Overpopulation is only going to get worse . . .
It's pretty scary, this season all reports is crowds have been up everywhere in Indonesia, more and more places are opening up and becoming popular go to spots but it's not spreading crowds out like you would expect.
Everywhere is more crowded, I mostly hear about locations in Sumatra and I'm hearing reports that this year has been the most crowded ever in places like Simeulue, Banyaks, Telos, Mentawais, Sth Sumatra, even regularly surfed areas of Java
Only ten years ago, you could go to many of these places and they would be empty apart from the odd charter boat.
And then shoulder season and off season is also becoming crowded?
I guess I'm lucky the shortest trips i do is a month, i can live cheap and its not all about the waves for me so i can pick my days, but its still getting harder and its frustrating as hell when your favourite spot is pumping and its packed and you use to surf it alone or with a handful of guys
That said luckily there is also a heap of very fickle waves and areas in Indonesia that just aren't suitable for charter boats (no safe anchorages) and too fickle (or onshore early) for camps/resorts to be viable.
Yep BW, this May was only my 4th trip there in 5 years but I noticed the Euro crew had multiplied exponentially this year. It felt like the end of an era and the beginning of a new one, much as ID stated with the rest of Indo. All I can say is I've enjoyed a few uncrowded sessions there and count myself lucky to have had them. Very happy to have scored late in the piece, now the question is do I return or leave it to the latest wave of Euro trendies.
Nembrala village may be unrecognizable in 5 years at the rate it's devolping all due to all out flogging by a few exies, all I can say is good luck to Dino mine host for the last 3 visits and the locals who may not know what could confront them in the future.
Indo is the land of karma theres been so many cunts taking liberties since day dot that there is not much left Aussie's being the biggest culprits.Complain all you want about crowds the septics overflowing has been for a long while strange that some waves stay quiet at size some more so than others the fat gay left of Timor aint one of them.
Small part of an email sent to me a few weeks ago:
"Are you interesed in some super shots from Rote Island last week super swells? Would be nice to get people familiar with this new destination."
I see it like this
In the past Indonesia was considered cheap, as it should be as most things in Indonesia are much more cheaper than in the west generally somewhere between half the price to ten times cheaper rarely the same or more expensive.
In the early days most accommodation outside of Bali was local owned and run the price set at local prices and has stayed fairly close to local prices at many areas (for instance the price between accommodation in Sorake/Nias is similar or the same to the price you will pay elsewhere in Nias for a losmen)
Enter the next phase, western interest in accommodation for surfers (although there was foreign owned business in Bali since god knows when), outside of Bali it first really started with G-Land the maybe Lakeys? or Hinakos?, then boat trips to places like Pananatian island and Mentawais prices there prices were set higher especially with charters as boats cost more to run and use lots of fuel, G-land prices had to be set higher for logistic reasons and higher running cost.
Then came the next phase, foreign owned land based camps in Mentawais, like G-land price was always going to be more expensive than local run non remote accommodation due to logistics and need to run generators for electricity etc, but there was a new factor fuel for boats to waves, so price needed to be higher again and there was no competition with local run business.
So the mentality was if the charter boats charge this much we can charge just a little cheaper and get guest, as that was initially the only market they were competing against.(no real local run accommodation at that time)
Okay now it doesn't stop there, the next phase we have been in for about ten years now, is the upmarket higher price, we now have a generation of surfers that are older and are generally more cashed up and are not always looking for hollow barrels but easier waves to surf and some more comfort, so we are now getting accommodation aimed at this demographic of surfers the over 40+ surfer the price is now set not on indonesian prices or even set profit or operating cost it's set on what these guys can afford to pay, how much can we charge and still get bums on seats???
Then from this we see the copy cat effect pushed further, camps/resorts/villas set up much cheaper than it would cost to set up in the west with low operating cost making amazing money and along with the older cashed up guest, we have older cashed up surfers setting these places up.
Now along with all these different markets often side by side has come competition, and the need to promote a place heavily and being online you can say basically what you like uncrowded new destination etc
The flip side is every article or promotion is not just a promotion for the business promoting it, it's a promotion for an area, an article or advert for a resort at Rote might get a few guest to the resort, but it also creates interest for other demographic of surfers and a quick google search is all that is needed to find cheaper options these days so ironically if a resort runs a promotion its actually helping get bums on seats for all business operating in the said area be it local run, mid level or high end.
Which equals more crowds all round, so yeah thats my take on it all.
There is also further things happening now the Bali Villa thing we saw explode in the 90s is now spreading all around Indonesia, heaps of guys are setting up private houses around Indonesia many kind of semi retiring.
IMHO the next phase of many areas of Indonesia we will see is instead of going to stay at a surf camp/resort you will go rent your own private villa with a private boat etc, i think in the last five years we have seen a few business set up like this.
It's similar to how many who go to Bali these days will rent a villa instead of stay at a resort.
It's sad and ostensibly the end of an era. However, there is little point whingeing about the changes because it's the global reality. Everything that can spin a dollar is exploited to the hilt; there are plenty of opportunist bastards out there. Some of you have known the true halcyon days and have the wonderful memories of relative solitude and bliss - be bloody grateful knowing you were born before the deep exploitation and commercialisation of surfing really took hold - ask Bob McTavish, Wayne Lynch et al. Coasts are choking around the globe and once the Olympics gear up they will inevitably see exponential growth with the hype and the hip factor. Maybe the Chinese will develop mega wave pools but it won't scratch the surface in terms of ongoing demand/desire to get barreled. Can eco-minded deep technology in the form of artificial reefs - if that's not a contradiction in terms - eventually help to ease the problem . . . who knows? I certainly feel sorry for the up and coming youngsters and future generations who will never know the true freedom and joy of what once was . . . and can only hope that the crowds get Buddhist in the lineups - for everyone's sake.
Its the "surf industry"
It's not merely the "surf industry" It's a massively changing world of competing interests and chase for resources - the game is getting serious.
Crowded Indo/Bali tired old topic...humans breed worse than rabbits so world is getting very busy now...plenty people earning good dollars now too....specially here in oz...going for week or two mentawei/Maldives/new guinea is no big deal...then there's cashed up baby boomers all over place too...I live in SE Qld..(they even teach surfing at schools)....to me Indo/Bali is no worse than home crowd wise, I just get way better waves(and just as many)over there..
With Indonesia, like many other aspects of life, you should be careful about looking over your shoulder to the past and losing sight of what is still there. There are still places to go to avoid the crowds. It is more of an effort, but hey, it always was. Ulu was uncrowded for a long time because you had to walk there. The Mentawais were not surfed much because of the risk of malaria and lack of basic facilities. In ten years time these will be the good old days .....So get into it! In the case of Rote, awareness has been increasing for a decade or more. I have done quite a few trips there and had some great waves but also a lot of inconsistent 2ft days. It was never about hard core surfing. The attraction was that it was a great place to just chill out completely when taking a break from work. No-one trying to sell you stuff, waves at the front door, super relaxed locals who were really not all that interested in you anyway. The crowd has always fluctuated a lot. I have surfed really good Nemberala with three of four in the water, and a week later had 40 chasing a few 2ft sets. I think I am probably done with it but you never know. I have more time next year and am planning a month off the tourist trail checking out a few early season options.
1987 as a fifteen year old wide-eyed grom and then every year until 2002. I left about 10 days before the bombings and didn't go back until 2007 after that. The change was incredible in that time. I thought the bombings broke my heart but that was nothing compared to what I saw in regards to development. The whole country has such a special place in my heart...almost 5 years of my life in total...but outside of a sporadic in/out G-Land mission, the place is just a memory for me. A beautiful yet sad memory.
The internet has been the real fuel to the fire, once we only knew about what we were shown in surf mags or videos or word off mouth.
Now everyday there is articles and photos and advertisements uploaded and everyone wants to share the experience they had not just with friends but even strangers.
Agree with Blindboy though still so many uncrowded waves out there maybe not epic but still pretty fun and even the well known spots can go from crowded to uncrowded day to day hour to hour.
Yeh, blinders right.
In the end, its all good, even this internet stuff. As long as you're trained. And if you're trained by the best, you can't go wrong, the internet age becomes a dream come true!! Some will hate this stuff, but big deal. Ya can't beat ya blax trainin'. They came from grannies right, even back then. Blax could hurl fridges through the sky like matchsticks. Body slam 'em into the limestone like crumpled wafers. Even back then, car loads of pudgy, puny, slick fuckers would find it. And the fish. And the desert. Bringing all the stories in the world. Who cares, the majority were just cannon fodder. Some loved it.
Decades of it. Crawled outa the cave many times. Fuck knows how many waves went over, more than a few at times. Never thought to sell it. Or wear a blow up suit. Or have a safety crew. Or sell seeing a fish, or leaving ya leggy home. Or make a movie about sitting on the cliff. Even when you finally got out of the hole, that was just the start, blax had more trainin'. Wait a minute, I'll give ya a nice blast across the bottom, now, wait a minute, here we go, try this crack on for size. You fit nicely!! Fun aye!!! What ya looking at, what's so good up there, don't ya like it down here? Ok, you can go now, catch you tomorrow!!! This is fun aye!!!
Its 40 odd plus, no shade, dry as fuck, blowies swarming and only 40 clicks to the highway. Another 50 to the mechanic, who's out fishing. Start walkin'. It aint a surfee camp. Walked 90 once. At one place, me, ferd, limbo and spud knew it would pump in the arvo. It was deathly dry and fucking hot, the northerly was like a blow torch. The others bolted, but once you drove out, ya wouldn't come back. So we waited, stoked. Under the car was the only shade, the only respite. Blowies had us at their mercy. For 3 hours or so. But, there we were, again, sick fuckin' waves, again, pumping all arvo again, till dark, again. Plus, limbo learned some valuable lessons while we were waiting, again. In the heat of the moment, even he could finally see that a team of little pacy runts, didn't stand a chance against a team of Plugger Locketts.
They are still out there, some in the nice, moist jungle. Some big fish there too. And other way worse shit. Some magnificent, long walks to some of them. Some long paddles with the fish to others. Even if a bunch of pudgy, outa shape, untrained, internet totin', cashed up fuckers pull up, looking for a sale, who cares. Some of these bombs would even do up that left. Its just more fun!!! So they are out there, stay ready. And you gotta love ya some Doc Tanzi!!!
And just remember, you can give the 5 year old down the road the keys to the latest Formula One car, and a nice picture book explaining why the turbo makes all the difference, and a brand new, on sale helmet and blow up suit, and lots of stuff like that, but bottom line, the kid's just heading for the wall even faster, for the limestone... splattered into the concrete.
ha, so true.
Blax did it to me....headfirst into that limestone. chunks off everywhere.
where you from they said.......Broken head , I said.
No, we know whats wrong with you, where you from?
I was in Rote in '94 for five weeks. By the sounds of things I probably shouldn't go back there!
Haha,and you can surf. Never mind, you are in good company. I dumped the best ever up at the hospital one night. A young ant from newie. Days later I picked him up, hobbling out the front on crutches, still pissing blood. The rest of the newies turned on him, disowned him. Now they just run night tournaments at nobbies, and spray the ant.
I don't think the crowds annoy me as much as knowing it's crowded because other surfers are trying to make personal profit from the surfing experience. It's an extension of seeing a bloke come over the hill and seeing the point firing and uncrowded and immediately calling all his mates to come turn up.
I haven't been around as long as Indo and BB and the rest of your Indo heads, but I've seen more than a few places become crowded because one or two people couldn't help but try and make some money from it. Every single one of reasoned that they weren't like other surf developers, and every single one of them whinged about it when one of their guests turned up with a wad of cash the following season to buy some land and build another camp.
Seems they take things more seriously in NZ
Adds another angle to 'the point was firing'.
But stupid and cowardly. FFS, anyone who discharges a firearm even remotely close to another human is a total fucking moron. Local or non local.
Left undone things will escalate. Find the extremist rednecks and incarcerate them.
The irony being that these dangerous fools have now caused greater exposure to “their waters”.
.......... the coverage gave the exact location! So yeh, completely self-defeating.
depends....might make people think twice if a couple of mad pigshooters are going to sit on the headland and take pot shots.
Thinking of going to sit on the hill tomorrow Freeride?
it's sad to say but after the crowds this winter my sympathies are not where they should be.
worse part is it wont get better crowd wise........
'But stupid and cowardly. FFS, anyone who discharges a firearm even remotely close to another human is a total fucking moron.'
Advance Australia fair? That sentence just describes the aussie invasion and 'foundation'.
The pommy attack and invasion of NZ was different. The Maori had totally different cultures, laws and beliefs to Traditional Indigenous Australians. In contrast they were highly skilled, active soldiers, hardened to war, as the poms soon discovered. They welcomed the introduction of guns. And just because some Maori kings thought it was advantageous to enter agreements with the poms, didn't mean others would recognize them. So, they still enforce their laws and belief when it comes to trespassers on their land. Breaking Maori law carries complex, sometimes harsh penalties. If you want to trespass through someones highly revered land, its basic respect and good manners to get permission, and find out if that is allowed, and what the stipulations are. The message, unless they are the world's worst shots, was made pretty clear.
'Apart from the law of tapu, which can operate without the need of human
intervention, [Māori] parallels to a European system of legal punishment are found
in the practice of utu... But the parallels are approximate only. Although both punishment and utu involve a deliberate response to an offence or injury and aim to achieve retribution or repayment, they differ in important respects. Ethically speaking, punishment can be foregone, but utu cannot; punishment should be unpleasant enough to deter, but utu may be entirely friendly and welcome; punishment should be confined to offenders who have been proven guilty of intentional offences, but utu may be extracted from individuals who have done no wrong. The aims of punishment are complex and contentious, but the aim of utu can be seen as more straightforward – utu is essentially a mechanism for restoring lost mana. If [Pākehā] are to understand Māori concepts and practices they must forget much of what they take for granted about punishment'
Lucky they didn't just decide to go for a paddle at North Sentinel island.
I can't disagree with you but in this circumstance they're a long way from Hongi Hika,
If at all assuming they were Maori?
I know you can't disagree zenny. That would be like saying one thing and doin' another!!! Fork tongue shit!!! And we all know who's famous for that shit!!!
That'd be like a 'history' surfee shindig where everyone is gooing and gaaing over say natty, the old lone rider ta the rescue... again. And as they're all yapping up a storm, and rippin' open another discount slab, so to speak, some party pooper fucks the whole show up and blabs that he weren't alone... that they just fudged it, made the shit up!!! You ain't gonna be the life of the party like that!!! Imagine that shit!!! Fuckin' 'ell! Still bloody funny ending that one! What a well earned fuckin' floggin' from hell that was! Staring off into space all right... in the black, blue, purple and yellow age, fuck every colour under the fucking the sun age!!! A bit of photo shopping needed pronto!!! Still, it produced the infamous natural surfee bible on peacemakin!!! Ya gotta fuckin' laugh or ya'd fuckin' cry!!!
And despite what you might think zenny I didn't make the law. You gotta understand the rules, be a bit more attentive, if you're talking about the neighbours and really showing respect. Different strokes. Whole different ball game zenny.
'Apart from the law of tapu, which can operate without the need of human intervention'
And, I know what you (well, you's lot) are thinking zenny.
And I don't know maaayte, shit, sometimes fuck knows what I wrote aye, but ya never know zenny... I don't blame ya, and yeh, well, we'll see aye... but fuck, even I can't please everyone but maaayyte!!! Some of 'em just get down right angry, mad as snakes at the fucking mention of the fuckin' truth!!!
Well it’s official rote has been well and truly fucked over , mate told me today 100 plus guys in the water , it’s so sad the way the place has gone , I’ve been going there for 20 years and slowly but surely I’ve watched a train wreck happening in slow motion , the saddest thing is watching good mates start up surf camps and promote the bejesus out of the place , the money is pouring in from expat bule,s from bali which have set up big time and brought all there shit with em and there friends, lots of euro,s and brazos , and the French fuck me they are every where down there , ,ok on land but in the water ???? The place has become like pasteurised milk , homogenised , that’s progress for ya it ends up a cluster fuck , so don’t let any resort operator/ surf company tell you it’s uncrowded it’s on par with Uluwatu crowds , time to look elsewhere