All Indonesia Surf Report, May 18 – May 25

Well, I wouldn’t know, hobbling around home after my hernia operation. Minor surgery with major pain. I haven’t even checked the web cams.

The World’s Oldest Grommet texted me asking me if I wanted to know what I’ve been missing. I said that would be most unkind of him.

But I’ve managed to sit at my computer and upload a short story about Bali that I reckon is worth a read at a modest price.

menarche cover small

After the death of his Balinese wife, financial difficulties force American expatriate Jordan Elliot to return with their nine-year old daughter Dewi to Connecticut and his wealthy, domineering, social register mother.

Available for Kindle or Kindle apps on other e-readers.

Available at Smashwords for a variety of other reader options.

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Surf Report: Nembrala, Rote May 17 2015

A few days ago, your blog correspondent came in from a piddly morning surf at Serangan (just me solo to a peak because the start of the trades had blown the legions and surf schools back to the west side). While changing by the car, I noticed an alarming lump in my nether regions. A mad dash to the SOS clinic confirmed it was a hernia, nothing serious, but I’m never been one to wait.

So I am recovering from the operation.

So in lieu of a real post, here’s a text message from my buddy Jim on his boat at Nembrala, Rote, where he’s long been a regular:

Nembrala 4 foot and 50 guys out. Everybody whinging most crowded ever.

Such is the modern Indonesian surfing experience.

A couple photos from long before the crowds:

Rob and Dave, on the Hati Murnih after a day of three solo surf sessions:

rob dave nembrala

Nobody out:

the time before

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The Original Bali Booties, take two: One of the best surf products ever

A while ago I wrote a post on the the original Bali booties, a product marketed by Ripcurl in the early 1990s.

Most surf gear improves over time. Leashes get safer and stronger, wetsuits warmer, etc.

But for tropical reef booties, nothing will ever beat the original Ripcurl Bali bootie. As I wrote in the first post, “The original Bali booty was a Rip Curl product, light blue latex with thin grip soles, originally made for Japanese construction workers. Rip Curl didn’t change a thing to them and imported them to flog them to surfers. Brilliant genius marketing. They were the best booties ever—just thick enough to save you from grief, light enough to feel that you were surfing in bare feet.”

Robert Wilson, original Ripcurl licensee who opened the first Ripcurl shop in Kuta in 1991, sent this picture. These booties were one of the first products he stocked in the store.

I wish somebody would make them again.

bali booties
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So how did Lakey Peak really get it’s name?

Surfline has a spot check article on Lakey Peak, narrated by native son and hot ripper Oney Anwar. The text prologue has an interesting account on how the peak got it’s name, a fine example of creative writing. Surfline is seriously dedicated to getting it’s surf forecasts as accurate as possible, other facts, well, hey, let’s have some fun.

The writer says the peak got it’s name thirty years ago from non-surfing backpackers stoned on magic mushrooms they’d found in the fields off the beach. In their dreamy mycologic state (mycology being the study of mushrooms), they were mesmerised by the peak out front that resembled the mushrooms they’d eaten. So they named the place Lucky Peak, which morphed into Lakey Peak.

hati murnih huu

Me, when we were there thirty years ago on the Hati Murnih (above), we saw nary a backpacker. What we knew was that the village (or at least the village name you gave the truck driver who drove you back from a supply run at the dump of Dompu) was called Lakey, which is pronounced Lah-kay. But hey, I could be wrong, maybe there were stoned backpackers there.

My buddy Rob at Periscopes on that trip:

rob periscopes 1

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Floating plastic and a karmic thing you can do

The other day at Serangan your blog correspondent paddled out to join the throng frolicking in the head high waves. An eddy of plastic trash swirled in the channel. I plucked a couple noodle bags and a diaper package (just the package, mind, not the diaper) and stuffed them into my board short pocket to dispose of properly later once back ashore. One of the Kuta-side locals was giving me a peculiar look, so I told him, “Just symbolic, a syukuran to the Ratu Laut” (thanks to the Lord of the Seas) and he burst into a huge smile.

At any rate, this is something I’ve done for a while, an eccentricity that actually on occasion seems to provide a karmic blessing in the form of a good set wave after bobbing around and getting nothing. Or, alternatively, for each wave I ride, I will pocket a plastic by way of thanks. Not obsessively to the point of superstition, but regular enough it’s become a habit. There’s certainly no lack of plastic floating around the reef waters, more and more of it by the week, it seems.

The other day I gathered this out in the outer reef line up for each wave (a short session in two foot dribblers):

nusa plastic 2

And then I grabbed one of the larger plastic bags and on my paddle in plucked even more plastic:

nusa plastic

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A historical photograph of Nusa Dua surf

Well, okay, it’s not exactly what you think it is, but I’m tickled pink, with some reef rash thrown in.

Your blog correspondent has been surfing Nusa Dua for some forty years, although in the last decade my attendance declined in proportion to the traffic jams and time it took to drive there. Why spend three hours sucking leaded gas fumes in stop-and-go, and sometimes just plain stopped, traffic to surf three waves (ND being a notoriously hard work, low wave count spot)? But now there is the toll road, and my back and various bones are doing okay, I’ve been sneaking down south.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve never been much of an Ulu side guy (except for Airport (Pertamina) Lefts and Middles before the crowds) — and after learning to ride a surfboard at Kuta beachbreaks my first reef waves were first, Mushroom Rock when the Nusa Dua warungs were at that beach before the hotel developments, and then Nusa Dua proper. There’s a blog post about the history of Nusa Dua surfing as filtered through my warped memories. In the early 80s, Nusa Dua got pretty crowded for the time, I think mainly because the government bulldozed a limestone road out there as the first stage of development, allowing easy access in the off-season months. The other off-season spots were hard to get to (ie Green Balls, Payung) or damn near impossible (ie Serangan), so Nusa was the go to place.

At any rate, all those years surfing the joint, and not one photograph of yours truly. So when a friend alerted me that our fellow blog friend Nusa Surf Wear, who does a regular video surf report around the Bukit, had a video of me on a set wave on a good day from the other week, I said, “ah, I’m not really into self-glorification” — well, okay, I dropped everything and got on the computer and lo and behold, it was me on a solid wave. So I saved the Nusa screen grab and here it is. A historical photograph (to me at any rate; plenty of locals and visitors can surf circles around me out there). This is the end of the ride from outside and that corner came down on me and I had to bail. As I sometimes do, I counted off the seconds while tumbling around the reef bottom and popped up at nine seconds (see this post on the twelve-second rule of wave hold downs)

me at nusa dua

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Emu, Desert Point, 1987

We were on the Hati Murnih boat: Emu and Fredo and me. Emu was a big, craggy South Australian and Fredo a Margaret River area lifeguard and I was me, a bit in over my head on this solid 6 – 8 ft swell, not having the technical backhand skills on waves that this morning and tide were racing too fast. Fredo kept his lifeguard eye on me. Emu’s lady (if I remember correctly, Gabriella) walked up the beach from the anchorage and took the photos. Anyway, this was 1987 — or 86 or 88, time blurs, but Desert Point was still a truly secret spot known to only a very few crew with boats, and we had the break to ourselves for the whole swell. The closest surfer was across the deep ocean channel at Lembongan. Now it’s one of Indonesia’s most crowded surf spots.

emu desert point

emu 2 desert point

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