Two of the UK’s top girl bodyboarders Olivia Smedley and Kirsty Mann headed to Bali and Nusa Lembongan this spring. What did they think? ‘Tropical Perfection’.
Book your Indonesia Bodyboard Trip here.
What did you both think of your first trip to Indo?
OS: Epic! It was amazing to be able to surf in just a bikini. The waves and the weather were perfect.
Food and accommodation were really cheap. It really is a surfer’s paradise.
KM: I’ve been wanting to go to Indo since I was a teenager but for some reason it’s just never come together before now. Now I’ve been I’m kind of gutted I didn’t make it sooner. First and foremost I felt really safe there travelling. The locals were super friendly and only too happy to help out or look after our gear at the beach while we surfed. But I think what I liked most is the amount of options for waves, there’s a perfect setup for everyone in Bali…
Lot’s of people think that the waves are really sketchy (before they go there) what sort of variety did you experience?
OS: There is a lot variety, from beach breaks to shallow coral reef breaks. There are a lot of beach breaks around the Kuta area which cater more for beginners. Above Kuta, Canggu is a heavy wedge beach break ideal for bodyboarding. On the Bukit Peninsula there are shallow reef breaks varying from intense barrels for experts to the more manageable peeling barrels of Balangan. However, I found that at most spots the rip currents could be very strong so you had to be aware of your position in the sea or a lot of paddling would be involved!
KM: I was really nervous about the waves and spent the first few days feeling anxious about what the next day would bring but there are so many options, it’s not all about gnarly shallow reefs, with west bali offering some really fun beach breaks. Canggu had the perfect variety for bodyboarding, so many options, lefts, rights, reef or sand, ramps, bowls and barrels… Any bodyboarders dream! I found the Bukit peninsular offered the best range of quality reef breaks where we had good sessions at Green Ball and Padang Padang, and Balangan was a fun reef for all levels. On Nusa Lembongan all you had to do was walk out your door onto the beach and take a boat to the break that took your fancy!
How were the crowds?
OS: Crowds were hectic at times. There was a lot of dropping in and snaking going on. However,
if you timed it right you could avoid it (by surfing at first light/ sunset.) Also, the bigger the surf, the smaller the crowds tended to be I think, especially at Canggu as it gets so heavy.
KM: The crowds could get a bit intense at times and most people were a decent standard so the
competition on the peak could get heated. It’s all about timing it right and trying to gauge when people were getting in and out of the water. Or if you have transport looking up and down the coast for the empty spots. The first day we scored the perfect peak to ourselves just a few miles from crowded Canggu. On Nusa Lembongan we would literally sit and watch shipwrecks and wait for the crowds to thin before getting a boat out to the line-up with only a few of us out.
Where did you get your best sessions?
OS: Best session had to be one morning at Padang Padang, no one else out and getting barrel after barrel, I felt very lucky! It definitely tested my barrel riding skills and I feel like I learnt a lot when I was surfing this wave. Another of my best sessions was at Canggu sandbar. The peak was crowded out with locals who were absolutely shredding. It took ages to get a wave but I managed to take off on really sick wedge and flew straight out of a wide barrel into an oncoming section. The wait was worth it!
KM: My best session had to be Padang Pandang, we scored it the morning after a big swell had
hit, it was overhead with no one in! I got pretty worked on a few but it was definitely worth it, such an intense wave and time to test out some barrel riding skills, it was definitely the confidence boost I needed. Also had a good session at Balangan on the same day, there were some chunky sets coming through so it was nice to get into some size. The last few days before we flew home the swell was pretty big and Canggu was kind of maxed out but we noticed a dip in the swell on our last day in Bali so we went down to the beach at first light and had perfect 4ft sandbar to ourselves, it was pumping. Definitely a good surf to leave on!
What did you think of all the other things to do, let us know what you got up too other than getting pitted?
Snorkelling was awesome, one of the highlights of the trip was getting to swim alongside Manta Rays and see some pretty cool tropical fish. Also, the Waterbom park in Kuta is so much fun, a great place for an adrenalin fix on the flat days. We loved watching the Balinese dancing at the temples as well.
Which were your favourite waves?
OS: The heavy wedges at Canggu sandbar were perfect for trying to progress my riding as there are so many sections to hit. But my favourite wave was Padang Padang with its dreamy left hand barrels.
Also, Shipwrecks on Nusa Lembongan is a sick right hander, ideal for learning new manoeuvres (plus catching a boat from the shore to the line up is pretty jammy!).
KM: Padang for the intense barrel, Canggu for the ramps and Shipwrecks for fun!
How did your Core board go Olivia?
Absolutely loved my Core Two PP, I was so happy with it from the first session. Lots of flex, fast and good projection. It’s a shame the cold English waters aren’t really suited to PP’s else I would continue riding this at home.
How did your Found board go Kirsty?
It’s the first PP board I have ridden and I loved it. It was the only board I took with me so I surfed it in a range of conditions from fat small waves to big hollow barrels it was probably the most versatile board I have ever ridden. It had great flex and projection and the catch free template was really manoeuvrable.
When are you going back?!!
OS: As soon as I can afford it, I can’t wait. Next time, I hope to explore some waves on the
neighbouring islands, maybe Lakey Peak on Sumbawa and G-Land, Java. Looking forward to the
next adventure already.
KM: As soon as possible! For me the perfect waves, tropical environment and chilled vibe made it the perfect location to brush up on my bodyboarding skills!