MY FIRST MONTH IN BALI
I’m Naomi and I’ve never written a blog post about myself but here we go. Incase you were wondering, I’m currently working for Kima and I started surfing when I was 18 so 4 years ago (I haven’t stopped since).
I surf regularly back home in the UK but my boards ranged from a 7’2 to a 6’6. Within the first couple weeks of being here I decided to go ahead and buy a short board.
The first session I had with it was on a fairly big day at old mans and the first wave I went for I managed to catch and had a decent ride. Not gonna lie I was so stoked I made my friend take a photo of me afterwards, I couldn’t even keep my eyes open.
What I was even more happy about was being able to duck dive as with my boards back home they had so much volume duck diving was impossible for me. So now, being able to get out back faster and easier was such a relief. You really appreciate it after having to turtle roll for the past 4 years! Especially being out on bigger days. It makes me so happy when I just make it under a wave and come out the other side, I never thought I would be able to get to that level.
The first month I was here the waves were decent but small, perfect for cruising around with my 5’8 single fin which I shouldn’t have bought but I did, because who doesn’t want a single fin? I guess I did expect the waves to be better but it’s picking up now and getting so much better that it’s dry season.
I’ve had so many good sessions since I’ve been here and my surfing has improved so much with all the practice in the water I’m getting. Over the weekend I caught one of the nicest waves I’ve had so far, it put me in such a good mood all day I kept reliving it in my head! But in all honestly I’m just so stoked to even be able to surf every day.
I do wish I’d known about a few things before I got here though! As along the way, I’ve had to learn tips and tricks for surfing around Bali.
First thing I want to talk about is reef cuts; they’re not fun but they do happen sometimes! Before you take everything I say as if I was your doctor, I just want to clarify that I am NOT a medical practitioner of any sort, so read ahead at your own risk 😉
Now that we’ve got that cleared out of the way, I’m guessing you’ve continued reading this because either a) you have recently shredded yourself up on some reef even after being informed by guides to wear booties!! or b) you want to read more about me? One or the other I’m here to help a fellow surfer out!
Upon my arrival at the camp I decided not to wear booties, I’ll be fine I said, I like to feel my board under my feet I said. Boy did I wish I’d had some booties, it just makes getting out easier and less painful! Anyways you guessed it, I got myself some little reef cuts. They weren’t bad just irritating and as most of you know going back into salt water doesn’t exactly help anything heal faster. I’d noticed around the camp that everyone was treating all their reef cuts and rashes differently from ointments and bandages to just leaving it be. Again, I am not giving you medical advice, but what I found that worked for me was cheap and could be found at most supermarkets, a lime. A surf guide at the camp told me about it and after looking on the internet for other people that also use limes for cuts I decided to give it a go. Yes, it did sting a little bit but afterwards I started to get some relief! It started to heal up in no time! All I can say is that I wish I’d known about it sooner; it would have helped with previous encounters with reef breaks. Surf guides know all, listen and take their advice when it comes to the breaks you go to!
Another thing I wish I’d known is how expensive sun cream is in Bali. As many of you know here, the sun is strong but that doesn’t make a difference to my bank account. With the ridiculous prices of sun cream I decided to invest in some zinc for my face as it lasts a lot longer and doesn’t come off easily. Your face is so important!!!! Looking all wrinkly and old is not something anyone wants to happen so take care! I’ve had the zinc for over a month now and there’s still a ton left, I’m hoping it will last me the rest of my internship. I’ve also personally opted for not wearing sun cream when I surf in the mornings and making sure to get out before the sun gets too strong, as being a student I’m always looking for the cheaper option. I do not advice this for everyone! But my skin doesn’t burn as easily as others once my tan gets started. And yes I do realise how pale I am in that photo but I promise I haven’t had any serious sunburns here yet. Just soaking up that vitamin D. If I go on a day trip I always make sure to bring my long sleeve suit to protect myself from the midday sun. If you have sensitive skin always make sure to put sun cream on your back and the backs of your legs! I’ve seen quite a few guests walking around with some sunburns! Surfing in the beginning of the day the back of your body is usually to the sun so it’s important to remember to keep that skin safe! If I feel that the sun is being too hard on my skin, I know it’s time to catch one last wave in. As much as I love surfing it’s not worth the sun burn.
The heat is another factor to consider when you first come to Bali! Luckily I was quiet used to the heat as I spent a majority of my childhood in Texas which has a similar climate in the summer. But still it is very hot. Thank god for pools and air conditioning. In the heat you can so easily get dehydrated, especially when you’re surfing all day! Being in water all day can make you forget that you actually need to drink some. Make sure to always carry a water bottle with you and drink enough before and after surfing. If you’re hydrated I think you end up catching more waves, you’ll have the strength and energy to make those take offs. I make sure to bring a water bottle with me whenever I go surfing and for a day trip I’ll usually bring two full bottles. Please make sure to use the Kima bottle and refill stations! It’s so important not to add to the rising plastic problem when you have free water at the camps, so just be prepared and fill those bottles up before you hop in the van to your next session. I’m always in the habit now of filling up my bottle before going surfing.
There’s definitely a lot to consider when surfing! I’m used to worrying about getting hypothermia but now it’s polar opposite. I can’t wait to surf more places but so far my favourite spot has been Pandawa, it was so beautiful and the waves were so clean. I even so a dugong! If you don’t know what that is, I didn’t before I saw one, you’ll have to google it because they’re hard to describe. Usually I head to Echo Beach every morning to the left or right depending on crowds and whether I want to surf on my backside! The goal is to get barrelled before I get back on that plane to the UK. We’ll see how it goes. I have til August. Wish me luck and I hope any of this advice was helpful, if not I’m sorry!