WORLD JUNIOR COMPETITION IN KERAMAS
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.
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 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….
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.
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…”