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.
Bali Belly magazine from Bali, Indonesia.