Kitesurfing in Bali might not be as popular as regular surfing, but it certainly brings your wave riding thrills to the next level. Categorised as an extreme water sport, it combines surfing as we know it with some elements of wakeboarding (using a similar shaped board) and bits of kite-flying to the overall drill. With some practice, Kitesurfing – also referred to as ‘kiteboarding’ – lets you speed over waves instead of paddling out and waiting for the perfect swell. Moreover, whenever waves are rather blown out and unfit for surfing, you’d might as well get your kite and gear for a great day out nonetheless. Kitesurfing provides the answer to those sloppy to windy days out on the beach. Bali has a good handful of spots for kitesurfing, as well as notable surf schools that offer courses for bored surfers or those simply interested in picking up this fun sport. Read on to find out all you need to know about kitesurfing in Bali.
Proper kitesurfing gear consists of the board, control bar and harness, helmet and wetsuit, and the kite itself which is akin to a parachute. These are mostly available at the surf school and included in your course. Lessons are usually structured to suit your own needs, and most times includes introductory and practice sessions onshore with a trainer kite designed to help you get the hang of catching the wind and manoeuvring. Some courses let you jump right into open water from the start, with staff out on rescue boats or jet-skis ready to assist and help you out. A beginner’s program ranges from one to two hours, with steps of gear safety and introduction, proper setup, launch techniques, piloting, landing and self-rescue. The latter being a crucial element that all riders must grasp. The rest is left to practice and more practice, while developing muscle memory and skills.
Some of Bali’s notable surf schools include kitesurfing as among their available courses. This includes Rip Curl School of Surf located on the beachfront area of the Prama Sanur Beach Bali hotel, which allows beginners direct access to Sanur’s lagoons. Here you can kitesurf all year round, even throughout the wet season (between October and April) with occasional offshore winds. Also in Sanur is the Bali Kitesurfing School, overseen by Kite & Surf Bali, a pro surf shop at Mertasari Beach with its kiting arena right on the beachfront. They’ve been around since the sport kicked off around the turn of the millennium, and have a team of Balinese riders who can help you around with choosing the right gear. They also the Indonesian distributors for big name kitesurfing brands such as Cabrinha, Ozone, Jimmy Lewis and Flying Object.