Bali Surfing Scene 1978: Home movie by Dr. Abalone

Shortly before I left on my recent surf & burn* trip, I found on Youtube a home movie by Dr. Abalone, of the Bali surfing scene in 1978. I bookmarked the Youtube video on my laptop for a later blog post. Since I was going to be Internetless, I left the laptop at home, and for my writing used the Neo Alphasmart electronic typewriter. Despite its limited screen size, it’s a brilliant traveling text editor, powered forever by two AA batteries, fits in traveling bag side pocket, can be banged and battered about, boots up instantly to the place in the file where you were last:

Anyhow, when I returned home, I powered up my laptop. The hard disk whirred, and then stopped. Blank screen. Not good. Since the laptop was still under warranty, I took it to the dealer, and got a call the next day from the service guy who said my hard drive had crashed due to bugs. Literally. In my absence, and in the moist humid conditions of my closed office, tiny house ants had built a nest under the keyboard. We’re still waiting on parts.

So for today’s post, it was back to the Youtube search. This home movie of Bali’s surf scene in 1978 isn’t the most polished, but it really churned up the old memory banks for me, everything from the aerial shots of Bali’s shoreline and the pristine Benoa mangroves to the guys heading out to the lineup by sailboat.

By the time this was filmed, Bali’s modern surfing culture had been growing for ten years or so. What really strikes me as I watched was how little Bali had changed in those ten years. Below are two photos of Kuta Beach: the first was taken in 1950 or so, and the next one is a screen grab (by digital camera, since this borrowed laptop doesn’t have a built-in screen grabber) of a still from Dr. Abalone’s 1978 movie. Ten years: after the Bali bombing of 2002, there was a momentary vacuum, an utter absence of tourism, but then ‘development’ really took off with an uncontrolled vengeance, as if the bombs had unleashed some sort of modern demon, with body parts of concrete and bulldozers and skycranes, and pooping plastic bags. I reckon Bali has changed more in the last ten years than it has in all the years up to 2002.

Thank you, Dr. Abalone.

* The burn aka the Bali Brand (or Bali Kiss, although it happened outer island) from a scooter’s exhaust pipe.

It’s healing well enough that I’d wrap it up and go surfing, but the trouble is that any little knock on the wound hurts like the dickens–actually, since I don’t know how much a dickens hurts, it hurts like hell. Should be good come this next swell, though.

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4 Responses to Bali Surfing Scene 1978: Home movie by Dr. Abalone

  1. Sil says:

    Thanks Dr Abalone & Dick, evokes memories alright. How simple things were ….

  2. Bukit Bear says:

    Nothing lasts forever… especially laptops..

  3. It was not easy to find your blog on Bali, but I have arrived. I will bookmark it for my Bali link collection.

  4. Paul says:

    I have to agree. I first went in 1999 & after the bombings & as you said it was if it unleashed a demon. Such a sad shame. Especially after staying in Seminyak with the vacant lots & trees & little amount of people.

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