpensive guesthouses. It is a great place to mix and socialise with other surfers and many young people spend weeks here without ever exploring other parts of Bali.
A great night is guaranteed at Tubes Bar (website: www.tubesbar-restaurant.baliklik.com) which is Kuta’s most popular surfer hang out. It has tasty and cheap Mediterranean bites, ice cold beer on tap and open air dancing until the early hours. Elsewhere there are trendy surfer friendly cafes showing surfing movies round the clock, grungy rock clubs and chilled out lounge bars.
There are several travel companies specialising in more adventurous surf camps and live aboard cruises to the legendary waves of G-Land in east Java, Sumbawa and Lombok. G-Land Jungle Surf Camp (website: www.g-landsurfcamp.com) is a professional set up with years of experience and usually has weekly departures.
Back to Kuta beach there are regular pro surf competitions and all comer contests sponsored by leading brands such as Ripcurl, Billabong and Rusty. It is a great spectacle even for non surfers and usually features a carnival like atmosphere with live music and beach sports.