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>>second trip to bali<<

Published on October 8, 2020, by in Uncategorized.


“Our hotel”

Our Hotel is at the end of the alley, frogs in the pool, sick cats on our doorstep, a smoky smell in the room and a shower that has its own whistling tune, ..this is our three star spot. It is located at the local harbour, at a place called Sanur…and apparently also in the red light district…BUT we ZAFFAS are rough and tough. At least the staff is extremely friendly, a taxi cost you R10 home. all cheap places have their benefits. This was all necessary to be close to the main contest site, Keramas.. only to find out the next day, they’re running it at Canggu, one and a half hour away.

“Bali belly”

I get the notorious “Bali belly”……I am flat in bed on my second day in Bali…need to compete tomorrow…. The hotel doctor gets called out…we need immediate measures…this belly must surf first heat tomorrow morning…100 US$ later for his visit…a total rip off, I am on antibiotics etc. etc. and fast asleep. The Balinese woman believes rice porridge is the answer to everything.…Minette says drink lots of guava juice…the hotel staff says that “ we not haph”, just to find out later that I should have asked for “guappa juice”.


We move without any accommodation booked, we got an email that the contest will be surfed in Canggu from Saturday to Sunday….we rent scooters and explore, surf, eat and try to cool off  in any possible way…..it feels like a heat wave every day.

The “Ceremony”

The ceremony is part of the opening function, which consists out of a dinner in Sanur as well as a “blessing ceremony” on the beach at Canggu, the morning before the first heat. We get ceremonial dress and everything is very beautiful.  However I feel uncomfortable “praying” to some unknown god of the islands….so I just close my eyes and prayed to our God…and added ” please forgive me if I am not suppose to do this…” I look at all the brown tanned smiley faces and realized: these surfers are the top 48 junior boys and 18 junior girl surfers in the world….you will hear these names again ….there will be world champions crowned from this group…we are going to see the best junior surfing in the world in this coming week….

“Cooking waves”

These are the waves on sandbanks and reefs of Canggu…I’ve been here before but never realized it has such potential….and what a vibe…Oakley has put on a amazing effort and show for junior surfing…the best I’ve seen…well done to the Oakley crew…very professional.

I realize that for surfers the measurement of the success of a surfing contest is the quality of the
waves surfed….and this seems to be the outlook of the  Oakley team…they try and take us to the best waves possible…..and they got it spot on.

“My friends”

As a last minute thought, I convinced two of my very dear childhood friends, Nicola Vlok and Grethe Meisner, to join me on this trip to Bali…Their parents could not refuse for they would have been forever unpopular with their teenagers for ruining their trip if they did.   Five days later and two pairs of bankrupt parents, the two were on their trip with me.  They have hardly been overseas before and with booking late, could not get on my flight so they had to do it all alone….connecting flights….via Bangkok….as Nicola said: “I’m not surprised that I am here…it is as if I was suppose to be here…”.


It has been winter for so long at home that I forgot to tell them that we are actually on the equator…while we were surfing, preparing for the contest, I let them loose in Kuta’s markets….they cooled off in the sea and spent the whole day in the sun without any sun cream…They got harassed on the
beach by vendors, got their nails done, tattoos on the ankles, masssaaaarggges…..and a huge sunburn…deep fried would be an understatement. When we came in a taxi to collect these lost souls, they would have made crayfish blush. . The last two days they have been avoiding all sun with their mild form of sunstroke…as they say in Afrikaans:  “daar’s nie pille vir domgeid nie”….they have already bought themselves new bikinis on a sale for their “comeback”. I’m so glad I brought them with, for when you are hot and bothered they make you laugh, when you are disappointed with your performance, they reassure you…you are still good enough for us….they are living  normal teenage lives with few worries, few expectations and not taking life too seriously. I look at them and realize what it takes from you as teenager or young adult to live the life of a professional sports person. How serious you take your responsibilities and how you have to put in double the effort to have it all: an academic qualification, a teenage life and a sports life….and be good at all of them.

Tonight the sun set was beautiful over Canggu beach. All the local families came down to the beach and lazed around until it was dark. In the background a band is playing old American songs.  We are a bit sunburnt and I surfed so much that I can’t lift my arms. There is a wonderful summer vibe in the air and everyone is having a good time.  I hear my friends laughter above all the noises…it is so good to have two you here…

“My friends have their own idea and experience of Bali…read their version…


[ Balistic ] from the perspective of my travel buddies, Nicola Vlok and Grethe Meissner

Published on October 7, 2020, by in Uncategorized.

The chance of being invited on a trip to a tropical island is about as big as the chance of losing
weight by drinking diet coke. Being able to go with your friend, who you spend so much time around, it’s unhealthy, only reduces the chances. So where I am standing is when pigs fly, or at least travel at some speed.

Yet it turns out piglet is more aerodynamic than we thought, my old school buddy, Bianca, with
whom I’ve always swapped my peanut sarmie for her jam sarmie, resulted to that forever special bond, turned out to be 17th in the World Qualifying Series for surfing and the number 1 Pro Junior in South Africa.

About a week before the end of the September holidays, Yvette, Bianca’s eccentric mother, casually suggested that we join Bianca for her second participation in World Pro Junior, which would be taking place in the tropical Indonesian island, Bali.

Of course it took some convincing of the parental guardians, but they were so knocked over by the
impulsive act, they numbly agreed. And so it happened, as if it is the most normal and sensible thing to do in one’s school career, that my friend and I packed our bags for Bali… a ballistic experience.

We arrived at Alit Beach Hotel in Kuta to meet up with the Buitendag’s. Short after we embraced
each other with open arms, we drowned each other in the hotel swimming pool. Our spirits full of great expectations and curiosity of what is to come.

Both were met the following day… Even though the equator is generally known as hot and burning, we failed to bust a myth and sourly suffered the consequences for challenging it’s power. We ended up unfamiliar shades of pink and purple for three days, like blushing crayfish. We are forever grateful for sunBLOCK.

Throughout the contest we refused to put a single toe out of the shade (not that we could actually
move) and had, on average: eight mango juices, six chicken sates and fifteen fruit salads per heat. Nevertheless, we supported our friend, sacrificing our lightly roasted skins to the Gods of the ocean.

Bianca finished ninth and within a half an hour we were packed, heading straight for Bingin, where we were heartily greeted by 500 steps and a cute little cockroach in the bathroom, called Lindsay.  We stayed at ‘Nyoman & Nyoman’, and had the luxury of a fan and shower.

In one day we managed to visit Uluwatu, Padang Padang and Dreamland, which give you a total of 5002 steps. Bianca had a surf at Uluwatu and told us of this Australian “grommie” who was horrified, as his die-hard dad pushed him into the waves. At Padang Padang we were mercilessly nagged by locals to buy every single sarong they present. It came down to the fact that the locals are very optimistic and in the Balinese language the meaning of the word ‘no’ does not exist; there is only ‘best price’ and ‘how much’. Our bargaining skills could only hold them back for so long, but we managed a narrow escape.

Legend tells that Dreamland is where 90% of the world’s Asians drown from boogie boarding each year. In comparison with Bianca, Grethe and I, know as much about surfing as a half a Jap. Again we felt the need to play myth busters, and rented two second hand boogie boards. Grethe took the first wave out. I stayed in, but when the first set of waves came, it ate me whole and I ended up on top of some poor little Asian. We retreated home, where Lindsay was patiently waiting.

Bianca did a shoot the next morning in Kuta, where we spent the rest of the day as well. We bargained 10 bintang t-shirts and 6 bintang beer holders al for Rp200 000, that’s about R160. We denied knowing the rules of the beach and seriously pissed off the lifeguards. I drank way to much coconut milk, and experienced the feeling of pregnancy, but it was worth it. We went for incredible hot stone massages. I’m not lying when I say it is good having a hot stone between your bum cheeks.

We have the coolest driver in the world, Wayan. With a sense of humour as dry as Savannah, reggae
music instead of radio, a car that does not smell like the ratio offered
everyday and much more for very cheap.

That night we had to walk down the 500 steps in the dark. I got left behind, which Bianca and Grethe sprinting down with the cell phone light source. The animal in me never came out, so I was stuck in the dark and the biggest problem was that I was wearing nothing, but a sarong and tiny bikini bottoms.

Returning to Bingin we made some human friends for once. Our neighbours (left of us) are a travelling couple, a blond English girl with her guitar playing Ossie boyfriend, who float the world to surf. On our top right, we have a Mexican bongo drum player and his friend from Fiji, and on our bottom right we have a diehard yoga couple. I think for once in my life I may feel normal.

I stepped in a see urchin.

Written by Nicola Vlok

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