“Surf Stories Indonesia” : Another Indo surf book hot off the press

stormrider surf stories indonesia

“Choosing the right travelling companion for that trip of a lifetime is a tough task, yet Stormrider Surf Stories makes life easy by offering something for everyone who is on a journey of enlightenment through Indonesia. This insightful hoard of fact and stranger than fiction showcases the cultural depth and natural beauty of this incredibly rich land and brings together many of the greatest tales from Aceh to the Arafura Sea. Join the pioneers and share their experiences as they hack their way through the jungles of Nias, the Mentawai Islands, G-Land, Sumbawa and Sumba, searching for the perfect wave around the next headland. Feel the terror as survivors recount their flirtation with disasters as big as the Boxing Day tsunami and Bali bombings or as small and personal as getting lost or falling overboard. Alongside these all-action adventures, heavyweight surf scribes probe the undercurrents of Indonesian surf culture and attempt to plot a course using a sustainable moral compass, through this vast nation of islands. This compendium of Stormrider Surf Stories will delight both the road-weary Indo traveller and the inquisitive intern, looking for a good ol’ yarn to read during the next flat spell.”

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“BALI HEAVEN AND HELL: Bloodshed, chaos, corruption, free love, great surf and high times under the banyan trees”

jarratt book

Your blog correspondent attended the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival launch of Phil Jarratt’s new book, the event well-attended and well-lubricated.

The book focuses on the expatriate invasions of Bali, from the 16th century to the present times, including the prominent role played by the first modern era surfers in the halcyon & hash days of the 1970s.

The book is a treasure trove of anecdotes, memories, how it was and how it really happened. The discovery of G-Land, for example. As long-time expat Abdul says, there are several accounts of how G-land was discovered, but “I’ll tell you what really happened,” and he does, because he was right there as an eyewitness participant during the happening.

As Troppo Pierre states in a reader’s comment to this blog: “It’s an excellent read. Thoroughly recommend it to anyone who has ever fallen under the magic spell of Bali. Enlightening historical research and modern interviews with expats who have made Bali their home.”


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She were a good board

The hansel she were a good board
She rode the big waves mighty finely
She glide nice and sweet
Give old man time to his feet
And she broke on the day of the Lord

broke board

(never go surfing when you should be in church)

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Cool upcoming events, apart from the surf: Launch of “Bali: Heaven And Hell” by Phil Jarratt

I can stop writing this blog now. Journalist Phil Jarratt has dug deep and wide. Plus a photo exhibition by Dick Hoole.


Deus Gallery_Poster_Phil Jarratt & Dick Hoole_FINAL

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Too much surf, lay day

My aching back…a lay day for laying down. Plus power has been out all morning.

Being of advanced middle age and of retreated physical body, your blog correspondent has for some time been practicing the rule of three. That is, “three waves is enough to keep me happy.” Then my body held a referendum with my mind and an amendment was proposed and accepted: getting to my feet on three waves with a successful ride on one. Then that changed too, for if I rode a really good wave right off the bat, then that counted for the three, and I could go in before I hurt myself.

That’s prone. SUPing, you don’t have to jump up to your feet, and it’s helped me get fit. But these past couple swells, the prone stuff has been too good to pass up.

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Interlude: Bali’s early surf prognastication tool

In the late 80s and early 90s, before the Internet era and NOAA wave models, some of us in Bali had access to the Australian’s Bureau of Meteorology’s Indian Ocean mean sea level pressure analysis. This chart, hand-drawn by a BOM meteorologist from satellite data, was faxed to ships’ and yachts’ weather faxes, including boats in Benoa. Copies of the fax would make the rounds, but only amongst a few, and jealously guarded.

This is the current BOM chart for today, and I am playing Surfline here with the red arrow. Days and days of swell are coming. You don’t even need the modern surf forecast. Just a glance at the MSLP chart tells you that. From the H’s and the L’s marked on the chart, the more expert prognosticator can even say what the prevailing winds will be, in this case trades.

next swell

One time in the early days, Brett B. pranked us by expertly re-drawing the new chart, showing a big-ass low spiraling across the Indian Ocean. Word spread that the biggest swell of the year was on its way in a few days. Guns were dusted off and repaired. And on the appointed day, the faithful gathered early at dawn at Nusa Dua, their guns at the ready, and lo, it was only two foot.

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The No Fear and Unloathing Trip: At Savu Island.

So where were we.

Ah, yes, chasing the Mystical Wave of Savu Island. The only person I know personally who claimed to have surfed it epic is the late great Dave Wiley, of Sumba Fame, but Dave could sure spin a tale.

But there is a wave at Savu when everything is flat. A small limestone cliff projects out into the sea, and any minor swell in the water will roll in and bounce off the cliff and stack itself into a peaky little left, a mini version of the Wedge. As far as I know it was first surfed by Marty Hoffman and Tim Watts, along with Flippy and Walter Hoffman, a quarter century ago when we were cruising East Indonesia on the tall ship The Golden Hawk. A couple fishing boats from Flores were also anchored in this little bay, and they watched the frolickings with great interest. Then one of the younger guys on the boat, a kid basically, paddled out on a piece of wood and surfed the damn thing! He told me he’d never seen surfers or board surfing before, but in his village, the kids all surfed the beach break on whatever floating thing they had around.

Anyways, your blog correspondent is beat and battered by two back-to-back swells, and will sign off for now.

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