The surf widow. She didn’t come with you all the way to Bali to sit on the beach by herself as you catch wave after wave in the best surf of your life. You told her you’d only be in the water for an hour or so, but the clear, warm water of the Indian Ocean along with the perfect rides that seem to go on forever are just too enticing. Just one more wave.
Three hours later, you come running up the beach with your surfboard under your arm to a red-faced beauty who won’t be speaking to you for the rest of the day – and you can forget about any extra-curricular fun back at the hotel that evening. This is not a great way to begin your tropical surf vacation.
It sounded so good when you were planning your trip. What could be better than spending ten glorious days in a tropical surfing paradise with a beautiful woman? You would surf all day and catch perfect barrel rides in world class surf called Uluwatu, Nusa Dua and Keramas. Your partner would sunbath by the pool or on the beach getting bronzed as you enjoy endless tube rides. After all, she loves the sun and has wanted to work on her tan. When not in the water, you would eat, drink and spend hours in your room together with the Do Not Disturb sign displayed clearly outside your door. It could quite easily be the perfect vacation.
Things rarely go as planned, however, and your perfect surf vacation can turn ugly as you lobby for more surf time and she, for more together time. Below are a few tips for making that surf trip the dream vacation you thought it would be.
Go in a Group
Some of the best surf trips I’ve had were with my surf friends and their wives. If I wanted to spend three hours in the water, I never felt bad about abandoning my girlfriend on the beach with her friends. Sometimes she would even prefer them over me and encourage me to spend as much time in the water as I wanted. I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing or bad.
When surfing in unfamiliar places, it’s better to surf with a couple of friends anyway, in case there is a problem. Bali has some pretty serious surf and many of the top spots break over very shallow reef. Having friends close by in case you take a nosedive into the coral is a pretty smart safety precaution.
Groups of three or four couples also help to mix things up a bit. My friends are a pretty nutty group so it’s a lot of fun when all of us go out to dinner, but I also enjoy sneaking off with my girlfriend occasionally so we can spend some time together alone.
More than Surf
Even I’ve had trouble coming to terms with this, but there really is more to tropical vacations than surfing. Bali is an incredibly spiritual society and it would be a shame if you missed out on some of the rituals and traditions of this fascinating culture. Bali has more temples than anywhere in the world and they have ceremonies all the time. Ask your Floating Leaf guide about some of the rituals in the local Banjar or village. Westerners are usually welcome to attend and take pictures.
Sharing moments like this with a partner can be a very special experience. Take a day or two off from surfing to explore the island a bit. Make plans to visit a healer and participate in a Malukat (cleansing ceremony). We’ve got several we prefer so be sure to ask us and we’ll set it up for you. These are unique and highly personal experiences and the kind of activities that will make your trip unforgettable and your partner eager for the next “surf” vacation.
How Yoga, Spa and a Massage Will Save Your Relationship
If you are a woman who surfs and your husband doesn’t, it shouldn’t be too difficult for him to find things to do while you’re in the water. He can go snorkeling, diving, deep sea fishing, kite boarding or even take surfing lessons on his own. Some guys just need to find the nearest pub and they’ll be happy for hours.
For women who do not surf, Bali is a really special place. If you are traveling to Bali with a girlfriend or wife who does not surf, be sure to book your trip at a villa like Floating Leaf. We have a state-of-the-art yoga studio, two spas and a soothing relaxation pool. The Balinese have perfected their various healing, beautification, and relaxation techniques for centuries and have refined their skills for generations. We provide a complete menu of spa treatments and massages that incorporate Bali’s best traditions.
If your spouse practices yoga, staying at a villa with a yoga studio can be a perfect way for you to enjoy a surf session while she learns the latest yoga techniques from a professional Balinese yogi. You’ll both finish with a fulfilling work out and be able to enjoy the rest of the day together exploring the sights and culture of Bali. Our open air yoga studio is complimented by the high quality instruction from our Balinese yoga teachers.
Floating Leaf also offers traditional Balinese cooking classes, art instruction, day trips and shopping excursions. There is no shortage of things to do for your spouse while you’re in the water.
Teach Her to Surf
Almost every girlfriend I’ve had has expressed an interest in learning to surf. If you’re like me, you’ll take time from your trip to get her on a surf board. In Bali, go to Kuta Beach or Padang Padang Rights (not to be confused with the very fast and dangerous Padang Padang Left). Here you’ll be able to spend time with her in the water and teach her to stand up on the board. The important thing to remember is that her surfing is not really what’s important. It’s the quality time you are spending together that matters to her the most. You are letting her in on a very important part of your life in a very beautiful place. The moment is important to her and should be for you as well.
If she’s afraid of the board, get her a body board. She’ll progress a lot quicker and will have much more fun catching waves. Even body surfing together will be a lot of fun. Just be sure you give her time to experience your world in the water, regardless of the medium. She’ll be more understanding when you want to spend that extra hour catching those juicy barrel rides at Racetracks.
Pick Your Spots
Much of the great surfing throughout the world is remote, but Bali has a lot of world class breaks on nearby beaches with local beach bars, pools and coves to explore. I wouldn’t recommend doing this too often, but if your companion is content with watching you surf, he or she can sit at one of the cliff bars overlooking Uluwatu, lay on the beach at Dreamland or sip a drink poolside at Keramas. Your spouse can shop in Kuta and Seminyak while you take a short boat ride to Airports or Kuta Reef. If your companion enjoys the water, he or she can take the boat ride with you and snorkel while you catch peeling rights and lefts.
Bali is one of the world’s best and most diverse surfing destinations. For couples, there are few comparisons. If you surf and your spouse or companion does not, no other place comes close. Floating Leaf Eco-Retreat was specifically designed for diverse interests. Surf, spa, yoga, massage, perma-culture and adventure; it all can be found at Floating Leaf Eco-Retreat.
Do you agree with my suggestions? Disagree? What other ideas have do you have? What has been your experience with a travel partner who doesn’t surf?
By Dino Maiolo