Sumatra & Bali Surf Month

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Surfing in Medewi

The trip started in Sumatra. New surfboards arriving on the day I was leaving, mad and nervous 2 hour over the speed limit drive to the airport, 3 different planes, and a 6 hour car ride on the pothole infested road. You need a good wave to wash away the 30h+ travel stink.

Hungry puppies

The Sumatran surf camp where we stayed was full of cute puppies. Cute and hungry puppies. Here is the hungry proof.

Sumatran dog

And here is the cute…

Surfing a left wave

The place where we stayed is in Krui area – Tapokan Indah Surf Camp. That’s southeast Sumatra and home of spots like Krui left/right, Ujung Bocur and others…

That’s the inside closeout section of the Ujung Bocur on a not so good day. But I like the colors :). Lineups here are relatively empty, but you have to explore to be really alone. Or be really lucky:)!

The bay in front of our surf camp has an ok wave in the middle of it, but there are many other better options. Oh..btw..the sunsets here a fcking amazing.

Surfing in Bali

After two days of wind and with even more wind forecast we were a bit bummed, so we booked tickets to Bali. But on the third day magic happened – solid swell, glassy overhead Ujung Bocur and no one out?! We had the spot for ourselves for the whole 4h session. One of the best session ever (this in not a photo of that day).

Next day the swell was cut in half and the lineup was packed with surfers. I have no idea where they were hiding the day before but I wasn’t complaining. That is until I was sent into the reef:). From the best session to the worst one. Ups and downs. That’s my bloody t-shirt drying on the porch.

Another cute dog.

Again Ujung Bocur (also called Karang Nyimbor) on a smaller day & low tide. It’s a long pointbreak-like left that they say resembles Uluwatu. Depending on the size, tide and direction you have long walls and barrel sections.

I have exactly ZERO surfing photos from Sumatra. So – another one from Bali.

During the six hour drive from Bandar Lampung (which is where you land) to Krui you pass a national reserve forest famous for orangutans (among other things). I had to wait till Bali ZOO to see a live orangutan but thanks to this reserve this part of Sumatra feels remote. And not very touristy… actually surfers are the only non locals here. Surf camps are concentrated around better known surf spots and in between there is only coconut jungle and local villages. Here is the road that passes Ujung Bocur.

That’s my friend MP joining me for a early morning session. After the swell dropped it was beachbreak time. A 4h session in the morning and another one in the afternoon on a spot where 1-2ft means headhigh. We were sunburned and dead tired. A great thing about living in a surf camp is food. You return from your session sunburned and tired and the missus sees you and starts cooking. After 30 min its “Malaaaak malaaaan, come!” – dinner time. You stuff your belly full of rice and meat and vegetables and pancakes…yummy. See you again Sumatra!

Enter Bali time. From Sumatra we flew to Bali. Since it got glassy we were kind of sad to leave already, but we had two plane tickets each and didn’t want to go through all the hassle to change them. On the other hand I <3 Bali. Here is our crew climbing down the goat trail to get to Uluwatu.

Bali is crowded. Every time all the time. No matter the season. So to get some quality alone time with the waves you have to be early. REALLY early. This is Uluwatu dawn patrol. Funny… later I figured out that lots of people want to be in the water at first light…so sometimes the “lonely” time is around 9 am when the morning crew gets tired and goes out to eat breakfast.

Bali waves

All these surfing photos are actually from a trip up the coast to Medewi. A big swell arrived and Bukit reefs were snapping boards for breakfast so a somewhat sheltered and more mellow left at Medewi was a good choice (though I did see 3 or for 4 surfboards become 6 or 8). I can’t remember when I clocked in sooo much wave time. After 3 weeks of surfing this was the first time me arms really hurt – all from paddling back into the lineup after surfing. And you don’t even have to duckdive.

Life IS better in boardshorts. Water temps in Sumatra and Bali were 86F (30C). Yeah!

Taj Burrow once wrote:”I don’t believe in stretching.” A few years later I saw an article on him doing yoga. Haha. OK…here is someone stretching before his session at Sarangan. I just thought it looked funny…

Bali style banana pancakes Olympics at Sarangan.

I think this is Ku-De-Ta. It’s the closest “Kuta” beach that works on low tide. So if you are staying in Kuta and don’t want to drive through the mad-via-Bukit traffic twice a day, this is a place for a quick evening surf session.

Bali ZOO time!

Her name is Jackie and she is an orangutan. In the past you could feed the animals in the ZOO and even though this is no longer the case Jackie is used to getting something from the staring visitors and now that she can not be presented with a banana or something you can expect a flying shit from her direction. Duck behind the wall:)!

If you wait for the “Meet the animals show” you can hold a crocodile and a hm… somethinbear (forgot the name). The bear has really long and puffy fur and either he likes to take showers before his performance or is forced to…either way, he smells like shampoo :)!

Fish market in Jimbaran. Get some tuna and kings prawns and give them to the bbq guys in front of the market. They bbq them for you and you can stuff yourself full of sea food for less than 4€/person! Protein bomb for sore paddling muscles, hold the bread and rice, there is enough meat to make your belly hurt.

When you go up north Bali becomes mountainous. I suggest you leave the main road and venture into the mountains. Then leave the side road and take the most stupidly steep and narrow path into the jungle. Hello exploration and solitude. A nice relief from the Kuta madness.

Like this waterfall in the middle of the valley in the middle of the jungle in the middle of the mountains in the middle of Bali. Let’s go swimming.

Jungle wildlife is not just snakes, ants and mosquitoes. But I did meet 3 snakes while in Indo. The first one fell from the tree overhanging the road in Sumatra. It fell on the tarmac a few feet away from our bike. Im still not sure if the clumsy mofo slipped or did she threw herself at us to catch dinner. The second snake about 5ft long crossed the jungle path towards a certain surf spot in Bali while I was walking bare feet towards the sea. And the third one was climbing out of the monkey cage in Bali ZOO. At first we were not sure if the snake is part of the ZOO animal crew but when a ZOO keeper threw himself on to the cage and tried to grab the snake by the tail we kind of figured out that the snake is not a welcomed guest. He didn’t catch it though.

Is this a fact? The moon that looks like C is waning and if it looks like a D its waxing. That’s true for the northern hemisphere. For the south one it looks like its vice versa. Anyway…this is us driving back from the jungle.

50.000 IDR is not a lot of money but it can be enough to keep you full through one whole day! If you exchange it for food of course:).

Paper napkin surfer in a placemat tube. Ah..this is what happens if you have to wait 45 minutes for your breakfast.

Medewi cutback

Medewi is all about cutbacks into the foam. You want to learn how to make turns on the face of the wave? Go to Medewi.

Bunut Bolong Tree

Bunut Bolong Tree is a huge tree that grows over the road. A car can easily pass underneath. That’s me standing on the road and looking through the roots. This is lazy persons interest point because you can drive to the tree on your bike. And then under it. Obviously :)

Bali grass

More exploring and higher up the mountains. It’s funny how the hot, humid and sweaty Bali becomes quite fresh when you reach hm..lets say 1000ft (a couple 100m).

Rubber tree

This tree has branches that act like they are made out of rubber. Try it!:)

Jungle stairs

More exploring in the mountains. Notice the rain jacket?!!? At sea level I would be cooked alive in 10 minutes of wearing this. Up here it was cosy:)

Motorbike with racks.

These are our bikes, probably not meant for these mountain paths. The longest and loneliest path ended at the temple in the middle of the jungle.

Bali temple in the jungle.

That’s it. Can’t wait to go back to Indo. One month of surfing and good memories. Aloha!

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