Surfing and Living on the Island of Bali

Surfing and Living on the Island of Bali

Meet Lo, a longboard surfer who followed her dreams, and moved to the surfer's paradise of Indonesia - the island of Bali. Born and raised in Canada, Lo initially had little exposure to the world of surfing. It wasn't before her late twenties, that she discovered her passion for the sport on a trip to Nicaragua. Although a bad experience on her third day of surfing left her with a bloody nose and a newfound fear of the ocean,  Lo refused to be discouraged. Instead, she packed her bags, sold all her belongings in Canada, and moved to Bali with no particular plan. With patience but persistence, she managed to overcome her fears and integrated surfing into her daily routine. Today she is sharing inspiration with people online and encouraging them to follow their surfing dreams, no matter what age. Her story is an inspiring reminder that it's never too late to discover your passion and find the courage to break new ground. Read more about her life on Bali.
It's never to late to start something. You never know how it could change your life.

What motivated you to make the decision to move to Bali and pursue your surfing dreams?

I can still remember it so perfectly! It was sometime in 2017 and I was sitting in my classroom while my students were taking a quiz - I was a high school teacher in Canada - and I was researching best places to live abroad because it had always been a dream of mine to do this. Canggu was one of the first places that popped up and I remember being really drawn to the idea of the place. I had always wanted to be a surfer, but after my recent traumatic experience in Nicaragua where I attempted to learn how to surf, it seemed like a far away dream. My boyfriend at the time had lived in Indonesia for 8 months and would mention his time in Bali to me and so when our relationship came to an end, it only felt right to go experience the place for myself. Being there felt so right to me, and suddenly, I couldn’t imagine living my life in any other way. I knew deep down I wanted to pursue this dream of becoming a surfer, and so I sold everything I owned in Canada on a whim and moved to Bali with nothing but some savings and a suitcase.

How would you describe the typical surfer lifestyle in Bali? What makes it so special compared to other places?

The typical surfer lifestyle in Bali is far more “modern” than one would expect. Bali is a pretty bustling place, and a lot of people here are very motivated and entrepreneurial, so I’d say there’s quite a solid work, life, balance here. The general atmosphere and vibe is definitely a lot more relaxed compared to somewhere like the States or Canada, and people definitely prioritize getting outside, being active, and socializing (how could you not here?). Bali is such a special place mostly because of the Balinese people - they are responsible for the beautiful energy this island has. They are some of the friendliest, kindest people I’ve ever met and this also translates over into the surf and how people experience their lives here. You have to come to Bali to understand the energy I’m speaking of, but the island truly has it’s own soul.

Mistral Longarm Suit - pinky petrol tiedye
Mistral Longarm Suit - pinky petrol tiedye
Sale price135 €
One Eye Top - pinky petrol tiedye
One Eye Top - pinky petrol tiedye
Sale price79 €
Maloja Bottom - pinky petrol tiedye
Maloja Bottom - pinky petrol tiedye
Sale price69 €
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With Bali gaining popularity not just among tourists but also as a surf destination, how do you deal with crowds / bad vibes in the line-up?

Luckily, there aren’t many bad vibes in the line-up at all, beside the occasional angry man for whatever reason (I’ve only ever had issues with men in the surf, unfortunately). The locals are really laid back, and most of the surfer’s are as well where I’m surfing. That’s because it’s mostly a longboard & beginner wave, so people don’t have that aggressive energy that some more advanced waves sometimes have. There are however quite big crowds and I just take it as a challenge and way to improve my turning since I have to weave around people quite often! If there are bad vibes in the line up, I stick with my friends who I’m surfing with and try not to let it impact me too much.

What's your favorite wave in Bali? What's your dream surf destination?

I love my home break waves so much! I surf at Batu Bolong & Old Mans (they are right beside each other) and they’re honestly 2 of the best longboard waves in Bali. They’re both beginner waves though so expect a crowd and people who don’t have much experience, so just be mindful of boards flying around and beginners getting pushed onto waves. Having said that though, the vibes in the lineup are almost always super chill and people are pretty relaxed about sharing waves. 

My dream surf destination is Chicama in Peru - the longest left in the world! I will definitely make that happen pretty soon.

Follow Lo's Journey

What obstacles did you have to overcome on your journey?

It wasn’t love at first sight! It was my third day of surfing ever in Nicaragua and I got taken to a wave that was way beyond my level. I ended up with a bloody nose and a newfound fear of the ocean. This created a lot of difficulties moving forward and took me years to get back into the water.

How did you find the courage to overcome your fear of the waves after the bad experience? 

I’m not sure I could classify it as courage but more so determination. I was so determined and so set on learning how to surf and living this “surfer” lifestyle, that I did everything I could to move past my fear. And that included me going back to the white wash even though I could surf green waves fine, to get comfortable in the water again. I would surf every day by myself in the white wash at Batu Bolong until it eventually became boring for me. The boredom overpowered my fear and allowed me to venture out towards the back a little more each time. Eventually, I found myself surfing green waves again without the same anxiety and fear that would come up. And now that I’ve been surfing for 5 years, I’m used to bigger waves, I know where to position myself better so I don’t get smashed, and if I do, I know I’ll be okay because I’m not usually surfing waves big enough to really cause any danger. As long as you’re having more experiences than bad ones, it’s very possible to move through your fear and create a new story for yourself.

Don’t push yourself too much or rush into anything. Take your time, be gentle with yourself. But the most important thing is to get back into the water as much as you can, in conditions that you feel safe in.