Happy Nyepi! And no, you may not go surfing (and the swell will be up, too). Plus, a foolish thing to do, young man!

At Serangan the other day, where I am swimming in the waves (with fins) because swimming in still waters is very boring, until such time as my shoulders are healed and I am allowed to surf, I overheard one Balinese surfer remarking to another surfer with a degree of lamentation that the forecast showed a good swell on Nyepi. This tone somewhat surprised me. All my time here, the Balinese surfers have always cheerfully put their duties and obligations and ceremonies first without a word of murmur of missing surf.

Wednesday 9 March 2016 is the Balinese day of silence (in the Balinese calender, New Year’s of the year Saka 1938). To our Balinese brothers and sisters, Rahajeng Rahina Nyepi. I think pretty much everyone knows the drill — stay indoors from sunrise to sunrise, make no sounds, show no lights. And no surfing, no matter how tempting the empty lineups you’re watching from your veranda. But considering the influx of learners from foreign lands, seemingly more so than ever, I bet there’s going to be one idiot who paddles out somewhere. He (or possibly she) will be schooled.

no surf nyepi

Maybe it’s going to be this guy below, some foreign surfer who got dropped in by a local surfer and instead of smiling and shrugging it off decided he’d take it to the beach. (The photo and story are from Slim at Baliwaves). What was this dude thinking? He’s a guest here and he’s going to give a local a knuckle sandwich right there at Canggu in the heart of local territory? Like trying to slap a wasp around a wasp nest. This kind of foolishness is the sort to qualify one for the Darwin Awards, in which through an act of monumental stupidity one permanently deletes one’s genes from humanity’s gene pool for the benefit of future generations.

T he Balinese locals are cool — in other surfing meccas of the world, to the locals you’re an instant asshole until you prove otherwise. But there in Bali, you’re cool until you prove you’re an asshole. This guy did just that. I hope he was suitably humbled and chastised, but you never know with some people these days.


To me, though, this is more than just one clown’s idiocy. It’s a symptom of the dysfunction that’s creeping into the increasingly crowded lineups around Bali, or so it seems to me. Much of it is cluelessness but some of it is disrespectful aggression, shown even by the learners.

For me on Nyepi, I will pray for world peace and for wisdom to be granted to the surf school instructors to teach their students the first rule, that one paddles out of the way instead of directly into your path.

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3 Responses to Happy Nyepi! And no, you may not go surfing (and the swell will be up, too). Plus, a foolish thing to do, young man!

  1. Doddsy says:

    Was at Serangan last week and was also surprised to hear that crew staying at Keramas surf it all day on Nyepi ? Actually could not believe that either but it was the locals telling me it happens every year.!!! Hmmm ..After they started closing the airport years ago (was open in the 70’s & 80’s) my belief was it was more patrolled these days. Obviously not. In Denpassar you can walk the streets after 4pm! Lastly the guy @ the Gu copped a good beating (fully deserved) Slim confirmed that in an email .. Happy Nyepi to all

    • I can believe it for Keramas. The pecalang probably get paid to look the other way. But there are (as in any country and religion) hard-core conservative (ie fundamentalist) Hindus you definitely do not want to come across as you are wandering about outside on Nyepi.

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