After my planned trip to the longboard heaven of Costa Rica had to be aborted for various reasons, I found myself on a plane heading for Bali.
Although I – like most other surfers – enjoy fast and hollow surf, I had been put off Bali by macho talk I had heard in the past, of shallow and dangerous reefs, hungry for your skin. But my boyfriend convinced me it was just big talk, that we’d avoid those spots anyway. And I had always wanted to see Bali for myself.
When my boardbag appeared at the baggage collection point after the flight, I was struck with horror at the sight of one end of my bag, torn to shreds. My worst fears were confirmed when I opened the bag – the last 12 inches of my board had been smashed into a hundred pieces. My favourite board was ruined, a gorgeous raspberry and magenta Corduroy 9’ singlefin speed shape. A never-to-be-replaced custom, I had even mixed the colours for the resin myself. Nothing could hold back the tears, and I felt that my trip was ruined.
Mark and I traipsed around the dirty, smog ridden and humid Kuta, being harassed by hawkers and shopkeepers, in search of a longboard, to no avail. The smog made my eyes red and the humidity turned my hair into an afro, and I started questioning why I was there. But the karmic wheel is always spinning on the Island of the Gods and when we were about to quit I found the perfect Bali longboard in a little back-street shop, manned by a gaggle of typical Bali groms. So after the obligatory haggling I purchased a Town and Country high-performance nine-footer.
Once I escaped Kuta, I found the real Bali, a breathtaking island with many fantastic waves. We scored great sessions at Medewi, Kuta Reef, Nusa Lembongan, Uluwatu and many spots up the east coast. Not once did I need a helmet, and I revelled in the Indonesian perfection.
The people of Bali are some of the most beautiful – on the inside and outside – you will ever meet, and they enjoy an amazing culture going back thousands of years. After exploring the island, being invited by a local family to a small traditional ceremony, watching a historical play, viewing temples and witnessing the Balinese people approaching their difficult daily lives with such good humour and kindness, I was inspired to take many photos and produce an eBook to capture the experience.