Bali Bule – part one

Its not like I needed to actually go anywhere since I live in kiteboarding heaven. But I had a cute girl that smelled nice heading over to Bali and  my friend Jason Wolcott lived there, plus  it was our calm season so it  was just too tempting. Wooly had some free time,  so I pulled some strings, begged my employers Big Blue Unlimited for money, stole my moms credit card, and traded some editing work to my travel agent for a deal on a ticket, anything to get over and experience what I’ve always dreamed of, the waves of Bali.

I had grew up reading the articles and watching videos about how Jerry Lopez and friends  pioneered the perfect reef waves. It has always been a childhood fantasy to see it firsthand.

Flying there from the Turks and Caicos isn’t exactly easy as they are on opposite sides of the planet from each other. I’ve never been on such a long series of lights or one longer than 8 hours so the 18 hour flight from LA to hong kong wasn’t something i was at all looking forward to.

I had talked to wooly to figure out what kites and boards i would need to survive on. I ended up bringing my Cabrinha Drifter 11 meter and my switchblade 14. The only board i brought was my MBS mountainboard as Jason said he would have surfboards for me to ride and I was happy to not drag my quiver through that series of flights.

Shortly after arriving at Jason’s house he had a scooter dropped off and we loaded up to head down to his kite spot to check the wind. Thank god  Im used to driving on the left side of the road because the 15 minute ride was intimidating to say the least as there are no rules of the road so to speak. It is a free for all ,playing chicken with cars, trucks and scooters serving as bakeries or toy stores trying to run you down.

We pull up to the kite spot and watch an unstrapped and always amped Mike Blizzunk who is on vacation from korea to hone his wave kiting skills. Always the first and last guy out, his enthusiasm is  contagious and he would pop out in the lightest breeze serving as our windicator every day. The wind is port tack, light but ridable with occasional chest high sets and I cannot wait to wash off the travel grime.

Jason suggests heading up to his secret spot to ride as the swell is small enough that it will be doable as it picks up soo much well it is often way too big to ride.

Amazing views of rice fields and the road is lined with decorations everywhere. I notice these out of the corner of my eyes because they are glued to the road. You cannot lose your focus on these commutes as you will have to dart onto the side walk or side of the road at any minute to avoid the oncoming traffic which insist on using your lane as well.

It is a relief to finally reach the spot and see that it looks super fun, over head sets, nobody around and the wind looks nice. I pump up my fourteen and Im worried my kite might pop on the hotter than hell black sand.

Jason has loaned me one of his Channel Islands surfboards and on the first wave Im confused by what sounds like a pig chasing me. The boards was squealing like a pig whenever you got up to speed on the wave and was quite a handful to ride, making me miss my 5′ 10″ Cabrinha S-Quad which Im used to riding.

Wooly had told me that I didn’t need a wetsuit as the water is super warm,but I was freezing after an hour since the water is not like the warm spit I just left in the Turks. I pop in to snap off a few shots of jason bottom turning around me, while I take in the view of a small temple on a rock outcropping, lush jungle and the local kids tripping out on my kite and lines.

The indos are obsessed with kites and they are everywhere in the sky around Wooly’s house. They seem small ,but some of them are thousands of feet up and the size of a decent size home. It Takes everyone  in the small village and their  biggest truck to transport these kites and they take up the entire road and then some.  It is not uncommon for a rope to break, dropping these huge beast down to earth sometimes killing some unsuspecting people in the process.

The ride back is just as scary and Im not sure ill ever get comfortable following Wooly as he is now 3 quarters indonesian speaking the language fluently and darting through and around traffic like a 13 year old balinese school girl. They are practically born on scooters since the a car is a rich mans luxury and it is not uncommon to see entire families on one scooter. What would surely be a jail sentence and humiliation on Nancy Grace in the states as no one wears helmets, except Bules ( white people).Dad drives, the son stands in between his legs looking over the handlebars, babies just snooze away in their mothers arms while their sister sits side saddle and texts away on the back.

Jason’s wife Titik is waiting at home with an amazing meal and the funniest observations of life. She is beautiful and  Im stoked to see he is in good hands, living an incredible life here in bali.

I awake the early the next morning and take a little stroll around the neighborhood to check things out . Ahh!!  the smell of trash fires and incense fills the air and Im the only one walking around. Being Bule the woman look at me like some ghost and they continue to place their offerings on the entrances to their homes and it seems to me that I am the evil spirt they are trying to ward off.

I grab pig board and carefully make my way down to the beach to check the surf which has picked up considerably. I sit next to a mangey bali dog that looks like eyesore and try to figure which wave looks the best out of the four in front of me. A teahupoo left, a shifty peaky bowl , a picture perfect right or another sick a frame on the end. Thats just this little stretch and I see a bunch of other sick waves stretching as far as I can see in both directions.

I end up surfing the right which is also the most crowded and mix myself in catching a few sick ones and Im amazed by the locals surfing ability. Twelve year old kids are blowing tail and 60 year olds are casually pulling into some sick pits all while flashing huge grins at me despite their spot being overrun by visiting Bule’s.

The wind picks up quickly and I realize Id better head back to grab my kite gear, grab some food and get back to the beach. This was to be the routine I would follow almost every day on the month spent there.

Ill get more into the kiteboarding,  its hardcore crew of strapless devotees and hanging out with Cabrinha’s Reo Stevens one of the best wave kiters in the world  in my next installment, but for now enjoy a few snapshots from this day!     SDC

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