How “Greenballs” got its name…and got crowded

By tradition, newly discovered comets are named after their discoverers, first ascent of routes up mountains are known by the climber(s) who climbed them, and surf breaks are christened by the surfers who first surfed them.

Disputes, divisions, and other-namers arise. Purists and egoists mix it up. For example, is it Hollow Trees or is it Lance’s Right? Sometimes, a genuine first name, of a surf break known to only a select few, loses out to whatever mass exposure, which is rather instant in the age of the Internet, declares it to be.

Here’s a story behind the naming of a well-known Bali Bukit surf spot, as contributed by Robert Wilson:

On the exposed southerly point of the Bukit Peninsular in Bali there’s a deep channel in the reef with a left and right either side. Not an A grade wave by any means but nice & solid just the same.

Until around 8 years ago this break provided uncrowded pleasure for a few of the older, regular surfers. These days one can count on 3 – 4 cars parked, each with their respective ‘ surf teams ‘ inside waiting for the sun to come up ..

This place was named ‘ Greenball ‘ by our mate David Wylie R.I.P in the mid 70’s.

While checking the surf he noticed some green ( glass ) fishing net balls just outside the channel.

Hence, simply ‘ Greenball ‘

A Bukit friend relates how one morning he drove to GB for his usual uncrowded early morning surf break…and counted fifteen in the lineup with more paddling out. Apparently what happened was that the surf break was listed in a European surf guide to Bali, complete with how-to-get-there directions. Overnight instant pack.

Such is the modern life.

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5 Responses to How “Greenballs” got its name…and got crowded

  1. Bukit Bear says:

    Hows the saying go? – “More crowded than last year… but less crowded than next year.” – R.I.P. DW..

  2. miki d says:

    Legend has it that it was Dave Michelle who named it, but they could be wrong.
    Either way its a writeoff now with the euro surf school packs on it.
    Was good while it lasted.

  3. robert says:

    Well, Dave Wylie or Dave Michelle, both very early days. Both as legend as each other. To my recollection it was Dave Wylie who named it, Dave Michelle was always surfing Ulus / Padang. One thing I do know is that Dave Michelle was a true pioneer, he ripped Ulu’s in the very early days. One of his latest RED boards is currently on display at resto ‘ INSALT ‘ at Jl Balangan. We recovered this board when we were setting up TUBES bar. At the time I was pissed at a former old friend who suddenly laid claim to an OWL CHAPMAN board that I had bought many years earlier off Mike Boyum. I also had Dave Michells board in trust and thought F&#K this ! I’m gonna put his name on it. Daves name and ownership is still there in very bold black on red. Check it out. Cheers, Robert

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