aggressive balinese surfers

udo's picture
udo started the topic in Friday, 30 Aug 2013 at 1:25pm

just been reflecting back on last years bali holiday, surfed all the name spots ulu, padang kuta reef a few early sessions at keramas.....didn't really enjoy one of those surfs was hassled badly, dropped in on and snaked every session by bali locals, fair enough they were all outstanding surfers but fuck....rude , ignorant and very aggressive...that's it for me I will no longer visit bali but try next time some of the other islands, does the same shit go on at desert pt or sumba breaks e.tc. I will now live on my late 1970s memories....when life on bali was just a dream.

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Friday, 30 Aug 2013 at 1:47pm

Yeah.. I don't agree with it but I can see where it is coming from...

Imagine having absolute perfect waves on your doorstep but there was at least 50 blow-ins surfing it every day of the year. Sometimes 100. Worse still, some of those blow-ins think they are actually locals. Not only that, but those blows in yell at you in a different language and expect you to understand, and act like that your very existence depends on them coming to your home to drink, surf and party.

If that happened in my neck of the woods I'd be doing a lot worse than hassling or dropping in. You can try in other areas of Indo - but places like Nias, Lombok and Sumbawa have a steady crew of local surfers who have dealt with the same blow-in problem as Bali... Deserts has its own crew, but because just about everyone who goes there feels that they have paid for the right take as many waves as they can it can be a battle regardless who is out..

Just imagine what people would say if a Brazilian dude who didn't speak English turned up at the Superbank and had a whinge that the Aussie locals were snaking him and giving him a hard time? I don't think many would care too much if he decided to go surf elsewhere.. Such is the surfing life these days. Not much we can do about it except try not to let the surf industry juggernaut take over spots that still remain relatively peaceful.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 30 Aug 2013 at 2:33pm

Gotta agree DDD. A large and ever-increasing tourist population that, for the most part, expect compliant locals in the surf? Of course the locals are gonna stake their claim.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Friday, 30 Aug 2013 at 4:35pm

very well explained dandandan.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 30 Aug 2013 at 4:50pm

I third that DDD, always good to try and see it from a different perspective!

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 30 Aug 2013 at 7:55pm

I fourth what DDD said.

Its not just a Bali thing, sadly its happening in other areas of Indo also, I've actually seen from year to year really good groms turn into those kind of surfers udo speaks about.

In the water, ive seen visiting surfers even pros treat the local grommets like crap snaking and dropping in because these groms are at a stage where they can't surf very good, so others think they can do as they like.

Then a year or two latter, ive seen the same kids that use to get snaked and dropped in on, now doing the same back to visiting surfers as now these kids can actually surf half decent, some getting pretty good.

Also out of the water ive seen the same deal happen, good groms turn into groms with attitude and complete dicks, and ive seen western surfers basically teaching them to be dickheads getting them to do things they think are funny especially when alcohol is involved.

Its a sad evolution ive seen way to much.

I think i have a crush on Debra Soh.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 31 Aug 2013 at 7:34am

On a similar topic is the issue, in remote areas of Indo should you or shouldn't you give old boards to the local kids?

This is a hard one, from a selfish surfing crowd perspective giving away boards definitely starts the whole process, but on the flip side for those like myself who often become friends with some of the kids and you have a snapped or have an old board and there virtually begging you for it and even trying to surf on tiny snapped bits of boards etc its hard to say no, especially when you consider we are only visitors often for a short amount of time while they often have nothing and little entertainment but have been blessed with perfect waves on there doorsteps.

Last Indo trip, i scored a perfect little wave by myself, it was only wast high with the odd head high wave and long wait between sets, but a perfect little barrel, i was sitting out there surfing when i got quite a surprise a little grom paddles out on a beat up board, really surprised me as i didn't know there was any local surfers at all in this Island chain, i got talking to him and apparently there is two kids who now surf in this village him and another kid and the crazy thing is they only had one beaten up board between them so they would swap every 20 minutes or so as its only a short paddle to shore.

These kids didn't rip but its a shallow sucky wave and they were giving it a good go trimming and even trying airs in the end section, crazy thing is there is a resort a few km away and a surf camp getting built on the hill nearby, so I was quite surprised no body hadn't given one of the kids another old board and wouldn't surprised me if these places had even discouraged guest from giving boards away as some resorts and charter boats do this.

Anyway my boat driver and long time good friend I've known and stayed with even before there was even any resorts/surf camps in the area saw these kids and was inspired, he thought if they can do it so can he, then when we got back to his house from the rafters he pulls down an old board a snapped mal that had been made into a mini sims kind of board, he told me an old guy from a charter boat had given it to him, but he was yet to use it needed fins and wax.

To be honest when i saw he had the board i was kind of relieved as i didn't have to be the one to make that decision do i be the first to give away a board and start surfing in his village, plus i only had two new boards with me so it was never going to happen, anyway he had decided he was going surfing all he needed was fins and a legrope and wax, so i set the board up for him and lent him my booties, anyway he paddles out to the end of this wave where its a little smaller, he is paddling like non surfers do, but quickly picked that up, then i see him paddling for tiny waves, wrong timing etc trying to get up way to early, then about fifth try he stands up and rides this bit of white water all the way to almost dry reef, he then pretty much does it every other try about five more times before coming in all stoked.

It was kind of a weird day as i realised i was witnessing the first of any one in his village to surf the wave just out front and only the third local surfer i and he knows of in that island chain.

I think i have a crush on Debra Soh.

bushido's picture
bushido's picture
bushido commented Saturday, 31 Aug 2013 at 9:04am

Udo you sound like a sensitive woman on that time of the month.

No one goes to Bali thinking they're going to get un crowded waves. If you surf for 3 hours at those spots I almost always found there was a half-hour window were I'd get lots of waves or surf it on dead low tide. Impossibles is a racy close out sucky barrel that doesn't get too crowded.
Maybe you need to train paddling to be able to compete with the fast bali kids.

Isn't rewarding when you hassle, snake, scratch and crawl to snag a set from the pack.
You can sook and moan all you like but it's only going to get much much worse.

There's infinite other places to travel to anyway so don't go back. Bali won't miss you with it's millions of other tourists.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 31 Aug 2013 at 9:20am

@Indo Dreaming,

I say give the boards away. Be an ambassador for the sport and lifestyle - a modern day Duke if you will. Sure, it's the first step in what we see as a detrimental process, but try and look at it through their eyes. We think surfing is wonderful, why deny them?

rattle's picture
rattle's picture
rattle commented Saturday, 31 Aug 2013 at 9:39am

There are more waves unridden than ridden and no-one owns that wave energy.

Its the human energy we take to the water that matters. Generally, mostly if you take good energy into the surf its rewarded. If its not, it doesn't matter paddle in and surf tomorrow.

Cultural diversity is a gift to be celebrated, its that difference that makes us all special, unique, beautiful and when you respect it in others there is an opening like a window where you see a different new world.

I've surf places that were once unspoilt by the heavy foot of western money and culture. I was younger it was an adventure and it was all good. I returned to that area and saw the change and since then I have moved on, there are still places out there, like the beginning with all the beauty that I now visit every year.

I'm waiting for the change, locals surf but not many. My best surfs are when I surf with locals and not with the sometimes western crew. Stoke, smiles and hoots all round. I've thought about the idea of leaving boards but haven't. My view on this is change should happen by osmosis and above all else I fear not travelling with a light foot but its a difficult question that we must all answer for ourselves.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Saturday, 31 Aug 2013 at 10:19am

I've given away boards, wetties, t-shirts, boardies, bits and pieces all over the place.

The reward of a grateful smile is far more valuable than what the stuff was worth to me.

I say share the love.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21 commented Saturday, 31 Aug 2013 at 12:36pm

In relation to the topic, and in particularly when ever we travel, the standard we set will be the standard we accept.

wellymon's picture
wellymon's picture
wellymon commented Saturday, 31 Aug 2013 at 1:56pm

I know of a bloke who used to camp at dessert point every year for about 14 years, until the machete attack and has never gone back since. Is that aggressive enough?...

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Saturday, 31 Aug 2013 at 11:00pm

I tend to shun South West Lombok too wellymon - I've had too many attempted robberies and threats of violence in the area. I was back there not long ago for work (I was a visiting lecturer at UNRAM) and a colleague of mine was researching keroyokan (mob violence) in south-west Lombok. It is mostly related to thievery between villages, the idea being the more you steal the stronger you are.. A young guy got caught stealing something from a village near Mawi when I was there and he was beaten to death with rocks, fists and spanners just before I drove in. His body was still on the ground and there were men, women and kids gathered around taking photos... Almost giddy with what they had done. It happens all over Indo, but there is something I find particularly violent in that area. Just vibes me out completely.

Anyway, off topic.. I say give away the boards, but only to people who are serious about it. I've seen plenty of guys give away boards, only to have the kid sell them off for a couple of juta later on. I have only given away one board, and that was only after talking it over with the parents to make sure they were okay with him (and his sister) surfing.. Then I taught them to swim, paddled them out to the line-up for a few weeks, taught them about the waves, currents, reef etc... I'd feel horrible passing on a board to some kid only to have him drown. I think the Dad uses it as much as the kids now haha.

pster's picture
pster's picture
pster commented Saturday, 31 Aug 2013 at 11:46pm

I spent 2 months in Bali last year, and found myself encountering the same problem with the local guys at times. Then at other times, at spots where I had made friends with the local dudes, they would call me into set waves, hooting and hollering when I got barreled etc....

But that said, the Aussies, Zillas and Fenchies were the absolute worst! And it is obvious that the local boys learn how to hassle from the dickhead tourists.

One thing that really got me past the agro was getting as 'zen' as I could about it.....I remember reading in a mag or hearing on a surf vid about some advice given by the Duke (I think? I'm sketchy as hell on details) - the line was something like "Go slow...wave come" and I remember it whenever the lineup gets a little heavy.

So, with that line in my head, i'd just focus on where I needed to be, and wait for my wave.

And when it came I made sure I was onto the f**ker, whether I was gonna get pumped or not!

The only place it really got the better of me was Bingin - I don't think I'll ever surf that place again. On a good day, you get pushed so deep, there is no chance of making the wave :( ...and again, that was mostly Zillas...

loungelizard's picture
loungelizard's picture
loungelizard commented Sunday, 1 Sep 2013 at 9:51pm

don't give em the board. be selfish (like most surfers) I will leave complex sociological analysis to the rest but on a personal level (and for the rest of you reading this who may want to do more trips in the next 10 years) forget the noble savage,they will resent you and drop in on you in years to come, and your interference in the local sociological structure is generally negative (am old enough to have seen this cycle in a (now semisecret bali spot) and the mentawais (land based camps where boat guys snake you every wave) keep your board (and your thoughts of human energy ) to yourself

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell commented Monday, 2 Sep 2013 at 12:09pm

Lounge lizard ive heard a lot of people with similar opinions to that. Sounds rough but true, lakeys for example. West sumbawa the waves are pretty fickle and the best ones take a while to get into so a lot of locals dont surf them. There was skate ramp built there a few years ago which will probably increase the surfing skills of young local kids, who are mostly cool kids, some punks but a lot are pretty good kids. I just hope it doesnt turn into a shitstorm.
Some friends go there yearly for months and most have pretty positive and noble reputations amongst the locals, which could influence it in return but some think the skate ramp will turn the area into something bad, others think with positive influences eachway, the new generation of local rippers should have positive vibes, like most Indonesian people always had have, and keep the common dickhead(tourist) vibe under control. I dont know my stance on this one.

A lot of the regular locals who some just watch supers most days seem to keep dickheads in control as it is, with good vibes and "your cool until proven otherwise" attitudes.

its also the hit and run guys who seem most selfish over there. and people in packs. Brazzos in my opinion are way too hated, most have been cool people as long as you're not snowballing or pulling back or some shit.The desert- supers go between bunch are often cool guys.

Santana mo bay's picture
Santana mo bay's picture
Santana mo bay commented Friday, 13 Apr 2018 at 4:32am

Hey guys, I've been planning a trip to bali begging of August, am a very keen intermediate surfer, get up everytime, have only ever surged in cornwall so am looking forward to no wet suit and tasty barrels!!! These forums seem to be saying the same thing with regards to the shere crowdedness of bali around this time, as I've never been I'm wondering if it's so packed to make a boring session?? seeing as my main notice is to surf this may change my plans.. If so any suggestions on an alternative less crowded location would be appreciated.