straight, no chaser. Garut Widiarta, 24, Kuta Everyone in Bali knows Garut. He’s the fastest surfer on the island and the crown prince of the chaotic Kuta kingdom. Garut makes Kuta look effortless. He floats around town on his custom Honda Tiger like a Zen Buddha, unfazed by the blaring music, bulldozers and Bintang-branded riffraff spinning around him. What does Kuta’s favorite son make of it all? Here are Garut’s thoughts on...
It’s bad. But it’s also great. When I’ve been on a long trip in the jungle, the first thing I do when I get home is have a cold beer. It’s Bali, there’s no way you can’t party. I don’t go out too much because I need to be healthy for surfing. But if there’s a good reason for a party I’ll have a drink for sure.
I love competing – until I lose! I think everyone is like that. I get stressed out. I walk away, go home and calm down. I get angry at myself, like, why did I lose? Winning is the best feeling ever. I can feel it in the morning before the contest if I’m going to win. If I feel 50/50, I’m going to lose. It’s a confidence thing.
Some people in Indonesia say that tattoos are really bad. They think if you have tattoos it means you’re a bad-ass mafia guy, like a Yakuza in Japan. Other people think tattoos are like art, and I agree with that. I love tattoos.
Now that’s more my style. You can see the swell coming, get a plan together, and nobody can stop you. It’s your choice where you surf and when. If I get a good clip or a sick shot, it’s the same feeling as winning a contest. If I get a good clip I can’t wait to watch it. I rewind that shit like ten times! If the filmer misses a good wave I try not to get pissed off. But if he wasn’t paying attention because he was smoking a cigarette, or ordering a jaffle, that’s when I do get pissed off!
CIGARETTES Here in Indo 99% of guys smoke. It’s part of the Indonesian lifestyle. If a chick smokes cigarettes I think it’s gross. It turns me off. These cigarette companies sponsor everything – concerts, parties, even sporting events, which doesn’t make any sense. They sponsor soccer matches on TV and sometimes they put surfing in their ads too, and it just looks silly.
KELLY SLATER He’s a freaking alien. Nobody can beat him and he’s getting better with time. It’s never going to end unless he gets injured. Even now with the young guys like John John, he can still match them! Did you see the full rotation 360 he did in New York? With the lien grab? The 10-point one? That was fucked up. He’s a hungry old man.
FEMALES There’s so many girls here. Chicks come from everywhere to get laid in Bali. It’s the center of punani. It’s a vagina town. But you can’t tell which ones are nice or naughty. The MILFs come for the Kuta Cowboys, and their daughters come for us!
It’s fucked up. If I’m surfing far away I’m going to take my motorbike, for sure. It’ll cut a two-hour drive into a 30-minute bike ride. I’ll get my waves faster.
He’s a true legend. He’s the guy who put Indonesian surfing in the international spotlight. Because of him we know the world and the world knows us. He’s still pushing the next generation coming up. These days there’s so many talented groms overseas, you need to work your ass off, but I think our guys can match them.
Tourism is good for the economy here – that’s obvious – especially in Kuta where I’m from. But the tourists who rent bikes and ride around like it’s a party on the road, and nearly crash into people, they aren’t cool. It’s dangerous. A guy died on my street when he crashed into a pole. He was drunk, driving a motorbike and not wearing a helmet.
It’s our food. We survive off it. Our first meal as a baby is rice, and probably the last one too. People here can eat just rice and sambal. Or rice with salt. No meat or veggies. Without rice all the poor people couldn’t afford to eat.
We have perfect waves, cheap food, and an easy lifestyle. The bummer is the traffic and pollution. A lot of people here do things that don’t make sense, like throw rubbish out the car window. Who the fuck does that overseas? But what I love about the Indonesian people is that they’re all mellow. From Sumbawa to the Mentawais, from the village to the city, if there’s a problem we can usually talk about it. If you show up and respect the locals, they will respect you back.
If the locals can get work and surf too then it’s not a bad thing at all. If it’s your first time in Bali and maybe you don’t speak our language – or even English – then you might need someone to show you the spots so you don’t waste time. What I don’t like is when foreigners guide the tourists. It’s like taking jobs from the locals, and to me that’s not right.
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Bali Belly is an independent youth culture magazine based in Bali, Indonesia.