Friday, April 29, 2011

INDOscribable!

half n half 
Everybody arrived safe and sound. Colin missed his flight so he arrived a day late but all is good. Colin, Justin, and Ben rented a sweet little minivan for their duration which will be a nice addition to our fleet of motorbikes. For everybody’s first surf we went to Uluwatu. It was super mellow which was good a good warm-up as the waves have been huge ever since. A massive swell rolled in Wednesday and should be here for almost a week. On Thursday we rolled over to Balangan early Thursday to see if the break could hold this swell which is did nicely. Chris caught a little bug so he wasn’t feeling hot so Colin and I paddled out to see if we could catch some giants. We were both sitting on the inside as everybody was hanging out way on the outside so they wouldn’t get caught by the big outside sets. We both caught some huge waves and were having a grand ol’ time. After coming off one of my bigger rides in my surfing career I found myself in a bad spot next to a shallow reef shelf where the waves closeout and end. By this time I was way down the beach so I figured I would just paddle in and walk up the beach and paddle back out. When I was trying to paddle in I put myself in the impact zone where the water was probably less than 3 feet deep. A big wave doubled up in front of me and I tried to go under it but my board clicked the bottom of the reef which means I was as deep as I could go and I got crunched. I held onto my board and got picked up over the falls onto the reef where I clipped the front of my board, then the back of my head, and lastly my back. Surprised and adrenaline pumping I paddled towards the beach as fast as possible before another wave dredged onto my head. I got hit by another but I got my feet out in front of me this time but I still managed to get a really thick gash in my foot when I landed on the reef. I got to shore and assessed the damage. My big toe had a really bad cut through it and my back looked like somebody took a cheese grater to it. I also broke off a little bit of the nose of my board. After the long walk of shame up the beach I got to Christopher who I gave the honor of squeezing limes into my cuts to sterilize them. Whew, it stung pretty badly!!! When I was cleaning out my toe which had sand packed into it a little local kid came up to me and pointed to the spot down the beach where I had my whole fiasco and said “laundry?” and moved his hands in a circle and started laughing. The little punk was making fun of me! I laughed and replied, “Yah, I went through the washing machine!”. 

carnage
Uluwatu sunset
Overall, it could have been much worse as I walked away with only some cuts and bruises. It was worth it as I caught some really fun rides. Even Colin managed to hit the reef on that session (he slipped on a rock when walking back on the beach - haha). After the session we all went and got Thai food to relax. To finish our hectic day we watched the sun go down while sipping on Bintangs on the cliffs of Uluwatu. Simply INDOsribable! (Chris’s pun)...

3 monkeys at Balangan!
Dreamland statue
being a delinquent

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Boyz are Back in Town!

ducking under a giant! 




In a few hours, Christopher, Ben, and Justin arrive. Super stoked for them to get here so I can increase my wolf pack. The last couple days have been pretty mellow as the swell has been pretty fickle and I’ve been recovering from “Bali belly”. I only missed one day of surfing from it, but I haven’t been as gung-ho as usual as it saps your energy. I’ve been mainly surfing Uluwatu but each day it has been getting more and more crowded. We surfed Canggu and Serangan this weekend which was a nice change of pace. Canggu is north above the Bukit Peninsula and the sand is dark black. I didn’t have my camera but we went through some amazing rice patties that went as far as the eye could see. After surfing Canggu we found this little warung that made crepes. I ordered a few as I was starving and my favorite so far was the banana, coconut, peanut butter, and palm sugar combo.  On Saturday after missing Friday I surfed all over the island. I woke up early feeling better and went to Balangan and scored some pretty sweet lefts. After surfing I ate at one of the local warungs on the beach. I then went to Uluwatu where I got pummeled on a late drop. After Ulus I went to Dreamland but the waves were crap so I went back to Balangan for a sunset session. On my way back from Balangan I saw a small group of locals standing around a little fire where they were roasting corn. I hung out with them speaking broken English while my corn was cooking. They covered the corn in this buttery spicy sauce that was just delectable. It was only 30 cents for the little gem, gotta love Bali!


Every day when I’m riding around from spot to spot I see the most random things on the road. The other day I passed a motorcycle that had a fish tank on each side with catfish in them. I also passed a moped vendor doing about 50mph that had around 300 balloons attached to it. It was hairy passing it as you couldn’t see around it because of all the balloons. My favorite though was when a motorcycle with three people on it passed me with a tiny little boy sitting on his mom’s lap. None of them had helmets and the little bugger was honking the horn at me smiling ear to ear. You couldn’t even see his eyes because he was squinting so much from the wind and he was sitting in the front. I also saw two young delinquents on a bike wheelie through a red-light laughing. Riding around Bali is always an adventure.



I’m about to ride to the airport to meet Chris, Justin, and Ben. I’ll get some cool shots of everybody tomorrow. "slates on the menge"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

surf, eat… sleep!

Surfing Dreamland

The last three days we've continued the onslaught of hitting every surf spot on this island. So far my favorite spots of have been Balangan and Dreamland. Two days ago we woke up early and surfed Green Bols and because of the full-ish moon, the tide swings have been massive. You walk down hundreds of stone steps to get to the beach where you normally walk out to the break. It was full high tide and it was so high that we had to jump off the steps into the water. We all got pummeled as the surf was huge and pretty disorganized. I saw my buddy Nick try to duck dive under one of the outside cleaner sets and watched his body and board go over the falls. He snapped his leash and had to swim in through the chaos to get his board. He got to it right before it smashed into the rocks.  At this point I was over it and just wanted to get in but the rips were gnarly and I was having a hard time getting to shore. Another outside set came and I did the same thing when trying to get under the wave but I held onto my board and didn’t break my least. I actually went over the falls twice during the fiasco and had probably the worst washing machine crash of my life. After that I went straight in and was happy to reach land! I went straight to Mak Jo for some cheap eats and headed to Balangan where I had a great session of glassy lefts. After Balangan I went to Dreamland for a late afternoon sunset session. After this I was so tired I thought I was going to go home and sleep but the boys had another plan. I didn't even make it home to put on dry boardies, instead we went straight to Kuta to party. We stayed out until 530am hopping from place to place. I left my bike in Kuta and had a Balinese guy on a scooter give me a ride back. Pretty hectic day!
cruising on the bikes! 
The Villa

another dreamland beauty!
this guy was eying us! 
Yesterday we had a pretty mellow day and surfed later in the afternoon at Dreamland. After surfing, we went to a Thai restaurant an chowed. For dessert I got mango sticky rice with coconut cream, definitely one of the tastiest things I've ever eaten. I'll be going there everyday to get it to go! After we went to the local DVD shop which has hundreds of DVDs in sleeves for only a dollar each. I don't know how legal it is, but they are in normal covers and are exact quality as the ones you would buy in a store at home.

In a few days we are going to move out of the villa and move camp to Balangan where the hostels and restaurants are right on the beach. We would never have to leave! After a few days in Balangan and when Chris, Ben, Colin, and Justin get here we are going to go to Nusa Lembongan. Lembongan is a small island just south of the main island. Cars aren’t allowed here so it should be muy tranquilo! There is some of the best surfing in the world here usually only accessed by private surf charters. I’m stoked to go check it out! 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Bali Madness Continues!

Uluwatu
Another crazy day in Bali! We woke up just after 5am to beat the crowds. We headed straight for Uluwatu. The first half of the ride was in complete darkness and it even started to rain a little. We got there at first light and were on the outside as the sun started to rise. There were only a few of us out there and we all scored some really potent rides. After about 2 hours the crowds started showing up so we decided to move to the next spot. The swim back in was pretty tricky as you have to swim though a little cave and the currents are really strong. I almost missed the opening which would have been really because it pins you on the inside next to the cliffs. On our way back we stopped at our favorite restaurant Mak Jo but it was too early and they weren’t open. GUESS WHAT! McDonalds is open 24/7 with free delivery in Bali! Bali mackers didn’t disappoint at all!

trying to get pitted!
We then headed all the way to the north end of Bali to check out Chris’s favorite secret gem. It was about an 50 minute ride of weaving through traffic. When we were halfway to our spot, the Balenise cops had a roadblock, checking everybody for international licenses. Chris and Nick have them but I never got the memo along with Nathan. I only had about 13 bucks in my pocket so I had nothing to lose so I started playing a little hardball with the coppers. They kept asking for half a million rupiah which is around $55 (about ½ months’ salary in Bali). I walked away with paying only 50,000 rupiah with is just over 5 bucks. We continued north and finally made it to the spot and it was not very good. A little annoyed we headed back south to go to Dreamland.

the sketchy paddle in at Ulus

my hawt ride!
En route to Dreamland we all got separated from each other. I was so helplessly lost because I didn’t even know the name of the town where I was staying and I don’t have a phone. I just kept asking people if they knew where Mak Jo was because I was pretty sure I could make my way home from there. Nobody knew so I asked directions to Uluwatu thinking I could backtrack from there. I realized that was a bad idea as Uluwatu was a long trek this morning and we did it all in the dark. I kept roaming around until I finally recognized one of the round-a-bouts after about 40 minutes of wandering. I finally came across Mak Jo and I was so excited as I thought I was going to be lost all day. I was really lucky to have bumped into that round-a-bout! I went into Mak Jo’s and chowed. The ladies working were laughing at me because my face was completely brown from riding all day and they knew I was lost because I wasn’t with the crew and looked pretty flustered. I was able to backtrack from Maks to our villa where I chilled until the guys got back. After a quick swim we headed back to Dreamland where we scored some really fun waves. For dinner the guys wanted Mak Jos and I couldn’t say no so I went for round two! Another hectic day in Bland! Uluwatu, crooked cops, being lost, and Dreamland - definitely not complaining! 

The Crew


Saturday, April 16, 2011

unBALIevable!

These first 24hrs in Bali have been insanity. It all started yesterday when I went to the train station in Surfers Paradise headed for the airport. I saw this guy (Nathan) with a board bag so I asked him where he was going and turns out he was going to Bali, on the same flight. His two buddies, Chris-O and Nick-O showed up who have both spent time in Bali and are die-hard surfers.  They invited me to cruise with them on their trip so I was happy to have met people who knew the place. I’ve never been on such a cool flight. Everybody in the terminal had board bags and sunnies and you could feel the “stoke factor” on the airplane.  As soon as we landed (around 10pm) last night we took a van to the nearest city, Kuta. It’s the Las Vegas of Bali. Multi-level club after club playing loud bumping jams 24/7. Chris-O knew where to stay and it had a huge pool and nice amenities and was directly downtown. We didn’t waste any time and headed for the party scene. Nathan needed to get local money and went to the exchange office and when we were leaving I saw a guy bump into him and stick his hands in his pockets. I yelled to Nathan and he was able to grab the guy who luckily had aimed for the wrong pocket. Being in Kuta was pretty hectic at first because there were hundreds of people partying and hundreds of locals trying to get you to go to their bar or sell you something. We’ll probably go back to Kuta  one or two more times, but you don’t want to live there. We had a pretty crazy night checking out all the clubs
.
In the morning we got right to it. We found a local guy who rents motorcycles and started bargaining. We all walked away with sweet motorcycles with surfboard mounts on the side. We have the bikes for the next two weeks and can extend if we want to. I was a little hesitant about getting a bike as there are no road rules, lanes, or signs (and you drive on the left side of the road). It’s the chaos theory in practice!

Chris again hooked it up with another contact from a previous trip and we booked a multi-million dollar villa in the middle of the peninsula. Getting out of Kuta to the villa was super chaotic. We got right into the thick of traffic and had a blast honking at people, driving on the sidewalks and splitting traffic. You definitely have to ride aggressive here. Riding around on the bikes has been so fun. We all have super funny big helmets on which adds to our entourage’s hilarity. When we got to the villa we were blown away by how nice it was. We each have our own king bed and bathroom and the kitchen is fully loaded with granite everything. There is a huge infinity pool out front too. For only $200/wk (yes per week and split 4 ways!) this place is a dream. After checking the place and unpacking we quickly reloaded the bikes with our boards and headed back out to the hustling streets. The first break we surfed today was called Green Bols and was a huge macking right onto pretty shallow reef and the place was completely empty. The walk down to the break was pretty surreal too. Its 345 huge stone steps down a cliff side to get to the beach. It was fine going down, but when we were done surfing the trek up was very tiresome! When we got to the top there was a Balinese man (who gave us the step count) selling cold drinks and food, so clutch! We got back on the bikes and crossed the peninsula to Balangan which is a super nice left. We stopped halfway to Balangan when I spotted a little crowd around a small bbq. We walked over and haggled for some tasty beef (I think it was dog) on a stick. We surfed Balangan until sunset and headed back to the villa to get ready for dinner. Chris showed us this little Warung (means eatery) that had really tasty food at criminally cheap prices. We each ordered 2 entrees, 1 appetizer and multiple fruity drinks before calling it quits. We walked out each paying just over 4 dollars!

Right now, I’m sitting in the villa winding down from an off the wall first 24hrs. So far I’ve been absolutely loving this country, it’s a giant playground! I’m so lucky to have started talking to Nathan at the train station as his buddy Chris has been leading the charge as tour guide and human GPS! I wonder where I would be right now if I hadn’t met them?  Sorry no pictures, I’ll take heaps tomorrow and do another post. Slater 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bali Here We Come!

Beautiful Surfers Paradise
I haven't updated this in awhile as I've been in the groove of getting my school work done before I leave tomorrow to Bali. I have 5 papers to turn in before I leave and I've done 4 of them thus far! Yesterday me the the boyz went shopping and I picked up a new GoPro mount for my board, reef booties, rash guard, and crazy OZ sun-paste! Around two weeks ago while surfing in Byron I had a bad wipe-out and landed right on the camera, snapping off the plate (little safety lease and pad saved my GoPro from sinking to the bottom of the ocean. Also, last week I was able to go kiting right in front of my place. It was pretty surreal looking at the skyline as I cruised back and forth. I was the only kiter out which made things a little hairy but all went well. I'm going to keep this short as I need to get back to my work before I depart in the morning. Chris will meet me in Bali in about 8 days and two of mt new friends from Surfers will also be meeting me there later in the trip.
Bubble Rings in the Pool

Right before I doomed my GrPro at Byron
Getting Ready to Kite
Kiting Out Front

Kiting Round Two