Sitting on the beach at a contest, a friend of mine and I decided that it would be a good idea to gather a couple friends and go to Bali. No contest, no pressure to perform…. not to mention warm water! Me, thinking that it sounded to good to be true, had a peep on the internet to have a look at the cheapest airline rates. One thing led to another and I found myself Google imaging the break we were interested to stay at. My jaw dropped when I saw the “book now” button. Me, three friends and my brother were checking in at Jo-burg airport on the 23rd of June.
We were welcomed by an equatorial heat wave, followed by a skinny taxi driver named John Lennon. He drove like a maniac and stank horribly. We were dropped off at a little hotel in Kuta central. It took us an hour in the pool to realize that three of the domestic workers were taking pictures of us with their cell phones, so we relocated to Bingin
Bingin is what I had been waiting for. A shack, nutella pancakes and cooking waves… and the continuous urge to reapply insect repellant and swat the flies away. Sleeping on a mattress not fit for a homeless person for R16 a night was a bit extreme, but at least we got waves. Thinking back, I would give anything to be back there right now.
Our daily schedule was: wake up after getting annihilated by mozzies, in the water at the break of dawn as soon as half of Australia paddles out, going to grab a fruit salad with honey, back in the water, ‘middagslapie’, fat noodle and shrimp chow and then again back in the water. More noodles or a fat nutella pancake to finish off a hard day at work. I haven’t even started telling you about those watermelon juices! On average six per day… atleast. The waves were even better than the watermelon juices. Barrels, barrels and some more… barrels! We were lucky to get the tail end of some swell that rolled past.
A week in Bingin temporarily quenched our surfing thirst. From there we started to explore. We rented scooters at the carpark at the top of Bingin and went exploring. We got quite reckless and drag raced down the road to Dreamlands, 110km/h around corners. I nearly scared myself to death! Getting use to the traffic in Bali from the angle of a scooter is quite hair-raising and the competition with all the boys and their scooters almost led to an accident or two. The more careless you drive, the more you fit in. After getting some petrol from an ancient 90 year old (that tried to cheat us with our change) we were off to wherever - passing cows, scrawny dogs with no fur, scooters seating five people, you name it.
As the swell dropped off a bit, we surfed Uluwatu as well as Balagan, both left-breaks that picks up more swell than Bingin. We also took day trips to Cangu and up the east coast where there are always waves.
Canggu has dark sand and is a multiple-peak beach break that isn’t crowded early in the moring. Uluwatu on the other hand is very crowded - a perfect reef break lefthander.
Keramas is apparently where they are having the world juniors this year, and all the boys at home can’t stop talking about it, so I decided to go and check it out. Scorching hot black sand, the best cappuccinos ever and a smoking barreling right. What a wave! Got one or two reef kisses.
We went exploring on our scooters, with our boards and boardies strapped up on the side. We zoomed everywhere (even went to
the extent of walking up and down 540 stairs) only to find some rock pools and some fishermen - no waves - but it was still more than worth it!
Every afternoon we would come out of the water last – sun burnt, hungry and tired - ready for the next session…
Reality hit us when we saw snow on the mountains and roads. We were back at home. It is hard to adapt to our scheduled lives everyday - having the same routine - it makes me crazy. The winter hibernation began.
I’ll be back in Bali in 3 weeks time for the Oakley World Junior competition and I can’t wait! Hopefully it will be as good as the last…