The Flyer: G'Land and the Jungle Puzzle
This week, I felt mixed emotions while writing the long range forecast for the upcoming G’Land Pro.
On one hand, I want to see the world’s best surfers in great waves, so you betcha I’ll be glued to that webcast.
On the other hand, I’m aware that by tuning in I’m somewhat complicit in whatever becomes of Grajagan in the booming World Surf League era.
For two decades, Indonesia’s first super wave has been hiding in plain sight, as ever more discoveries were made to the north and east dragging the hordes in those directions. At times, Grajagan has felt like an olde world wave, a once glorious spot now faded as performance levels moved on - think of Makaha or Crescent Head - yet anyone who's surfed Speedies over six feet knows this is an incorrect analogy. It remains as fearsome and technical as any Indonesian wave.
So the seasonal regulars - the true believers of Plengkung - have chuckled as it fell off the radar.
Yet with the Woz announcing a Championship Tour contest, the spotlight again befalls the reef and, as predicated by human psychology, more people will follow, thus ending the ‘quiet’ period at G’Land.
Unfortunately, that’s not all. To cater for the contest - which has a three-year contract - the Wozzle had to build a wide, seasonally-operable road into the park. With easier access, and popular, untapped development potential, the future for Grajagan just got a little more uncertain.
Take a look at the unrestrained development across the Bali Strait for an idea about Grajagan’s future, and keep in mind that Alas Purwo National Park is a national park in name only. It has few of the protections that Australian national parks do.
There’s an episode in Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror where the general public is given a choice: The protagonist will livestream a misdeed if the public is watching him, however he won’t do it if they switch off their devices. Effectively, the viewing public become the moral arbiters - the decision is theirs to make.
Of course the people watched, it’s what we do. And I expect that even those surfers, like myself, who have grave reservations about the future of Grajagan, will also watch the Grajagan Pro when it starts next weekend.
However, when looked at this way, it’s a win/win scenario:
If the surf pumps then it’ll be great viewing, however if it doesn’t it’ll feel like a stay of execution - one more year where G’Land flies underneath the radar.
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