Karina goes surfing in Bali

Travel addict Karina Kold spent a week with Lapoint surf camp in the south of Bali, riding reef breaks and getting lost in the bohemian cultural hub of Ubud.

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Karina’s Bali surf guide

“It’s a special, calm and peaceful feeling to wake up at sunrise in Bali and look out through the misty morning at with blue ocean, lush green rice fields and volcanoes, the sent of incense and surfboard wax mingling in the air.

A surfing escape to the exotic Indonesian island of Bali had long been on my travel bucket list. Bali is known for world-class surf spots and comfortable waves for beginners and intermediate surfers, and I was curious to improve my skills whilst experiencing Balinese culture and the islander’s spiritual lifestyle.

This was the first time I had to get on a boat with my surfboard to reach the surf spot; a reef break some hundreds of meters from the beach. To surf out in the ocean felt quite different and a little bit scary to begin with, since you can’t just paddle up to the beach and have a chill out in the sand after a rough wipe out or if you needed to rest your arm muscles.

I joined Lapoint surf camp, which works together with the Rip Curl Surf School in Sanur on the southwest coast of Bali. The local instructors gave us a crash course in surf theory and explained how to go about riding a reef break before we went out onto the ocean with instructors.

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I was aiming for green waves, and helpfully waves that break on a reef are more consistent than on a beach, and the peak of the wave is easier to predict. I did my best to paddle for the pocket of the wave and take off a to the left or the right to extend the length of my ride. It was exhausting, but every surfer knows that it takes practice, patience, strength and a can-do attitude to improve your surfing. Help from an instructor doesn’t hurt either!

The Lapoint villa I stayed at is located on the south drop of Bali, in a gorgeous green farmland area close to the famous beaches of Uluwatu, Dreamland and Balangan. You know it’s gonna be a good day when you’re served freshly made banana pancakes for breakfast before jumping in the surf van to go hit the waves.

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Some afternoons a fellow wave-addicted surf girl and I would rent scooters and head to a beach for a more relaxed session. Balangan Beach often gets very big swell – too challenging for me – but we managed to pick an afternoon with chilled-out 3ft waves that were easy to catch on a fun 8ft board. Padang Padang is also great for intermediate surfers, whilst the pros flock to Uluwatu in the south.

When I was too exhausted for a second surf session I’d go for a full body massage. You’ll find masseuses everywhere on Bali and the prices are very low compared to most other countries. Another post-surf activity I’d recommend is a yoga class to stretch out your muscles. If you can’t find a studio near by YouTube yoga videos work too – I like Yoga with Adriene.

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On a rare day off from the water we headed to the cultural hub of Ubud to wander through rice terraces and temples, hunt for treasures in the souvenir markets and art shops and delve into the forest in search of cheeky monkeys. Ubud can be hectic and touristy but it’s still totally worth exploring.

Bali is still a very spiritual island and locals place offerings on the streets, outside and inside their houses several times a day. The ritual involves a lit incense stick and a small basket made of banana leafs containing food and flowers to bring a good health, harmony and balance in life. The peaceful offering is also a way to show gratitude of the richness of life, a sentiment I can definitely get behind. Namaste.”

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