HH I NI G I SS EE VVEERRYYT T NG
PHOTO : HAMISH H
DA N E REY N O L DS 28 Y EA R S O L D PROFESS IO N A L S UR F E R VEN TU RA , CA LI FOR N I A
TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE
INTRO Fucking rainy season. He slumped down on the couch. Outside it was pouring and the street was flooded – again. The ocean was a brownish lake. The clubs on Legian were all dead, but he couldn’t party anyway. He’d been hit with the same knockout flu he always got when the first big rains came. Hopefully it wasn’t dengue. Fucking rainy season. He popped a few more NyQuil and turned on the PlayStation. As he brought the Guitar Hero controller to his hip, he noticed an option he’d never seen before: “Metallica: Live In Jakarta.” He pressed select and sneezed, sending green mucus flying across his living room. When he looked up, he saw 60,000 screaming fans staring back at him. He looked to his left and saw Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett. To his right was bassist Robert Trujillo. In his hands was a black Flying V guitar. He was on stage with Metallica! Damn, he thought, this is some good cold medicine. “We love you Jakarta!” Kirk howled over the microphone to deafening cheers. “It feels so good to be back after 20 years. Are you ready?” His hands sprang into action, out of his control, as he launched into the opening riff of “Hit The Lights.” Beams of colored light fired from all corners of the stadium and the crowd began to boil like thousands of piranhas in a feeding frenzy. He was on fire. Doing the Windmill. Leaning back-to-back with Rob and playing with his teeth. Power-sliding onto his knees at the edge of the stage. He took a running start and hurled himself into the crowd, surfing a raging sea of metalheads chanting his name. A wave of people began to rise. Fans surged by him, carried to the peak as the mountain of humans grew higher and steeper. As he dropped down the face, the lip threw out 100 feet into the crowd. It was the most intense barrel he’d ever pulled into, and the only one he’d ever ridden while playing a guitar solo. When the wave spit, it breathed smoke and fire. He’d post an Instagram of his ride after the show. He’d tag Metallica. He’d tag Bali Belly. He’d tag the whole world. And he’d tell everyone: “I fucking love the rainy season!”
M A R L O N G E R B E R knows a turn like this will keep the breakfast crew at Komune Resort in their seats and out of the lineup. Photo: Dobb
If this was Pipeline, there would be a posse of black belt jiu-jitsu-trained North Shore locals ruling the lineup, ready to choke out any visiting surfer who forgets his place at the bottom of the pecking order. But this photo isn't from Pipe. It's U S M A N T R I O K O playing in his front yard in Lombok. Usman is the only local who surfs this bone-dry chunk of reef. He'll even call you into one. The rest is up to you. Photo: Smart
He doesnâ€™t drink, but I N D R A K U B O N still does a mean Singapore Sling. Photo: Aldo
The night before this photo was taken, O Z Z I E W R I G H T showed up at the Bali Belly issue release party at Mantra and sang the greatest rendition of “Twist and Shout” we’ve ever heard. Ozzie is really good on the mic. He’s also really good at flying over dry reef with a hangover. Photo: Hamish
CONTENTS 8 2 . T H I R D W O R L D A S P H A LT
90. NTI SHEETO
102. PUNCH THE CLOCK
B A L I B E L L Y is an independent youth culture publication based in Bali, Indonesia. Itâ€™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.tv. You can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
BALI BELLY // ISSUE 003
22. DAMN GOOD NIGHT
24. OLD SCHOOL
2 6 . T U R N T H AT S H I T U P !
60. MBC GANG
66. THE MOST BARRELLED MAN ON EARTH
BALI BELLY // ISSUE 003
CONTRIBUTORS JASON REPOSAR
Repo outdid himself when he pulled off the cover for this issue. Not only did he get his friends from Metallica in the mix — lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo — he even managed to get Betet Merta to challenge the two legends to a Guitar Hero battle (shockingly, Betet got his ass kicked). After that, Repo assembled a squad of mini boxing champs and their Russian ring girl to model for our watch product showcase ("Punch The Clock"). We figure you're probably tired of hearing us talk about Repo, so we let Repo speak for himself ("What Not To Do And How To Do It"). Enjoy. We certainly did.
N I N A H A D I N ATA
Kevin is our homie from Santa Cruz, CA who just happens to be one of the most talented (and twisted) artists on the West Coast. He's designed skate decks and painted custom surfboards for some of the world's top pro surfers; not to mention the rock posters and cover art he's done for musical acts like Jack Johnson, Incubus, Slightly Stoopid and… Metallica! So it was a no-brainer to have Kevin hand-design our masthead for the cover of Issue 003, a Bali Belly tribute to the greatest metal band of all time.
Our girl Nina isn't a musician, but she knows good music — it's her job. One of her many projects, Love In Tents, brings in some of the best local and international acts you'll see on the island. For this issue, Nina rummaged through her latest playlists and put together a lineup of dope tracks for a new section we're calling "Turn That Shit Up!" Do as Nina says. Your ears will thank her for it.
RICHARD E. LEWIS
Richard was born in Bali in 1956, which means he's got more cool stories than Ozzy Osbourne. Chances are, if you're reading this magazine you think the 90s were the "good ol' days," which is why we started "Old School," a new regular feature about shit that happened in Bali a long time ago — like before the mall was there. In this issue, Richard takes us back to December, 1965, when a bloody political rivalry was terrorizing the island ("The Killing Fields"). You can read more from Richard at his website: richardlewisauthor.com.
Did you hear? Mick Fanning went missing in Bali. It’s all good, we found him. But for a second there we were afraid we might get a ransom note in the mail wrapped around Mick’s bloody pinky toe. And we definitely can’t afford no ransom! Fortunately, Mick’s threeweek disappearance was all part of the plan filming for his new movie. He sent us a bunch of cool shots of him and John John on a helicopter surf mission to some crazy wave in Indo we’d never seen before. Then he took time out from his 2013 world title hunt to tell us about it.
Ozzie Wright, Dion Agius, Thom Pringle, Creed McTaggart and Warren Smith lost their minds numerous times while filming for Nti Sheeto in Bali. They fried their brains with midday hell sessions and psychedelic revelations. They even rocked up to a Bali Belly issue release party in Seminyak and got on stage and sang with the band. Somehow Warren managed to document it all dutifully with the written word. Read his story, and if you haven't already seen Nti Sheeto, go watch it. Then tell us if the book is better than the movie.
Sorry ladies, Bali Belly staff photographer Hamish Humphreys is officially off the market. The lucky lady is a uni student from Holland who shall remain nameless. She might even intern for the mag when she returns to Bali one day. For now, they're doing the long distance thing. Naturally, given his newfound fame, our star photographer has been bombarded with gorgeous models begging him to take them back to his studio and shoot them in the nude. But, without fail, Hamish turns them away. He's found solace in a newfound fire for shooting skate and portraiture. Kudos, Hamish, for your steadfastness in the face of temptation and for showing the world that true love does exist. We should all be so strong.
We had the pleasure of hitting the road with Bol three times during a crazy two-week run of big swell this season. In addition to rushing the biggest and deepest barrels of anyone of the 100-plus surfers in the water, Bol destroyed all his boards, called us into death waves, and helped drive photographer Pete Frieden back to Bali after Pete snapped his leg on the shallow reef. To top it off, Bol conducted an insightful interview with his barrel-maestro protégé, Usman Trioko, on the subject of localism in Indo. Thanks, Bol! We promise to never prank call you again :)
22 // DAMN GOOD NIGHT
SOPHIE MCALISTER 19, EVENT PHOTOGRAPHER & YOUNG COCONUT, BALI
UNDER YOUR ARM
Hmmm, I really miss a Beerlao to top off a good night.
My camera is thrown casually over my shoulder.
Lighters. Every time.
On time, of course. Can’t be late for work. VENUE
Wherever Coconutt Connection takes me. Sometimes it’s three places in one night.
DRINK FOR Y O U R B O Y S AT B A L I B E L LY
Macallan! TOAST / SPEECH
Nervous giggles between every word. I’m too shy for speeches.
New Order, Joy Division, Die Antwoord, Beirut!
Always makes for a good album cover.
Always surrounded by homies.
I love how whenever I rock up to the bar at The Straw Hut I don’t have to say anything, the bartenders already know my drink and start pouring. FIRST DRINK
Whiskey & Coke.
Seth Rogen & James Franco, topless on a motorcycle! INDONESIAN IDOL
Iwan Fals. SURPRISE GUEST
I’d swoon over a surprise performance by King Krule.
COPS SHOW UP WHEN
Whether it’s twerk-offs at Love in Tents or techno grooves with Kelly, I love a good wiggle.
The po-po showed up this one time at Black Market ‘cause Deep Sea Explorers were playing too loud.
WALK OFF (AS IN ZOOLANDER)
Y O U L E AV E W I T H
Gilang do your thaang! U P S TA I R S I N THE VIP
Generally only for work, but it’s always nice to have some space to boogie. ON THE RAIL PUKING
I’ll hold their hair back and call a taksi, then it’s hangover specials at Sea Circus the next day. IN THE TOILET H AV I N G S E X
Boooh, you guys. I need to pee!
Drunken giggles and a bunch of photos to edit. A F T E R PA R T Y
Worth it when it’s spontaneous. L AT E N I G H T ACTIVITY
Pit-stop veggie burger, story telling, and living room dance-offs. WALK OF SHAME
Never! I have this imaginary race with the sun. If I make it home before it’s up, I win. It always gets me to bed on time.
24 // OLD SCHOOL
THE KILLING FIELDS D.HUMP
WHY I DON’T LIKE SURFING BALI’S EAST COAST By Richard E. Lewis, author of Bones of the Dark Moon: A Contemporary Novel Exploring Bali’s 1965 Massacres
A hot day in December, 1965. I was nine years old, a blond, sun-crisped Bali bulé boy, eyeing a Balinese man I’d never seen before hunched on the parlor sofa of my parent’s house in Klungkung, east Bali. He reeked of fright – acrid, bitter, biting. He was silent, hands clasped between his knees. A former member of a Communist party community organization, he was helpless, hopeless, marked for death – a marking that was painted not by gray-skinned pallor but by stink. I’ll never forget that smell. Outside on the street in front of our house marched squads of Balinese men in black with machetes and spears, some with guns. The killing teams. Efficient. Deadly. They were the victorious nationalists, rampant and on the hunt for Communists, who only a year previously were poised for political power and control of the country’s future. In those black, brutal months, with a madness sweeping over the island, an estimated 50,000 Balinese were slaughtered by other Balinese, killed for being Communists, for being leftists, for having said the wrong thing – even, in one recorded case, for having provided a pressure lantern for a Communist mass rally. Klungkung had a large PKI (Indonesian Communist Party) presence, with many of the high caste Brahman families being party members. Kids I’d played with on the streets, in the fields and banyan trees, simply disappeared.
Thousands of corpses were tossed into estuary ravines along the seashore and into the ocean itself. A journalist staying with us told of seeing a raft of bodies floating in the surf, sharks leisurely feeding. This is why I don’t like surfing the eastern black sand beaches and sandstone ledges. There’s something spooky to that water – the roaring surf, the deep offshore trenches. There’s one particular place near Klungkung, now on the surf guide radar, that I’ve flatly refused to surf – I get goosebumps just standing on the beach. When we moved to Gianyar when I was a teen, I had to will myself to paddle out at Lebih beach and the breaks around there. I never lasted long. It wasn’t sharks or being out alone that I feared. It was the other world, what the Balinese call the unseen realm, shimmered very close all around me. The Balinese have a word for places like this – “angker” – and they know exactly what I’m talking about. Not really “spooky” but mystical, spiritually charged, dangerous. I don’t know how many visiting surfers, or even resident expat surfers, know of this dark and terrible chapter of modern Balinese history, but I can tell you that every Balinese of a certain age has memories of that violent time, memories they are reluctant to talk about. Every coastal village and town in Bali that has turned into a surfing destination hides its own secret killing fields, its forgotten burial grounds.
2 6 / / T U R N T H AT S H I T U P !
Your new favorite playlist, courtesy of Nina Hadinata and Love In Tents.
Artist: KENDRICK LAMAR Album: GOOD KID M.A.A.D CITY Genre: HIP-HOP Region: U.S. Comment: It’s rare these days you buy a whole album and enjoy listening to it all the way through. This album is an exception.
Artist: BANKS Track: WARM WATER SNAKESHIPS REMIX Genre: HOUSE Region: U.S. Comment: Not only is she a babe, but her tunes are totally soothing. Perfect for Sunday chill-out sessions. Sounds like Fiona Apple.
Artist: DRAKE Album: NOTHING WAS THE SAME Genre: HIP-HOP Region: U.S. Comment: Fuck what the haters say, we be collecting Drake’s tears every day. This album is definitely for the lovers.
Artist: SAMMYTHEBULLET Album: TIALS THE MIXTAPES VOL.2 Genre: MIXTAPE Region: AUSTRALIA Comment: This mixtape will make you twerk all day, everyday. We even have it online for you to download for free: www.soundcloud.com/thisisalovesong.
Artist: DISCLOSURE Track: YOU & ME (FLUME REMIX) Genre: HOUSE Region: UK Comment: I wasn’t a huge fan of house as I feel like it’s often repetitive, but these boys revived my love for the genre and this remix in particular has been on repeat. Flume & Disclosure are definitely on my bucket list of acts who should come perform in Bali.
Artist: RIHANNA Track: STAY (BRANCHEZ BOOTLEG) Genre: R&B Region: U.S. Comment: Great remix to the guilty pleasures of badgalriri.
Artist: BAAUER Track: HARLEM SHAKE Genre: TRAP Region: U.S. Comment: This song made the whole world twerk its ass off. How could I not put it on my list? And, yeah, Love In Tents is proud to be doing his show March, 2013.
Artist: THE WEEKND Track: WICKED GAMES Genre: POP Region: U.S. Comment: One of my favorite tracks ever.
Artist: SHLOHMO Album (or track): BO PEEP ft. JEREMIH Genre: R&B Region: U.S. Comment: Caught Shlohmo’s show in LA this year, one of the best DJ sets I have come across in a long time!
28 // GROM
REEF DOIG AGE:
PA D A N G O R KERAMAS?
YOU KNOW THEY’RE A TOURIST WHEN...
Keramas for sure.
They’re wearing a Bintang singlet. Or they’ve got a “Bali Kiss” on their leg.
LAST TIME YOU DROPPED IN
FAV O R I T E WAV E :
Canggu right. It’s so rippable.
I burned Jeren this morning at Padma. Sorry bro!
WHEN’S THE LAST TIME YOU SAW POLICE TA K E A B R I B E ?
FAV O R I T E SURFBOARD:
W H AT I H AT E ABOUT SURFING:
My 5’7 Gunther Rohn.
When the waves are flat.
This morning when I had to pay them because I forgot my helmet.
FAV O R I T E INDONESIAN SURFER:
THE ASC SHOULD H O L D A E V E N T AT:
PLACE YOU WANT T O V I S I T M O S T:
Padma... sponsored by Swich!
Mattia Morri! DO YOU DRINK ALCOHOL?
Strictly Bintang Zero. EIKON OR SKYGARDEN?
Where? I S T U PA C S T I L L ALIVE?
Lee Wilson. FAV O R I T E I N T E R N AT I O N A L SURFER:
FAV O R I T E N O N SURF MOVIE:
Nasi goreng all the way! FAV O R I T E INDONESIAN WORD:
Aduh! AIRS OR BARRELS?
Airs. Barrels scare me!
Ulu Roots and Deep Sea Explorers. S O R R Y. . .
What was your name again? Can I buy you a drink?
FAV O R I T E S U R F MOVIE :
Yeah, I’m going back to high school on the Gold Coast next month to do the same program as Mick & Parko. So psyched!
Now Now, Jordy Smith’s last movie... because I was in it!
LAST TIME YOU CRIED
Professional surfer. Qualify for the World Tour.
Jordy Smith & Tai Buddha. NASI GORENG OR MIE GORENG?
DO YOU STILL GO TO SCHOOL?
BEST LOCAL BAND:
W H AT I L O V E ABOUT BALI:
I can surf pretty much every day. And there’s so many hot girls!
When I watched The Notebook. H AV E Y O U E V E R KISSED A GIRL?
Yaaa, for sure.
W H AT ’ S Y O U R GOAL IN LIFE?
HOW MANY TIMES H AV E Y O U H A D B A L I B E L LY ?
I think I’ve got it now.. aww shiiit!
MISSING PHOTOS BY TED GRAMBEAU & NICOLE GOZZER
The call came in to the Bali Belly office before the sun had come up: Mick Fanning was missing. Less than 24 hours ago Mick had been posted up at Keramas with the rest of the CT crew. Now he was nowhere to be found. No one knew where he was – not his manager, not his trainer, not even his wife. He’d just vanished. The rumor mill began to churn and wild theories abounded. Had Mick’s alter ego, Eugene, gone richter at a Kuta nightclub and been dealt with by heavy-handed security? Had Mick been kidnapped by Jakarta mafia looking for a hefty ransom? Or was Kelly Slater so pissed off after Mick snatched the ratings lead from him at the Bali event that he had Mick taken out, à la Tonya Harding? As the day progressed, hushed details began to trickle back from a faraway jungle coast: John Florence and a helicopter, Taylor Steele, filming for a top-secret new movie. The whole thing sounded suspect. We weren’t convinced. We were about to call up Liam Neeson to get on the case Taken style when the phone rang. It was Mick calling to assure us that he was alive and well and not rotting in some godforsaken Sumatran jail cell. We told him we were worried sick. This is what Mick had to say for himself...
After the Bali event, I actually wasn’t thinking about the ratings lead or Kelly at all. Bali was such a good contest, but as it turned out I was on the bottom side of the draw for most of the comp, which meant that I didn’t really get the opportunity to surf in pumping waves. The mornings and mid-morning were always so good, and by the time my heat would rock around it would be a little blown out and funky. So after the event I was itching to get into some quality waves. I was ready to hit the road. // I hadn’t really got the opportunity to surf with John at all away from the comps, so I was psyched on that. He’s one of my favorite surfers. I love watching his clips. So to have him take time out and join me on an adventure was really cool. Climbing into a chopper and buzzing over Indo gave us a whole new perspective on the place. // The waves were fun, but John made ‘em look even better. He was just attacking every section that came his way. He’d only just come back from an ankle injury and I was blown away by how psyched he was to put away some big turns for the movie. //
The rubbish in the water and on the beaches is full-on throughout Indo. It’s obviously a big problem. As a visitor it’s easy to neglect the problem because you’re back on a plane and out of there after a couple of weeks. Hopefully the waste management system improves and people that visit the islands take some time to pick up rubbish from the line-ups and beaches. // I’ve been traveling to Indo since I was a teenager. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve been. But I haven’t come close to surfing even a quarter of the world-class waves there. Almost every time I’ve been to Indo I’ve surfed new spots. That always makes a trip really memorable, and this one was definitely no exception. // A few years back I struggled to get the tour race out of my head, but these days I can switch it off pretty easily. Going on a trip like this where everything was a big surprise took my focus off the tour, and I think that shift in focus actually helped set up the back half of the year for me. // That’d be pretty funny if I turned into “The Drifter” after coming back from filming this movie. My hair is so white I’d look Gandalf if I grew it out and let my beard go wild. After this experience I do know one thing: when I’m done competing, I definitely want to go deep into the more isolated areas of Indo.
WELCOME TO MACARONIS
48 // PORTFOLIO
WHAT NOT TO DO AND HOW TO DO IT BY JASON REPOSAR
I started my photography career with TransWorld Surf in September ’99. I was a graphic designer at the time and a friend of mine who was a surfboard shaper, Todd Proctor, asked me to design an ad for him. He gave me a really shit photo to work with and I’m like, bro, just rent me the gear and I’ll go and shoot a photo. He called up one of the mags – ‘cause I didn’t know what I was doing – and asked ‘em, what do you guys shoot on? They said, you need a 600 mil lens, you need a camera that shoots nine or ten frames a second – or whatever it was back then – and we use Velvia film. I showed up at the beach and Flame (Larry “Flame” Moore, founding photo editor of Surfing magazine) was there.
to frame it because I’d looked at surf magazines for so long – in high school, in science class, just flippin’ through the pages – so I knew what a good shot was. And I just pulled it off that way. That was the first time I ever shot a photo. Ever. It was a total fluke. I was driving home after shooting all morning and I just realized – you know when you see a girl and you just know that it’s going to happen? – I was feeling like that. I just knew that – screw graphic design – I want to be a photographer.
My first photograph ever published was a backside barrel shot of Taylor Knox from that morning at DMJs. I just remember getting to the rack and picking up the magazine and finding it. It was like a half page. I think it was like the third issue of TransWorld. But you see your name on the bottom there and I was just like, fuck! Ahh! Oh my god! And that was it. It was like heroin. Boom. Done. And I’ve just been chasing that ever since.
Hawaii and go out at Silver Strand and try to do a session when it was 4 or 5 foot with the boys. And I just went, oh my god, this is fuckin’ nowhere near as easy as I thought it would be! So I come back and there’s drips all over the photos and they’re blurry and soft and everything. I didn’t even know to lick the port or do any of that stuff. And all the surf photographers I was asking were kind of not telling me anything. It was all a closely guarded secret. So I landed in Hawaii and it was straight to Pipe – Pipe was like 6 to 8 feet. I’m looking at it thinking, well, I’ve been out in waves like that at Silver Strand, no problem. Next thing I get out there and just get pounded. I had never really experienced waves that powerful before. I spent my entire time before that only surfing in Southern California and Baja. But the power of the waves when I first got to Hawaii, they just scared the fuck out of me! And I’m coming in with drips (on the port) you know. I was calling up Sherman, just saying, what should I do? He’s going, ear wax, nose wax, blah, blah, blah. So I was trying all this stuff that didn’t work, which you don’t do. You’re supposed to spit on it, lick it, and then dunk it, and just let it sheen and then you get sharp shots. Sean Davey actually put me on to that. He sat down next to me and he sees me digging in my ears and rubbing my nose, and he’s like, what the fuck are you doing bro? He’s like, clean this off, spit on it, lick it, dunk it. So I did that and it was a “Eureka!” moment. So it wasn’t a hugely successful first trip to Hawaii, but it was enough to keep them believing in me at TransWorld.
M I S TA K E S
P AY C U T
I made every mistake in the book during those early days, but TransWorld never got to see it. I’d go get that film back from the lab, go through it, and any mistakes – out of there! Dumb mistakes. It’s all part of learning, I guess. I got away with it.
It was a whirlwind. The photography thing took off so fast that I ended up being this graphic designer trying to sell my company, trying to be there at the beach every morning shooting photos, having a brand new baby daughter – a family, you know – living in Malibu and still trying to pay the bills. I was doing all right as a graphic designer, and once I switched to surf photography – fuck, the pay cut was a shock. I was working sun up to sunset every single day; I’m getting photos published here, I’m selling ads, and I’m not pulling in even one eighth of what I was making as a graphic designer working 40 hours a week.
A day or two later I showed up at the Surfing office. I went in there and they sent this guy Scott down to take the photos off me. Scott was Flame’s assistant at the time. And I’m like, no, no, no, dude, I want to see Flame and show him the stuff myself. So Flame comes out and he goes, hey listen, you’re standing right next to me, you’re shooting my guys, get the fuck out of here!
Art Brewer was there. Dino Andino, Donovan Frankenreiter and Pat O’Connell, all these guys that I’d just been looking at in surf mags for ages, they just paddled out with this kid Jason Rice who I was shooting. It was six feet, first thing in the morning, beautiful light, at DMJs in San Diego. I came with a 600 and 20 rolls of film. I had read a photography book the night before so I could kinda get a grasp on like aperture, exposure and stuff. I had a light meter and I’m just looking at the light meter like, what the fuck? At DMJs the sun is directly behind you so it’s like a studio. So it was hard to go wrong. I got really lucky on that first day. I knew how
By the time December came, Sherman (Steve Sherman, founding photo editor of TransWorld Surf magazine) asked me to sign a contract. He put me on his staff and then he sent me to Hawaii to see how I would do over there. It was my first trip and I was super nervous. I’d never shot from the water before, and I’m thinking, fuck, how hard can it be? I’ve surfed. You just put yourself there, shoot the guy, and done, right? So I finally get my housing right before I leave for
T R AV E L
I’d just travel with two pairs of jeans, two pairs of board shorts, about ten t-shirts, one button-up for clubs. Just a bag of clothes and then like five
bags of photography gear that I’d get overcharged by the airlines for everywhere I went.
BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET
I did a lot of traveling with a lot of the QS guys that weren’t making tons of money. So it was always sharing rooms or staying with some hookup that we knew wherever we were going, sleeping on their couch or on the floor or whatever. Jarrah Tutton and I traveled together for three years straight and we would call it “ballin’ on a budget.” Because, somehow, we were in the best parties, we’re drinkin’ with everyone, living a pretty good lifestyle, and not really making that much money. When you’re on the road and you’re trying to make money, you’re trying to spend as little as you can while you’re out there. But you’ve also gotta get the shot. So you’re chipping in for cars, you gotta pay for gas, you’re eating Top Ramen every day – baguette and cheese if you’re in France, plate lunches in Hawaii. And it’s a great experience. ‘Cause if you go somewhere and you got everything sorted and you got tons of money and you get a nice hotel room and you’re eating fine food and all that, you kind of alienate yourself from the people you’re getting to meet. When you’re traveling without much money you’re forced to meet people and you just end up with this huge base of friends that you know in different parts of the world. People that you’ve developed a relationship with. So when you come through that part of the world same time next year, you just reconnect. You’re back on that couch with them, doing the same thing. And the more you earn their trust, the more they open up their area to you. There’s a secret wave here. This place works on this tide or this swell. Stuff like that.
PA S T R E C O R D
When I was 18 years old I did something stupid and I got caught with a couple of friends, and in the car we had some cocaine. I didn’t want to say anything, didn’t want to get anyone else in trouble, and didn’t want to get myself in trouble either. So I went down with the pack and was doing a bit of time in prison. Once I got out back into society, the American justice system never questioned that I was anything but an American citizen (Repo is a British citizen). I had been living there for years and I was speaking with an American accent. So I got out and built my life back up. I ended up becoming a graphic designer, got married, had a family, had a house,
built a business, was paying taxes. I think the worst thing I did during that period was get a speeding ticket. So I had 16 years of living like a normal, good, tax-paying American citizen. And then I came back from Australia one year – it was after 9/11 – I think it was in 2002, and I had my green card taken off me by U.S. Immigration. They didn’t deport me. They gave me the opportunity to enter into removal proceedings, which means that through the court system I had to fight to prove that I wasn’t a morally inept person and I was capable of being a productive member of American society. When this happened in 2002 I was two years into my surf photography career. I was doing really well at the time. I was pretty high up there on the whole TransWorld staff structure, and I was completely addicted to seeing my photos in the magazine – that’s what I lived for, besides my family. During the removal proceedings, one of the restrictions they put on you is you’re not allowed to leave the country. And, unfortunately for me, my lawyer told me I could expect my case to take five to seven years to see through. So I had a choice: get a different job, do surf photography parttime, stay in America and finish out my case to win my right to live in America, and then revisit surf photography full-time after that. But with competition in surf photography being so fierce – always changing, always growing, with all these really talented young kids coming up all the time – I wasn’t willing to do that. So I made a decision to keep traveling. And this is what I did: say I’m going to Europe for a surf trip. I’d get a ticket out of L.A. to Europe. Go to Europe, do my thing. Then when I would fly back, I’d land in Mexico City and I’d fly from Mexico City to Tijuana. And then one of my friends would meet me there and I’d just drive across the border with them and I’d go home. Back then it was as easy as that ‘cause you’ve got Americans driving back and forth across the border all the time – you just show your driver’s license and then you drive back home. I did that from 2002 until 2005.
I made it to my final removal proceeding hearing and everything was cool. Everyone agreed that I was a good citizen – the prosecutor agreed. They were going to give me my green card back. I just needed a signature from my lawyer, who didn’t turn up to that court date. So we made another court date for six weeks later. In the mean time, I had a trip
down to Costa Rica for RVCA. I went down to Costa Rica, did the trip, and came back in through Mexico City like usual. I got on a pay phone at the airport to call my friend who usually picked me up and drove me back to L.A. I’ll see you at 6pm tonight, he said. Then my plane to Tijuana gets canceled. The next plane doesn’t land for another six hours. So I go back to the pay phone to call my friend to let him know, but I can’t find my Blackberry. Someone stole my Blackberry with all my phone numbers in it. So now I didn’t know anyone’s number. I landed in Tijuana at midnight with all my photo gear. I think I had about $100 bucks in my pocket. I took a taxi to a motel where you can see the border, and I just planned on calling my friend in the morning. As I’m getting out of the taxi, two
Mexican policemen jump out of nowhere, search me, go through all my stuff, and take every last penny I have. So I got no money. I got no phone. I can’t even get a hotel. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I spotted this group of Mexicans hanging down by the wall and I could see that they were about to try and cross the border. So I went over, talked to one of the guys and I promised him a little bit of money if he could get me across and get me to a phone. And he agreed to help me. Unfortunately, I made another mistake and I got caught by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. And at that point I knew I was fucked.
D E P O R TAT I O N
They tried to give me a lifetime ban so I could never come back. That’s one thing my lawyer did for me, he got that lifetime ban reduced to 20 years. And that was it. I got deported back to England. I lost everything. I landed in England and had to rebuild myself. But TransWorld stuck by me. They believed in me. They knew that I just needed to get out of England and hit the road full time. So they supported me in getting on the tour, doing a year on the traveling cycle. Every time all the pros and everyone would hit the States, I’d either make a trip or I’d just come to Bali. I’d stay in Bali as long as I could ’cause it was cheap to stay here, there’s always waves here, and there’s always guys coming in and out that I could work with. The first year I stayed in Bali for about three months and it was pretty productive. I always loved Bali every time I’d come here. And it kinda started feeling like this could be home for me.
Bali is a place that attracts a lot of designers. They’ll come out here and live as cheap as they can, develop their clothing range, send it out to agents. So four times a year you’ve got all these small designers that want to shoot lookbooks to send to agents to sell their lines. I met a couple of these designers and got a few opportunities shooting lookbooks, which was completely new for me. I had a little bit of experience with lighting from doing some of the portraiture in surf. So I just kinda took that knowledge, got myself some lights over here, and just started doing lookbooks. It was scary at first. You see how hard they’re working on their lines and how much they believe in it. So when they give you that responsibility to photograph it and you’ve never really done that before, it’s kind of scary. It was completely out of my comfort zone. I started studying the ads in magazines like Vogue and GQ that I never really had any interest in before. I’d never really called myself a fashion photographer. But it definitely helped me grow as a portrait photographer. And now I know a lot of different kind of lighting styles. I have the confidence where I know how to light in different ways so that if anything changes, you can come up with different lighting styles to fit what you need to do. I feel embarrassed to call myself a surf photographer because I’m not really doing that full-time anymore. But any chance I get when the waves
are really good and I have a couple of my friends here, I’m a grommet again. I’m frothing to get out there and shoot. P L AY I N ’ B Y T H E R U L E S
These days, a lot of my income is from lookbooks. I’m really blessed now because I’m totally free when it comes to my surf photography. Don’t get me wrong, that’s the dream to be a staff photographer at a surf mag. That was my ultimate dream. I was really lucky that I got that right away. But with that came a ton of pressure. Not from the magazine really, but it’s a pressure that I put on myself to be able to prove myself as a surf photographer and compete with these guys that have been doing it for years, who I’ve idolized and looked up to my entire childhood. But now it’s just on my time. When the waves and the weather’s great, I’ll be out there shooting. When the waves are good and the weather’s crap, we’ll go for a surf. I’m actually surfing again. I still feel a little guilty about going surfing while watching guys cranking airs all around me. But I gave myself the chance to have fun instead of worrying about it. Every now and again I go back to England. When I’m over there I’ll do some music stuff, work for some record companies and do EPKs for smaller bands and stuff like that. Now, fortunately, I have a couple of friends in big bands, so every now and again they invite me along to help ‘em do some shows, video backstage or whatever. I get the best of everything. My three loves in life: women, surfing, music. That’s the beauty of photography: it’s a chance for you to investigate the dreams you had as a child. When I was a kid I wanted to be a pro surfer. I wanted to be a rock star; be with the hottest chicks on the planet. Now I’m not a rock star, I’m not a pro surfer, I don’t get the most beautiful chicks on the planet. But I work with the most beautiful chicks on the planet, I hang out with rock stars, I’m blessed to call a few of ‘em my friends, and most of my friends are professional surfers. And I still get to travel to these beautiful waves that I’ve always wanted to go to. I got my little bucket list, you know. There’s still more waves out there that I gotta go to before I die. When I look back on everything and how it went down with my getting deported, it was tough, but it was a good thing too. I needed a little slappin’ around at the time; pull my head in a little bit. You know, I was starting to get away with a little too much shit; things that I shouldn’t have been doing. It doesn’t really pay to bend the rules. These days I like to play by the rules.
MBC “We creepin’ while you sleepin’.”
GANG An interview with Jakarta's most ubiquitous street artists.
Where are you guys from? Jakarta, Indonesia. How old? Old enough to get into the club. How many people are in your crew? Four, plus The Gang. What are your names? SendSeva, Yk7, Add17, BartOne. What does MBC mean? Mighty Brilliant Cowboys. How did you come up with that? We don't know, man. Sometimes we called ourselves “Mabok Bae Coy,” “Millionaire Boys Club,” and other names, whatever. Say I want to join MBC Gang, what do I have to do? Is there a secret handshake? (laughing) No secret handshake, just a special drink. Everybody can be part of the gang. Tags, throw-up's, and pieces.What's the difference? It's like sex: a tag is a kiss, a throw-up is a makeout session, and pieces are the main course. Each part is important. You gotta have foreplay. Is graffiti illegal in Indonesia? What's the penalty if you get caught? Graffiti is always illegal, everywhere. We aren’t sure about the penalty here in Indonesia because we’re cowboys and we don’t get caught (laughing). Does street art make Jakarta more beautiful? Beautiful? No. In our city, as long as people can still do their business, they don't care about it. We do graffiti simply to distract them. What tools do you use? Spray cans, markers, stickers, paint, fire extinguisher. Which one is your preferred method and why? We prefer them all! Do you steal your paint? Sometimes we pay for it and sometimes we rack for (steal) it. Where's the best place to rack for it? Like, Mitra10 or Ace Hardware? Anytime, anywhere (laughing). When did you first get into bombing? We creepin’ while you sleepin’.
Has the Jakarta graf scene developed much since you started out? Yes. Back then only a few people did it and they still played hide n’ seek. But now kids can buy spray cans and tag wherever they want. It’s becoming more mainstream. Shit, you can see Justin Bieber do it on the internet now. Who are the O.G. guys? Jokowi! Who's up in Jakarta? We are! Do you guys ever meet up with other crews? Yes, we get together at events like Just Writing My Name, Street Dealin, etc. Do graffiti crews ever fight with each other? Yes, of course. What happens? They paint over your piece and then it's war? Yes, we search their tags, throw-ups, pieces, and make them disappear. Describe your average night out bombing. Drinkin’, rollin’, smokin’, bombing. What's the craziest spot you have ever tagged? Freeway billboards. Has your life ever been in danger because of graffiti? Every time, man! How do you make money from graf? And what kind of day jobs do you guys have? Definitely commercial works. About our jobs, just call us cowboys. How do people react when they see you tagging walls? Usually they just sit and watch. If it’s not their property they don't care about it. What city in Indonesia has the most vibrant street art scene today? Many say it's Jogjakarta, but Jakarta is still the center of attention. Which street artists influence you, local and international? Anyone who keeps the street burnin’. If you could pick any city in the world to vandalize, where would it be and why? Jakarta, from top to bottom! From north to south, east to west!
WHY I LIKE GRAFFITI
Because we’re not supposed to do it because buildings are holy billboards precious, walls worth more than gold because we’re not supposed to do it touch their buildings, climb their fences, hang like a bird from their roofs leave our mark Because it’s there for everyone to see no museum guards to track you, no fish-eyed lady collecting your entrance fee to another airless palace of “legitimate” art no cultural dues to pay to prove you can look and if you’re young and the wrong color and lively you’re asked to leave ushered into the street where you belong Because it’s out there in the breathable air framed by the sky and the hustle curved Hebraic letters of tags peaceful bombings murals full-scale pieces mesmerizing fences charm bracelets across eyesore alleys nonviolent violence without laying out a dime to the gods of advertising right under the noses of the civic censors late at night on a bicycle a backpack full of paint art where it belongs where we can see it Because when I look at graffiti I know what I would make with my spray can nozzle, my paintbrush, my broad-tipped marker women’s faces, all kinds in repose, hilarious, tragic, divine, girls and crones so we can see ourselves not on the oil slicks of billboards singing for whiskey or cigarettes or love But floating across a vacant lot on Harrison pressed into the abandoned walls of a brewery south of Market high-styling an office building meditating on the financial district, its spilled curbs and unopened windows, on financiers, laborers and the dispossessed real women looking us straight in the eye And in spite of the aneurysms of culture the instinct to close the door turn up the heat and die peacefully with what I already know graffiti makes me love the streets again: wild horses, Malcolm X, whimsical dogs, urgent signs kids screaming their names because we’re not supposed to do it make this cemented world ours — Katharine Harer
6 6 / / C O N V E R S AT I O N
THE MOST BARRELLED MAN ON EARTH BY LEO MAXAM PHOTOS BY HAMISH
I'm hiking to the top of a hill overlooking the longest barrel in Indo. I'm hoping to find my guru: The Most Barreled Man On Earth. The Enlightened One. A monastic barrel seeker who spent the past quarter century camped out on this barren coast for months at a time. Forgoing worldly pleasures in order to surf every blessed swell that greets this miracle stretch of reef. Countless swells. Untold hours meditating deep within the spinning blue womb of this wave. Perfectly balanced between Nirvana and destruction. My guru's name is Pablo. Actually, his real name is Paul Miller – the “Pablo” thing just stuck after so many years surfing down in Mexico. The only son of Southern Baptist missionaries who migrated to South America, Pablo grew up in Brazil before finding his way to Indonesia in the early '80s in search of perfect waves. Then he stumbled upon this place. Back when there was no one here. And thus began surfing's greatest love story.
I was told to look for Pablo in a little wood hut at the top of the hill during high tide, when the assemblyline barrels vanish beneath the blanket of the Indian Ocean. When I reach the lookout, I find Pablo and his friend, Darren, reclining against the posts of the hut, lazily watching the afternoon tide make its retreat. Pablo is wearing a pair of ancient O'Neill boardies that look like they were hand stitched by Jack O'Neill himself. Discolored reef scars criss cross his leathery back. His bald head and grey beard are framed by a pair of broken sunglasses and an inward smile. Surely Pablo has much to teach me now that I've reached the top of the mountain. My questions for him are boundless: What has he discovered on his path to enlightenment? What has he sacrificed for a lifetime of barrels? Was it worth it? I have so much to ask. So much to learn. There's just one problem: my guru doesn't want to talk to me.
Pablo: You don't wanna interview me, man. I'm pretty boring.
I heard this year there's been more robberies at Deserts.
really the first guy who really was on it, who was consistently surfing here all the time.
Bali Belly: I don't believe you. I know you got some good stories.What about the time you got stabbed out here?
Yeah, kinda the same scenario, except this year they had guns. I wasn't here because I don't sleep on the beach anymore, I sleep back at my place over the hill. But it just happened to be flat and onshore when they came. It was that stint in May where it wasn't very good here. I guess 30 guys came over here on a boat and docked in at night, basically pirates. They hit the hotels around the bay the same way. But they really freaked out the local people who live here (at the beach). They roughed em up. Slapped em around. Drank all their beers. They were eating all their food, breaking shit. Full pirates. I heard there was like two or three tourists here. I guess the French guy got in a tussle with one of the robbers and they roughed him up pretty good. I heard he got like 25 stitches. And that was this year! If there had been many surfers here, it would have been ugly. I can't imagine. One of the guys had a gun and shot it at one of the local kids who got scared and ran. So the guys weren't scared to use their guns. It would have been a complete nightmare if there had been even 15 or 20 tourists here. It would have been really ugly.
Does he ever surf here anymore?
Nobody wants to read about that. What happened? Like, what do I do if a bunch of Lombok pirates come out here tonight with machetes and shit and try and rob us while we're sleeping? In general, here, if you give them your money you're good. That's the difference between here and somewhere like Mexico. Yeah, Mexico is kinda gnarly. That's the key to the whole getting robbed thing, just give em your stuff. Like when I got stabbed here, I had a hut right down on the beach and I was sleeping, and I wake up and there's a guy going out of my hut. So I get up out of bed and I look out, and it's pretty bright from the moon, and I can see the one guy's sitting there with some of my stuff. It was just one guy and I thought, shit, I can handle one guy. So I take off after him – like a dumb-ass. Never do that. You get robbed, you give em your shit. Whatever you have, whatever it is – laptop, camera, whatever, it ain't worth getting killed over. But I was young – well, at least I was younger than I am now – so I run after the guy and reach out and grab the back of his shirt and something just slams my shoulder. And I look down and there's all these flashlights in my face and I'm covered in blood. I look up and there's ten guys there. And I'm like, oh shit! So I run back and wake up my buddy Nick who was staying in the hut next to me, and he lays me down and we get a look at this big puncture wound in my shoulder from the guy's knife. Then the dudes come back – ten guys all with knives – and they're screaming, money! Money! So Nick's freaking out trying to dig up our money – because we used to bury all our money and passports in the sand. They're going through all our shit. And I'm lying there bleeding. Shit. In the end, they were actually kinda cool. They started joking around and then they asked Nick, how's your buddy? And then one guy came over and looked at my cut and he's all, I help you, I help you. He got some kinda tobacco leaves or something and he starts doing this chant thing on me. And he puts the leaves on my wound and then he spits on it like three times. He's spitting on me, and I'm like, oh, thanks (laughing). In the end, they left all stoked and happy cause they got some shit and everything was all good.
Think they'll come back? I mean, who knows. They came once, so there's no reason why they couldn't do it again. They've been blocking the road too on the midnight run. Because a lot of crew do the midnight run from Bali to get here for a swell early the next morning. Actually a good friend of mine was coming on his bike one night from Bali, and you know that first big hill when you come from the ferry, he said it was like two in the morning and everything felt kinda eerie and two guys popped up and started screaming, stop, stop! Police, police! He said he passed em and then this huge spotlight just came straight in his face and all these guys were screaming, police, police! And he said, fuck that, and he just gunned it. He knew the road did this dogleg turn and he just gunned it around the turn, but they jumped out and tried to grab him. And they've been putting shit in the road to stop people, huge logs and stuff. I heard a Brazilian crew got robbed that way. So, yeah, Lombok is still kinda like the wild west. When did you first come out here? Ummm, that was... shit... (thinking) I came here on a boat with some friends in like '87 or '88. Cause back then overland was really hard. So we got together on some shitty little boat and came over here. And then once I figured out where it was, I came back like two years after that by land.
And you all took a group photo together.
It took you two years to come back to the best wave in the world when there was no one here?
Yeah (laughing). We got robbed a few times out here in the early days. One time a friend of ours got hacked up really bad by these guys with machetes who were trying to rob us. It was the middle of the night and he was bleeding really bad. We had to put him on this little bamboo table and swim him around the point at high tide during a big swell in the dark. He almost lost his arm. It was hanging by a thread. He could have died really easily. But he made it.
Well, when I came on the boat that first time it was kinda shitty. If it had been going off, yeah, that would have been it right there. But a good friend of mine used to surf it by boat, this guy Bill Hike from Northern Cal. He's probably like the first guy who really surfed here. He used to have an old Indo fishing boat and go to G-Land and come over here. He had it dialed, he was really the pioneer here. There might have been guys before him that surfed it, but he was
Man, he came a few years ago. He's got a kid that surfs. But it's kinda sad, you know. He gets here and it's crowded and everybody's dropping in on him and don't give a shit, you know. Back when you first found out about this place, was it like a tightly guarded secret? Like you meet some guy in a bar and he's a little drunk and has loose lips and he draws you a map on a bar napkin. Back then there was actually some... you know, back then everybody wasn't like, dude, look at my video, look where I've been! Back then everybody was a bit more like, oh, I got a place, I'm not telling. Someone would ask you, how was it? And you'd say, nah, it was shitty, it was no good. That doesn't exist anymore. Now it's like, (rabid frother voice) Duuude, it was going off! Look at my video! So back then it was all kinda hush hush and nobody was really advertising. So how do you find out about a wave like this back then? You'd tell your friends and shit, but it's not like it is today where you're telling the whole world. You know, you'd hear whispers here and there. I think I actually first heard about this place from a guy I used to travel with down in Mex. So I came and checked it out. And back then it was a good call because there was no one here. I said, man, I'm gonna hang here and milk it till it's done. And it's about done (laughing)! That's what I always think about, if only I could have been around during that era in surfing. Like, I was born in 1984, three years after you first came to Indonesia (Pablo is laughing).Why couldn't I have been born 20 years earlier! Yeah, that was a good era. But then again, it wasn't easy, man. I'll tell you what, if everybody had to do what we did back then to get here, there wouldn't be two thirds of the people surfing out here now. I'm telling you what, 95 percent of the people wouldn't do that these days! It took hours to hike out here. It took forever just to get from the ferry down to where you hiked out. The road was just a mess of potholes. And then you had to carry your boards, your backpack, your tent, your food, your water, I mean it was hard work. There were times where I would have to bury all my shit in the sand! Bury your shit? Yeah, because I wanted to leave but I wasn't gonna carry all my shit out. Like if I needed to leave for a visa run and there was no one here to leave my shit with. Because we'd look after each other's stuff – there were these two Kiwi guys, Nick and Chris, they were some of the original guys who were around here forever – but sometimes there was no one around to watch your stuff. There wasn't any Indos living here at the time, and fishermen would come in and out occasionally, so I actually buried my boards and my food in a big 'ol hole in the sand so I wouldn't have to lug it all out.
That's hardcore. And back then there was no internet, so you would come out here and it could be flat for weeks. I've sat here plenty of weeks with nothing! People now, they go one day here with no waves and, oh fuck it's flat, ahhh! Back to Bali! It's like, dude, are you serious? Yeah, that's pretty much what I do. If it doesn't pulse before dark I think we're leaving tonight. So it wasn't easy. But, yeah, it was definitely worth it because when the waves came up there was nobody around. But most crew these days couldn't handle that and wouldn't do that. These days people wanna drive up and have a cold beer, and get their surfs and get their video, and leave. I mean, dude, how easy is it now? You show up in your car and you got cold beers waiting for you on the beach. Is there a longest flat spell that comes to mind? Oh man, as long as a flat spell gets, I've seen it (laughing). But I'll tell you what, I don't really mind a flat spell. For most surfers these days it's all about the surf. And it's not. Back then it was cool, dude. We had a bunch of friends camping and it was fun. Not saying that the flat spells didn't kinda suck, but you'd dive, spearfish, you find other shit to do. We used to work on our huts, make some chairs or tables or something out of wood. Go diving and get some fish. And then you'd get a good fish and you'd have your friends over and have a little fish BBQ party. It was cool, it was fun.
guys showing up sometimes – it wasn't like nobody else was showing up – and guys would show up and be like, yeah, we're gonna stay here for two weeks. And we'd be looking at em like, yeah right. After two days of it being flat they'd be like, dude, we're out of here, you want this stuff? So you basically had guys bringing in food for you (laughing). How did you get your water? We had a well out the back here. So that was a daily ritual, you'd go to the well and boil your water for the day. The water was ok, it was drinkable. But you definitely had to boil it. Every night you would boil your big thing of water so you had water for the next day. There was all kinds of shit to do. It wasn't like you were sitting around twiddling your thumbs. Have you ever been up to the Mentawais? Never been up there. I have some friends who have boats and shit up there, but I've never been. Maybe one day (laughs). This friend of mine was trying to get me on a boat trip. He said, I'll pay the 800 dollars deposit and all you have to do is come up with two grand (laughing). Like I got two grand to spend for 10 days on a boat, I don't think so (more laughter). So I didn't go. Maybe one day I'll go up there, but... nah, when I'm done I'll just pack it and leave. How do you know when you're done? Yeah, I don't know. That's a good question. Because the crowds are getting...
I don't think I've ever spent more than two nights in a row here.
Pablo's friend Darren: Remember Jordan, Pablo. It was all cool 'til he did the comeback.
These days people will come on the day of the swell, show up in the morning, wanna surf, and as soon as it's done they're outta here. You kinda lose your whole feel for the place. It's all about you want your photo, you want your video, and you want everything instantly. I guess it's just different. I'm just not in that school of thought. I'm more like you put in your time and hopefully you get some waves. But now it's tough even getting waves because you're sitting around with 100 other people. Back then you were sitting on the beach waiting for the swell to come up, and when it came up you knew you were gonna get good waves. Now it's tough because you wait and then 50 to 80 heads are showing up and then, you know, you might not get a wave (laughing). It's tough now. But that's how it is.
What're you talking about? Jordan won three more rings! Oh, you mean the second comeback? The Wizards chapter.Yeah, that was a little less graceful.
Do you ever surf any other waves in Indo? Not really. I cruised around. I went up to One Palm and camped out there on the beach for a while, like in '93 or something. But it's so isolated there and a pretty dangerous wave to be camping on. If you get hurt out there you could really get in trouble. I was never one to really run around and chase swells. I'd rather just hang here and wait for a window here and there. What would you guys eat out here back then? You'd bring out your basics, like rice and noodles. You didn't have a real good diet, but you don't need too much to survive. I spearfish, so every day I could always eat fish pretty much. But it was funny because there would be other
It'll be the crowds. It won't be because I want to go or I'm over it or anything. It's more because of the whole atmosphere of being in the water. Guys talking shit and getting dropped in on and shit like that. I don't need to deal with that. I don't need to be stressing about getting waves. Have you seen some ugly fights here in more recent years? There have been some nasty incidents, for sure. It's bound to happen. It's not really a wave that can handle a crowd. G-Land is more spread out and you got more of a playing field, so you get your crowds surfing different parts of the wave. Out here, you got your takeoff and basically that takeoff is one wave all the way. So somebody catches a wave and there are guys on the shoulder trying to shoulder hop and caving it and shit. Because out here you don't even have to take off on somebody – if you paddle for a wave and the guy's coming down the barrel and you pull back, you're gonna snowball the guy in the barrel and you might as well have just dropped in on the guy. Because it's that much of a line on the wave that just paddling for it can screw the guy up and he's not gonna make it. Yeah, usually I just get completely dropped in on. And on a crowded day there's 50 guys paddling for each wave (laughing). And then 50 more out
the back all arguing and talking shit trying to get the next one (more laughter). So when it gets to that point... So far I've been pretty fortunate, I can still manage to get one here and there. And as long as I can do that, you know, I don't need to be catching every wave that comes in. I realize that everybody else has to surf. Is it hard not to snap on people who show up here for the first time and act like they own the place? I think the crew that has hung here for a long time has been pretty respectful, as far as not saying, I've been surfing here so long and I deserve to take off on every set wave that comes in. I wasn't brought up that way and I try to respect people when they show up. I do my best. But it gets to the point where it just turns into chaos and nobody respects nothing. People start frothing, they get a good one, and it gets pretty ugly. It's a shame really because it takes away from the whole experience. It's not the same like it was. You've had that many years with just a few friends out, you know. Like, you go on that one. No, no, I had a good one just now, you go on that one. Shit like that. That don't exist no more (laughing). Now you're just hoping you can catch something. Living out here, do you still get those magical days out here? Windows with waves and no crowd? Man, it don't really happen no more, man. That internet stuff now is so.... so exact. They've just got it down to a science where they're on it. And it's that close to Bali now where any little bump you see, there's 15 to 20 cars showing up. A lot of people say, oh you must get all kinds of days to yourself out here, but nah. You would hope that there would be a lot – every once in a while there's a little window, but mostly they're the small tiny days. Because pretty much all them websites, if they say there's gonna be a good SW-W swell, everybody gets all up in arms, oh Deserts! Everybody wants to come over, and there's gonna be at least 50 heads here, minimum. Do you check the swell forecast? I look at it. But I'm more interested to see when it's flat so I know when I can go to town and do my little food run or whatever. Other than the crowds, what has been the biggest change you've noticed here? Oh, this place was beautiful out here, man. All over these hills it was trees. Years ago I'd never been up here. You literally couldn't walk up this hill, the forest was that thick. That road that you drive in on now was just a little footpath that was actually made by the Japanese. The Japanese had a post out by the lighthouse there where they had cannons pointing out to the straits (dating back to the Japanese occupation of Indonesia during World War II). The cannons are still there, way out past that far lighthouse. So why does this place look like a dust bowl now? When the local people came in that first year – I never understood how they allowed the people to come in (Deserts is located in what is ostensibly a national park) – it looked like complete armageddon. They chopped down everything, every living tree that was here.
I’M PRETTY WELL KNOWN FOR GETTING BY ON NOT MUCH. I CAN DO A YEAR ON PROBABLY LIKE FOUR GRAND, FIVE GRAND TOPS.
All these coconut and banana trees are new. Everything you see growing here now wasn't there before. There used to be big beautiful trees and they just hacked it and sold the wood and burned it. It looked like a battlefield. It was sad. Now they farm peanuts, tobacco, beans and stuff. If you brought someone here who didn't know anything about surfing, they would probably think this place was some kind of refugee camp or something. It's like a surfer ghetto out here. There's a lot of problems going on down there that need to be addressed. The trash. They dump it in the riverbed. They burn it. I mean it's everywhere. It's sad. It's grown so much, it's really gotten too big for what the locals can provide. They don't really have any money they can put into it. The sewage. You got the septics right next to the wells. I'm surprised there hasn't been an outbreak. I've always said it's just asking for an outbreak of hepatitis or typhoid or something else like that. You have that many people in that little area with your septics right next to your wells. It's a disaster waiting to happen, really. Are you married? Nope, just me. Ever been married? No (laughing). Ain't nobody gonna put up with me. I got my family. Somehow they all ended up in Austin, Texas, so I'll go down there and visit them for a few months every year and then head down to Mex. It's pretty trippy going to Texas after being here for six months. I would rather not, but you gotta do your family obligations. I'd rather be by the beach, but it's alright. I used to do more time in Mexico because I used to fix dings down there to make money. So I used to go straight from here down to Mex and go fix dings there. But I taught a couple of the local kids how to fix dings, so now I don't have a job there anymore (laughing). Same like here. But that's ok, I can work other ways, no problem. How else do you make money? I have a thing with my sister. We make jewelry and stuff. I take some stuff back from here and sell it there (Texas). Are you on Facebook? Mmm, sorry (chuckling). What do you think of that stuff? Social media has become really popular in the surfing world. Yeah, like I said, I'd rather just catch my waves and not worry about that stuff. It's just a different mindset, I guess. I'm not getting a wave and posting anywhere and showing everybody. I'm from a different school. Back in the day my friends used to joke that they'd always ask me how the surf's been over here, and I'd tell them, oh, it's been shitty. And they'd say, dude, the surf is always shitty, huh! So I'm more that school where I'm not too much on advertising. It's the complete opposite now. And it's kinda strange to me because the guys are complaining that it's crowded. You can't have it both ways, posting all your shit and showing everybody and
then you wonder why there's 100 guys in the lineup (laughing). When did you know that this place was going to be your part-time home for the rest of your life? Did you know it from your first barrel? Oh, just as soon as I seen it the first time – when I came by land. I remember walking up the beach here with all my stuff and it was seriously pumping. It was like 8-foot or something. And I was coming up from the Grower, carrying my boards just looking at it, and I'm like, I found it. This is it. This is what I was looking for! I mean, the search was over. Where am I gonna go? What else am I gonna go look for? Geez, there's nobody here. I'm gonna milk this thing till it's dry. I'm stoked I did too. Ain't money that can buy what I got. What I had, you can't buy that. When you would stay out here for months at a time was there anything that you really missed? Oh, you know, you start thinking of all kinds of things, mostly food (laughing). Like an ice cream, or a cold something. But, no, at the end of the day you don't really need anything. And now there's even ice cream here. Yeah, you know it, the ice cream man comes around on his bike. How's that (laughing).
It seems like you got here at the perfect time, because the crowds still hadn't found this place but board design had really started to improve for this type of wave. Yeah, back when Bill (Hike) was coming, the boards weren't that good yet. By the time I got here, the tri-fins had really started to come in. I remember when I was at Ulus in '81, the first guys were coming over with the three fins and it was like, whoa, check those out. So I was kinda on the edge of where the boards started getting way better. I mean, you could surf here before, but on a big single fin it'd be kinda sketchy. You could do it, I seen a couple guys surf pretty good on some single fins out here, but the boards these days are a whole 'nother ball game. That was the perfect era where there wasn't that many heads that surfed and the boards made it more accessible. That was the perfect little window right then. As time went on, did you refine your boards for Deserts? Back then I used to fix boards here. There was no one living here and a few crew used to come visit. Obviously, I hadn't been working a whole lot (laughing), so it's not like I had a whole lot of money. I don't have a grand to plop down on two or three new boards. So I always surfed broken boards.
Guys used to snap boards all the time here and I had a whole quiver of left-behind broken boards. And back then, nobody wanted to haul a broken board out of here, so I always rode broken boards. There was a lot of good surfers around and they'd snap boards and say, here, take it. So I'd whack it together and surf it and break it again. I always got to try all these new boards. Granted, they're snapped, but out here it doesn't really matter that much. As long as you got the rocker good. Weight isn't much of an issue out here. It's not like I'm doing aerials or anything. As long as it holds a good line and goes fast. I used to have heaps of boards, all kinds. Put 'em together and break 'em again. Have you ever worked a 9 to 5 job? Man, I did teach school for a while in Brazil. It didn't last too long, probably a year and a half. I pretty much haven't been back to Brazil since I've been coming here. Basically, my work the first 10 to 12 years I was here was fixing boards. And I made a good living off it. There was guys coming in and if you broke your board, you had no option, I was the only repair guy around. No Indonesians anywhere. I never got rich, but it was plenty. I always left Indonesia with more money than I got here with.
amazing when you're taking off right there. And, you know, it took him a while before he got the hang of it. But I'll tell you what, after he got the hang of it, he's fun to watch. I like surfing with him, he's a good kid. And all those times he would break his board he'd bring it to you to fix, right? Yeah (laughing), because Budi didn't fix boards yet, so he'd be like, oh, I broke a fin out again. (Pablo rolls his eyes) Oh, god. Somehow he had a thing with his fins, those FCS plugs. He used to pop em out all the time. It's good to see him do well. He got sponsored and he's doing good. He's got this place completely dialed. He's the kinda guy that will go out and the waves will just come right to him. He's just got a connection with the place. And now the other kids are surfing good too, Awan and Budi. How much money do you need a year to get by? I'm pretty well known for getting by on not much (laughing). I can do a year on probably like... (thinking) four grand, five grand tops. Shut up. I don't have anything that –
I wish I could say that. Bali is expensive now. I mean, what can you spend out here, you know? There's no rent. You're buying some veggies and rice. And then I went to Mexico and fixed boards down there too. So in that way I was avoiding a real job. Fixing dings is kind of a pain in the ass, but it paid the bills for a lot of years and it was a good thing. But there come a time when the Indo kids are out here, and I'm not gonna sit here competing with the Indo kids. I taught Budi (Deserts local) how to fix boards. He worked with me for one year, he was sanding. And now he's done really well with it and I'm stoked for him. I don't have no more work, but that's ok (laughing). He's built a nice house here, he's got more than me (laughing). But it's cool to see him doing well. They're good kids here.
Darren: He doesn't have bad habits like the rest of us! I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't really party. And I basically hang here. So where are you gonna waste money here? I don't go to Bali much. I did for a while. I had a few girlfriends in Bali where I'm running back and forth, but that kinda never works out. Darren: If it's got tits or wheels it's gonna cost ya, boys! And before you know it they want you getting a job and staying over there more, and that's not gonna happen. Was there ever a girl where you thought, oh man, I might end up marrying this one?
What about Usman? He's really progressed. From Day One when he was learning, you could tell he was just different. He's a funny kid, real charismatic. They used to learn on the high tide here. I used to give him my old snapped boards and shit. He was tiny when he started surfing. I don't know how old he is now, but he was tiny, tiny. Like really small. You could tell he was gonna be really good. He was doing switch stance and backflips off the board, you could tell he was just loving it. It's been interesting to see his progression from a little kid playing in the shorebreak to now he's the man out there. He can hang with anyone in the world out here. It's amazing he didn't kill himself. To this day I don't know how he didn't. We call it Usi's corner over here (extremely shallow zone before the Grower), and every day he would bring his board and snap the nose off, snap the fin off, snap the nose again. It was just every day he was decimating his boards. Somehow, I guess he was so light, he never really got hurt. It's pretty
A little bit. Yeah, I had a Mexican girlfriend and she was pretty special. But that meant that I was basically gonna stay in Mexico and I wasn't gonna do that. What does your family think of your lifestyle? You wonder, because they're pretty conservative. They're southern Baptist missionaries, but they're really good people. My mom for a while, you know, she wanted grandkids, she wanted me to get married. And then all my friends, they all got married and had kids, and then before you know it they're all getting divorced. So in the end she was like, maybe you did know what you were doing. They never really gave me too much grief. They've been pretty supportive of my choices. We're a pretty close family. I just got two sisters. They don't surf. I think in the end they're pretty good with it. And I always come home with some pretty good stories so it keeps things entertaining. So now you change your tune, you do you have good stories!
(laughing) No bad habits, huh? You must have at least one vice. I guess this is it (laughing), surfing out here. And that's a bad enough one. It messed me up, but oh well. What do you think you'll do with yourself if you stop surfing here? Man, I got no idea. I really don't. Because I've been doing it this long. But It'll come the day where I'll have to walk away from here because... I don't want it to get to a point where there's such a bad feeling in the water. I don't want to leave it where it almost leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Some days it gets to that, but you gotta kinda let those days ride. I suppose there will be a day in the not too distant future where it's not really worth it anymore. And when that day comes, hopefully I can walk. Could you ever live away from the ocean? Like in Texas? No way. I really like Mexico. I can see myself ending up down there. The place I hang out in Mexico, it's not that good of a wave. It's like a left point, kinda fat. But it's cool. I got a lot of friends down there and we go fishing, it's more of a social thing. There, it's not so much about the surf. It's just a good place – aside from all the (drug) cartel shit going on. But at least it keeps the crowd down (laughs). How old are you? Aw, man, I'm gonna be 55 one of these days. I just turned 54 in August. Yeah, going on 55, damn. We always used to joke back in the day like, yeah, we'll retire when we get to 50. Well that came and went. Have you ever tried to calculate how many barrels you've had out here? No. I don't think you can estimate. Now, with the crowd, you don't get so many. Now you go out and hope you get a couple good ones. But back in the day you were catching every freaking set that came in. Believe me, with that current, when there's only three or four guys out, every set that comes in you're getting. Not only that, you're choosing which wave of the set you want. You catch it, and that rip used to really go, so you didn't even have to paddle and you were straight back out there. So basically, back in the day, in one swell I probably used to get as many waves as I get all year now. You're boggling my mind right now. And you're talking about six months of doing that. So if you tried to count that – you can't. And somehow – it might be an old man thing – but it seems like it used to be a lot better back then. You got better swells and it was more consistent. Somehow those early years were just pumping, at least in your memory they were. But they were, because I've kept a journal over the years, and I'll bust one out and pick a random year and look at it. And when you look at it, the last few years here haven't been that good, relatively speaking. This year was a shocker.
NOW, WITH THE CROWD, YOU DON’T GET SO MANY. BUT BACK IN THE DAY YOU WERE CATCHING EVERY FREAKING SET THAT CAME IN. IN ONE SWELL I PROBABLY USED TO GET AS MANY WAVES AS I GET ALL YEAR NOW.
This year was the worst year by far that I've ever seen here – which is not to say there weren't some good waves. August was pretty good – crowded, of course – but May, June, and July, we were getting all that rain and north wind. Just weird, really strange weather. I've always wondered what's the worst year for waves here, and this was it. Do you have any regrets? Me? Nah, I had a great time (laughing). I'd do this all over for a joke. It was a good call. The shame about surfing now is that what we had here, what I experienced, it doesn't exist anymore. It might kind of exist somewhere, there are still some undiscovered spots or whatever. But for a wave of this quality, to be able to surf it with just your friends for months on end, for years on end... it doesn't exist. I'm not sure exactly how productive I'm contributing to the world or whatever (laughing), but I had lots of fun! When you get a really good barrel now, is it still just as fun? Obviously, you get jaded. You get used to such
a high level of a wave. When I go to Mexico I gotta remember that. And here too. Sometimes you get kinda bummed because you see a guy just get kind of a shitty little one and the guy is stoked and he's yelling and he's screaming. And sometimes you're like, what a kook. But then you think, man, I wish I could be like that. If I could get stoked on a wave like that it would be great. But, obviously, after getting so many waves here you do get jaded.
this big movie – it's a business, I understand that. Back then nobody surfed down there (at the Grower) – and obviously he's a really gifted surfer – so he went down there so they could film it and make it look like he's surfing by himself. I never saw the movie, I don't really watch surf movies, but when the movie came out a friend of mine said to me, dude, Machado was there and there was nobody out! I'm like, nobody out?! There were 100 guys!
Is there one barrel that stands out in your memory?
You lied to me, Taylor Steele!
Man, there actually is one, yeah. There's a whole bunch of 'em that are pretty good, but there's one that stands out that I don't think I'll get a much better one than that (laughing). And that's all I'll say about that.
And then the Brazilians caught on to that. Because if you wanna take some photos, that's where you go. A photo out here (motions to the top section of the wave) doesn't really do it much justice. It looks good and everything, but down there it looks like Pipeline – it comes in heaving. The backdrop, the light, everything is perfect. So it's a photo spot. I consider it more of a novelty spot. It's really not a spot. It's a spot where someone is gonna get hurt. They're rolling the dice down there. But those Brazilian guys, they come here and that's all they surf.They just go out at the Grower and get their shots. You know, it's a business. They're making money. That's how surfing is these days.
When did people start surfing down at the Grower? That basically happened because of the crowds, because it's so packed at the top. Rob Machado came here years ago and they were filming that Drifter thing, and when he was here it was just absolutely packed. They were promoting this movie as he's cruising around surfing these soul spots by himself, so they couldn't have that in
So you're saying Rob Machado was the first guy to really surf the Grower?
(the Grower). And if you're not training or have a really good set of lungs, you could drown.
Think there will be a Blue Point Hotel here some day? Or another Dreamland?
Not to say that others hadn't gone down there before, because occasionally you can get a wave that will go all the way through and be good down there. But as far as surfing down there on a regular basis, a lot of the waves don't go all the way through, and most of the waves close out. Most of the time it hits down there in a big wedge. So it's a beautiful shot for the magazines. And that's what it's about.
What do you think this place will look like in another 20 years?
Who knows what's going to happen, but if I had to guess I'd say the local people here aren't going to win over the big money. Some big hotel or something will come in and kick them out. They'll get compensated, I would imagine. But they're fighting. They're trying to get their titles to the land. They're convinced they're gonna get titles, and hey, maybe they will. But there's a lot of big projects going up around here. This one around the corner is supposed to have a golf course, and there's another one up at Sekotong that's supposed to be huge. So the government's got big plans for Lombok. Who knows what will happen. I mean, this (the warung / losmen village) could go on for another five years.
It's so tempting to go down there and get away from the crowd. And you could get the barrel of your life on the right one. But it looks really shallow andÂ sketchy. It's a dangerous spot. A lot of people don't realize how easy it is to drown here. On a big day at low tide, if you get stuck down there, it's an easy place to drown. Because that wave, it will not push you in and it will not let you out. It just keeps you right there. At high tide you get pushed in, but at low tide it sucks you right into the vortex, right into the worst place you want to be, wave after wave landing right on top of you. You'll get worked all the way down into there
Man, that's anybody's guess. Lombok right now is pretty much just blowing up. Bali is so crowded and so overdeveloped and Lombok is just starting. They just opened the new airport last year in Kuta, Lombok. And there's a beach right down here called Makaki where they've already kicked everybody out for a development. Because a lot of the land around here is government land. This is actually a national park, right? It's supposed to be. These people came in probably like ten or 11 years ago. And there's been rumors over the years that the government was going to kick the people out and they were going to build a big development here. It's sad to say for these people. They're farmers, they're poor people. They don't have anything. They came out here farming the land and then they realized they could make money by renting little rooms and making food for the surfers.
I'm surprised someone hasn't tried to build a luxury surf camp here already. They'll probably build a huge resort here. Probably with an infinity pool. I can see it happening. Hopefully they let me stick around and be the janitor or something; groundskeeper (laughing). Hopefully someone will put in a good word for me.
8 2 / / T H I R D W O R L D A S P H A LT
INDRA KUBON INTERVIEW BY ALDO PHOTOS BY HAMISH
The first time I hit up Indra Kubon to hang out, I figured we might get into some heavy shit. All I knew about the guy â€“ aside from the fact he's one of the most respected street skaters to come out of Jakarta â€“ was that he was covered in tattoos and had survived some dark days as a drug addict. I was fired up to talk to him about some bad things. Hood rat stuff. But when Indra texted me back, he said he was in Norway for three months visiting his girlfriend's family. Meeting the parents in Norway isn't very hood rat, I thought, but Norwegian girls are hot, and I'd be lying if I said I've never flown halfway around the world in pursuit of a Scandinavian love connection. The next time I called Indra to meet up, he said he'd love to but it was Sunday and he had to host his weekly church group meeting at Donkey Skate Park on Sunset Road. That's when I called the guys at Volcom to make sure I had the right number. Indra was starting to sound less like Jay Adams and more like Ryan Sheckler, which wasn't the interview I had in mind. Who was this sheep in wolf's clothing? Indra had invited me to come down to Donkey to meet him after his Bible meeting, so I put on my Sunday best and headed down to the chapel of skate to investigate.
BB: Didn't anyone ever tell you that pro skaters covered in tattoos don't start up church groups? Indra Kubon: No, actually (laughing). After I recovered from my drug addiction, I decided to do something better with my life. I got involved with my local church and got inspired to do something to serve the community. So I started Sunday Skate Bible. What exactly is Sunday Skate Bible? It's a worship group I started a couple of years ago to give young people something fun to do and to help keep kids off drugs. We skate to inspire others. It's my way of showing kids that there’s more in life than just skateboarding. If anyone is going through a hard time, they can come and talk about it with the group. We worship together, play music, and, of course, skate. It's basically just about building friendships and sharing our love of God. We meet every Sunday at 8:30 AM at Donkey Skate Park. What makes skateboarding a good way to connect with kids? Skateboarding offers so much more than just the physical activity itself. It’s a form of art and self-expression. When we do our tricks, our personality shows through in our takes on the maneuvers. Skating allows your individuality to show through. Suddenly, after you grab your board, you get that special feeling. Talk about some of the young talent that is coming up in Indonesia right now.
We've got some crazy young skaters coming up in Indonesia now. Youngsters like Keanu Campora. Tenma. Sanggu Dharma. Ruby. Those kids will all take over soon. As more skateparks open up here, more young skaters are gonna rip harder. It's going to keep getting better here, for sure. Who are the local skaters who get you fired up the most? It's always sick to watch Putu Yogi skate. Also Mario Palandeng and Absar Lebeh. What would you be doing if you weren't a professional skater? I really can't see myself doing anything outside of skateboarding as a career. It was a natural thing for me to pursue a career in skateboarding. When did you start getting paid to skate? It's been Volcom Indonesia supporting me since the beginning. Back in 1999, Suri, the godfather of Indonesia skateboarding – he worked for Volcom Indo at the time – and he spotted me at a Volcom comp at Kelapa Gading. I started entering contests and was winning most of them (Indra won his first Indonesian Skateboarding Association National Championship Series in '99/2000). At the time, they had a couple competitions every month (City Surf Series, Volcom Skateboarding Series, etc.), and I was so blessed through those contests. I was earning money from winning, and I knew I could make skateboarding my career.
Would you call yourself a “contest skater”? Competition isn't really that fun for me, but it's something I need to do. Competition makes you better as a skater. It shapes you and makes you push yourself to gain a different set of skills. You kinda need that. And you get to see how other skaters do their lines. But it the end it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, as long you do it with passion.
internet and other media related to skateboarding didn't exist yet in Indonesia, so most of us just entered every contest we could to try and get noticed. When I was first learning in '98, it was hard to get our hands on skate videos and it was kinda hard to improve because you had to figure out new tricks and how to do them on your own. Now there are new rad clips popping up on YouTube every day. You can progress a lot with all this new media around because it gives inspiration and instruction.
What's your first memory of skateboarding? It was in Jakarta, at the Pulomas horse race track near where I grew up. I was out there with my brother Anggi in the parking lot when my neighbor David brought his board and let us try it out. It was 1998 and I was into rollerblading and I thought I should try skateboarding; it looked more fun. I'm glad I did. Why did you move to Bali? I moved to Bali in 2004. At that time Bali had a better skate scene compared to Jakarta. Most skate spots and skateparks in Jakarta had closed down and Bali had more skateboarders and places to skate. Also, my main sponsor's headquarters are here in Bali, so it's better for me to be close to the people who support me. What was the skate scene in Indonesia like when you were starting out?
Yeah, these days you can spend hours on the internet just watching the guys skating spots here in Asia. How has more people filming skate around here helped pro skateboarding in Indo and Southeast Asia? It’s so much better to film your stuff to show everyone the level of your skating. Of course, for pro skateboarders like me, it's important to show my sponsors that I still skate hard. But it's also, like, skateboarding is my life, and it's so much cooler now to be able to get your art – your skating – out there for people to enjoy, you know. Sharing is caring. Don’t keep your skateboarding to yourself. Get it out there. How would you describe your skate style? I’m more like a stairs and transitions guy, but I’ve been trying to skate more rails these days. What’s more important, style or technique?
Back in the mid '90s to the early 2000s, the skateboarding scene in Indonesia was more competition oriented. The
I think both are equally important.
IT WAS 1998 AND I WAS INTO ROLLERBLADING. I THOUGHT I SHOULD TRY SKATEBOARDING, IT LOOKED MORE FUN. I’M GLAD I DID.
What's your favorite skate video at the moment? As far as local video parts go, I like Mario Palandeng in the Motion KL video. That has been a huge inspiration for me to keep pushing my limits. How about international guys.Who inspires you? Guy Mariano and Nyjah Huston. You're nearing 30. Is it all downhill from there? No way! I wanna see how far I can push my limit. I've started to realize I can still do more, so I'm just gonna keep pushing it. Where's your training grounds? Right now it's Donkey Skatepark. I usually go there to practice new ideas and tricks. I also go to Motion Skatepark to try out different types of obstacles. Would you rather pull a big trick or a super technical maneuver? Go big or go home, baby. How about injuries? I've had injuries and I'll probably have more. I'm not afraid to get injured again; skating is my passion. I tore the cartilage in my left knee and it kept me off skating for almost a year. Thank God it healed pretty well after my surgery. The doctor told me I need to stop skateboarding, but I never did. As long as I can still walk, I'm gonna keep skating.
PHOTOS BY HAMISH
BY WARREN SMITH
BEFORE IT WAS A FILM, NTI SHEETO WAS A TRIP. A REALLY, REALLY GOOD TRIP.
DOGS The best time I ever had in Bali was in Malaysia. I woke up sticky with sweat in a shameful leather throne to the groans of Asian porn playing on the big screen in front of me, and my buddy screaming about the urgency of our immediate escape because somehow he had pissed off every ho and pimp in this sleazy brothel. So we skedaddled like mice while my brain started to remember the prior events of the evening, where I was on stage by myself in front of 200 Malaysian onlookers, dancing with my pants split from front to back, as if my pants were smiling like the Joker to reveal all my little fleshy bits and pieces, which was all the result of a big dance move that I can’t remember gone wrong. Other than that, most of my Bali experiences were for ad campaigns, and like most ad campaigns, they don’t really revolve around actually surfing. But not this trip. This trip we were surf dogs of an enviable degree. Three surfs a day, crispy skin and fried eyes and hellish rashes and all that surf shit — with surf vids in between. Creed and Thom’s once wispy angel hair was starting to wilt away, curling up and snapping off. Dion had to take time off to heal his body from jangling his bones trying rodeos into the flats. Ozzie was so surf he got staph from a pimple on his knee — a real surf dog’s extreme surf trip. We’d drink beers in the evening and take turns playing tunes and telling stories for everyone to enjoy. Vibes were high like a church choir. The days came and went but we didn’t notice them passing, because we were busy having the best trip of our lives. And somehow we all had the same taste in music. This trip quickly replaced my favorite Bali memory of a whorehouse in Malaysia.
“Oooohhh, the little man who look like terrorist?” said the little man as he stroked his pretend beard to make sure we all knew who he was talking about.
“Dion is,” answered Blake Myers.
“Which one of you is the boss?” piped up the cheeky little transport man driving the van.
“How much would you pay to be poolside with an ice cold beer, Dion?” he asked as we waited in two-hour traffic stuffed in a transport van on the way to Seminyak. “I’d easily pay 200 bucks right now,” he said, answering his own question.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” John Respondek said. “How am I suppose to shoot portraits of you guys if you’re all shooting photos of each other? I guess I’ll shoot you guys shooting each other,” he said as he dipped into the villa pool hungover from some silly party in Canggu the night before. “Spons” lives the good life. He shoots the best surfers in the world in the best locations in the best waves, parties harder than any of them, and spends the lay days dipping in villa pools and drinking ice cold beer — only ice cold beer. If halfway through a beer it starts to sweat just a touch too much, Spons springs for a fresh cold one. He fantasizes about paying pretend money to get him out of situations he hates like airports and cab rides.
Cole somehow wandered to Bali, basically through a few Instagram comments and a flight from Russia, then wandered off to Brazil to finish off a project about him wandering to five different cities shooting double exposed portraits of beautiful women, all by himself. When I asked Cole about his whimsical wandering prose he replied from the pit of his chiseled Buddha belly: “You’re not wandering if you end up exactly where you meant to, Warren.” A long pause ensued while I tried to digest the depth of such a simple yet profound statement, jealously wishing I had said it instead. Meanwhile Cole was already off and wandering, yelling across the courtyard, “Hey Ozzie, go get in the urchin covered ocean in the pitch black night and hold this burning surfboard doused in gasoline.” Ozzie declined.
“Hey Warren, set your hair on fire and pour milk on your dick while I shoot through this gutted out jitterbug,” exclaimed snowboard photographer turned wandering portrait specialist Cole Barash.
“Hey Creed, spit this Bailey’s out of your mouth while you’re underwater, it’ll look rad!” ordered director Dion.
“What’s your meter say, Dion?” asked Thom Pringle as he reloaded his medium format something or another.
Every single person on this trip had a camera.
“Do the lizard Dion. Go on! Show everybody how you do the lizard!” said Blake. Dion was pasted to the floor flat on his scales, hissing and wiggling his tongue around. He got up and greeted me, covered in sweat, slurring his sentences, trying to tell me about his favorite lizard song for the movie. I again pleaded for his brain not to explode.
The week before the accompanying film to this article was set to release, I really thought Dion might finally pass on, riding the eternal keyboard nap all the way to the heavens. He had just arrived in California, after spending a week running around Copenhagen with skate dogs and photogs documenting some hell of a skate comp, eventually leaving everyone for a beautiful wounded bird from Sweden. Which is very similar to the time he left me, eventually to cry in my Big Mac alone at 4 a.m. on my 30th birthday at McDonalds, again for another beautiful wounded bird, again in Sweden. But that’s another Dion tale. Dion and visual tech guru Blake Myers spent that week locked up in an editing cave, injecting coffee and pounding their keyboards trying to make the film’s deadline. I would occasionally stop by to make sure he was still breathing, only to find Dion was slowly morphing into the slimy lizard that haunted his mushroom dreams in Bali.
But for now, Dion is our pic-taking, plane-planning, movie-making, partyboying, shred-dogging boss. He organizes our cab rides, gets the proper exposure for his 14 different cameras, has four different electronic communicating devices with him at any given time, all sizzling with chimes and updates and “likes,” which he uses to answer one bazillion emails, conduct Skype meetings with investors, buyers, babes, bosses, manufacturers, filmers, photographers and dinosaurs. He orders our villas for the trip one day in advance, so we have to change rooms every other day. It’s ok. He buys models expensive drinks, runs three different blogs, has a signature clothing and shoe line, and another whole fucking company. He takes mushrooms and talks to the universe while we sleep, flies us to the wrong side of an island, drinks four gallons of coffee and tells a 30-minute story about a man named Boris who may or may not be making bags for one of his infinity ideas yet to hatch. He’s good looking, humble, fashionable, personable, charming, amazingly passionate, sweet, innocent, short, smart, funny, a filmer, director, photographer, designer, model, incredibly motivated, beautifully bearded, and somehow, on top of all that, he is a really, really damn good professional surfer, and has been on the cutting edge of progression for almost a decade. Please don’t explode, Dion’s head.
Dion Agius is our boss. One day his head will explode into morsels of coffee and potential post-blog sludge. Silver bullet clumps of his beard will smash against the walls in all directions at the speed of light dripping brain matter filled with flight itineraries and color way possibilities. One particularly freakish piece of his brain will take a rogue flight pattern, piercing Beren Hall’s RED camera, lodging itself onto the motherboard, spontaneously generating the first self-filming, bearded, surfing cyborg to reach infinity views on YouTube.
Every one of us on this trip tried to keep our cool and hide our frenzied buzz about The Godfather’s attendance. Muddled whisperings when he wasn’t looking about our idolatry for him. I tried to speak for all of us, be an ambassador of sorts for our severe adoration while we sipped on our margaritas. But I was at a colossal loss for words. Sometimes the Olympic gratitude required just can’t take shape within the constraints of arranging 26 letters. Which I think gets to the heart of why witnessing Ozzie shred is so magical. It’s some kind of blank romanticism of his extreme chaos. There’s a lot of words and sentences you could jumble together to try to inadequately describe it, but just like having a disembodied dream of a dream, some things in this world are meant for experiencing, not describing.
“I used to look to skateboarding and music for inspiration. Now surfing is so cool and inspiring I don’t have to do that anymore,” said Ozzie as he sipped on his margarita, not realizing the cyclical irony of what he just said. Ozzie cemented these rocks into the whole of surfing’s collective. If surfing is in any way inspiring to him now, it’s because of his undeniable role in its expansion — whatever the fuck that means. This trip in some way or another, without planning it, was some sort of an ode to Ozzie. A stumbledupon celebration of his every thrash. Ozzie is our messy Godfather, our messiah whom we flock behind.
It’s an awkward conversation talking to the person who cemented a jagged rock of power and fire into your soul about the people who cemented the jagged rocks of power and fire into his soul. These rocks differ from the seeds of inspiration that get planted and grow into something nice and easy to swallow. Instead, these rocks are jagged with sharp edges that gash and tear holes in your spine and flesh and make you abandon who you thought you were and awkwardly dye your hair and spit at your parents. Rocks that really fuck you up, but eventually, over many years, those rocks get the rough edges smoothed and polished by walloping around in your skin and blood and guts like a tumbling river stone and melt seamlessly into whatever it is that makes you who you are, without you even knowing it. A blood rock that becomes a small part of you.
Creed McTaggart Watch Nti Sheeto at: whatyouth.com/nti-sheeto
A sweaty pig lizard with silly string hair keeps farting on me. Sweat beads made of ecstasy and slime are breaching his fury top lip and being sprayed in my direction. He’s smudging the air around me. Leave me alone Pig Lizard, I’m trying to listen to God deejay silence. God please make him stop and I’ll get you a flaming Dr. Pepper shot after your set. Hey! Look at my shadow dancing to the beat of Everything — trying to bend beyond the light. It’s being energized by the knowledge of a star being born. Shred lightly silly shadow! I’ll kiss on you later! Can we all be hollow now? Flesh blending and erasing the pretend measurement of time. No more shall we part. I will forever put my light here, as we melt our bodies together. Now touch me silly lady. Rub my carousel of wounds with a snowflakes delight. I’ll take the troubles from your eyes and give you the universe’s regards. Put your hand underneath this faucet of the galaxy. It’s pouring out eternal giggles and singing hymns that can neutralize the hysteria of the darkest void. It’s the music of our blissful understanding. And we always have the music. Now shed the sorrows of your skin and put on this rambunctious rainbow suit. We can expand and bloom in shards of Eternity’s colors not yet realized. I want to taste your outrageous innards. Tear at your skin and open you up. Wait a sec… Is that the Pig Lizard farting on Beetlejuice’s ego?!! I freaking love Beetlejuice!! Hey Beetlejuice, you wanna wear my red beanie? It looks goooooood…
Good thing God is deejaying Dead Air and other great hits of nobility at the Applebee’s in my mind and everyone is invited. I’m going to order him a buttery nipple shot and set him on fire with my light. How old am I? I am a few thoughts older than the eternity of thoughts I had before these thoughts. Eternity plus two thoughts. Now three. This could go bad any second.
I ransacked my ego and threw it in the river. Choking and gurgling for life, drowning in my fungi-enhanced everything. But this time is different. This time I’m balancing on truth’s graces. What is my name? This name that is dressed in cheap driblets of anger, guilt, fear and shame. I am the awareness that knows this name and it’s dribbling, not the name. I feel home. I feel truth. I feel funny. So if this is truth, what is everything else? A misunderstood dress rehearsal? How do I tell everybody about the vibrating vacancy in my brain where my ego once was? The endless space beyond the effort of a thought. Is there a word to describe such bliss? A word that can cure everyone’s celestial slump? I know, I’ll open up my mouth and spit out the space between my thoughts; then everyone can share in my bliss… K did anybody hear me? Anybody? Dang it…I guess silence is kind of hard to hear against the boundless sounds of psychobabble.
PUNCH THE CLOCK DIRECTED AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY JASON REPOSAR
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Previous page Karina wears Quiksilver “Addictive” watch N.L.P “Bandeau” top N.L.P “Cheeky Cut” bottom This page Jacky wears Nixon “The Magnacon SS” watch Boncel wears Oakley “Transfer” watch Kamal wears Electric “FW02” watch
Kamal wears Electric “FW02” watch Karina wears Seea “Leucadia” top Epokhe “Kozara” sunglasses
This page: Boncel wears Oakley “Fuse Box” watch Opposite page: Jaky wears Rip Curl “Detroit Automatic” watch Boncel wears Electric “FW02” watch
Boncel wears Rip Curl “K38 Tidemaster ATS” watch Karina wears Vestal “Danovo” watch Tallow “Ocean Park” top Tallow “Ocean Park” bottom
Karina wears Nixon “51-30 Ceramic” watch The Referee wears Vestal “Danovo” watch
Boncel wears Oakley “Hollow Point” watch Hamish wears 24k Gold Chain by Ben Baller L.A. Watch Boncel, Kamel, and Jacky’s boxing show at Y Bar, Jl Padma Utara, Legian, Bali. All swimsuits available at Drifter Surf Shop, Jl Oberoi, Bali
CREAM Mega Semadhi. Photo: Hamish
Tyler Warren. Photo: Frieden
Agus “Dag” Sumertayasa. Photo: Murphy
Betet Merta. Photo: Dobb
Marlon Gerber. Photo: Dorsey
Alex Knost. Photo: Hawkins
Dane Reynolds. Photo: Hamish
The Bukit. Photo: Childs
Tai Graham. Photo: Frieden
Lee Wilson. Photo: Hamish
Mikala Jones. Photo: Childs Brandon Gibbens. Photo: Hamish Randy Dinar. Photo: Fuku
Thom Pringle. Photo: Hamish Blacky Setiawan. Photo: Murphy Nyoman Satria. Photo: Childs
Noa Deane. Photo: Hamish
Dion Agius. Photo: Hamish
Travis Potter. Photo: Hamish
Garut Widiarta. Photo: Curley
Holy Shit. Photo: Masters
Chippa Wilson. Photo: Hamish
Made “Bol” Adi Putra. Photo: Hamish
Bali Belly magazine from Bali, Indonesia.