Surf ConsciouslyMagazine

Where to shop for a surfboard in Bali? – Updated May 2024

Time to invest in a wooden surf-board?

Where to shop for a surf-board in Bali?

Today’s surfboard context

Most of the surfboards we use today are built with techniques developed back in the ’50s, when the environment was less of a concern. Materials involved in the making are mostly derived from petroleum, particularly hard to recycle, shipped halfway around the world and virtually half of it all is lost during the process. Tobias demonstrated in his project, “The Surfboard Cradle-to-Grave”, that surfboards life cycle is relatively short (380 hours of activity in the water for polyester, against 650 for epoxy). Although shere is a lack of substantial statistics, Rick Lomax from SurfScience estimates the carbon footprint of one board ranging between 400 lb and 1000 lb of CO2e. And amongst the millions of them that have been made that way since, only an insignificant part is still being used today. Where goes the rest? Buried in landfills if not sitting in a garage or second-hand board rack.
It may seem ironical that our beloved pastime, though of as an inherently eco-minded subculture, is ultimately responsible for such a heavy environmental impact. But it is no surprise that the major surf industries follow the trends of consumerism by cultivating a high product turn over which is far from being sustainable.
Don’t get me wrong, there are higher concerns related to our environmental impact for which we are all undeniably contributing to – travelling, meat consumption, the internet… I believe sustainability is about making our decisions part of a bigger picture more than sacrificing certain aspects. It is about asking ourselves what would be the consequences if everyone else in this world were living the same as we individually do. We can find a certain balance in our lifestyle which is different for each and everyone as one can occasionally fly to Indo but rides his bike to work everyday day.

The production of one surfboard alone can have a higher CO2 emission than flying 5000 miles.

For the matter at hand, I find interesting to put those previous numbers into perspective as the production of one surfboard alone can have a higher CO2 emission than flying 5000 miles. If there isn’t yet a simple solution to surfboards unsustainable cycle, we can all make that choice to change our consuming habits by unstitching a whole range of false beliefs as to a relative correlation between performance and gears, for example. Many of us aren’t into competitive surfing anyway and there is no doubt Kelly Slater would do wonderful things riding any surfboards we would tend to disregard for its shape, appearance or worn-out condition.
There lies many approaches of sustainability; some are great, some less, but we believe every little step away from standard consumerism is worth making. Here are a few tips to help you lower your impact and some places we know around Bali that fit the bill.

Surf shape bali
In the shaping bay @ Kayu Surfboards

Second-hand surf-boards in Bali

It cannot be emphasised enough folks: Buying second-hand is the most efficient ways to extend any product life cycle. You skip the entire process of making a new board along the toxic materials and carbon emissions involved. You don’t need to struggle to travel with your stuff and you can make good bargains if you are careful enough so you don’t worry too much about damaging a brand new stick. Given the profusion of people who come and go in Bali, the second-hand market overflows with opportunities. You might just have to spend a little more time looking for the right one than in a regular shop, but mother nature will be thankful and you only risk meeting some cool people doing so.
Facebook users have an advantage here as the Bali Surfboards Buy and Sell group is a reference in that matter, but any local shop has a range of second-hand stuff on display.

Unique surf-shops in Bali

KARMAFREE Surf Shop, Uluwatu, Bali

Karmafree surf shop in Uluwatu

I recently discovered Karmafree in Uluwatu, and I’m genuinely impressed with their mission to create in harmony with nature without harming the planet. They embody this commitment through both their clothing and the surfboard brands they offer. It’s refreshing to see a business step up amidst Bali’s mass tourism and unsustainable consumption habits to bring a more balanced, responsible approach to how we consume and create.

Karmafree’s vision is clear: to distribute high-performance surfboards that are also environmentally respectful. You’ll find top-notch brands here, like Varuna balsa wood’s surfboards and the Jim Banks flax fiber cloth series. Whether you’re in the market for high-performance shortboards, mid-length cruisers, or longboards, Karmafree has the perfect craft to meet your needs, built to last through countless waves. This place is a true gem for any environmentally-conscious surfer! They also have FREE Demo surfboards that you can try and experience the feeling of riding wood.

Here’s the link to their location on Google map.

Varuna Surfboard

Varuna has dedicated years to developing a wooden surfboard technology that doesn’t compromise on performance. They sustainably harvest balsa wood and collaborate with iconic shapers like Joel Fitzgerald, Beau Young, and Maurice Cole to create unique, high-performance sustainable surfboards. In their factory in Java, they even convert waste from surfboard production into bioenergy, all while contributing to Indonesia’s ecosystem by removing balsa trees and replanting species that benefit the environment.

Although their shop in Canggu is temporarily closed, you can still find Varuna surfboards at Karmafree Surf Shop in Uluwatu.

Varuna surfboard

Varuna surfboard

HAQI local surf shaper

Oddly enough, I was introduced to Haqi’s work by a friend I met in El Salvador. He had a gorgeous set of fins displaying a balsa wood core through a transparent resin coating. A perfect piece of craftsmanship with a beautiful finish that immediately got me hooked. Haqi inherited his knowledge of working with resin from his father, who worked for a fibreglass company in Surabaya, and has been getting some guidance from none other than Kim Bradley himself before his passing away in 2009. Since his establishment in 2010, he developed other techniques using carbon and different shapes and is now offering a whole range of fins and taking custom orders at very interesting prices.  Surprisingly, the all-round quality of Haqi’s product hasn’t yet received the attention it merits, but he definitely deserves a place in this compendium as to a greener option for a fin setup. More info:

Shaping Surfboard Bali
HAQI designs


I have been gossiping about the industry a bit, though there is actually some movement from big brands towards greener processes.  In 2013 the SIMA (the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association, yes !) has endorsed the ECOBOARD Project which is an independent 3rd party “eco-label” for surfboards that certifies the sourcing of a list of sustainable materials substitutes for the resin and/or the core. It is comprised of two categories, Level One and Gold Level, which are displayed by a small logo on each board which meets the respective requirements.
As Schultz (2008) recommends, “Surfers wishing to purchase boards with a truly smaller environmental footprint should look to improvements in these materials (resin & core) are they are by far the largest contributors to the carbon footprint of a surfboard.”

Surfboard Bali
Written by Kamil – last year shopping for fins at HAQI

Do feel free to add in the comment sections other surf-shops and surfboard suppliers in Bali, that you think should be mentioned in this post. You can also email us to [email protected]

Indo Surf Crew

Indo Surf Crew was first born in the year 2018 as a surf photo & video content creative project while the first surf coaching trip organised by Uriel & Rodrigo happened in 2019 on an island off Sumatra. Since then, they have been running surf coaching retreats for all levels and mostly specialise in surf coaching for intermediate to advanced surfers. Surfing Consciously is our motto. To us it means, bringing awareness to our body, thoughts and interactions – in and out of the water. We take pride in working with eco surf resorts that are acting responsibly in preserving Indonesia’s nature, supporting and educating local communities. Indo Surf Crew was founded by Uriel Jean Armel, a French surfer and film-maker who has taken roots in Indonesia. You can read more about Uriel here, on an interview with Magicseaweed & here during an interview with the Surfing copywriter. As for Rodrigo, he was the first surf coach to join Uriel in his adventure and he’s the founder of the Power Surf techniques – a method that is now practiced internationally to train surf athletes from all over. Power Surf is a land based practice that combines ginastica natural, yoga, capoeira and martial arts, breaking town the fundamental surf techniques through a series of exercises. It also involves video analysis a skate practice for optimal result, which we do during our surf coaching trips.

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