An early Do It Yourself surf trip to Lembongan, 1970s style

Kevin Gordon shares these classic snaps, taken over two trips to Lembongan in 1976 and 1979, when one had to organize the trip all by oneself.

[Edit: whoops, I forgot one classic photo of the accommodations, which I add to the photos now]

DIY trip 1 bemo

Kevin says: “Unloading the bemo at Sanur before looking for a local with a boat. Note a young Wayan Suwenda with back to camera.”

Ah, the classic bemo. The original Surf Transport. These days, you can’t even hardly find a parking spot on that street.


DIy trip beach

Kevin: “Unloaded at Sanur, negotiating with a local fisherman to take us to the island.”

A lot of people don’t know that before the Hotel Bali Beach (now the Grand Bali Beach) was built in the 60s, the north end of the Sanur lagoon was a black sand beach that extended a good ways towards Tanjung Sari. White White coral sand was trucked in and dumped in front of the hotel. Later, the finger breakwater with the helipad was built to prevent the black sand shoreline drift sand.


DIY trip outrigger

Kevin: “on board a shabby little outrigger with a small outboard & ripped sails heading to the island. Note back of Wayan Suwenda’s head in foreground and the blonde girl in the background who was Wayan’s friend named Suzie from memory.”

(They would later marry)


DIY trip beach2

Kevin: “Lembongan paradise – speaks for itself. Shipwreck is to the right of the photo.”

And note the lack of seaweed farms!


DIY trip accomodation

Kevin: “Lembongan accommodation & locals – the grass huts that we slept under for 4 days while watched 24 hours a day by the intrigued locals & their prize chickens.”

Ah, yes, the early traveling surfer was the source of much entertainment, amusement, and bafflement to many outer island locals (the Balinese were used to bules from long ago). Now the traveling surfer is standard fare, maybe worth a hustle and con, but is no longer top billing for village entertainment.


DIY trip playgrounds

Kevin, on this shot overlooking Playgrounds from the bare limestone cliff now covered with villas,
“Lembongan low tide blues – no swell on low tide, but later that day on high tide it rose to 6-8 ft right handers off the shipwreck.”


DIY trip rec

Kevin: “Passing the time on low tide – well you gotta keep yourself amused somehow.”

Thanks, Kevin. I’m sure these are stirring a lot of memories and nostalgia.

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7 Responses to An early Do It Yourself surf trip to Lembongan, 1970s style

  1. Bukit Bear says:

    Thanks for sharing these photos RL… would be terrific to read a detailed account from Kevin of those early adventures…

  2. petebowes says:

    I don’t know the two blokes in the last pic, but I sure do recognise that grin.

  3. Kymberley Price says:

    That was me in the photo…Kymberley Price, not Suzi and the person I am sitting next to is Gusti Made Adi, we later married and moved to Australia

  4. Kymberley Price says:

    I think that may be Suzi right beside Wayan

  5. Kymberley Price says:

    The motor broke down and we were on the water for hours and hours, if any one else recalls I think that we had visitors from the village in the middle of the night saying we had to see the Head man of the island, so we had to go to the village, it was a little scary, I was only 17 at the time, the trip back was horrible to, it was good to get onto dry land after that.

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