Intro — What is the mark of a bule? In this issue we talk a little trash, get a fresh haircut, eat trendy desserts and sit down with some of Bali’s quirky characters. We breathe a little foam dust and take some photos. We go surfing. But before we paddle out, let’s try an exercise. Take a quick look in the mirror, c’mon all of us. Did you get that ink here? Bonus points for a map of Bali or anything with waves. Are you wearing any Bintang merchandise? Driving a Honda Scoopy with your Deus Customs shirt flapping in the wind? Haviannas or Rainbows? How about bandages? Nice, reef or asphalt? Both? Strong work. Is your surf rack bent off your motorbike like a crooked elbow from hooking a pedestrian handbag or roadside tree? Do you ever dismount and impale your undercarriage? New board? Hypto or Dumpster? Don’t worry, it will be dinged up soon enough. Bali keeps us all rough around the edges that way. The mark of the Bule manifests in many forms. And there’s nothing wrong with what you wear, your ride, your greenhorn mistakes; it’s your opportunity to grow and enjoy yourself here. The important thing to remember is we are outsiders, guests in a land of adventure that exists in a fragile balance. It’s so easy to fall in love with this enchanted island, but there are heartbreaks in this relationship. We’re poisoning the ground water, choking the air with pollution and overdeveloping the land. We’re fast approaching a critical mass in many of these areas. Some would argue we’re already there. We’re quick to fault the Balinese for mismanaging their home, but the truth is we are all part of the crisis. And that presents a most exciting prospect, because we can all be part of the solution. We must assume ownership of the problems we ourselves perpetuate, and extend a helping hand in place of a pointed finger. We’re still holding up the mirror. Let’s take a closer look. – Bali Belly
Weâ€™re tired of running so many Padang shots, but M E G A S E M A D H I keeps getting deeper so we keep it coming. Here he is about to get puked out of a glassy Bukit tunnel for nth time this summer. Photo: Hamish Humphreys
A new approach to a familiar wave. N O A D E A N E , tweaking the conventional slob and sporting a full Astrodeck gifted to him by the great Christian Fletcher. Seems thatâ€™s not all Deaneâ€™s inherited from the skate driven 80s aerialist. Photo: Hamish Humphreys
What canâ€™t G A R U T W I D I A R T A do? He won the Padang Cup in all-time conditions, then he travels north and takes top honors at the Maldives Open in waist high ramps. In between we sent him to Sumbawa for a freesurf with friend and fellow goofyfooter Chippa Wilson. Go to page 32 to watch them cut loose and push the limits. Photo: Mick Curley
BA L I B E L LY / / I S S U E 005
18. DAMN GOOD NIGHT
48. THIRD WORLD ASHPHALT
54. CHANNELING THE PACIFIC
22. TURN THAT SHIT UP!
72. THE FABRIC OF KUTA
24. BALI BELLY BUYS
90. DIRTY LOVE
28. STRAIGHT, NO CHASER
104. A STATE OF KOMA
30. STUPID FRUIT COMICS
Bali Belly is an independent youth culture publication based in Bali, Indonesia. It’s a collaboration between surfers, skaters, photographers, filmmakers, writers, and artists. We produce a tri-annual book and feed our website daily at www.balibelly.com. Contact us: email@example.com
Bali Belly is printed on PEFC Certified paper sourced from sustainably managed forests & recycled materials. When you’re done with your copy kindly pass it on to a friend in need. ©
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BA L I B E L LY / / I S S U E 005
Tucker McGrath We found this barefoot savage wandering the streets of South Bali flat broke with nothing but a handplane, overgrown facial hair and a broken twin fin. So we made him editor, and watched in anguish as he spent all his time bodysurfing Echo Beach and disappearing into the jungle hunting exotic strange. His interests include weird boards, dancing the occasional hen’s night, and writing about himself in the third person.
We grew up reading Wilbur Kookmeyer strips and, like everyone else, quickly tired of them. Clayton’s fresh approach to surf cartoon, Komodo Jo, takes place in a charming, caricatured Bali. The local lizard charges and his sidekick, Helmüt, is the frothing surfer friend we can all relate to. We’re proud to have exclusive access to such a talented artist. He puts serious hours into a quirky little strip that reminds surfers everywhere to lighten the fuck up.
Tommy Chandra This Jakarta illustrator’s contemporary pop-culture commentary is The Sims meets urban Indo. We noticed his talent right away. So did Google, XL and a handful of other tech industry moguls who have commissioned his work. Self taught and ambidextrous, he is a keen observer of the subtleties of city life. His architectural background lends an engineer’s touch to refined, organized illustration, and he knows all the right rules to break.
Our favorite comrade is at it again, always popping up in the right spot and disappearing just as fast with a couple insta-worthy strobes. Forget the photographer ego- poaching, territorialism, seniority- the local lensmen don’t know what to make of this Ruski apparition. Last month we saw him cutting off Brazilians at Ulu’s just to see what would happen. The next day he Skyped us from the Maldives with a Serbian hooker and a pile of blow the size of the Fedchenko glacier. He stopped returning our calls for two weeks and then spontaneously materialized at our office doorstep one morning- after deadline- with an empty bottle of Натан Лоуренс, a hard drive full of east Indo gold and noodles on his shirt. He split before we could pay him. Nothing’s ever certain with this guy, but we’re betting the Bog’ will return.
Ryan Robson When the photos from Robson’s Pacific boat trip hit our inbox we all stood there pointing and grunting like cavemen looking at fire for the first time. We were familiar with Robson’s keen eye for new angles, but his latest work looks as if it were shot on a whole new planet. He bagged our friend Bol in a cosmic tube, came unmoored in the great blue, and shared some waves with a few stoked groms. Check it all out on page 104.
If you’ve been around for the journey since Issue 001, you’ve seen H.Hump transform from a fluffy international student to a sleek international traveler. Sure he still frequents Eikon, but he also goes on trips with Dane Reynolds. Dane? You might ask. Where’s the proof? Others might demand. Settle down... those pictures are coming next issue. But that doesn’t mean ol’ Ham Hump didn’t traverse the archipelago and capture stunning imagery for you to look at right now. He shot this issue’s skate article, Concrete Obsession. He shot topless photos of girls for the Cibola feature, sorry we can’t show you those ones. And he even had the time for a Tinder date in Sumbawa! Follow @ham_hump for more liquid imagery and the occasional shout for shout.
18 // DAMN GOOD NIGHT
Bartender: Comes across the bar straining to hear my sweaty plea for ‘AQQUUAAA’ First Drink: Water Last Drink: Water A drink for your boys at Bali Belly: I’ll shout you an espresso martini so I can sip on the froth Toast/Speech: I’d like to thank the Internet With you in the VIP: That girl you follow you on Instagram Shamelessly making out on the dance floor: That hippie chick from Ubud with the feathers in her hair Under your arm: Smooth, smells of daisies
Yasmin Suteja — A night on the town with Culture Machine’s 22-year-old Creative Director, Yasmin Suteja.
On the rail puking: The kid who had too many Small Island Ice Teas at Deus on Sunday In the toilet having sex: Free spirited Euro babe and that surfer guy you always see down at Echo Beach Sorry, seats taken: You REEK of JOOP! Surprise guest(s): Alexa Chung Designated driver: Yours truly Lost: Bike key
Your Outfit: Something white, sheer, revealing and highly impractical Arrive: Two hours late because I misplaced my bike key, or my wallet, or my Perspex backpack Venue: A dingy dive bar with leather couches and sticky beervarnished tables
Dress Code: No Scrubs
Cops show up when: My moves get ILLEGAL! Ha!
Bands: Some alternative electronic band you’ve never heard of with a 20 year old pasty kid with frizzy hair and the voice of an angel
My bad (maaf): Teddy! Not Freddy. Of course, yes! I remember. Ma’af!
Security: TIGHT like a tiger
After party: Pit Stop
Late night eats: Vegemite
You leave with: Heavy eyes and sore feet
20 // SPROUTING
Max de Santis — Age: 15
Favorite word: Sabar
Airs or barrels? Barrels, airs hurt you
Surf Club: I’m not cool enough
Padang or Keramas? Padang for sure
Favorite Wave: Padang
Dream wave: 4 foot perfect right and left beachbreak with no one out
Favorite surfboard: Mayhem 5’10 18¼ 2¼ Favorite Surfer: John John Favorite local Surfer: Lee Wilson
Last time you dropped in? Yesterday on some Spanish guy with dread locks in a full suit at Ulus
Favorite Grom Surfer: Rio Waida
Last time someone dropped in on you? Yesterday, probably by some Russian, German or Yugoslavian guy
Nasi Goreng or Jaffle? Nazi Goreng mate!
What I hate about surfing: Crowds
Bintang or Arak? Bintang
What I love about surfing: It’s the best feeling in the world
Longest barrel: I made a closeout at Ulus one time that was pretty long. I was stoked What I love about Bali: The freedom and how diverse it is to anywhere else... but Bali is being destroyed and it needs to stop
When’s the last time you saw police take a bribe? A couple of days ago they were stopping tourists and I saw this chick freaking out holding up a hundred thousand to the cop Thoughts on school? School is important to me
When I’m not surfing I am: Probably taking photos. I’m really into photography
Last time you cried? When I realized I wouldn’t be surfing for 4 months
Favorite surf movie: Probably Done but Strange Rumblings might change my mind
Favorite hashtag? #swag
Favorite non-surf movie: Anchorman 2 You know they’re a tourist when... They braid their hair and think it looks good. Or when they’re drinking Bintang for breakfast
Mode of transport: Supra or 1972 Kijang
Blondes or brunettes? Blondes Have you ever kissed a girl? Sure have Dream Babe: Sunny Hendy Single Fin or Alley Cats? Single Fin mate What’s your goal in life? To be happy with whatever I’m doing How many times have you had Bali Belly? Too many times to count
GoPro or RED: RED for sure
I’m Sorry: Lazer (my dog) for not feeding you today
Song on repeat: Going back to Cali by Biggie Smalls
Shout out! To my brother Kahea for being the shit!
Is Tupac still alive? I wish...
2 2 / / T U R N T H AT S H I T U P !
Heru Wahyono — Shaggy Dog & Dub Youth Soundsystem’s Heru Wahyono shares 8 of his favourite tunes.
Artist: Jackie Mittoo Album: A Tribute to reggae's Keyboard King (Compilation) Genre: Reggae/Instrumental “I often start my morning with coffee and this vinyl on my turntable. It's one of my mood-booster albums that I go back to again and again.”
Artist: Red Hot Chilli Peppers Song: Aeroplane Genre: Funk/Rock/Alternative “The title and lyrics is literally what has happened in my life. ‘Music takes me everywhere’. I just downloaded this track and have been playing it with the boys in our hotel room.”
Artist: Jools Holland feat. Jamiroquai Song: I'm in the Mood for Love Genre: Rocksteady “Originally written by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields in 1935, it has since been covered by sooo many artists and bands. The Jamiroquai version is the perfect wedding song!”
Artist: Shaggydog Album: Kembali Berdansa Genre: Ska/Reggae/Dub “I must admit that this is by far one of the best albums by my band, Shaggydog. We won several awards for it over the years and we couldn’t be more grateful.”
Artist: A Tribe Called Quest Song: Can I Kick It? Genre: Hiphop “One of my favourite hiphop tracks ever. I especially like the part where they sample Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side’. I discovered this song while touring through Marseille, France.”
Artist: Dubyouth Soundsystem Song: Basstruck (6Blocc Remix) Genre: Juke/Footwork “For this song we were so stoked to join forces with 6Blocc, he's the producer of Snoop Lion's single ‘Here Comes The King’ (with Diplo). The result was just MAAAD!”
Artist: Dub Club (Compilation) Album: Signs & Wonders in Dub Genre: Dub “My first 'Stones Throw Records' vinyl. I really dig what they do and was stoked to collaborate. It sounds real good - there’s some analog stuff and cool fx's. Great overall production.”
Artist: Sixto Rodriguez Album: Searching for Sugar Man original motion picture soundtrack. Genre: Folk - Rock “If you love Bob Dylan’s sound, you’re gonna love this album for sure. I recommend you watch the movie too, it’s a crazy story!”
2 4 / / B A L I B E L LY B U YS
Bali Belly Buys — You can buy Rizal’s fins but his turns aren’t for sale. You can buy a board with no fins, and no guarantee you can ride it. You could score a fly new watch but it won’t keep your lazy ass on time who are we kidding? As for the tail pad, it’s about as practical as the spoiler on your car. Set yourself apart from the pack however you like, here’s our two cents (236 IDR) on the summer’s hottest products.
Rip Curl - Search GPS Watch This is the world’s first GPS watch for surfers. Amazing! But what makes this timepiece worth the price tag? For starters it has a built in speedometer to clock your surfing. The user can also record total distance paddled and wave count. Think you’re faster than Fanning? Probably not, but now you can see just how far off that world title is. Rp 3,900,000 at all Rip Curl stores.
Shapers Fins - Rizal Tanjung model (five fin set) You dropped serious dough on that surfboard, toss those plastic factory fins aside and hone the samurai slicing power of Rizal! We set up a Lost V3 Rocket quad and test drove these fins through the Mentawais. The smaller trailer fins reduce overall drag without sacrificing control on rail. The honeycomb core and carbon fiber base lend a unique balance of flex/stiffness to lean into. Throw in Riz’s custom artwork, and you’re really channeling the vibe of Bali’s barrel king. Rp. 1.690.000 at all fine surf shops in Bali including Trader Riz, White Monkey, and Rip Curl.
Astrodeck - John John Model We could wax John Johnâ€™s board with baby oil and he would still find a way to shred. Except he doesnâ€™t use baby oil. He uses a Fletcher family original Astrodeck pad to keep his back foot velcro tight to his board. Every tail pad you see owes its origins to the Fletchers, why not go with the original? Quality, function, style, roots. Rp. 475.000 at Drifter, Rip Curl, and White Monkey in Bali.
Catch Surf Beater - The Original 54’’ There’s no Blackball in Bali, but you’ll still want to try this board. It’s the original 54” model, the guts of a surfboard whittled down to the bare essentials and softened up a bit. Surfers can order a twin, single or- our favorite- finless. Built for comfort, not speed, you can slam it into the bottom, throw it from a moving vehicle and put it through all kinds of other abuse your 5’11” won’t tolerate. It probably floats you better too. Rp 2,500,000 at Channel Islands surf shop on Sunset Road, Bali.
2 8 / / S T R A I G H T, N O CH A S ER
Bradley Steven Millstein III — Where are you from? I was born in downtown Los Angeles. My mom was a full on fucking diva. I didn’t know anyone else driving around LA in a Cadillac with the top down and two French poodles hangin’ out the window. What did your parents do? Party. So they were rich? No, they were just doing all the Kerouac, James Dean shit that people did back then. It all started in LA, everything you can think of was blowing up. I was born to that phenomenon. How did you start surfing? When I was 12 I went to a mentally retarded school and I beat up all the little kids that were my age. They moved me from the little kids to the big kids. I started torturing animals and stuff, actually just rabbits. Somehow I went and got this rabbit and I took it to my room and kept smashing it and smashing it. I was crazy. Then one day at the beach God came to me and said ‘do you want to be Jeffrey Dahmer? Because your IQ is like 185, you’ll never get caught. Or do you wanna be a surfer? Come into my ocean, nobody will bother you. You’ll be safe with me.’ I was a grungy surfer. Outcast. As a surfer people would not look at you. That’s what God had me do, get out of the world and not kill anybody. I would have been a great murderer for sure. I probably would’ve ate people. I was that mentally disturbed at 12 years old.
So surfing kept you from pursuing a career as an infamous killer? You can say infamous I say that’s just ridding the world of mass society that rich people can’t deal with. Describe a typical morning in Hawaii in the 70s. Sherm, glue, and LSD. Group hallucinations where everyone’s seeing the same thing. Incredible. Describe the scene on Kauai: In 1976 I decided the revolution will be televised on Kauai so I’m gonna go there. I was living on Kauai, living under coconut trees eating coconuts. I was the coconut man! They had just shut down Taylor Camp- the biggest coolest underground hippie trip rainbow bridge. Guys were hanging out like monkeys in trees, they lived in treehouses. Just a crazy little world. All the hype was gone and a few little acid head surfers were left. Guys would show up with these 12-13 ft long guns. There were these crazy chargers out there. I got to see a lot of avenues of surfing I know a lot of people have never seen. What was the Vietnam War era like? They asked me to go and I said I will go. I don’t know why I should. I dunno who these guys are and you want me to go and kill them. I said I will raise my hand, I will step forward and go to Vietnam but I promise you, the first person I kill will be a white person, above a sergeant. Then I was waiting to hear
back and I went to Mexico on a surf trip. They sent me a college deferment. I didn’t even have a high school diploma and here I had a college deferment from the draft board. Your hair is shorter now, are you still a hippie? I like smoking cigarettes and throwing empty packs onto the dividers in the middle of the road here. My hippie days are over. I should be a nicer person to people though. I like everybody. I really love the world. Why didn’t you come to Bali in the 70s? Because I didn’t smuggle cocaine until 1983. I was living in Hawaii back then and I had all this money. I thought ‘hey I wanna follow in the footsteps of Gerry Lopez man, I’m going to Bali.’ You’re a goofyfooter, did you come here searching for lefts? Well, I switchfoot. I can look like Lopez and stand going left. And then going right I can look like Rabbit Bartholomew. If it wasn’t cold I probably would’ve gone to South Africa to smoke their Durban Poison and surf Jeffreys Bay. I hate wetsuits. What’s it been like watching Bali evolve? I was here for the duration. I was prepped to know about change. When I was a little boy my little duck pond up in Venice at Marina del Ray was bulldozed over to make room for condos. When I came here I didn’t think that kind of progress could take over a culture like this. The outside influence to me is very negative thing for everybody. I wanted to be part of something and instead I’m really embarrassed about it. I’m embarrassed to be a surfer. What’s the best part about living in Bali? Free parking, man. What was the low point of your surfing life? Boogie boarders were the worst thing that ever happened to my life. Made me use heroin. That Morey Boogie- Mr. Boogie
man, whatever- Somebody should assassinate that guy I hate him. I’d buy him a hot dog and I’d say ‘I like you, guy, but you pulled my plug.’ I should have somebody to hate in this world so I hate him- and my mom’s French poodles. Have you ever ridden a bodyboard before? Yeah two waves. I went out at Stone Zone and took off on a six footer and broke my back almost. I left it in the water. Describe how surfing’s evolved since you first put your toes in the wax: Learning the drop, that was important. Then the next era was hanging ten, I was told that was the most important thing. Then tuberiding evolved. It was a long journey just trying to get tubes. Guys like Rizal, I watch him get more tubes in one day- mentionable tubesthan I got in my whole life. So what’s next then? Now my parents are gone. I think now I’m gonna try to be a homosexual like all the other surfers out there. It’s not easy to be a surfer, a real surfer. I have this thing it’s called surfer-slash. You could be a surfer/bartender. You could be a surfer/doctor. Not a doctor/surfer because surfing takes such dedication. You wanna ride the rhythm of life, the flow and energy of the world, you wanna be part of that? Become a surfer. Slash. Do you think it’s wrong to make money off surfing? The Bible says it’s not right to take a cross and try to sell it and make money on it. Surfing and business- it doesn’t match. As a shaper what I do is more important than any other company in the industry. Going surfing, the reality of it is there’s no room for advertising. Am I angry with these people who turned something that I loved upside down? Am I jealous? Am I envious? I dunno what I might be. I know I’m mentally disturbed. What was G Land like in the early days? The first time I went to G-Land I went with this guy Paul Kane who opened up a
travel company. I went with him and his other friend and there were some huge days when we didn’t even go out because it was too big. They used to call Speedies the ‘Ambulance Section’. I said ‘what’s that mean? You go to the hospital if you surf this?’ He goes ‘Oh no it’s just when you pull in lights start spinning and whistles are blowing’. What were you riding back in the day? I got great surfboards from Jeff Ho, Pat Rawson, Dick Brewer, Eric Arakawa, Phil Becker. Oh, I can say this guy was my favorite ,Michael Perry. He was a literary, he was a shaper. This guy made magic boards for me. What is it with surfers and partying anyway? These guys wanted to be cowboys. It was tough, you live you’re life on the road, you rob trains, drink out of cactuses. The six guns they didn’t want anymore, so the closest thing to cowboy boots was being a surfer. Surfers have a psychological problem probably, except maybe Rusty Preisendorfer. I take it you’ve had addiction problems in the past? I’m going through it every day. I’m going through it right now. How did you get clean? My son is eight years old. I love my kid so much he’s so beautiful but it doesn’t help me being here being who I am, trying to bring him up with no money. I’m gonna die. My wife she’s from a cave. Caves are good shaping rooms, but all my stuff will be tossed out, nobody’s gonna want it. You’re not checking out anytime soon are you? I could die today and be happy with that. Heroin is a great way to die but then everyone will say ‘ah he was just a junkie.’ So I gotta get more creative about my death. Any plans for the afterlife? I’ll be right here on the planet earth surfing the best waves in the world. I’m not going anywhere, I’m gonna be the meat that inherits the earth.
32 // POSTCARD
A Postcard from Sumbawa: Chippa + Garut — Photography by Sergei Bogdanov & Hamish Humphreys
Sometimes a stranger in the water feels closer than a friend on land. We get to know their face, their style, their surfboard spray. We hoot them into set waves and yet, we don’t even know their name. And unlike wrangling your friends together for a session, when it’s going off you and the stranger are both in sync. These relationships are often founded in perfect waves, that blissful break in your life where your mind clears and everything else falls away. Sometimes these strangers become friends. Way before tattoos and Padang Cup titles, a shy Aussie grom met a local boy on Benesari Street. They shared lunch. They shared waves. They knew faces, names came later. Fast forward to present day Sumbawa. Chippa and Garut crack open an icy Bintang besar and enjoy a few laughs. There are no high school memories, no sports talk and no fraternity handshakes- there’s just two goofy guys at the top of their game eager to tune in and let everything else fall away.
4 8 / / T H I R D W O R L D AS P H A LT
Concrete Obsession — Leonk Bowl, 25, Skateboarder
Where are you from? I was born in Nusa Penida and moved over to Bali when I was young. I now live in Sanur. Who are your favorite skaters? Greyson Fletcher, Grant Taylor, Yogi, Dom Dom, Dewa Oka. Have you got any new tricks that you are working on? Yes but I’m not really sure what it’s called, I’ve been trying it for a while now, you come in frontside and go out back side. Hopefully by the time I land it I’ll know what it’s called! How did you start skateboarding? I used to play skateboarding video games a bunch, then a friend of mine had a skateboard he never used so he let me have it and I just started skating and rolling around the streets. I was skating at my banjar one day with a friend and he was telling me about this empty pool that we could skate in. I thought he was making it up so he took me there and from that day forth I’ve been hooked on skating bowls. Where abouts in Indonesia have you travelled to skate? I’ve only been to Semarang, bowl skating isn’t as popular as street skating so there aren’t as many places. I wish there were though. I’d love to be able to travel more with my skating too, places like Australia and America look like a bowl skater’s dream. What are your views on the bowl skating scene is Bali? It’s still on the up and up right now. At the moment it’s quite independent and tightknit, there’s only really two spots that we can skate here, the Globe Bowl in Jimbaran and Julian’s Bowl in Sanur. It’s not like street skating where you can just go and skate anywhere you want. In Bali you’ll never skate a bowl by yourself, there’s always going to be someone there too, so here at Julian’s we’ve
become one big family. We skate, we party, we eat and we live together. Have there been any bowl contests in Bali? Yes, but only one. I wish that there were more though. There aren’t enough bowls. Bali kids love skating, it fits their lifestyle. They can hang out with their friends, talk shit. It keeps them active, I see too many of my friends that are way too happy doing nothing all day. Hopefully one day the government catches on and builds a few more skate parks instead of hotels and shopping malls. So do you surf too? Yup. I’ve been surfing for about two years. I though it might be easy because I skate. But I didn’t realize all the factors that come into surfing- with wind, tides, swell size, currentsand all these other things. With skating I know the bowl’s always going to be there but you never know what you’re going to get when you go surf. I guess that’s one of the reasons I like it. If you didn’t skate what would you do? I’m no athlete. I just skate because I love it. I’m lucky to have had people help me out and get me to where I am. Right now I’m working as a helper at Rooster Ink in Kuta. It’s a good, honest job and the boss is a legend so I still can skate whenever I want. Sometimes I’ll try and go surf Kuta Beach but it’s always too crowed with weird euro surf schools and surf-hungry tourists. So what do you want to see in five years for bowl skating in Bali? I just really want to see more skateparks open up to the public, be them bowl, street, or whatever. There are hardly any parks for locals to skate and the ones that are here, we have to pay to get in which makes it hard for a lot of kids who want to skate everyday but don’t have to spare 20k Rp. Let the kids skate for free.
Photography by Hamish Humphreys
Channeling the Pacific â€” 40 days and 40 nights Adrift Photography and Journal Excepts by Ryan Robson.
D AY I
If French Polynesia had a child with Papua New Guinea, the result would be the very place I’m currently in the midst of, lurking through its cracks and crevices. Our transport is a floating 4 star hotel, 75ft of steel, diesel engines and hard labour, two years in the making. Looking slightly out of place on our floating Marriott we plan to island hop for seven weeks, search for waves and document. Some say it’s a stab in the dark. We don’t even know if there are any waves here. What I initially thought would be a regular boat charter is becoming a haven for some of the most breathtaking and in-depth images I have ever taken. What’s laid out in front of me is a photographers dream. Volcanoes, storms, wildlife, islands, villages, this place has got it all.
D AY X
Try being a weatherman around these parts, you would not last long. Never have I seen so many wind changes in one day. Dark monsoonal storms frequently appear, changing conditions in a heartbeat. What was once a howling onshore mess of wind and current suddenly turns into flawless barrels grinding down a pristine reef pass in crystal blue water. Swell forecasts are consistently days out of tune, and sometimes it never comes at all. My favourite, like an unexpected visit from a long lost friend, is when youâ€™re awoken by the sound of a new swell. Caught off guard, adrenaline levels rise and a buzz fills the air When you can smell the moisture being dragged off the land, the clouds darken and the birds disappear, you know your dream session is moments from ending. The devil wind starts brewing and four inches of rain come with it. It pays to have a quick boat round here.
D AY X V I I
Last night was one to remember, I think to myself as I sit shivering in the saloon. It all began at around 4:00AM, when I was rudely awoken by the skipper, Marcus, bashing on the crew quarters. “Dinghy kecil, Dinghy kecil” he’s screaming. My Bahasa is limited, but I quickly put the pieces together. Somehow, the crew forgot to tie off the small dinghy before going to bed, and now it’s gone. The search light doesn’t work so we were forced to use a flashlight fit for checking the backyard shed for spiders. Enter 35kt winds, open water, and torrential rain. Two hours later, Donny, Chief Deckhand, spots the dinghy up ahead rocking in the breakwater of a nearby island. We take our surfboards across the strait that separates us from the beach and find our dinghy sitting on probably the only patch of sand on the whole island, still full of air. We bail the boat and drag it out through the shore break. Donny jumps in, pulls the cordvroom! She roars to life. Marcus, visibly pissed off, doesn’t say a lot but makes sure we are both ok. He asks Donny if the boats are secured then its full throttle out of there. A guest on the boat who has been snoozing on the top deck, leaps to his feet yelling “small dinghy, small dinghy, stop the boat” We all jump up and race out the back to see the poor girl floating on the edge of the Pacific about 500 metres behind us. Marcus can’t believe his eyes. “WHERE THE FUCK IS DONNY,” he bellows. But deckhand is already halfway to it, mortified. As Marcus watches him struggle to bring the dinghy back, he can’t help but chuckle at the stupidity of the last few hours. One of the guests tells us he’s a rigger. “Perfect,” Marcus says, and sentences Donny to 30 minutes a day of boating knots with the rigger for two weeks.
D AY X X I I I
Steve comes through the door of the lower deck telling Marcus the skipper to get outside, 20 local islanders are boarding the boat. The island we were parked in front of was partly inhabited and they were confused and threatened by this large white boat anchored in their waters. They got as many men that could fit on their leaky fishing boat and rocked up on our backdoor for some evening intimidation. Marcus and his Indonesian wife Ayu didn’t muck around and were met with some initial hostility. These locals have to be taken very serious, Marcus heard a few days earlier that a woman in one of these island villages was beheaded for some reason, and to remember that we are encroaching on their land, fishing their waters and they aren’t just going to hand it over without some sort of monetary compensation. They aren’t killing machines fuelled by human flesh, but they demand respect.
D AY X X V I I
As I lay basking in the Pacific sun setting behind the palm lined headland, I notice silhouettes on the beach holding wooden planks. I grab the binoculars for a closer look. Marcus the skipper confirms what I’m seeing, said he’s heard of the children surfing around these parts before but had never seen them. Twenty minutes later I’m paddling my board into the beach with my camera gear hoping to fire off a shot or two of these kids. When I set foot on the beach I’m met with a dozen of them, each with a plank underarm. They smile and wave, happiness beaming out of them like a floodlight. I notice the weathered blue paint on the waterlogged hardwood. Looks like Dad’s old fishing boat became their new boards. Standing on the beach surrounded by these pint-sized pioneers, I take breath and observe surfing in its purest form. It could be the year 1550 for all I know. Lost in the moment, I put my gear down and jump in the water with them, laughing and carrying on like I’m eight years old. There I was with my expensive camera gear, the million dollar boat parked out the front and my fibreglass surfboard lying on the beach, a stark contrast to the bamboo huts. Mum, Dad and a wooden surfboard, which seems to work just fine for the little guy smiling back up at me.
D AY X X X V
The stars gleam against a moonless night sky. From the top deck I can see the village fisherman with their torches hunting for squid on the low tide. It’s midnight but they have mouths to feed. I try to get a glimpse of the whitewash whenever their lamps rise toward the horizon. We are only 200 metres from the coral shoreline. When the waves detonate onto these shallow reef shelves, the sound of it pulses excitement through my veins. I look at my watch and time the rocking boat to get the swell period, 12 seconds. It’s building. As I try to sleep I’m awoken every couple of minutes by something sliding around or falling. A plastic storage box suddenly comes hurtling towards me as we roll over a slowly rising swell. Boxes on boats shouldn’t have wheels. Nothing on boats should have wheels. I look up trying to work out where the Southern Cross is to pinpoint the wind direction. I know tomorrow’s daylight will reveal what darkness simply can’t, and I sleep peacefully anticipating the dawn arrival.
D AY X L
Fading swell, we wake up to ankle high waves dribbling around the reef. A far cry from the two-metre drain pipes we had experienced the day before, but good news for sore shoulders and aching backs. After breakfast we all decide to take the tender through the reef pass and visit the village. From the water we can see a few hundred residents, a mosque, a jetty and some cattle. Out here it may as well be a city. One of the village elders has an infected wound, and we agree to trade some antibiotics for a tour of the village and some coconuts. Children outnumber the adults by about four to one, running around looking quite healthy. Soon half the local population is following us around, laughing, pointing, and whispering amongst themselves. One of the men scales a 40ft palm tree with a machete and goes to work. 20 coconuts rain down, a welcome refreshment in the heat in the tropical clime.
The Fabric of Kuta â€”
An afternoon with the Cibola Boys Photography by Sergei Bogdanov & Hamish Humphreys
Passion over profit. Hang out, don’t sell out, because you can’t assign a value to the ironclad loyalty of this Benesari brotherhood. Cibola isn’t an imported offshoot of a major fashion brand or a bule startup selling screenprints in the surf shops. This is Bali merchandising at its most authentic. Detour down any little gang and you’ll see the craftsmanship of this island. These young men are the descendents of true artisans, heirs to the arts. They’ve inherited this island at the apex of a cultural shift and they’re making sense of it however they want. They aren’t seeking anyone’s approval. There are no suits calling the shots. The Cibola boys are building an empire around their own philosophy.
What is Cibola? Garut: We first started in 2006, we were just a bunch of little kids. We didn’t understand anything about running a business we just decided to give it a try. Win was a good artist and was designing stuff all the time. Win: We did six designs the first year, six shirts that we just made and gave to friends. People started liking them so we started selling them. Where did the inspiration for Cibola come from? Minasti: We all wanted to make a local brand. We saw Rip Curl and Volcom and other international brands and we thought ‘Why not do it ourselves and be a king in our own hood?’ And you guys saw a viable opportunity here? Win: At first we just did it for fun. It was for fun and family. But then we saw there was a need for this kind of thing. Bali’s had successful local brands before, Amphibia, Bali Barrel, Mad Cats. What happened to them? Minasti: The big brands took over. What was the hardest thing about starting Cibola? Minasti: The brand image. Figuring out what Cibola was and staying true to that. Keeping the designs and artwork uniform so
that people recognize, ‘this is Cibola.’ Garut: People were asking what Cibola was. They noticed we were different. We had a different style. Win, you did all the artwork in the early days. What muse inspires your artistic style? Win: Aaron Horkey inspired me a lot. He’s from America. He drew a lot of birds and Cibola shirts focus a lot on birds. All hand drawn and really good detail. He really inspired a lot of my drawings during the early stages. You’re expanding your horizons? Minasti: We have three main shops in Bali, and 14 shops that we sell consignment in. And now we are selling in Australia and Japan too. Where else are you planning to sell? Garut: The whole world (laughter). Win: But we always want to keep things real. We don’t want to turn into some huge brand that doesn’t have heart. We want to keep that community feel. Down to earth and together with family. Minasti: Yeah, cause we’re all friends here. We like what we do. Even if we don’t get a lot of profit we still have a lot of fun.
Is there a sense of local pride within your customer base?
What can you do to stop the Cibola counterfeiting? Minasti: Keep the quality high. I don’t worry about the copying because those shirts will fall apart and then maybe that person will buy the one that lasts.
Win: Yeah, they know we have fun doing this and they have fun wearing it. We do all our own photo shoots, marketing. Who buys your clothes? Locals or foreigners?
Win: The counterfeiting of Cibola just means we’ve made a name for ourselves. We have a product that people want. So that feels good. But sometimes we get angry too when we see our fake shirts selling for cheap price. But this is Indonesia. It happens with every brand.
Win: In Kuta, it’s 60/40. 60 bule and 40 local. But we have a shop in Denpasar and it’s 100% local. It’s too far for most toursists to drive to Denpasar. Are there and Cibola family traditions?
Minasti: We met with a lawyer and he said he could handle all the counterfeiting. But he wanted 15 million rupiah just to start the process. Later he would want more and more money. So we decided not to do anything. We’re surfers, you know?
Minasti: Every year we have a big anniversary party. It’s part of being Hindu and Balinese. It’s how we respect our gods, our environment and each other. We go to Besaki Temple and pray. Then we go to Yayasan Senang Hati, we go see the kids at the orphanage. Then we throw a party at our Benesari shop.
Garut: Yeah, all of us surf. At the end of the day we’re not businessmen. We’re surfers.
Win: There’s tons of music. Food. This year we do a photo exhibition about Balinese Culture. Did Cibola pave the way for a wave of new local brands in Bali?
Minasti: I just wanna say… support your local brand. Buy the original one. Don’t be a fake. Now, let’s get drunk. //
Garut: As soon as we made our name and more people got to know us there were a lot of people who saw and wanted that. Some people right here in Kuta too. They got together and created their own brand. Brands like Huck. Justify.
Minasti poured me a shot of what he eloquently calls “the most precious and high quality Arak in all of Bali.” Then he poured me another. And another. I stumbled out to my car to grab my Canon A-1 and a few rolls of film before things got any dizzier.
What about counterfeiting? Are there any stalls on Poppies 2 that sell fake Cibola gear?
From behind the lens I saw the life these guys had built their brand on. They don’t rent Harley’s on the weekend or borrow classic cars from the shop, they own them. They don’t call up modeling agencies looking for girls, there’s plenty of supple bodies leftover from the night before. The following 18 pages are my best attempt to capture the Cibola crew in their natural habitat.
Manasti: Oh yeah T-shirts, bags, stickers… A bunch of places on Jl. Imam Bonjol sell fake stuff. Win: It was funny ‘cause I bought a helmet recently and the guy in the shop offered me a free sticker. I told him that’s my sticker man! That’s my logo!
Come ride with us.
Dirty Love â€” The Tragedy of the Commons
Words by Tucker McGrath Illustration by Tommy Chandra
Walking down the steps into the Uluwatu cave, there is a natural drainage gully to the left side. As the community above developed, this tiny ravine became a convergence point for rubbish and effluent. A steady trickle came to an impasse as the waste volume increased. The puddle became a pool, a putrid black swamp that would make La Brea Tar Pits look like an inviting place for a dip. The smell of this phenomenonof three generations of neglect and feigned ignoranceis the most noxious chemical warfare of the sort no community can survive.
The mire developed its own seasonal tide, swelling with the peak influx of visitors in the dry season, then purging into the ocean with the wet season rains. The sand became saturated with a biohazard grab bag, the walkway slicked with iridescent poison. Surfers and natives had developed Uluwatu so aggressively it began deteriorating under its own weight. Until one day, one visitor decided to do something about it. Curtis Lowe, 32, of Palatka, FLA, first visited Uluwatu on a visa run from Australia. He saw the need for a solution and made plans to return and contribute to Project Clean Uluwatu, a non-profit organization founded in 2011 by two expat surfers. “One day after a surf I was taking my time in the cave and I noticed the smell and saw it a different way,” he said. “I thought ‘someone should fix this.’ I made plans to come back and do a few months of volunteering. It took two years- or more- to do what I anticipated would take two months.” Lowe did two years of environmental work in the US and Australia after earning his bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of North Florida. He has since taken over as Project Manager for PCU. It provides surfers, tourists, and local businesses the tools to heal and preserve the community. With no previous experience of how things work in Indonesia, he slowly gained the trust of the right people and got local businesses on board. “It was really hard to get everyone organized and decide ‘Yes, we need to do something about this,’” he said. “You don’t change things that take 10-15 years to develop in a few months.” A hammock swings between surfboard racks on the concrete verandah outside the PCU headquarters, a humble office on the cliff with spotty WiFi, a beer fridge, and a recycled wastewater spigot for the après surf rinse. It’s hardly Greenpeace, but this tiny room is where Lowe works out the logistics of sewage processing and garbage collection for a cliff side community with over 50 small businesses and thousands of daily visitors. “Waste and trash were not priorities at all two years ago,” Lowe said. “It wasn’t really seen as too big a problem. It was also an embarrassing thing that they didn’t really want to talk about in public.”
The local family-run businesses recognized the problem but saw it as collateral damage escorted by economic gain. Steps taken to fix it were half strides, dumping collected trash into rivers, vacant lots and illegal landfills, only sorting the most valuable recyclables. Burn the rest. Let the rains carry it away. We are quick to blame the Balinese for mismanaging the pollution, but the tourists are the primary source of garbage and waste water, up to 10 times as much. We exacerbate the problem and become upset when the locals cannot properly dispose of large amounts of inorganic waste and sewage. Often the most vocal protesters have a foam surfboard underarm. When public attention turns to assigning blame rather than creating solutions, progress stops and slides backward into the pit where it started. “When people try to force the issue with complaints on Facebook none of that really works,” Lowe said. “It almost creates a resistance here. There’s a catch-22 involved with this sort of thing. You need public support. For that you need results. You can’t get results without public support. It’s like pushing a big stone uphill at first.” Without the PCU waste treatment system in place, the area would smell worse than ever and visitors would have to worry about strange infections, possibly even Hepatitis. Most importantly, Lowe expressed grievances about “a shitty vibe here.” Blue Point and Single Fin, two of the largest, most successful businesses sharing a lot overlooking Uluwatu, were the last to get onboard. On Wednesdays and Sundays they draw over a thousand people. Managers had the desire to conform to PCU’s clean standard but progress was limited to discussion. “The original tanks and pipes underground didn’t grow as the business on top grew,” Lowe said. Then one day in July the old waste treatment system reached critical mass and overflowed. Raw sewage ran down the steps below, past every warung, restaurant and shop, underfoot of every visitor, and out into the surf. People were, in a word, discontent, and work to contain the spill began that day. Workers patched up the existing system and routed a temporary overflow pipe into PCU’s treatment tank
to avoid a repeat occurrence. Management still has to approve a larger system, and until they do PCU will meter the overflow pipe and charge by the liter. Lowe explained that this renovation would be a challenge any time of year, but peak season is especially tricky where foot traffic is high and profits are on the line. Lowe considers Uluwatu a case example of ‘the tragedy of the commons’. The theory states that a group of well-intentioned individuals acting in their own best interests will inadvertently act against the collective interests of the community by mismanaging common resources. This can be avoided with proper laws mandating septic systems and garbage collection, rationing resources like clean water and issuing fines for pollution. In fact, the legislation exists, it’s just not enforced. Without an overarching body calling the shots, the local hierarchy has no model to develop around and the community handles itself, well, tragically. “One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give to anyone who comes to Indonesia and wants to be a part of the change is be conscious of where you’re staying and where you’re eating,” Lowe said. “Make it known that it’s something you care about.” He suggested tourists talk to business owners and ask the hard questions without being accusatory. ‘Where does your waste go at the end of the day? Where does the toilet drain to?’ When it becomes a matter of preserving their reputation and upholding their business they will act accordingly. The locals are not lazy; they are ill equipped to manage a tsunami of trash and cannot remove themselves from a community in protest because it is their sole financial prospect. I decided to ask Lowe the hard questions. Where does everything at Uluwatu go? “More than half of all waste is organic. We compost that, the rest goes in concrete bins that are emptied three times a week. My biggest concern is that that trash leaves the community. The organic stuff doesn’t have to leave. It’s useful. But the nonorganic has got to go, and not in the river.” Kitchen grease is basically an oil spill. Not only does it break down slowly, but it mucks up recycling and composting by creating a thick sludge. It can cause fires, back up plumbing systems and make us very sick. When safely collected and filtered, it can also be reused as cooking oil.You can even run a biodiesel engine on it. Getting stuck in traffic would sure smell nicer. Thing is, much of what we discard is useful, and there is a whole industry riding on harvesting and repurposing these resources. It’s called recycling. Eco Bali sounds like a non-profit organization, but they are a viable recycling business, earning cash sorting Bali’s trash. “We don’t just use one of the cheap dudes that drives a truck and will take your trash,” Lowe said. “Eco Bali recycles an incredible amount of stuff, there’s very little left of what we call residue.” Other communities, from Bingin to Balian, can adopt similar sorting practices and form the same partnerships to handle their waste. If they don’t, the next rain will purge nearby rivers and collection points and bring it all back to their doorstep, and the smoke from around-the-clock burning will float over their heads indefinitely. I was curious about the PCU partner carrying away all the hard goods, so I went to visit their facility at Kerobokan north of Kuta. There I met Director Ketut Mertaadi, Educational Program Manager Paola, and their friend and partner Sano, of Greeneration Indonesia, a Jakarta non-profit.
“One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give to anyone who comes to Indonesia and wants to be a part of the change is be conscious of where you’re staying and where you’re eating. Make it known that it’s something you care about.” – CURTIS LOWE
Project Clean Uluwatu
“Thirty years ago people in Bali had very little packaging, everybody was throwing everything behind their house. The worst that could happen is that you would have a couple of banana trees and papaya trees growing on it.” – PAO L A Eco Bali Recycling
Eco Bali provides waste collection, recycling and composting for private residences and businesses in Bali. They customize their services to fit each client and provide educational programs for them to better understand sustainable practices. They are on the beaches, in the streets, alongside the riverbanks and in Bali’s schools. After the obligatory ‘reduce-reuserecycle,’ the Eco Bali mission insists we also rethink.
Paola first arrived in Bail 13 years ago, after a decade of conservation work in Indonesia. She immediately saw the need for the same type of activism here. “The development wasn’t as massive as it is now. Of course you see a growing number of places affected. It moves very fast. Too fast.” Sano, leader of Greeneration Indonesia, a Jakarta nonprofit dedicated to bringing sustainable practices to Indonesia’s urban centers, says efforts to control development are hindered by its velocity. “The speed of environmental degradation is faster than the improvement,” he said. “This we have to change. We have to create a big change.” “It’s a worry to tell you the truth,” Paola continued. “It brings up a different topic, how tourism is developing around the world and what people sacrifice in the name of this new industry.” In an article published in the Jakarta Post in March, the Indonesian government reportedly collected $62.7 million USD from visa-on-arrival fees in Bali alone. The article goes on to say 3.2 million tourists visited Bali. The amount spent by PCU over the last two years totals $60k USD. If a dollar from every incoming visitor went to clean coastal development, there would be enough for over 53 PCUs. That’s enough berapa to overhaul every developed surf break in Indonesia. The Indonesian government sends all that money to Jakarta and redistributes it through the country. There are a lot of problems to address, for example 200,000 Balinese still live below the poverty line. But with the recent fee hike on arrival visas, from $25 to $35 USD, and assuming tourism stays the same (it’s projected to grow) next year’s take will be no less than $112 million USD. Drips from that honey pot could clean the entire archipelago and create jobs in the process. Government funding is a great start, but real change requires cooperation from private industry, tourists and locals. “Frankly speaking I don’t see any sustainable plan being implemented in front of my face that is obvious,” Paola said. “I hope that there are some plans that have
been put in place but what we see- especially down south here- it’s not a very encouraging thing.” Eco Bali Recycling is partnering with companies around Indonesia to ensure that the goods they import to Bali are packaged with recyclable material. The government is onboard to support the initiative by mandating it, but it will be another eight years before that legislation solidifies. “Before [most packaging] was not recyclable in Bali,” Paola said. “Now we’re collecting about 300 tons every year, and that’s increasing.” Eco Bali’s clients are primarily households, offices and restaurants, with only 20 hotels onboard. The big fish producing the most waste are the smallest percentage of their client base. “There is a growing interest. We do consultancies with hotels and other large businesses, revising their system, how to involve the staff. We provide education. Are we flooded by those kinds of requests? I wouldn’t say so.” Businesses like hotels produce more waste and so the cost goes up, but any business generating enough trash to necessitate regular carting, or enough sewage that it requires a two stage system like the one at Uluwatu, is doing well enough that it can afford a sustainable solution. In fact, it could amplify their profits. “In some cases if they separate some of the recyclables we are able to buy them back. That’s an incentive. It’s something they can include in their image as well.” Ketut agrees. “Businesses right now, for example a hotel, what can they sell other than services, goods, a very good view? They can sell green.” The tricky step here is proper sorting of the trash, because while Eco Bali will pick up any pile of mixed rubbish, they cannot afford to buy it from a business unless it’s been properly sorted. For a business to profit off their waste it must be separated and for that there needs to be desire, education and training from the ownership level down to management and staff. Businesses following Eco Bali’s sorting guidelines send only 25-30% of their waste to a landfill. Without
proper sorting, 80% ends up in the landfill, and without proper collection none of it even reaches a sanctioned collection site. The government landfills are store-and-burn facilities, stinking swaths of trash blanketing the landscape and belching acrid smoke. They are polluting the groundwater and coastal ecosystems and efforts to properly line, maintain, and reduce the size of these collection sites have only just catalyzed from legislation passed in 2008. Each regency in Bali has its own collection site. The largest one, Suwung, belongs to Badung and Denpasar, but also receives deliveries from Tabanan and Gianyar. Thus, it handles almost all the legal dumping in South Bali, or about two thirds of the island’s daily 20,000 cubic meters of trash. Suwung isn’t going to replace Mt. Agung on the skyline, but it could fill the caldera several times over. “Suwung is quite big and it will take some time to control the whole situation,” Paola said. Even if all the deliveries were reduced to residual percentages, the incoming amount of trash would continue to engulf the overextended staff and resources. Assuming we can develop solutions to better manage the waste in Bali, we’re still a single grain of rice in a chain of diverse islands. “The world of waste is incredibly complicated,” Paola said. “It’s not just about what you throw in a bin.” Indonesia presents its own unique challenges as an archipelago. Maybe Uluwatu got rid of all its plastic bags, but I’ll still get one wrapped around my foot when I’m out surfing. I’m told it floated here from Java, or Lombok. Observers resort to vague references about ocean currents and project the waste problem onto other islands. It came from Indonesia, that’s the problem we have to fix. “What is viable for Bali may not be for Sulawesi or Papua,” Paola said. “It is a very complex system and it takes a lot of effort from many angles to start to contain the whole thing.” Geographic isolation further confounds the problem. If a tourist carries a recyclable bottle to Sumba for instance, it’s no longer recyclable. There are no facilities to handle it properly, central government is basically nonexistent and private companies cannot find costeffective ways to reach isolated areas. The bottle’s best chance at a new life is a trip across the sea, where hopefully it washes ashore in Bali and the Coca Cola bulldozers scoop it up. Or we could carry it back to civilization and dispose of it properly, so the next person can enjoy Sumba without burning plastic wafting in their face. Leaving inorganic waste in a community that’s never dealt with it before can upset the balance. “People have lost the ability to compost,” Paola said. “Thirty years ago people in Bali had very little packaging, everybody was throwing everything behind their house. The worst that could happen is that you would have a couple of banana trees and papaya trees growing on it.”
This field of dreams is exactly what brought surfers to Bali in the 1970s. Today the island is more populated than ever, but a powerful southwest swell will still clear the water. The lineup regulates itself- itâ€™s up to us to handle everything else and keep this alluring stretch of reef safe and beautiful. Photo: Trevor Murphy
In eight years, Indonesian companies will have to prove they have recyclable, environmentally friendly packages or their products will be banned. The regulation is a long way off, but Sano is hopeful that its forecast alone will help change minds. “It will be mandatory in 2022, that’s our weapon,” Sano said. “To talk with industry, to help them, to say ‘you know this will be mandatory, let’s do something right now.’” “We have to replicate this everywhere because the waste problem is not just in Bali,” Sano said. “The government is confused about it, they just want to take shortcuts and burn it in the incinerator and that’s very bad for our environment.” The recycling rate in America is 34%. China’s got the Yanks beat with 40% and Down Under it’s 52%. Europe smokes them all averaging 60%, with Sweden boasting 99%. So how does Indo compare? “Indonesia has a 2% recycling rate,” Sano explained. “Where is the rest? The 98%? It’s in our rivers. It’s in our ocean. The value of that waste is huge, huge business. It’s a big opportunity to solve this problem and it will be sustainable if we do it properly. We have to team up together and collaborate.” It’s natural for us to be shocked or surprised when we see trash burning because that’s not the norm where we come from. We forget it was common practice three generations ago. Or five. We’ve since grown up in an educated community that’s enforced certain behaviors and provided the resources to deal with domestic waste, but only after pollution reached a critical mass and hard lessons were learned. We return home to a clean neighborhood, or we like to think so. I’m from NJ, and nobody burns trash
on my street. We have a recycling service. We also have superfund sites in almost every major county, abandoned manufacturing plants and toxic waste dumps with industrial and chemical byproducts of the worst variety. These cleanup projects constantly remind taxpayers of their inherited legacy, as each requires enormous amounts of resources, funding and skilled labor to fix. That’s one state. The United States has offshore drilling, fracking, and other environmental nightmares going haywire in every corner. In China it’s air pollution, in Australia it’s shrinking coastal ecosystems, in Japan it’s Fukushima fallout. And in Bali it’s a recyclable water bottle. That’s what we’re pointing a finger at. It’s going to take time, but the trash here is manageable. It’s a high volume issue but a relatively simple one involving recyclable packaging, compostable organics and treatable liquid waste. “Here my feeling is that we’re pretending things are gonna change spontaneously because there is a fantastic awareness around,” Paola said. “We need to provide roadmaps, solutions, tools. We’re working with a very receptive Balinese community really willing to change, especially the young community.” “I’m not saying it’s already mainstream, but I think there are high hopes. If you work in environment you need to have high hopes otherwise you’re not gonna go anywhere.”
“Indonesia has a 2% recycling rate. Where is the rest? The 98%? It’s in our rivers. It’s in our ocean. The value of that waste is huge, huge business. It’s a big opportunity to solve this problem and it will be sustainable if we do it properly. We have to team up together and collaborate.” – SANO
“The chances of change are greater in Indonesia. The West is so sophisticated with its corruption it will probably never change. In the East here it’s still unprofessional corruption.” – S T E V E PA L M E R Entrepreneur and environmentalist
Dihydrogen monoxide is a colorless, odorless compound involved in many commercial and industrial processes. It’s a flame retardant. It’s an integral part of nuclear power plants. Prolonged exposure can result in severe tissue damage and inhalation can be fatal yet there is no warning label. It is the main component of acid rain and carries disease through populations. Large amounts can cause electrical failures, erosion and even structural damage to buildings.
For those of you who haven’t caught on, dihydrogen monoxide is chemistry speak for water. Pure H20 is mostly safe, contaminate or mismanage it and the real problems begin. Entrepreneur and environmentalist Steve Palmer, 60, of Sydney, AUS, knows how to manage water. He first came to Uluwatu to surf in 1974 and he’s witnessed all the development in Bali since. “The first time I surfed Ulu’s the only ones who saw me surf were the cows on the cliff,” he said. “There was nothing at all- nobody.” Today Palmer is an advisor for Little Tree, a green lifestyle store on Sunset Road, and partner of Surfer Girl International based out of Kuta since 1998. He was a pivotal figure in creating septic tanks at both locations. He’s even installed one for himself and his neighbors on the cliff at Padang Padang Beach. As Lowe gained momentum with PCU, Palmer stepped in to lend his expertise and technical advice on waste water gardens, bio systems, and plumbing. I sat down with him at his magnificent home overlooking the Bukit to learn more about his efforts to clean a place he’s seen change so much since the early 70s. “If you wanna process shit and all the kitchen waste and all that stuff you pretty well gotta have two stages. If it’s going big volume, you need anaerobic and aerobic digestion.” Steve leads me out to his lush garden like a gear head about to show off a restored Cadillac. He runs the hose for a minute and fills a glass with treated waste water, a presentation I get the feeling he’s done before. He holds the glass up in the sun and begs “look, smell, don’t drink it but understand that you can. There’s no E. coli or any of that nonsense.” There is mild discoloring and a subtle odor. I’m told these are trademarks of superb plant food. He empties the glass into the garden, explaining how the water came from three homes, washed dishes, clothes, hair and teeth. It carried away solid waste. When properly treated it’s completely innocuous and, in fact, useful. A two stage waste water system is the best way to handle liquid waste and a huge improvement over leech fields and river dumping. Stage one is anaerobic digestion, where waste is quarantined away from oxygen in a large tank and given time to break down and release things like methane. Stage two is aerobic digestion, which introduces air to the mess with a blower system. This is where the odor disappears, an attractive benefit for businesses who want their customers to have an appetite, or anyone who doesn’t like the smell of shit.
The outflow is fed into waste water gardens, gravel beds where carefully selected plants take hold and feed on the leftover debris and nutrients. Whatever doesn’t evaporate through the plant leaves is collected and used to flush toilets, looping itself back into the system. Even the untreated drainages in Bali have plants sprouting from their banks. With a little guidance and cleaner septic standards, every outflow would push nutrients and safe water through the streets and into the ocean, feeding small gardens along the way. The collective growth of a few rows of plants in every developed neighborhood could in theory replace the rice fields that once existed there. A productive, urban, agricultural landscape would drink all of our waste water, clean the air we breathe and provide harvestable goods. According to Tim Russo, owner of Drifter Surf Shop and Chairman of PCU, the new Uluwatu septic system handled 1.5 million liters of sewage in the first eight months, or 6,000 liters/day. Less than one year ago, all that would have flown into the surf. I asked Palmer why he thought PCU had such a tough time unifying the community under one sanitary banner. “[Waste] is not a priority, making money is. Waste only becomes a priority when making money is clearly, actually hindered. A lot of the ownership and management are way less aware of environmental issues. They’re running on twentieth century management practices.” Twentieth century- that’s not too far behind right? But the point Palmer is getting at is that 22nd century thinking is what’s needed. Current standards are inefficient, and if we don’t think so, you can bet our grandchildren will. Bali doesn’t need a space program, but better cultivation of the Bukit would be good start. “I’m sure permaculture could turn this place around,” Palmer said. “They’re doing it in the middle of the desert in Jordan and such places, growing crops.” Developers bulldozed a cow pasture in Canggu last month. Next door is already one mismanaged project, a four-story monolith of vacant concrete. Rice fields everywhere are disappearing to make room for hotels and the freshwater reserves cannot keep up with the tourism industry’s demand. Every dry season the waterline falls, and every wet season it returns a little lower, and a little murkier. The agricultural landscape is changing. “I won’t necessarily blame the Balinese, but I will blame the level of expertise in the government for allowing this- apart from the fact that they’re also corrupt,” Palmer said. “They’re capability of performing their function relative to the size of the issue
is lacking. They don’t have the expertise, the experience, the knowledge bank. They don’t have the infrastructure to be able to do such things.” Palmer added that corruption is a problem in every country, a faceless changeling slipping through loopholes between the private sector and government legislatures. He said it’s important for non-profits and activists to mimic the same ballet, to bend with the rules and do good where they can. “The chances of change are greater in Indonesia,” Palmer said. “The West is so sophisticated with its corruption it will probably never change. In the East here it’s still unprofessional corruption.” The progress at Uluwatu preceded a major shift in Indonesian leadership. Newly elected President Joko Widodo earned his reputation cleaning up corruption in Jakarta. His administration has local government rethinking their operations. “Revolusi Mental- a mental revolution- is the platform of Jokowi’s presidency,” Palmer said. “This doesn’t mean changing the color of the pen you write, it means completely starting off with a whole new book. This is what’s needed and it’s needed here. Bali’s still stuck in the old guard, the Suharto process of how to run a country.” There is hope in the future, but development isn’t slowing down. There are several proposals in review for the development of Benoa Bay, roughly 500 hectares of wetland area surrounding the new Bali Mandara Toll Road. Investors are planning to move forward by 2016, and plans include manmade terra forms like the famous Palm Islands in Dubai, luxury hotels and entertainment centers. A university campus and a hospital are also on the table. South Bali is already extremely developed, and Palmer fears this project will result in further overcrowding. “I went to Denpasar the other night to go see a friend in the hospital and it was a horrible experience,” Palmer said. “What’s going on here is they’re just living on top of each other and it’s become a totally unhealthy place to live, so the hospitals are full. And then they’re gonna employ 15,000 more people to work on these islands that they’re reclaiming? It’s just gonna completely clog up this end.” Palmer added that if the development moves sideways no party will assume responsibility and no one will be held accountable. The environment will shoulder the burden of cut corners, while head officials will sell off what they can and jump ship before the worst of it even comes to light. “It all gets back to this revolusi mental, it really is the crux of it. It’s hard to get something moving here and revolusi mental has already taken hold. Use it. Grab hold of it. It’s already got a charge. Because for God’s sake what is it gonna be if it’s not a mental revolution? If we don’t change how we think, nothing else is gonna change.” // Palmer’s words bounced around in my head as I left his house and headed for Uluwatu. The tide was out and I wanted to get some waves before sundown. On my way into the cave, I saw Lowe’s gravel gardens sprouting heliconia and ginger plants. I looked to my left where the notorious pit used to fester, and there in the center stood an Asian couple in full wedding regalia, shooting engagement card photos in the soft light of the late afternoon. Indonesia can change very fast, it’s up to us to decide how.
A State of Koma — The rapid fire knocking of a marble in a spray paint can echoes down a flickering alley. This is your alarm clock. Wake up. Snap out of it. Abandon your devices for a second, they aren’t going anywhere, life is. You’ve settled for something less, a turning cog in a giant machine. Consumer culture is your sedative, tear out the IVs. Stop dosing yourself out of reality. The city is a prison canvas. The walls holding you in become the messenger’s medium. He’s hoping the patients can still hear him. With luck, some of you may even wake up.
Let’s throw it back. How’d you start as a graf artist?
How does Indonesian graffiti differ from other countries?
It’s 2004. I’m in college. It’s boring as hell so I get into graffiti and it becomes a major obsession. It stimulates my mind and makes me feel refreshed. And happy.
Local guys like Darbotz, Hard13, TUTU, Tuyuloveme, and others have great skills and have created unique recognisable styles. We’re up there with the rest. We explore our rich cultural heritage and that sets us apart; it gives us some flavour.
A decade on and the paint on your finger tips still hasn’t dried.
Is the local graf community pretty tight? Yeah! I just kept at it because it bought me a lot of happiness. I never thought I’d make a career out of it. My parents loved it and supported my passion 100%. How’d you arrive at the name “Koma” ? Jakarta has got some complex issues – chronic traffic jams, people in power breaking moral rules, crime in the streets. There are countless problems in plain sight but people just carry on and go about their lives as if in a state of coma. What can be done to make Jakarta wake up? More graffiti! Most citizens aren’t fully aware of issues because they are too busy thinking about themselves. My characters protest about social inequity, arrogance, traffic, smoking, and whatever else is on my mind at the time. That’s why you paint characters, not letters. Yes. I used to write letters but I crossed over a while back. I got stuck developing my letters and found that characters could speak more with the public. I can make them shout, protest, and poke fun at things… Oh, one more thing. My characters hate buffing! If I was elected Governor my first order would be to stop the buffing. They’re erasing history.
Yeah, we’re all brothers. It’s a growing community and we’ve got each other’s backs. We recently set up a space called Garduhouse to further advance the spirit of street art in Indonesia. It’s intended to be used for exhibits, collaborations, and gatherings. We also sell spray paint, caps, and other necessities of life. What’s your favourite hour of the day? Early mornings... on the weekend. I cycle around the city scouting good spots for painting. That’s when I love to do graffiti too. It’s a really peaceful time of day and there’s no sign of any damn traffic. Did I mention Jakarta has traffic issues? What keeps you busy during the week? I work office hours at a creative consulting company. Painting on the weekend is like escaping from my daily routine; it allows me to start the next week with fresh ideas. When I’m not working or painting I’m be playing with my daughter. Has your art lead to commercial projects?
Ok, I’ll make sure I mention that to Jokowi next time we hang out.
Yes, quite a few. The most recent was a project for Converse called #clashwall. They had artists from different countries go head-to-head on walls. I represented indonesia. I’ve also done stuff for Nike, GAP, Greensands, Mix Max vodka, Lenovo, and others.
Anything for cigarette companies?
Do your characters have names?
Nope, but that would be ironic because I sometimes use my characters to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking. I want smokers to respect the health of non-smokers. I love healthy living… one world without tobacco!
Sure. There’s Buto – he’s an evil giant from Javanese puppet history. He represents the evil side in humans. Then theres’ Banaspati, he has flames in his eyes and likes fresh blood. And Lembuswana, he’s a river guardian that appears on full moon. He’s part elephant, part bird, and part lion. They’re all based off mythical Indonesian characters but styled in my own way.
Lastly... what would be your dream project? I’d like to travel the world and paint every town corner. Does anyone out there want to pay for it?!
Lee Wilson. Photo: Woody Gooch
Betet Merta. Photo: Simon Dobb
Above – Octavio Trindade. Photo: Erik Groß Opposite – Tommy Sobry. Photo: Tim Ridenour
Mikala Jones. Photo: Pete Frieden
Marlon Gerber. Photo: Ricardo Borghi
Above – Lee Wilson. Photo: Scotty Hammonds Opposite – Noa Deane. Photo: Sergei Bogdanov
Darmayasa Bleronk. Photo: David Deckers
Alik Rudiarta. Photo: Iuri Borba
Kian Martin. Photo: Bruno Veiga
Pepen Hendrik. Photo: Mick Curley
Made Switra. Photo: Peter Boskovich
Photo: Jason Childs
Above – Octavio Trindade. Photo: Erik Groß Opposite – Garut Widiarta. Photo: Mick Curley
Made Adi Putra ‘Bol’. Photo: Ryan Robson
Taj Burrow. Photo: Sergei Bogdanov
Raju Sena. Photo: Tommy Schultz
Photo: Sergei Bogdanov
Above – Justin Bu’ulolo. Photo: Pete Frieden Opposite – Rizal Tandjung. Photo: John Ruppman
Andre Anwar. Photo: Mick Curley
Betet Merta. Photo: Scotty Hammonds