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5 phrases you need to know while surfing in Bali!

5 phrases you need to know while surfing in Bali!

No matter where your travels may lead you, knowing a few phrases in the local language is a great way to break the intercultural barrier and connect to the people easily. Even most Balinese in South Bali like Kuta, Seminyak and Canggu know common phrases in English, it is a always a great gesture to try to speak Bahasa Indonesia. It shows that you respect the culture and tradition as a surf traveler. As important it is on land, as helpful it is in the line-up! Here are our top 5 phrases you will certainly hear while surfing in Bali!

Apa kabar?

Wherever you go, there is one obligatory phrase you should definitely have practiced before: “How are you?” or as Indonesians would say “Apa kabar?”. At the restaurant, at a shop, or yes, even at the beach while checking the wave, paddling out and waiting for your turn to go. Show your mates that you are here to share the fun surf and don’t mind making the one or the other friend!

Ombak bagus

The number two phrase in the line-up! You can say it to any local surfer you would like to share your excitement about the fun surf: “ombak bagus”, means “good waves”. You might even hear it from the locals themselves. Affirm it by repeating “Ya, ombak bagus!”, smiling and you found an easy way to connect to fellow local surfer.


Easy to read a tourist surfer’s facial expression, when the good sets are long in coming. Patience isn’t a core character of most western people. Don’t get startled when the first local confronts you with “Sabar bro!”. What can be translated as “be patient” is just a friendly reminder to enjoy the surf, even though you will not always get the biggest and best waves of your life.


Definitely a must know in every situation where you might have messed it up a bit. You could have dropped in somebody unintentionally or have been in somebody’s way. A simple “sorry” or “maaf” in Bahasa is the most effective apologize, even in this short version of “saya minta maaf”. Believe it or not, it will ease every tense atmosphere.

Tidak apa-apa

Just frowned at your mates when they just dropped you? Yeah, that happens to everybody. It’s just a natural expression of your disappointment of missing that wave. But before it turns into a useless discussion or a dispute, break the barrier of anger by saying “Tidak apa-apa!”, which can be translated with “No worries mate!” Take it to a higher level and say “Sing ken-ken bli”, the Balinese version of it.


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