Learning to surf was such a treat


I grew up in East London, South Africa – a known beach and surf hotspot and although we spent a lot of time at the beach, I have never learnt to surf. So, with the Rip Curl Surf School just around the corner from us in Bali, we thought we’d give it a try and booked a family surf lesson.

All four of us before our family surf lesson with Rip Curl School of Surf
The Sanur and Legian beaches

We’re staying in Sanur where there is a reef which means that the waves do not break onto the shore, but onto the reef some way out. This is perfect for calm waters for the little ones to splash in or for wind-surfing or for kite-surfing. (Gav has been doing lessons and hopes to stand-up today!)

Surfers tend to take a boat out to the reef and continue from there. When the time for our surf lesson arrived, the school called to say we would have our lesson in Legian as the conditions were better there. I was relieved as reef surfing seemed extreme for a first go.

The school have such an excellent set up and can make the most of conditions on both coasts. If there is an onshore wind on one coast, it’ll be the opposite on the other side and they’re just a half hour drive apart; super planning!

Our first lesson

Gav and I enjoyed a fun first lesson. I think G and R are a little young. G was caught under his board at one point and had a huge fright. And R has just learnt to swim – it’s more of a doggy paddle than a recognisable stroke. He is at that over-confident stage where he thinks he can swim like a pro. Perhaps this is the ultimate time to learn to surf – or not!

Anyway, we decided it’d be better for the boys to try again at another time. And I did another two lessons which I thoroughly enjoyed. I can turn to the left and to the right. Amazing! I’ve also learnt more about the sea which is so cool. You’d think I’d know something from growing up in SA!


In SA, you swim between the two flags (I’m not sure if this is still the case, but that’s what we knew to follow). Here, on the other hand, the red flags indicate the rip-tide which can take you out to the deep, deep so you aim to swim / surf on either side of the red flags. The instructor pointed out that you can identify the rip tide by looking at the waves and determining where the waves are not breaking. It’s at that point where the rip tide is taking the water out to the depths.

Another thing I learned today is that you want to watch the waves and choose a wave at the point where there is a table of water in front of you, not at the point when the water is retreating into the ocean. This seems logical, but logic doesn’t always come into my equation – especially when focussing on catching a wave and trying to do everything instructed!

Even catching the little beach waves (they seem big!) was awesome and I can feel that lull of the ocean feel when I climb into bed at night. It reminds me of when I was little and spent hours and hours in the waves and was absolutely exhausted at night. The best!

The boys are loving the ocean too – they jump the waves, are body-surfing the waves and R has come up with a kung-fu fight with the waves. It’s awesome to see them enjoying it all! And hopefully Gav arrives back invigorated after his kite-surfing lesson this afternoon too. (Yesterday there wasn’t enough wind so hopefully today’s the day!)

Legian beach
The boys enjoying themselves in the sea at Legian beach

If you visit Bali, I couldn’t recommend the Rip Curl School of Surf more highly. You can look at their website here: http://ripcurlschoolofsurf.com

Their instructors are great as is their gear and organisation.

  1. Hold on to and press down on the back of your board to head into the surf.
  2. Your eyes are your balance and direction – look to where you want to go.
  3. If you fall off, put your hands up to protect your face until you have a hold of your board again.
  4. Stay away from the rip tide at first (when you’re very good I bet the rip tide could be useful for getting you out to the bigger waves).
  5. Choose a wave when there is a body of water in front of you; not when the water is heading back out.
  6. You want to position yourself just right on the board – the tip of the board just nicely out of the water. This position will change according to the waves.

3 Replies to “Learning to surf was such a treat”

  1. Coucou Nicole,
    Je suis contente de vous retrouver sur ton blog.
    J’ai une question, comment avoir la traduction en français car mon anglais est nul et j’aimerais comprendre toutes vos aventures.
    Je vous souhaite beaucoup de bonheur en famille et entre amis.
    Je vous embrasse et à bientôt.

    1. Cc Jacqueline! Merci! Bonne idée! Sans doute il y a qqchose assez facile que je peux utiliser pour traduire. Je vais trouvé! On part pour une semaine au “Green School” aujourd’hui alors je vais trouvé après cela! Bon vacances! Bisous xx

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