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Surf’s Up! Bali Style! $11

Updated: Jan 3, 2019


Being in a foreign country means many things to many people.....five-star hotels, expensive restaurants, and group tours visiting tourist attractions...

But for a traveler like myself, it simply means pushing myself to try new things and facing my biggest fears! Growing up on Long Island, I learned to swim at the age of 12 but did not go into the water much after that. One major reason.....MY HAIR! Growing up with societal pressures as a African-American teenager and beyond to keep my hair straight and permed, I found myself running from water in every way shape and form....from opting to just lounge on the beach during the summer to running indoors at the first sign of rain. The other major reason....MY EYEGLASSES...which did not allow me to see past my arm in the bummer...

After undergoing Lasik surgery about a year ago, I wanted to take a surf lesson while vacationing with friends in Bali, Indonesia. Prior to departure, I looked online for surf lessons and they were super pricey on some websites. Asia is known to be a place where you can get "more bang for their buck" so I consider any excursion pricey if it costs more than $30. After hours of searching, I actually found MY SURF SCHOOL BALI on Airbnb-Experience amongst several other surf schools. I chose this surf company for the following reasons:


  • Free pick up and drop off from your hotel to the beach for the lesson/I opted to be transported by mini scooter and my driver/surf instructor was named "Dennis the Menace" and he was a careful driver as well as a very patient, friendly, and knowledgeable instructor

  • Surfboard/Can be also used after the class for the remainder of the day (free of charge)

  • Rash vest/Helps to avoid rashes from the surfboard as well as sunburn

  • Shower/It is actually located outside on the beach but I still used it to wash off all of the salt water

  • Small student teacher ratio 2:1/This was important because knew that I needed as much guidance as possible as a beginner

  • Sunblock/Dennis the Menace asked me to put some thick beige sunblock on my face (especially on the forehead and nose) to avoid sunburn


How much did I spend for a 2.5 hour semi-private surf lesson in Bali??

Only $11....yes! Eleven whole dollars!!!


After I practiced the "pop up" position on the board, correct positioning of my feet once I "pop up", board safety, and beach safety, we carried out surfboards into the water and awaited the first wave. I hopped onto my board in one swoop. I laid in a planking position as I quietly awaited the first wave and Dennis' voice telling me to "pop up". My mind was RACING!! Would I get the correct position? Would I wipe out? Would I be able to catch on as quickly as the other students?

The truth? This sh*t is hard! It is not for quitters! Surfing is a workout but it requires you to relax and just feel the motion as you ride the wave. The surf instructors help you to catch a wave but you are surfing entirely on your own without anyone holding your board from behind. I almost gave up entirely but Dennis was very encouraging and patient with me. He told me that he could tell that I was "in my head" about doing it perfectly. I took a deep breath, "got out of my head", and started to focus on having fun rather than being perfect. The truth?.......I wiped out probably twenty times before I stood on the board long enough for the photographer to snap the picture at the top of the blog lol.

With this company, you surf for 55 minutes, break for 10-15 minutes, then surf for 55 more minutes. I found myself tiring a few times and I would just bring my board to the beach and relax for as long as needed before heading back into the water. I did not feel pressured to spend the entire 55 minutes surfing without any additional breaks.


The surf lessons take place between Legian and Seminyak beaches. The company’s ad on Airbnb-Experience noted that this is an ideal spot for beginners. That portion of the beach was not crowded at all and we had more than enough room in the water to spread out and surf. I also liked this company because they do not take you too far out into the ocean to catch waves. The water does not reach pass the height of your shoulders, which was a relief to me because I had not swam in decades! The beach was very clean and there was a strip of bars and restaurants a few feet away. I was wayyy too exhausted after the lesson to stop by but it looked pretty lively for it to be around noon.


As you are catching waves in the ocean, the company’s photographer stays on the beach and snaps pics. They also fly a drone overhead for video footage while your in the ocean. No hidden fees or gimmicks! The pictures are totally free. The company sends them within 48 hours as a file you open, view, and save. I didn’t receive any video of the surf lesson. But to my surprise, there is live video of me catching a wave on their Airbnb-

experience page! (follow link below and I am in the middle of video feed :))

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