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Friday, May 24, 2013

Semi-Secret Surf in Java - Part II

Continued from Part I.

Exhausted after our first day, a few bintangs and an early night was welcomed. The little village was silent by 8 PM, a stark contrast to the bustling nightlife of Kuta or even my quiet existence on Bali's Bukit Peninsula. This didn't bother us at all, we were there surf. (Me, photo by Hiroshi Fukuzawa).
The sound of motorbikes buzzing down the street pulled me from my sleep abruptly. It was 2 AM and the quiet fishing village had come to life. I walked outside to see what was going on. Down at the harbor, fisherman were loading up their boats and heading out to sea. This little village turned out to be quite wealthy compared to surrounding areas, thriving on exporting lobster (one reason they probably aren't terribly interested in becoming a tourist destination like other places in Indonesia). Besides lobster, the ocean here is teeming with sea life and great fishing opportunities(the man below walked out the reef at low tide and pulled this octopus out of its hole).

When I stumbled out of bed a few hours later, Clint was waxing his board, still half asleep. It was still dark out but we wanted to maximize our water time before the tide dropped out midday. 
This became our routine for the week: bedtime at 9 PM, rude awakening at 2 AM, restless sleep until 5 AM, surfing until the tide was too low, lunch, surfing until dark. 7-8 hours a day in the water, overhead waves pretty much all week, light crowds. Most days, we were too busy surfing to get any photographs; Clint was the only surfer in the water on this smaller morning while I snuck off to take the photograph below.

Plenty of surfers have visited this spot. Coverage of Indonesian and traveling professional surfers here have graced the pages of surf magazines and lit up videos. Like every new wave discovery, those in the know try to keep it off the radar. Don't tell anyone where it is, how to get there, how good it is. Nevertheless, news spreads fast and this spot is quickly earning its place on the map. I don't think it will every get too crowded here because the nature of the waves will quickly deter many surfers.
Everyone thinks Indonesia is full of dream waves. It is, but this isn't really one of them. Plenty of closeouts and imperfect waves roll through here between freight-training barrels. The waves come from deep water outside the bay and suck off the reef, heaving thick lips and sectioning off quickly. The beautifully colorful coral bottom is also horrifyingly sharp and shallow. Tidal fluctuation is also a significant concern here; the left and right off the bay's headlands each require different tides, and are dramatically effected by the water movement in the bay.

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