Lombok For Beginners
Surfing Lombok’s pristine bays with it's clean turquoise water and rocky outcrops can be a truly memorable experience. If you are a beginner however, learning to surf in Lombok can be a daunting experience. The majority of surf spots break on reef which has dire consequences when you land on it. They are more powerful, easily pitching beginners and their boards over the falls. Reef breaks also require more of an understanding of how tides, swell size and direction affects a particular spot.
Surf spots in Lombok can be suitable for learners when the swell is small giving beginners super long rides into channel, and a paddle back without even needing to duck dive. These same spots however can look very different when a sizable swell hits. Make sure you understand the situation on the day and surf within your limits. You can put yourself and other surfers in danger if you haven’t mastered skills like navigating a lineup, duck diving and holding onto your board instead of letting it go.
Tips For Beginner Surfers
Guided Surf Trips
Due to the fickleness of these spots, beginner should get a guide who can bring you to a suitable spot for the day. Knowledge of a break takes experience. Better to let them work it out, while you concentrate on finessing those bottom turns.
Very Advisable. Cut up your feet and you will have to contend with spending the rest of your trip downing Kura Kuras (Bintang is old school) at the Surfers Bar.
Things to Watch out for
Lombok has a reputation for overzealous surf guides and instructors for whom “dropping in” is much more of a vague concept. These cowboys push their clients onto waves regardless of whether someone is already riding the wave. If you are on a wave and you see this happening, be careful of flying boards. Its not worth having words with the guides especially if you are surfing alone. You are a visitor to them and getting in the way of them making money.
At places like Gerupuk that have no beaches where you can safely practice riding whitewater, your guide has no choice but to bring you the smallest wave in the area, which depending on the conditions could still be quite dangerous. Know yourself. Even though guides are meant to look after you, surfing is not a banana boat ride. You need to look after your own safety first. Make sure you can swim well, learn how to read the surf forecast and don’t head out if you feel you are not ready.
Lombok’s Beginner Surf Spots
The best place in Lombok for the absolute beginner.
If you have never planted your foot on a surfboard before, Selong Belanak is ideal for you. Its a wide beach in a bay where the waves are always small, breaking in a straight line on a sand bottom. Great for beginners who are practicing their pop ups in the rolling whitewater. Not a wave for advanced surfers, so you don’t need to worry about getting in anyone’s way. There are surf instructors and softboards which you can rent by the hour on the beach. Even if you are not surfing, Selong Belanak is one of the most pretty beaches in Lombok. The beach has warungs serving food and refreshments. Get a deck chair, chill and make it a great beach outing.
Access: From beach
Surf Lesson & hire: Mul’s Surf School
Eat: Jack’s Place
Drink: Laut Biru Bar
Good for surfers starting to trim on a wave
Gerupuk Bay has a surf spot called Inside Right that is deal for beginners who are comfortable with the basics and ready to pop up on a green wave. When the swell is small at less than shoulder height and on mid to high tide, this wave is usually mellow. It goes on for a very long distance and you can practice doing turns on it. Insides breaks on a sand covered reef which is safer. It gets crowded, so you need to watch out for other surfers.
Gerupuk Don Don
Don Don is the other wave in Gerupuk which can also be good for beginners only when it is small. This wave breaks left and right before ending in a channel. At a small size, the takeoff is easy and the wave marches along slowly letting you work on your turns. When it gets overhead however, the wave should not be taken lightly. Brutal hold downs for surfers caught inside. Like Inside Right, there will be a crowd when the wave is working.
Check Out: How to Surf Gerupuk Bay
Access: By Boat from the village
Surf Lesson: Surf Camp Lombok
Surf Hire: Bayu Surfboards
Eat & Drink: Snapper Surf Corner & Gerupuk Surf Cafe
When the swell is below a meter, Tanjung A’an can be an excellent wave for beginners and longboarders. It breaks far out and crumbles for a very long distance into a channel on both sides. Beginners can stay on the inside catching the broken white water to practice their pop-ups. You still need to be cautious as the wave breaks over a reef. It is a fair paddle out so if you haven’t developed your surf fitness, it may be better to get a ride on a boat to the lineup. A’an is a beautiful bay. Nice just to be out there in the lineup.
Check out: How to Surf Kuta Lombok
Access: By Boat
Surf lesson & hire: Green Room Surf School
On the far side of Mawang bay near Ekas village is Pantai Rungkang which has break suitable for learners. A mellow right hander in shallow water which is good for those working pop ups and trimming. Rungkang is a fair way from Kuta and not worth traveling all the way for, but a good option for beginners if they are already in the area.
Check out: How to Surf Ekas Bay
Access: Paddle out
Surf lesson & hire: Ekas Surf Resort, Ombak Resort
Sengigi is usually a performance wave for the local rippers. But when the swell is tiny, it can also be good for beginners. It’s a reef break, so you need to be extra careful when falling off. For beginners going straight towards the beach you should definitely wear reef boots as you will be dismounting on the reef.
Access: Paddle Out
Surf lesson & hire: Nayaka Surf School
On one of my first surf trips to Gerupuk, my guide and captain anchored at Outside Right with what seemed like 5 other surf classes. It looked calm but when the sets arrived they were overhead with barrels to be had. Till this day I don’t know if I made the drop by myself or whether I was pushed. But what I do know was while I was on the wave I was joined by 3 other people who must have thought there was a party and everyone was invited. When that lip hit us chaos ensued with tangled leashes, rocks and bits of coral flying around while we were pushed further inside onto the reef. That was a very memorable first surf of a reef break.