We chose to visit Indonesia partly because of its reputation as a surfing destination. Surfing in Lombok was one of the most memorable parts of our trip. Before I begin, let me start by saying I’m not a very experienced surfer (still) and I definitely wasn’t when we visited Lombok. I had surfed a hand full of times in Portugal (no, not Nazare 😉 ) and in Morocco.
During the first few weeks of our trip to Indonesia we desperately searched for decent beginners spots to surf in Bali. First, around Nusa Dua, then in Canggu, and even in Seminyak (which I quickly learned was disgusting).
After being let down time and again, we found Drop In surf camp in Kuta Lombok (not to be confused with Kuta Bali) and headed there between Christmas and New Years after our days on Gili Air. Thankfully someone else cancelled their bungalow and it was ours to swoop up. Our week at Drop In was probably the best week of our entire 4 week trip to Indonesia – the surfing in Lombok was incredible. Drop In is owned by Solli, a badass German lady who manages the camp and is the mastermind behind the camp and the cafe. The bungalows are designed perfectly (what more could you expect from a German? they think of everything) and the food is some of the best you’ll find in Kuta (probably in all of Lombok for that matter). More on the bungalows and food later…
Surfing in Lombok
If you are a beginner surfer, Drop In is the place for you. As I mentioned, I had surfed in Portugal and Morocco before at a few surf camps, and thought my experience in those places was typical. The instructors gave some tips on how to get up on the board from the sand, then watched from the beach as I struggled and crashed into the water with nearly every attempt to get up. Every time I surfed at these camps I felt really nervous – I felt like no one was really watching me or helping me to improve. Not so at Drop In. This was easily the best surfing experience I’ve had and after a few days, my nervousness was healed.
So, what can you expect at Drop In?
First of all, you’ve gotta book for a week at a time – trust me it is worth it.
You’ll surf about 2-3 hours every day, typically leaving from the camp between 6:30-8:00 am, which of course gives you the rest of the day to check out the beautiful beaches and areas around Kuta (by the way, Kuta boasts much prettier beaches than Bali…).
You won’t surf from the beach, however. I was pretty nervous about that at first, after hearing that we would surf a reef break. Initially I was worried that I would cut up my legs with every fall into the water but luckily the reef is so deep there, that you probably won’t even get close to touching it if you fall in. Instead of going out from the beach, like I was used to from Portugal and Morocco, you’ll head to the small village of Gerupuk where you’ll hop on a wooden fisherman’s boat and be driven out to the line up.
Imagine this: sitting in a colorful wooden boat coasting out over turquoise water. Behind you the small village of Gerupuk shrinks away and you head toward Inside, the surf spot you’ll visit most days which faces rolling green hills with the majestic Mt. Rinjani looming in its purple shadow in the background. Yes, it is as breathtaking as it sounds.
The waves in Gerupuk are great for beginners. I felt like I learned to surf for the first time because I actually got to experience GOOD waves. Initially, the waves can be intimidating – they can be quite high (definitely overhead) – but they break pretty slowly and roll over the reef for a really long time, meaning you have both plenty of time to get up, and plenty of time to ride the wave once you are up. For a beginner, it is the best of both worlds.
There are usually 3 or 4 instructors from Drop In who will ride out to the waves with you. Typically they will sit in the line up and call you to paddle to them once a set is coming. Every day when we went out, we were only with a group of four of us plus the instructors, so you get tons of personal attention. Once you are ready with them in the line up, they’ll watch the waves approaching from behind and help you catch a green wave by giving you a push and also yelling when you need to pop up. Unless you’re pretty strong, chances are that you’ll need the push when the wave approaches.
I’ve never felt more safe or confident than when I surfed with the instructors at Drop In. And, I learned a lot. By the last day I barely needed any help with getting pushed or told when to pop up, and I caught nearly every wave and rode it till it died out. It was fantastic.
Drop In was also the most comfortable and nicest place we stayed in all our time in Indonesia. Yes, it was more expensive than the rest, but it was so worth it. The bungalows at Drop In have everything you need. Comfortable beds. Fluffy towels. Laundry service. Insect repellent. Bug spray FOR YOUR ROOM!These things can only be appreciated once you’ve been traveling around for weeks at a time and experienced the nightly task of killing all mosquitos in your room before you finally crash.
Not only do they have everything you need, but they are really comfortable, and well designed. I would know, since we experienced an earthquake when we stayed there! Needless to say, the bungalows are still standing 😉
If you stay at Drop In you’ll have breakfast included daily in your stay, which will be welcome when you need to fuel up for your morning of surfing every day. They also serve lunch, which already gets tempting at 11:15 when you’ve surfed for 2 1/2 hours and are already starving. You can eat either in the guest area, or the public cafe, which also offers an array of German cakes AND cheesecake! Try finding that anywhere else on Lombok, I dare you.
You can of course stay at Drop In even if you don’t plan to do the surf package. But if you’re there, it would be a real shame not to do the surf package. Maybe needless to say, but Drop In also offers scooters for rent which you’ll definitely need since it is located slightly outside of the main area of Kuta. It is very close to Tanjung Aan Beach and Seger Beach.
We loved our time surfing in Lombok at Drop In so much that we often talk about going back there for 2 weeks just to surf more… we haven’t planned our next trip yet, but we’ll be back for sure.