Ok, in the previous post, we’ve established where to surf in Bali. Now, the day of departure is coming closer and you wonder what to take with you on your first surf trip? The nature of most surf trips is that you’ll travel a bit from spot to spot and depending on where you go, let me tell you it’s not fun dragging a board bag and a massive suitcase around.
So I’m all for light travelling. My dad always says as long as you have your passport and your credit card, you are sweet. Which is kind of true but you might want to bring things like your surfboard I guess and a few other bits and pieces:
Surfboard(s): You are not a pro-surfer, so just bring the board you are most comfortable with. I’ve always dragged 2 around just in case one gets broken. Well, if you are on a longer trip maybe but to be honest on my 2 week Bali holidays, I would not even take the other board out of the board bag. If you ding your board, there are always heaps of ding repairers around, who’ll sort you out really quickly and super cheap. (I even hear of people who take their broken boards to Bali and get them fixed there because it’s so cheap). The only other reason to bring more than one board is to get rid of your old board. Any Bali grommet will be forever grateful if you give them your old board which otherwise would only end up in landfill.
Rashie, boardies and Bikini: I know it’s much more fun surfing in just a bikini (especially if the water is 27) but it’s not so much fun to have a full body sunburn. Bring a rashie and wear it during the day. Also take a 1 mill wetsuit top too for those windy days if you get cold easily. Boardies and bikini are a no brainer. For the super pale amongst us even recommend knee length boardies. They don’t look to flash on girls but if you have really, really burnt thighs, they make the difference between surf or no surf (tried and tested).
Booties: Bring some booties. You’ll need them on the reef breaks. Still tread carefully even when you wear booties. Unless you have top end, super expensive ones, sea urchins get through booties too and there are lots of them in Bali.
Wax and spare leash: Depends on where you going. If you stay around Kuta, there are heaps of surfshops where you can get all your surfstuff from. But wax is actually quite expensive and the more remote you are, the more they put the price up and who wants to pay 10 bucks for a bar of wax. Also, in more remote areas it might be hard to get hold of a spare leash so bring one just in case.
Towels: Ok, this sounds like another no-brainer but make sure you have enough towels – 3 or so. Not only can you wrap them around your board as extra protection but you actually need them as it’s quite humid in Bali and stuff does not dry easily and it’s nice to have one dry towel.
Sarong and little bag: If you don’t have a Sarong, I’m sure you’ll have ample opportunity to buy one (again the locals will thank you for it). Use it as a bed sheet, beach towel, dress, blanket, bandage, etc… everyone needs a Sarong. And you can either turn your Sarong into a little bag or bring a little bag to carry your staff on day trips like towel and sunscreen and the likes…
Medical Kit: I recommend to getting one of these little first aid kits from the pharmacy. They have bandaids, safety pins, disinfectants, little scissors, tweezers (for these pesky little sea urchins that like to get stuck in your foot), etc. Also, you definitely want to bring Immodium (no matter how careful you are, chances you get Bali belly as a Westerner are quite high). Also bring lots of Panadol (lots) for any sorts of pain you may or may not get on your holiday. Top tip to avoid Bali belly: start taking acidophilus capsules you get in every pharmacy two weeks before you go. It builds up your immune system and bacteria in your digestive system to help fight the nasty Bali belly bug.
Dettol: Soap and clean water are not always handy in Bali. One of those little disinfectant Dettol bottles saved me a few times. Bring a couple of those. On that note, don’t laugh but it’s always handy to have a toilet paper roll handy in your backpack too. Public toilets might not be what you expect and could be a bit worse for wear.
Mozzie Spray: Again, you can buy that in Bali (they just seem even more toxic than the ones here). Definitely get one either way. Most of Bali is Malaria safe but if you end up going anywhere else in Indo that might not be the case. Even if there is no Malaria, they are equally pesky. I’m usually covered by a mixture of mosquito spray and sunscreen…which brings us to the next Bali essential…
Sunscreen: Bring the strongest sunscreen ever and lots of it. You’ll need it. It’s really hard to find good sunscreen in Bali. Your best bet are surfshops but they are not everywhere. At some places they only have shitty sunscreen with low SPFs and you’ll spend the rest of your holiday as a lobster (tried and tested too).
Aloe Vera: The see through green jelly stuff is another good one to bring. If you happen to get a sunburn or a mean mozzie bite despite all pre-cautions, this stuff is amazing. Hard to get at some places, so bring a bottle from here.
25 US dollars for the airport, it’s your arrival tax. Everyone, needs to pay for it.
Clothes: Only bring a few shorts and shirts, maybe something thin long-sleeve to fend the mozzies off, but generally don’t bring much. I swear it’s a waste. On my first surftrip I brought tons of clothes and more than half remained unpacked in you’re my suitcase. In vain, I even brought real shoes and some nice clothes in case I go out once but never used it as I was generally too surfed out and most places are pretty casual anyway.
Seriously, take half of what you wanted to bring. Try that one: put everything you think you’ll need on a pile and then half it. Remember:
- It’s hot, so you don’t need many clothes anyway.
- You’ll spend most of your time in the water anyway.
- Most places in Bali offer laundry service.
You don’t even need shoes. Ok, flip flops but they don’t count as shoes. I’ve spent 2 months in Indo once and all I wore was 1 pair of thongs. Maybe bring sneakers at the most if you intend to climb one of the mountains inland or something.
Mmh I think that’s all I can think of at the moment. If you manage to fit everything into a backpack and board bag you are sweet. Don’t overpack your boardbag though. Try to keep most of the weight in the backpack as it’s easier to carry.
Safe travels gidgets and friends of gidgets.