Surfing, yoga and travel have always been my passions so it comes naturally to write about them. Bali provides the perfect alchemy of all three so I am happy to share my Bali essentials tips for your next surf and yoga adventure to our island paradise.
Travelling solo to an unknown country can be scary and challenging in so many ways, hence it is important to do your research before you go. Bali does cater exceptionally well to female travellers especially those who are looking to surf or practice yoga. There are a number of camps and retreats in Bali for all tastes and budgets ranging from a dirty mattress on the floor to the most luxury of 5 star resorts. What they all offer is the opportunity for you to find your perfect wave, make new friends, have new experiences and embrace the beautiful lifestyle Bali can provide.
Bali is a tropical paradise, with great surf conditions most of the year. So here is our first tip, if you are thinking in booking a trip to the Island of Gods, for an epic surf holiday, make sure is in between March – November, this is the best time! If you can only come December through to February be aware that it rains a lot and the waves are less consistent.
Get fit before you go! The fitter and stronger you are before you arrive in Bali the more you will get out of your time in here. There’s loads of information on fitness for surfing so work out which one best suits you and embrace it for the months leading up to your trip and you will reap the rewards (get a copy of The Surf Girl Guide To Surf Fitness). Our guests often find that having a visit planned helps motivate them to get in the gym, on the mat or in the pool so they ready to surf when they arrive!
Bali’s surf spots have been well documented since the late ’70s and there are waves here for all surfers of all abilities, however the surf can change here very quickly depending on the swell, tides and wind. The same surf spot that offered perfect ride able green waves at 8am might be too shallow and only for the pros by 11 am. So it pays to have some local knowledge to search out the best waves for you on the island. The best surf camps and retreats will have a team of experienced coaches and guides who will be able to get you to the right location, keep you feeling safe and comfortable in the water and make sure you get that all important perfect ride. (They should also have a host who can let you know about the other essentials like cafes, restaurants, shopping and spas too!)
You don’t need to burn to bronze! The ruin of many a European surfer girl’s trip has been over exposure to the tropical sun. You will get a tan when you are here but what we don’t recommend is laying out in the sun for hours drenched in coconut oil! Especially when you are just off the jet, you will end looking like a lobster. It also pays to try and surf early in the mornings to avoid the heat (and crowds) and get in the habit of carrying a water bottle with you. There is a fantastic range of rash vests and surf leggings available on the market that we recommend to help protect your skin from the sun.
Travel light! As a rough guide don’t pack more than you can carry by yourself with a surfboard under your arm, especially if you plan on doing a little island hopping. The weather is warm all year round so you can leave your jackets, boots and scarves at home. The shopping in Bali is also amazing and really affordable so a couple of outfits, flip flops and your beachwear will be all you need.
Bali with its strong Hindu culture has long been a famous centre for yoga practice. Therefore I definitely recommend that if you have not already tried yoga that you give it a go in Bali. The benefits that yoga can have on your surfing are far-reaching through improved strength, flexibility, or simply just breathing better; all these elements are important for your surfing development. There are a number of yoga specific retreats in Ubud or you can stay a surf and yoga camp that will incorporate yoga for surfing into your schedule.
-Enjoy a coconut on the beach at sunset and sunrise from the top of a volcano.
-Get pampered like a princess for a pauper’s price.
-Shop or dance the night away Seminyak.
-Indulge in delicious cuisine from all over the world.
-Visit an orphanage and donate something to Bali’s less fortunate.
-Passport: make sure it has over 6 months left until it expires
-Travel insurance (be sure to check out your policies limitations)
-Travel documents (flight tickets, accommodation vouchers, etc)
-International driver license (totally optional, but riding a scooter in Bali, can be fun and a convenient way to get around).
-Money: it’s always helpful to bring some cash in the currency of the country you are travelling to.
-Previous research about the place you are travelling (weather, safety, surf forecast, food, etc)
-A travel journal, its always great to read back about your adventures.
-A book or your kindle for lazy afternoons in the hammock
-Hard drive for collecting photos and bringing your favourite movies and tv series.
-Bikinis: we love bikinis and one pieces, make sure you bring as many as you have, there is never enough bikinis!
-Shortie wetsuit (especially if you are coming between June –September)
-Long sleeve rashvest and surf leggings especially for beginners who will be using soft boards.
-Sunglasses + hat
-Flip flops + pair of sandals
-Clothes: Denim shorts, beach dresses and light clothes for warm weather
-Beach towels or sarongs
-Toiletries; toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo – conditioner, oil for your hair before and after surfing. (We love beach hair, but we also love a healthy good looking beach hair).
-Camera; to document your trip round Bali
-First aid kit
-Ding repair kit; this could totally save your surf trip
-Surfboard; make sure you take your fins, wax off, pack your board in bubble warp before you put it in your board bag, and don’t forget your fin key.
* Shortboards are easy to travel with! If you have a longboard, its better to leave it home, especially in Bali you can rent one anywhere you go.
Remember ladies to travel with an open heart, savour the moment, embrace the beauty of your journey, share your story with others and enjoy every moment on the road.
Yeni Canelon is the owner and operator of Salti Hearts Surf and Yoga Camp for Girls in Bali. Originally from the Caribbean Yeni has been teaching surfing and yoga around the world. For the last 12 years as an Oceanographer Yeni has also worked for a number of clean water charities around the world. In her spare time she enjoys adopting puppies and drinking hazelnut lattes.