Last year I wrote about the beach / surfing break at Jl. Padma, in Legian. For beginning / intermediate surfers, who are tired of Kuta Beach / Halfway etc., but like the idea of being downtown, Padma is a good option.
Padma beach is located in Legian at the end of Jl. Padma. It is a beach break, meaning no nasty coral to cut you to pieces and very easy access. For surfers staying in the Poppies Lane area Padma offers a nice change. Waves tend to be about a foot bigger here than on Kuta Beach and there is a nice little 2 way break. Getting to Padma from Kuta you can either take Jl. Legian past Jl. Melasti up to Jl. Padma and turn left all the way to the beach, or take Jl. Benesari past Hotel Camplung Mas to Jl. Melasti, turn left ( you are not supposed to as it is a one way street) then hang a quick right past the art market. This takes you to Padma.
Riding time is about 5 minutes. In a car from Kuta you will either want to get onto Jl. Pantai Kuta amd zip around to Jl. Melasti, hanging a left at the art market or drive through Jl. Benesari past Camplung Mas, turn right and then a left at Jl. Legian, heading up to Jl. Padma. Sounds complicated but its really quite close.
The beach is about a 1 minute drive from Jl. Legian and there is a parking area to the right, 1,000rp for motorbikes. A surfer from the UK told me the parking attendants are honest and he had left his helmet and keys with them before. Plenty of parking for cars too.
Right behind the toilets is the Bela Rosa Italian Restaurant in case you feel like treating your surfing buddies to an expensive meal. One great thing about Padma like the other Kuta beaches is that there is no hike down to the surf unlike out on the Bukit. I mean Bingin is a real pain to get down to!
Board rental stands are close by and there are more every 20 meters or so down the beach towards Legian. Quality varies greatly so look around and bargain. If it was me I would rent a motorbike in Kuta with a board rack and pick out a board from the many shops in the Poppies Lane area.
Also on the beach to the north and south are recliners and sunshades. There are some nice hotels around here and large European men and women in their 50s like to roast themselves covered in cocoa butter. Fortunately for those smart enough to know better they stay out of the surf.
When I visited Padma there were decent 4ft waves and about 30 people in the water, split between the 2 main breaking points ( I am not a surfer so forgive the incorrect lingo dudes).
The UK surfer I spoke to said most people who surf here were quite friendly, especially when your face is known. He also said the lifeguards are a bit aggressive and recently tried to run him over with a jet-ski. There is shade under the trees on the beach and a small shack is set up offering drinks and light snacks.
Small water 3,000rp
Noodles & veg 5,000rp
You will of course find better deals and better food 2 minutes up the street but if you just have to be on the beach all day this might work for you.
Jl. Padma towards Jl. Legian features shops, internet cafes, restaurants and bars favoured by the 50 year old crowd from Europe and Australia. Prices are not as budget as Poppies Lane but still affordable.
A intermediate surfer who is tired of Kuta Beach but not ready for the Bukit could base himself in this area and find everything on hand. Probably cheaper though to stay somewhere on Jl. Benesari or Poppies II and with a motorbike you would have instant access to Kuta Midway, Legian, Padma and Double 6, the next break to the north.
Being on the west side of the south-coast, Padma is best surfed in the dry season (April-October) but here in February the water looked okay and they were getting waves.
Stadium Cafe Padam, which was open in early 2005, is now closed.