Fun waves around the globe – A guide to the smaller cousins of Uluwatu and friggits

Are you on the search for the best fun waves? Have you googled “best places to surf around the world” and all your search result returns is the “top 5 biggest waves around the world”. Waves that break bigger than you’ll ever be ready for. Waves that are so famous that you’ll be lucky if you sneak onto a single wave in a session, that is if you can manage to paddle through crowd without pissing someone off.

Well to answer our own question – we have googled it all.

“Best small reef breaks, fun waves, best places to surf for intermediate surfers, quiet places to surf”…. Still we get sent to Uluwatu, Pipeline or Cloud-Break… Beautiful places but not really what we are looking for. Don’t get us wrong, we have surfed them all. But sometimes you just want a break from the crowds and an easy ride. 

We decided to take it upon ourselves to do some fun wave research, and by research I mean we decided to go on more holidays then we can afford. What we discovered was worth every penny. Even worth cutting back on the $20 prosecco and committing to surviving on rice and veggies for a while. 

Fun waves in Fiji – Natadola

If fresh seafood, friendly locals, quiet beaches, and 2-3 ft glassy peelers is what you’re looking for then this is the beach for you.

We stayed for 8 days at the beautiful Yatule resort and spa for under $400 USD. This included food, cocktails and all. If you’re on a tighter budget than we were, we found that the beautiful locals at the beachfront market will take you into town (to buy booze and crisps in our case) for about a third of the price. The same goes for airport transfers.

The food is limited. Only the two beach hotels having restaurants so stocking up on fruit, snacks and don’t forget bottled water while in town is a must!

The reef itself is quite hard but on the mid / high tide you will barely touch it. Just pack reef boots to be safe! It’s primarily full of beautiful tropical fish. You will see these during the afternoon fish feeding ceremony (which is super dope). It is also home to some poisonous sea snakes, these beautiful black and white creatures will leave you alone as they are after much small meals. Just don’t wear black and white swimmers like I did…. They followed me around like I was the mother of all deadly sea snakes.

Bali-Kuta Reef

Indonesia is known for crazy parties, big wave chasers and a little bit of chaos. We’ve  however mastered the art of the perfect relaxing surf-cation. Our advice is book yourselves into somewhere just outside Kuta itself.

Bakang beach is a 30 minute walk to the main strip and depending on where you stay a few hundred metres from the beach huts. Here you can either paddle out or pay the hut keepers 50,000 rp (which is basically $5 AUD) to drop you out to the reef and pick you up.

While this reef can get pretty big the beauty of it is the channels. You’ll always be able to sit on the shoulder and pick off the smaller waves until you feel comfortable to work your way over to the peak.

The Locals are pretty cool, just make sure you look before you paddle. No one likes to be dropped in on. Kuta reef breaks left and slightly smaller than its two neighbouring waves middles and airport rights. But if  Kuta reef  is looking flat ask the locals to take you to check the other two breaks. Kuta Beach is also an option if it gets too big on the reef just ask the board hire dudes where the best spot to head out is.

Portugal –  Praia Da Parede

On a recent trip to the UK we managed to sneak in a couple of cheeky days in beautiful Portugal. Typically Portugal is famous for big waves and over populated beaches. We put our hunting skills to good use and ended up finding the perfect little hideout. Only half an hour from Lisbon airport, Praia da Parede has a beautiful coastline.

The reef is very rocky and even in the middle of summer the water had a little nip to it. It’s another perfect wave when surfed on the mid to high tide. Be sure to take your own boards as it was almost impossible to source a rental without paying for lessons.

Everything you need is within walking distance and it was super affordable except for the ocean front restaurants. Don’t get us wrong they were amazing, but probably best saved for a special occasion.

Sri Lanka – Jungle beach

This place has to be one of Sri Lanka’s best kept secrets, with only a handful of surfers out in peak season and a beautiful slow breaking left over a deep reef it just doesn’t get any better. To be honest, we nearly left it off the list because we don’t want to encourage the crowds. 

Only 5 minutes in a tuk tuk from Weligama this hidden gem is well worth the international travel. Probably a break for a more intermediate/advanced surfer. However, if you get it on a 2-3 foot day or you sit on the shoulder you won’t have any trouble. The wave breaks beside a channel so the paddle out is basically flat, although it is a long way out to the reef. If you happen to get there and think its too big, there is a hut that rents out snorkels and the water is full of life. If you’re lucky enough you might even get a cheeky swim with a sea turtle or two.

Palm beach – Australia – AKA “Summer bay”

While most people step of the plane and head straight for the over rated and crazily overpopulated bondi, if your heading to the place we call home and we have a few suggestions.

If one of sydney’s world famous beaches is what you’re after but your feeling out of your element we suggest you start at one of the most friendly beaches we know, palm beach… With locals welcoming tourists all year round and the safety of “kiddies corner” the protected south end even on a 6ft ripper of a day kiddies should only bring in a 1-2 footer.

The beauty of the northern beaches is that it’s not just Palmy that it has to offer but back to back beaches from start to finish. If palmy isn’t going, just take your pick!


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