Where’s the best place to learn to surf in Bali for beginners?

Bali is a world-famous surfing island with excellent surf spots all around the coast. Plenty of people have made it their home simply because of the great surfing. But you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy the waves here. Many people come to learn to surf in Bali, and others fit in a surf lesson just for fun while they are on holiday.

But where is the best place to learn to surf in Bali if you’re a beginner?

Surfing fail

At least we can capture some action shots of you falling off…

Well, here are some things you should look for if you want beginner surf lessons in Bali:

A sandy seabed

As a beginner surfer you can expect to fall off the board more than you stay on it. Your success rate will improve over time but until then, it’s best to avoid waves that break over rocks or coral reef. A wave that breaks over a sandy seabed is called a ‘beach break’ and this is the best type of wave for learning to surf.

Shallow water

When you first learn to surf, you’ll want to concentrate on finding your balance on the board. This takes enough energy without having to worry about paddling out to catch a wave. Aim for a beach where the water is shallow enough that you can walk all the way out to where the waves are breaking. This also makes it easier for your instructor to accompany you and help you catch a wave at the right time.

white waves for surfing

This type of wave is ideal for beginner surfing

White water

Lots of white water after a wave breaks means you’ll have plenty of time to master standing up and balancing. It’s also easier to catch white waves when you’re just learning to surf. Waves break when they hit shallow water so this really goes hand-in-hand with the point above.

A great surf instructor

Some people want to hire a surf board and figure it out for themselves, but trust us, you’ll make a LOT more progress if you have an instructor helping you. Not only will your instructor give you advice on your technique, they’ll also help you get out to where the waves are best and then give you a push to help you catch a good one. This means you don’t have to work so hard and more of your energy can go into balancing on the board! As you progress and are able to surf independently, your instructor will show you how to identify the best places to surf.

Great team, for beginners suitable. Private surf lesson at really fair prices. Very patient and competent Guide. My sister had 2 hours of lessons and I was amazed at what is possible in the short time. Top photos and videos of her were made that she got free.

Best beginner surf spots in Bali

So where in Bali ticks all these boxes to make the surfing conditions ideal for beginners? Despite its many surf spots, there are only a few beaches in Bali which offer safe and predictable conditions for learning to surf.

surfing legian beach

The waves at Legian beach are good for improving your surfing skills, too

Kuta and Legian Beach

Often referred to simply as ‘Kuta Beach’, this white sand beach stretches from the airport towards the north. Kuta is probably the best-known place to head for beginner surfing lessons in Bali, but that means it is often the most crowded.

Legian beach offers the same surfing conditions without drawing such crowds to the water. Legian beach surfing is fun and laid-back, spared from the competitiveness of more accomplished surfers that you’ll find in places like Canggu.

Another benefit of surfing in Legian and Kuta is that the beaches are patrolled by lifeguards and have clearly marked swimming areas. Having all the swimmers in one place leaves more of the beach clear for surfing safely.

All along Kuta and Legian beach you’ll find little one-man surf stands as well as big-name surf schools. Our Legian surf school offers the friendliness of a family-run business with the flexibility to cater to bigger groups. An added bonus if you’re travelling Bali on a budget is that surf lesson prices at Chandra’s Surfing are less than half the price of nearby surf schools like Rip Curl.

Conditions aren’t perfect for beginner surfing in Legian 100% of the time, but we’ll advise you of the best time of day for your lesson. The waves change all the time as tides and currents move the sand around on the seabed.

We contacted Chandra via email & had all our questions answered very promptly. They watched to tides & waves & let us know when was best to try not just taking us out to learn in any waves. Very patient, good sense of humour & always felt in good hands & when you were finished the lesson there was a sun bed with umbrella to crash on. We will be back !! Thank you Caro & Dasha – TripAdvisor review

Our priority is making sure you get the most out of your surf lesson, so we’ll only take you out when and where the conditions are right.

Seminyak and Canggu

Continuing along from Legian you’ll find the more upmarket Seminyak, home to many of Bali’s famous beach clubs like Potato Head and KuDeTa. This is followed by hipster hangout Canggu. Surfing in both of these locations is suitable for beginners at certain times, but not consistently.

The bigger, faster breaks that often appear here are better suited to surfers with some experience. Rip tides and currents can also be stronger than they look from the shore. That said, there are plenty of surf schools dotted along the beach offering beginner and intermediate surf lessons.


Serangan, located due east of Kuta, is an area mainly frequented by locals. It’s a man-made island (also known as ‘Turtle Island’) accessible from the Bypass on the way to Sanur. It’s not just surfing that’s popular in Serangan; you’ll find other water sports such as kite surfing, paragliding and even underwater scooter rides on offer.

Serangan’s beaches are mainly sandy but the best surfing spots vary depending on the time of year and tide. If you’re a complete beginner you can ask around to find a place where the conditions are suitable, then approach anyone renting out surfboards to ask if they can give you a lesson. Not all the breaks are suitable for beginners though, so don’t go out alone unless you’re a more confident surfer.

When you’ve finished, we recommend ordering barbecued fish (ikan bakar) at one of the little warungs on the beach.


Sanur reef is about 15 minutes north from Serangan. It has some gentle breaks which are, in theory, good for beginner surfers. The only drawback is that they are located a long way out from the beach so you’ll either need to paddle a very long way or get a local guide with a boat or jet ski to take you out.

Because you’re so far from the shore, we don’t recommend surfing here if it’s your very first time. Get a couple of lessons at a Kuta or Legian surf school first so you at least know the basics.

Although it’s called Sanur reef, the reef itself is far enough below the surface of the water that it shouldn’t present any danger to surfers. It does make this a popular spot for snorkelling and diving, too.

learn to surf in Bali

Choose an instructor you feel comfortable with

So, why learn to surf in Legian with Chandra’s Surfing Bali?

At our Legian surf school you’ll find good surfing conditions for beginner surf lessons and – just as importantly – a friendly and knowledgeable team.

We want to make sure you have a great time when you learn to surf in Bali. All our surf lessons include:

  • A private instructor for you and your group (maximum 3 people per instructor)
  • All the equipment you need to surf
  • Free surfing photos to capture your experience

You can contact us to book a lesson or keep browsing to find out more about the services we offer and what makes us different.

We hope to see you soon!

My two daughters took a lesson from Jimmy from Chandra’s surf. They had a great time and Jimmy was very helpful. We all had so much fun that we ended up going back two more days to rent both surf boards and boogie boards. The equipment was all in good shape and the guys were very accommodating and knowledgable. Would definitely recommend! – TripAdvisor review