INTRO Last night you blew my mind. All of you. My friends and I were out stalking the sweaty streets of Kuta with disposable cameras and found you everywhere. At the bar. In front of the Mini Mart. On the dance floor. In the hotel pool at 3 am. We asked you to change out of your street clothes. We asked you to slip on a T-shirt from a shady-looking duffle bag. Then we asked to take your photo. You just asked, “where?” You posed on surfboards in front of concrete waves and danced on tables. You showed us your motorbike bandages and kissed your best friends. You guzzled pitchers of mushroom milkshake and held up traffic on Legian. All for our little plastic viewfinders. The results of this milestone in high-fashion photography can be found further inside the mag (“Wild For The Night”). What surprised us last night wasn't what we encountered deep in the heart of Kuta – frat boys wrestling in foam at the Bounty and exchange students spending their textbook money on double doubles at Alley Cats – it was that we had never met any of you before, yet you were all willing to get loose and strike a pose. Of all the people we approached to take part in our impromptu fashion shoot, not a single one of you suffered from camera phobia. If we had tried that stunt in most other places in the world, we would have been A. shunned; B. maced; C. arrested; or D. all of the above. Which leads us to reason No. 359 why we love this little island: the characters. Where else can you walk down the block and hear conversations in 20 different languages? Where else can you take a seat at the bar next to a celebrity chef from India and his sex therapist wife from England, sipping caipirinhas with a South American drug lord, served by a bartender who moonlights as a traditional Balinese dancer – everyone drinking in the same technicolor sunset. New York, maybe, but the waves are better here and rent is way cheaper. A toast to you, island characters. The uninhibited. The unabashed. The wild-for-the-night, nonconformist freaks who make every night out in Bali an unpredictable trip. Thanks for letting us take your photo. – Bali Belly
MADE "BOL" ADI PUTRA has been giving us shit ever since we prank called him and printed the conversation in our first issue. To make it up to him, we told Bol if he got a crazy photo we'd run it as an opening spread in Issue 002. When the first big swell of the year hit Bali, Bol headed straight to the Bukit and slipped into this beauty, inches from photographer H. Hump's lens. As usual, Bol got the last laugh.
MADE LANA provides the happy hour entertainment for his customers at The Edge.
CREED MCTAGGART got a phone call while visiting some friends in California. It was from his boss at Globe, Joe G. The conversation lasted five seconds. “Meet us at LAX tomorrow night!” Creed wasn't sure where he was going, but he packed his boards and popped some Valium and boarded the plane. Thirty hours later he woke up in a fantasy land of liquid blue ramps. For more on the boys' quest for Shangri-La, skip ahead to Joe G's story, “Strange Rumblings.”
BALI BELLY // ISSUE 002
DAMN GOOD NIGHT • STRAIGHT, NO CHASER • DEEP SEA EXPLORERS • THIRD WORLD ASPHALT • BOAT FROM HELL • A POSTCARD FROM CANGGU • THE PRINCE OF PADMA • STRANGE RUMBLINGS • MR. PINEAPPLE HEAD • BETET INTERVIEWS BRUCE • WILD FOR THE NIGHT • GET UP, LET'S GO, LET'S GET OUT OF THIS LONELINESS HERE • FOLLOW THE WAY • CREAM 01.
Bali Belly is an independent youth culture magazine based in Bali, Indonesia. It’s a collaboration between surfers, skaters, photographers, filmmakers, writers and artists. We produce a semi-annual magazine and feed our website daily at www.balibelly.tv. You can contact us at: email@example.com
BALI BELLY // ISSUE 002
CONTRIBUTORS JASON REPOSAR, PHOTOGRAPHER Repo is a native of Liverpool, England, speaks with a California bro accent, and calls Bali home. He tours with Metallica and flies to Europe for weekends to photograph supermodels in lingerie. He also shoots surf. We're his biggest fans. You may have noticed Repo's Indonesian twist on American Gothic featured on our cover, with Lee Wilson and Joanne McKay modeling. But Repo didn't stop there. He got Lee and Jo out of the rice field and into the studio. He lit some candles, turned on Marvin Gaye, fed them oysters and read some poetry out loud. Then he started shooting. The result (“Get Up, Let's Go, Let's Get Out Of This Loneliness Here”) will have you cranking up the A/C. Repo is calling it some of his best work. When Lee and Jo are old and wrinkled, they'll show the photos to their grandkids and say, “Look, we were hotter than sin.” And they'll have Repo to thank.
BETET MERTA, FIELD REPORTER
MR. PINEAPPLE HEAD, ARTIST
HAMISH HUMPHREYS, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Betet is better known for his surfing act than for his skills behind the typewriter, but we think Five Rupiah could be Bali's answer to Hunter S. Thompson. When Bruce Irons came through town recently, we knew Betet was the man to get the story. “I don't do puff pieces,” he said. “I'm going to ask the tough questions.” Betet's reporting style is still a bit rough, but he's got the expense report part down. Before he even submitted his story, Betet hit us with a 10-page bill that included a two-night stay at the Four Seasons, a parking ticket (yeah, we didn't know they had those in Bali either) and an invoice from the Bali Safari Park for “one white Bengal tiger.” But his interview with Bruce turned out amazing. So we didn't ask any questions.
Our designer was strolling along a deserted beach beneath the southern cliffs of Bali one afternoon when he came upon an old pirate chest washed up on the rocks. After breaking it open with a coconut, he discovered a seaweed-bound sketchbook belonging to a “Mr. Pineapple Head.” The soggy pages were alive with doodles and haunting illustrations. Tucked within the fold was a polaroid self-portrait with the cryptic words “I've left the plantation forever” scribbled on the back. Who was Mr. Pineapple Head? And what did his drawings mean? We still don't know. But his sketchbook pages are on display in this issue. Get lost in them.
After his top-shelf surf photography was featured in the first issue of Bali Belly, Hamish reports that his luck with ladies is finally starting to improve, abuse from his elders in the surf community is letting up, and John John is always calling him. “This is a whole new chapter for me,” says Hamish. “Things are looking up.” Working in the surf industry over the past six years, Hamish has taken more than his fair share of grom abuse, including several unwanted nicknames like “The Hamster,” “H. Hump,” and “Hamas” (Hamish has no relation to well-known photographer D. Hump or the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas). But not even his harshest critics can dispute that Hamish is a stud behind the lens, which is why he's Bali Belly's one and only staff photographer.
DAMN GOOD NIGHT
SECURITY UPSTAIRS IN THE VIP
Not my favorite, but I guess they're helpful when things get rowdy.
The whole crew! If you want to know what happens, it's probably on Instagram or Vine.
STEPHANIE VERMAAS, 25, THING-MAKER, BALI
IN THE TOILET HAVING SEX We need the toilet. Go home if you wanna get it on.
ON THE RAIL PUKING
Sport Luxe, so in the morning you will look like you're coming home from a workout instead of doing the walk of shame.
The ones who give me free drinks – or strong ones!
Me and my girlfriends.
Sorry Carina, but this may be you.
GUYS KISSING FIRST DRINK
Yeah, that happens too.
Either vodka or whisky. I'll take anything.
ARRIVE Never on time. Especially when you're rolling with crew.
LAST DRINK Whatever's around. Often times there is ash in there too.
BANDS Dillstradamus. Maybe a bit of Daft Punk in there too. Also, my mates Rock and Roll Mafia and Suffice Words. If I tell you my full dream lineup this will be a 'Damn Good Week' instead of a 'Damn Good Night.'
SURPRISE GUEST Kendrick Lamar.
DRINK FOR YOUR BOYS AT BALI BELLY Araaaaak! Or Maker's Mark. You choose.
TOAST / SPEECH “Blah blah blah.” Then, “Shit, I love this song!”
Luigi and Angie because Luigi becomes a girl and Angie becomes a man, but I'm not going to say who's more awesome in case they are reading this.
LOST Brain cells and too much time. When you're having heaps of fun the latter seems to go way too fast.
COPS SHOW UP WHEN Fuck the po po!
YOU LEAVE WITH DANCE OFF Definitely me and Fa. It won't be a dance off, it will be more like dancing til our legs fall off.
WALK OFF (as in Zoolander)
The twins: Fa and Angie!
This Is A Love Song, Love In Tents, Cast Eyewear. Fam!
UNDER YOUR ARM
No regrets. Boom!
AFTER PARTY Frank Sinatra's Palm Springs home.
LATE NIGHT ACTIVITY YouTube sessions.
WALK OF SHAME Nina, Rihanna and a bottle.
What are you talking about? I'm on my morning run.
STRAIGHT, NO CHASER CACHO IZQUIERDO, 50, JIMBARAN
Read the back of the menu at Cacho's and you will learn that his place, Sunset Grill, was the first restaurant to open in the Uluwatu area 13 years ago. Look at the framed photos on the walls and you will see that Cacho tackled big Pipe with guys like Ronnie Burns and the Ho brothers during the eighties, and later became a fixture at Outside Corner on nearly every giant swell to hit Bali since '95. And if you stick around after the last customers have paid their bill and the staff has closed up for the night; and Cacho is in a good mood and invites you upstairs for a margarita... or two... or three... well, now you're in for an education. On a recent Friday evening, Bali Belly met with Cacho at his restaurant near Padang Padang. The blended margaritas and unfiltered conversation flowed late into the night. Following are selected excerpts from that conversation.
PUERTO RICO It's a mini Hawaii. It has the power, but it only gets good twice a month. The Puerto Ricans? They make sure their car is always sparkling clean. Meanwhile, there's trash all over their front yard. I left my country to run away from the growth. It was getting too packed and too violent.
DRUGS In Puerto Rico we were the port where every drug could be brought into America. The fishermen would go out at night in their boats and drop off little boxes near the mainland. I grew up near La Perla, in Old San Juan. You go down there and little kids come up to you with five different types of heroin and cocaine.
Red Devil? Blue Demon? Champagne? Which one you want? Because the cops wouldn't arrest the little kids.
HAWAII When I was 11 years old I won a surf competition in Puerto Rico and they gave me a ticket to Hawaii for two weeks. It was my first airplane ride. I thought that Pipeline was going to be right in front of the airport. I had nobody to pick me up from the airport and I didn't know a word of English. I didn't even know how to read the ticket. When it came time to go back to Puerto Rico, I went to the airport and they told me, this ticket is expired. So I never came home. I ended up staying in Hawaii from '79 until '95.
NORTH SHORE When I moved to the North Shore it was a totally different culture. I could eat bananas and papayas off the trees, and marijuana was drying on the dashboards of cars. There was only one cop on the whole North Shore: Mr. Woodby. And Mr. Woodby wouldn't pull you over for marijuana. He wouldn't bother making a report for that because the grandmas used to grow marijuana over there. It was a local tradition.
Christmas together. Later on, guys like Eddie Rothman, Bryan Suratt and Junior Moepono took me under their wing too. I got to know them through surfing, and because I was traveling alone and I was so little. I grew up in Hawaii with them. That's why if you ask me right now where I'm from – it seems wrong for me to say, because I am Puerto Rican – but I'm Hawaiian according to everybody in Hawaii.
PIPELINE FAMILY I used to sleep in abandoned cars until I started meeting people like the Ho family. Derek Ho took me in, and then I moved in with (his brother) Michael. We used to celebrate every
I was 85 pounds and as tall as a mini fridge. The first time I paddled out at Pipe I was on a 7'6” Gerry Lopez that Michael Ho gave to me. I got caught inside and I let my board go – I was so small I couldn't duck dive it –
and my leash got tangled around Marvin Foster's neck. I thought I was done. But he looked at me and just laughed. He was blown away that this tiny little fucka was trying to surf out there.
MARGARITAS We use a secret family recipe. I can't tell you the secret, but we always use real ingredients. The other day I went to a restaurant in Kuta and they had the worst margaritas. They gave me heartburn. In Indo right now most people are using fake booze; adding methanol to get more money out of it. The mentality of a lot of the locals is, “What can I get today?” But if you do stuff like that you're not gonna have any business tomorrow.
PRISON I stabbed a guy. He's actually my good friend. But I gave him a scar for life and I went to jail. My daughter was a tiny baby at the time and my wife had no money because the restaurant was closed. She had to drive to Kuta every day to bring me something to eat. Every time they brought the food into the jail I had to share with everybody. I slept in a small room with 20 other people. Because I was a bule (westerner) they wouldn't beat me up. But anyone else who comes in, it's a ritual to beat the fuck out of them. The guard says, don't do this, don't do that – with a big smirk.
THE SYSTEM If you can't set up a deal with the cops in 21 days and get out, you go to court. Now you're in the system. Now you're official. I had some friends who were Balinese and connected. Around week number two and a half, they came in and grabbed the guy who I stabbed and told him, if you don't drop the charges right now
you're leaving Bali and not coming back. So he dropped the charges.
what my parents didn't give me.
FIRE MADE LANA He has something with Uluwatu. It's hard to explain. It's like Gerry Lopez and Pipeline; they have a connection. I'm always talking with my daughter about this because she says she wants to surf like Made Lana. The guy has the best backside style. He's so relaxed; he doesn't really care. He's comfortable with his lifestyle. He doesn't have to prove nothing. He just goes out and surfs.
FATHERHOOD I've been a single parent since she was a baby. When my daughter was born I was an addict. I decided I had to get my shit together. For ten years I didn't have a drink. I stayed clean and got back to doing what I do, big wave surfing at Uluwatu. Now I live a simple life. I work very hard and stay disciplined. She's gotta go to international private school. I want to give her a future. I want to give her
I got a phone call at six in the morning and they told me, your restaurant is on fire. I got over there and life was over. All I had left was me and my daughter. Every single thing I owned was destroyed; I didn't have insurance. Everybody came to me said, don’t worry, we're gonna get you back on your feet. They did a surfboard auction for me; people auctioned off paintings; they did a fundraiser and made the biggest party I've ever seen at the Uluwatu Surf Villas. There were so many people who helped us. I still can't believe it. Now when I leave my house, all the time I stop the car and go in reverse. I have to go back inside and make sure the gas is off and everything is unplugged. It happens to me at least five times a week. It's like obsessive compulsive. I can't help it.
WOMEN'S SURFING I am fully behind it, but it's hard to find support for the women surfers. This is the
strangest country. You have a woman elected president (Megawati) – we've never had that in America – but there's no support when it comes to women's surfing in Indonesia. It's hard to find sponsorship and there's no women's division at a lot of the contests. Sometimes my daughter and I will go to one of the grom contests and she will be the only girl. We need to change that. I want to give my daughter an opportunity in the surfing world.
INDONESIA Indonesia has been good to me. And the Balinese have been very good to me. A loser like me can be a millionaire here. I live like a millionaire. What I make here, I better not even bring that money to America. I might as well bring toilet paper. Because rupiah has no value in America. Over there I would be a waiter or something, working for somebody else from 9 to 5. But over here I'm a boss. And I have the opportunity to surf the most beautiful waves. For that I will always be grateful.
DEEP practicing at home just half an hour past midnight, and without warning our neighbor came to the house and stuck a huge knife in my face and said he was gonna kill us all if we didn't turn the noise down. We're like, dude, you never even warned us before! You could have asked us to turn it down before you came over with a knife. That was the first time we ever met him!
Padma: I think his exact words were: I'm gonna burn your house down if you don't stop the noise. Now we only practice in the daytime. We learned our lesson.
The Deep Sea Explorers have only been playing together for six months, but the band is already earning a reputation around Bali. Take tonight's show in Seminyak, for example. About 20 minutes into their first set, the guys bust out a hellfire version of The Doors' â€œRoadhouse Blues.â€? The walls begin to shake, and even the dudes in scarves put down their red wine and start pounding the dance floor. That's when the neighbors call the cops and the owner of the restaurant is forced to pull the plug. It's an all-too-familiar story for Palel (drums), Hendro (bass), Padma (guitar) and Arja (vocals). Now the manager is on stage trying to calm the restless crowd with promises of free shots until closing. That's our cue to grab some beers and duck out to a nearby alley.
Bali Belly: Man, I can't believe they called the cops. It's not even 11:30. Arja: Welcome to being a live band in Bali. Does this happen to you guys a lot? Padma: It's not usually as bad as tonight. Usually it happens on the next gig. The venue owner will tell
us they can't do it anymore because last time was too loud and someone complained. So we have to change the times and make the show earlier. It's bullshit. Arja: In Bali, apparently it's ok to do anything before midnight. But after midnight they're pretty strict about loud music. The other day we were
Aside from neighbors calling the cops, what do you guys think of the music scene in Bali right now? Arja: The music scene in Bali right now is growing fast. People are tired of repeating the same scene over and over. The club scene has just been on repeat, and for a long time there was no alternative to that. Now it's getting interesting again. I was actually at a battle of the bands today and I was surprised at what they were playing. It was stuff I didn't expect to hear, like Ten Years After, Cream, Guns N' Roses, and all this old blues. It was a nice surprise. Who won? Arja: I don't know if they won, but I was going for this one band from Ubud
called Nasi Campur. They're actually a bunch of hippie kids from the Green School in Ubud. Funky looking people, but they had some good songs. For a while it seemed like everyone in Bali was a DJ. Like, no matter what you do, oh, I'm a DJ too. Now it seems like live bands are making a comeback around town. Arja: True. There's a lot of new crowds coming to Bali now. We've got people from all kinds of new places and they want to hear something different. A lot of places, even the club venues, are now looking for live bands. Will you ever go to a club to hear a DJ? Arja: I still do. I like all kinds of music, even electronic. Funk, soul, you name it. As long as it gets people moving. What's the weirdest show you ever played? Padma: One time at Single Fin this guy got up on stage with his harmonica. He played his harmonica from the C chord, and we were playing from the E chord and A chord. And he just kept playing and rolling around on the ground. He was really into it, but it sounded pretty bad. Arja: He was a nice guy. He was just psyched. We just rolled with it. You kinda have to.
Do you guys have a CD? Palel: Not yet, we're still recording our first album. With all the piracy of DVDs and music in Indonesia, are you scared that some dude on Poppies II is gonna rip off your album and sell bootleg copies on the street for 5,000 rupiah? Arja: That's a global problem. It's not only in Indonesia. In the world now, people don't want to pay for CDs – unless they go to a concert and see a really good band. So right now we're just counting on performances and selling CDs at our gigs. Maybe some online music sales as well. As far as I'm concerned, in Indonesia, if you've had your CD pirated, that means somebody actually wants to listen to your songs. So I'm not scared of that at all. Padma: I think if people appreciate the music they will actually buy the CD, because they want to support the band. And they will want the whole CD for their collection. Do you guys have day jobs? Arja: Yeah, some of us do. We're all musicians, so we play in other bands for money. Cafés mostly. A couple of the guys have regular gigs at restaurants in Sanur, playing mostly jazz, blues and Top 40. You gotta eat. Padma: But Deep Sea
Explorers is what we put our heart into. We didn't become musicians to play at cafés. We became musicians to be able to travel the world for free and get paid to have fun and live the life. But mostly for the groupies, right? Arja: (laughing) One time we were playing a gig and a groupie was trying to get on us the whole time, just coming up and flirting so heavy everywhere we went. The next day one of our roadies came over in a bad mood. He said, my girlfriend doesn't want to be with me anymore. We're like, relax, let's just go out tonight and have some fun. Later we found out that his girlfriend was the same girl who was hitting on everyone that night. That's awkward. Is he still your roadie?
Palel: Same. Janis Joplin.
If we went out to sing karaoke right now, what song would you sing?
Padma: Graveyard (hard rock band from Sweden).
Padma: Anything by Queen.
Arja: I just discovered this band from 1981 called The Gun Club. They're pretty amazing. You should check them out.
Hendro: Zeppelin. “I Can't Quit You Baby.”
Where do you see music in Bali evolving in the next five years?
Arja: I usually sing “How Deep Is Your Love” by the Bee Gees.
Arja: You can't deny that music has helped us evolve as human beings. You know, rock and roll was the engine of the 60s counter culture revolution in California and all that. Now the music industry is trying to keep us down by putting these commercial songs out there that don't mean anything, and it just repeats over and over. It's just stuck there. But what we're trying to do is inspire people again.
That's a good one. My personal go-to is Marvin Gaye's “Let's Get It On.” Or “My Girl” by the Temptations. You can't go wrong with old school R&B.
Arja: No. What's your favorite Indonesian band? Hendro: Navicula. Padma: I'm more into Indonesian bands from the nineties. Arja: There's quite a lot nowadays. I like Navicula, of course. There's also Rollfast. No Stress. Naff. Hey, I actually have a question for everyone too. What band have you been listening to recently? Hendro: Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the
What do you talk about in your songs? Arja: For our first album we're gonna do a concept album, because nobody has done that in a while. Because our name is Deep Sea Explorers, we're calling this album Atlantis. So we're going to do a lot with the ocean and what's happening in the oceans these days. There's also going to be some political ideas in there. I wrote a song called “The Dictators of the World,” about the situation in North Korea, for example.
Palel: Red Hot Chilli Peppers. “Californication.”
Arja: So true. Ok, so when you guys are playing a show, what's the one song that always gets the place pumping? Arja: Usually we sing “Gloria,” originally by Van Morrison, but we do the Doors version. What song is like catnip for the ladies? Palel: “I Just Wanna Make Love To You.” Originally written by Willie Dixon, but we do a Rolling Stones version. That's a classic. Good base line. Arja: That's all you need, the base line. Hendro: It's all in the vibration, man.
is pretty good for Bali. And I’d like to say that I contributed to helping that as well. We built Motion skatepark in 2009. And the number of kids has definitely grown since then. There’s some shredders out there who skate at the park.
What about beginner skateboarders? With surfing, it’s pretty easy to tell who just started. Sometimes they are referred to as “kooks.” Are there kooks in skateboarding? Are they easy to spot? Like, do they put their trucks on backwards? Yeah, of course there’s beginners. There’s a lot of kids who have all the new stuff, they have the best board, but they don’t know how to really skate. But you gotta start somewhere. You know, whatever.
AFANDY DHARMA, 28, OWNER OF MOTION SKATEBOARDS, KUTA
Bali Belly: Where did you learn to skate? Afandy: I learned to skate in Bali. I grew up here. We skated at Double Six street. That’s where we started. At that intersection, where you have to pay. On the really bad floor. Just little rails and boxes.
there guys back then from Indonesia that you looked up to? For sure, in Jakarta. We’d see them in videos and magazines. Adymas and Bima Girindra. For international, it was Andrew Reynolds and Jamie Thomas.
Yeah, there’s not too much concrete around No, nothing. We’d be stoked to find some nice flat ground back then.
Give me an idea of what the skate scene was like back then. Were there skateparks and shit? Nooo. There were no skateparks. Just the things we built ourselves. Little boxes and rails. But back in the day we did get some help from Rip Curl and a few of the other
Growing up skating, who did you look up to? You mean internationally or locally? Both. I mean, were
surf brands to build little wooden boxes and ramps. I wouldn’t call it a skatepark though. Steve Palmer also helped us with that. So growing up in Bali, do you surf as well? I don’t surf, no. I never did surf, because I was always just skating. Bali has always been known for surfing, but the skating scene has been growing rapidly over the past few years. How many people skate at your park each day? Well, on a busy day there’s 50 kids. On average there’s 20 to 30 kids, which
If a beginner surfer paddles out to Padang or Keramas, they will probably be told to leave. Does the same go for skating? If I went to the park in some running shoes with a Sector 9 under my arm, would people tell me to beat it? It’s kinda like that, but it’s never really verbally abusive. You can see the good kids are definitely whizzing around the park and the beginners are usually more timid and just kinda wait their turn. But skating is not as aggressive as surfing. If someone
drops in, people won’t start beating on each other. Yeah, surfers are pretty aggro. Yeah, but I’d be aggro if there were 50 guys hassling for one wave and I'm the only one from there. I can understand it. It’s just a different environment when you skate. So besides the parks, is there good street skating in Bali? There’s a few spots, but you gotta know where they are. You gotta really go out of your way to find them. There are a few gems, but I wouldn’t say it’s Barcelona or anything like that. What about in other parts of Indonesia? Oh yeah. In some of the newer parts of the cities the infrastructure has gotten better. They’ve widened the sidewalks and started to put marble in. Places like Jakarta and Bandung. Jogjakarta and Semarang have some good spots. What city is the best? Probably Jakarta. But there’s a lot more security there too. And they kick you guys out of places? Yeah. But there’s a few cities like Kalimantan and Sulawesi where the government has a lot of money and they build things really nice. And they don’t have as many security guards as Jakarta, which is cool.
So these security guards are pretty strict? Do they give out tickets like in America? No, they just tell you to go. If you have money you just pay them off and you can skate a little longer. They let you do that. That’d be pretty funny in America to try and pay the cops off to skate a little longer. Like, here’s 20 bucks, beat it. You’d give them 20 bucks, then get 5 to 10 years in jail for bribery. So who’s the best skater in Indonesia right now? There’s a few. There’s definitely a few out there. I’d like to say this kid Absar. And Yogi. He rides for Motion. Those guys are definitely up there. Top 5, for sure. Well, how about you give me your Top 5. I’d say Yogi. Absar. Um, this kid Norman Genta. Dewa Oka. Mario. But then there’s this little kid who rides for me, his name is Sanggu. He’s been shredding. He broke his hand the other day and three or four days later he goes to Medan and comes in first place. He’s only 11. And he’s competing against 16 and 17-yearolds. He’s a beast. And what about legends. Is there a godfather of Indonesian skateboarding? Yes there is. He works for Happen Magazine. His
name is Suri, and he’s the godfather of Indonesian skateboarding. He’s helped a lot with exposure and helping the younger generation. So what about this younger generation. Right now in surfing, there’s one or two Indonesian surfers who can compete with the best surfers in the world. What about Indonesian skateboarders? Can any of them compete with David Gonzalez or Jim Greco? Well I’d like to say yeah, but realistically, no. Just because of how young skateboarding is in Indonesia. With Indonesian surfing, you have the best waves in the world here. But for skateboarding it’s not like that. We’ve only just had skateparks for, what, like five years. But the level that it’s grown in just those five years... If we had the facilities like in the west, we would be up there for sure. So maybe in another five years? Hopefully. Maybe that 11 year old, Sanggu. He’ll be 16. Yeah, if he doesn’t stray. So what about outside influences? Mostly videos or Thrasher Magazine? Any big names ever skate in Indonesia? Mostly videos. There’s
never really been a big team to come through Indonesia doing demos or anything. But there is this American kid who grew up in Jakarta who is now a top pro, Jackson Curtin. There’s some inspiration there, for sure. I used to see Greyson Fletcher skate at the park a bunch. Yeah, I skated with him a few times here. He’s done really good for himself. But mostly it’s just the drive the kids have on their own. They’ll have nothing to skate, but they’ll go skating every day. No matter if the ground is shitty or what. They just wanna skate. And that’s what’s important, really. If you could pinpoint one thing that would help skaters from Indonesia get to that next level, what would it be? A big, free outdoor skatepark. Paid for by the government. They give us the land and we build the park. Let the kids ride for free. That would help a lot. Even though my park is really cheap – Rp.10,000 for all day – some kids still can’t afford that. They can’t pay that every day. So some help from the government would be good. If you could skate your park with anyone in the world, who would it be? Andrew Reynolds. He'd be awesome to see live.
BOAT TO HELL On August 20th, 2011, Jay Johnston and nine friends left their small coastal village in Sussex Inlet, Australia, bound for Indonesia's Mentawai Islands. The boys had been saving and psyching for their fantasy surf trip for six months. It would prove to be a journey they would never forget – for all the wrong reasons. By the time they returned to port in Padang eight days later, their boat was damaged, Johnston was seriously ill, and everyone on board was thankful to be alive. Johnston, 29, returned to Indo this season for the first time since his nightmarish experience nearly two years ago. Bali Belly spoke with him and got this firsthand account of the Sussex Boys' boat trip from hell. Their story will make you think twice before booking that budget surf charter boat.
A friend of a friend back in Oz, Andrew Burton, said he could get us a good deal on his boat, the Asian Princess. I think the total price came out to about $24,000 – or $2,400 a head – flights to Padang not included. So it was a pretty good deal for a boat trip to the Mentawais.
We're leaving the airport and Burto says, “Boys, I got some bad news. I got no accommodation for you because I had you down for tomorrow night.” He takes us to this little hotel up a backstreet somewhere in Padang. The place is just a big dorm room with these flimsy bunk beds. By this time it's about four in the morning. We pile all our boards on one of the bottom bunks. Just as we're all drifting off to sleep, the top bunk collapses with my mate Mark in it and he goes crashing straight into all the boards below.
THE PICKUP When we arrived at the airport in Padang around 10 pm there was nobody to pick us up. After about an hour of waiting, the lights started shutting off and the place turned into a ghost town. Luckily we found this one local guy who happened to know Burto through other people, and he made a few calls and finally we got ahold of Burto. When he pulled up at the airport he said, “I thought you guys were coming tomorrow night!”
THE BOAT The next morning Burto picks us up and says, “I've got some bad news about the boat too.” He says on their last trip the motors blew up on the Asian Princess and it's going to take three more days to fix
them. A few of the boys in our group suggested we just get refunded all our money and take off up to Nias or head back to Bali or something. But in the end we all decided to sit still and head out in three days' time. For three days we pretty much just went to the bars and got pissed all day. There wasn't much else to do.
THE SWITCH On the third day we rock up to the boat in the harbor and the motor is still sitting on the side of the road. Now all of us are really starting to get the shits. So Burto says, “Look, I can get you guys another boat. If you all throw in another 300 bucks each, you can get on this other boat – the Saranya – and leave tonight.” At that point all we wanted to do was get out of Padang and get into some waves. We
ended up paying another $300 per head – $3,000 total – to get on this other boat. We left Padang at midnight on the Saranya, three days after we were originally scheduled to leave.
THE SURF GUIDE The whole time we were in Padang people were chasing Burto for money. Long story short, Burto had other dramas back in Padang and he couldn't be our surf guide as originally planned. He tells us, “Look, we got this other guy. His name's Eric... He's a little bit different... but he's alright. Just give him a chance.” Turns out that Eric is an ex-drug addict from back in Burleigh Heads. He told us he used to be a fisherman but he had to get away from Australia. He'd been in Indo for five or six years, living out at HTs in the village. Every day on the boat Eric would have a rollie and sprinkle crack on it. All day, every day. He kept telling us it was medicine. But it was crack.
THE DISAGREEMENT We were up in the Playgrounds area and Eric kept telling our Indonesian captain, “The boys wanna surf HTs. Let's go around the east side of Sipura, it'll be faster.” And the captain kept telling Eric, “No, we're not going around the east side of the island because of the wind.” The
wind was blowing hard from the east, onshore on that side. But Eric insisted we give it a go. As soon as we came around the corner at the northern tip of Sipura, we knew we shouldn't be on that side. It was just howling onshore, 30 knots or more. The captain said to Eric, “We can't go this way! We have to turn around and go down the other side.” That's when Eric said, “No we're not!” and just pushed the captain off to the side and started driving the boat.
THE STORM Eric spent all morning and afternoon behind the wheel going full-throttle into heavy storm winds. We were taking 6 to 8 footers with whitecaps all day on the nose, breaking over the bow of the boat. We were going so slow, it was just stupid. When we finally pulled in at HTs around 4 pm it was howling onshore and there were no other boats to be seen. Everyone agreed, even Eric: we had to get to shelter at Lance's Left.
THE WAVE To get to Lance's Left from HTs you gotta go around this big peninsula at the southern tip of Sipura island. As we rounded the peninsula, the swells started coming in from a different angle and peaking up. Me and three mates were up on the top deck of the boat surveying the situation and we're all shitting ourselves
because we're not in a good position. This one wave comes and peaks up right on our boat and just lays the boat on its side – a 56foot boat! We're hanging on to the roof, trying not to go overboard. Then the boat pops back up and another wave hits us. This time the wave picks up the speed boat we're towing behind us and sends it straight into the back of our boat. It smashes all the fridges and the bathroom on the back deck. There's food and broken beer bottles everywhere and there's a speed boat sitting in the back of our boat.
THE CAPTAIN I ran down to see the captain and he was pale white. He had the boat throttled as fast as it could go to try and get us out of there (by this time Eric had passed out on the ground and the captain was back behind the wheel). Our boat was getting tossed around like a bath toy. For about 30 minutes there we thought we were swimming for sure. All of us had untied our boards from the racks and were ready to abandon ship. Somehow the captain got us to the bay at Lance's Left.
my mate Woody. I figured he was seasick from the night before. I go down to check on him and he's lying in bed and looks pale white. He's wearing two jumpers and long pants and shivering like he was in the Arctic. He tells me straight faced, “Man, I'm not well. I'm dying.” I get some water into him and get him to try and sleep. Then I go surfing again and start feeling really weird out in the water, weak and dizzy. By the time I get back to the boat I'm spinning out. Sure enough, I had the same thing as Woody. Then two more of us go down in the next two hours. And by that night, eight of the ten people in our group are all really sick.
THE LONGEST NIGHT I had never been that sick in my life. It was next level. I started spewing up blood and shitting blood. I reckon I was on the toilet 40 times a day. I didn't sleep at all and spent the whole night spewing over the side of the boat. There were two of us at a time spewing off the back deck, just taking turns all night. The Indo crew really looked after us. They were up with us all night hosing us down.
THE BLACK PLAGUE
At that point we were just happy to be alive. We surfed Lance's Left that morning, 4 to 6 foot and good fun. The only one of us who wasn't surfing was
Four of us had it really cruel. Hallucinations and shit. We didn't know if it was the food or what. Eric kept telling us we had heat stroke and needed to drink
more water. So we were pounding water, and the more we drank the sicker we got. We headed to Tua Pejat, the main town in the islands, and got off the boat and took a taxi to the local hospital. While we were at the hospital, Eric was getting sick too and he jumped off our boat and caught the ferry back to Padang. That was the last we ever saw of him. The doctor in Tua Pejat hardly spoke any English and we couldn't speak Indonesian, so we just tried to explain what was wrong with us using sign language. He gave us some drugs and told us to get home immediately. I got on the phone with my wife and said, “I don't care what you do, just get us flights out of Padang as fast as you can.” At that point it was pretty clear the trip was cursed, and everyone was ready to get out of there.
HOME When I got home to Australia I went straight to the doctor and had blood tests done, and that's when the results came back as salmonella poisoning. The doctors reckon the crew had used up all the bottled water on board and were using the desalination pump on the boat for our drinking water. It was just desalinated water out of the pipes of the boat, contaminated with this strain of salmonella bacteria. So we were
basically poisoning ourselves every time we drank water. Woody lost 12 kilos. I lost 10 kilos. All of us who were sick lost between 8 and 12 kilos. My guts weren't right for a year after.
THE SNAKE OIL SALESMAN Burto said he'd never had this happen before. We came back to port four days early, but he didn't offer us a refund or anything. I didn't care. I just wanted to get home at that point. We were more focused on getting some clean water and getting some medicine in us. But you'll love this one: months later I get an email from Burto. He says, “There's a few spots left on the boat. If you can get me four paying customers, I'll let you on for free!” I didn't write back.
THE LESSON What I learned from that whole experience is don't be a tight-ass when it comes to a boat trip. If you're gonna do a boat trip to the Mentawais, make sure you pay good money to get looked after well. We tried to do it on the cheap and got burned. A couple of my mates went back the next year and paid more and said they got looked after like kings. Don't try and cut corners when it comes to a boat trip because you'll just end up paying for it later. What we went through, I don't wish that on anybody.
FROM When he was 13, Lee Wilson's family moved from Bali to Australia's Sunshine Coast. Lee started surfing Noosa a lot and began to notice a little blonde kid in a puka shell necklace always ripping the place apart. The kid's name was Julian Wilson and the two soon became friends. They'd surf together nearly every day and see who could eat more meat pies at lunch. After high school, Lee moved back to Bali. He won the Indonesian tour (twice), became a father, went down the freesurfing path, developed a passion for making art, and started dating a model. Julian stayed in Noosa, qualified for the WCT, became the face of several international
CANGGU brands and the obsession of thousands of teenage girls (and a few guys) who regularly stalk him on Instagram. He also dates a model. A few weeks back, Julian received an anonymous text while on vacation in Bali. It read, “Is this Julian Wilson?” He hesitated, but then replied, "Yeah... Who's this?" “It's Lee, mothafucka!” And for five days at Canggu it was on again: surfing three times a day, pushing each other to go bigger on every wave, and competing to see who could put away more food. Just like old times – but without the puka shells.
THE PRINCE OF PADMA GOING THE DISTANCE WITH RAJU SENA Portraits by Hamish Humphreys • Action by David Deckers
If 12-year-old Raju Sena was a boxer, he would be a mini flyweight. As an amateur fighter, his spindly frame would earn him the ring name “The Spider Monkey.” Later, as he made his way up the professional ranks, he would make his hood proud fighting as “The Prince Of Padma.” After mowing down the world's top featherweights, Raju would become a world champion and an Indonesian celebrity. Paparazzi would photograph him dashing out of clubs with actresses and supermodels at his side, and he would be a guest judge on Indonesian Idol. Raju would suffer the inevitable superstar pitfalls. There would be a nasty divorce. And he would be forced to file for bankruptcy after it was revealed that his promoter, accountant and entourage were all stealing money. After retiring from professional boxing, Raju would attempt an ill-advised career in politics, and later open a chain of steakhouses around Bali. In his later years, his body withered and his faculties rapidly declining from one-too-many blows to the head, Raju's nurse would push him in his wheelchair along the promenade at Padma beach to see the sunset. Raju would watch the happy surfers playing in the waves and think, “Damn, that looks fun. Why didn't I ever give surfing a try?” But Raju isn't a boxer. He's a surfer. Thank God. It almost didn't happen that way.
Boxing is in Raju's blood. His father, Bala, was a professional fighter. Bala's hometown in Timor has a long history of producing boxers, and many of his relatives and friends took up the sport. Bala had a decent pro career in Bali and was sponsored by Da Hui during his prime. At night he worked as a bouncer at the Peanuts Club in Kuta, one of Legian's hottest clubs during the eighties. He manned the back door and was in charge of kicking out and roughing up drunks who got out of hand. When Bala retired from boxing, instead of taking a job as a trainer or mopping up the gym at night like many over-the-hill fighters, he got a job as a surf instructor working at the Da Hui Surf School at Kuta Beach. That decision meant Raju grew up on the beach at Padma surfing every day, instead of inside the Mirah Boxing Gym in Kuta pounding the heavy bag for hours on end. Raju gave pugilism a try. A few years ago he laced up the gloves and sparred with some older kids at his dad's gym. He wound up on the canvas. That's when Raju decided whipping rodeo flips at Padma is a lot more fun than dodging jabs and uppercuts in a sweaty gym all day. Raju knows he's skinnier than Kate Moss on a hunger strike, and there aren't many successful fighters built like Rob Machado. “With surfing there's no brain damage,” says Raju. “And I'm too handsome to be a boxer.” Raju's mom couldn't agree more.
Raju loves the limelight. In fact, he's already had a career in television. Raju was cast for a reality TV show called “Homestay” on Trans 7. His job was to teach the stars of the show how to surf in Bali. The cast members were all from Jakarta. The boys were sallow and clumsy and spent every second between shoots on their phones. The girls were pale and delicate and brought umbrellas to the beach. Teaching the Jakarta kids to surf was a challenge, says Raju, but he managed to get a couple of them to stand up a few times for the camera. Like any gentlemanly surf instructor, Raju focused most of his attention on the ladies and let the boys flounder in the shore break.
ROUND 4 Raju isn't afraid to match up against heavyweights in the water. When Kelly Slater was in Bali last year, Raju paddled out at Keramas with him and Rizal and snagged more than his share of stand-up pits. Out at Padma, Raju won't back down to anyone. The other day Marlon Gerber paddled out in front of Raju's umbrella and landed the hugest air anyone had seen in a long time. Not to be outdone at his home break, Raju dropped in on Marlon's next wave and they both launched at the same time. Raju says he went higher.
ROUND 5 ROUND 2 Raju comes from royalty. His grandfather on his father's side was a rajah in Atambua Selatan, Timor (hence Raju's other nickname, “Rajah Raju”). Bala left Timor as a young man and hasn't returned home since meeting Raju's mom and starting a family in Bali. Raju and his siblings have never been to their father's homeland. It's a sore subject for Bala's relatives, who want the family to move back to Timor. These days there are no more rajah in Timor – it's the bupati who calls the shots now – but Bala's relatives still own a lot of land, and claim more cows, buffalo, goats and chickens than anyone else in town. If they returned, his relatives say, Bala and his family would have plenty of land and they wouldn't have to pay rent like they do in Bali. They would have their own staff on hand and could live a life free of worry and struggle. But for Bala and his family, Padma is home. When asked whether he'd rather be a rajah in Timor or a surfer in Bali, Raju just laughed: “I'm a surfer.”
Raju is an A student. Many sponsored groms in Bali give up on school as soon as they start earning a little pocket money from their sponsors. Raju goes to school six days a week. Last year he finished second in his class of 45 students at high school in Kerobokan. Raju's mom, Ibu Erna, teaches math to kids who have fallen behind in their coursework. You won't catch Raju in any of her classes. She wouldn't have it. Occasionally, though, you will catch Raju on Facebook in the school's computer lab.
ROUND 6 Raju is the only kid at his school who surfs. Many of Raju's classmates think surfing is cool, but they're afraid to try it because they don't want their skin to get dark in the sun. Not Raju. He's smart. He knows that girls like surfers, and western girls in particular love a good tan. That's why Raju's ranked second in his class.
ROUND 7 Every day after school Raju is down at Padma with his family, selling drinks on the beach. Raju's parents have been running their umbrella at Padma for ten years. Mom handles the money. Raju and his sisters, Bella and Ellis, serve the drinks and help pack up the chairs after the sun has set and everyone on the beach disperses into the narrow streets of Kuta. Their No. 1 customer is a tatted-up Aussie surf dog by the name of Johnny Uluwatu. Raju calls Johnny his “crazy grandpa.” Johnny teaches Raju and his little brother Leo karate on the beach. Raju helps Johnny with his Indonesian, gives him waves out at Padma (“Usually the shit ones,” says Johnny), and covers for Johnny when one of his many Indonesian girlfriends comes around asking where he was last night.
ROUND 8 Raju started surfing at Padma when he was seven years old, alongside the older Padma Boys like Winnie, Blacky, the Amar brothers, and the twins, Tonjo and Bleronk. “Padma is every kind of wave in one,” says Raju. “If it's big, stand-up barrel. If it's small, good for airs. It's the best wave for training.” For Raju, growing up at Padma means no hassling for waves. But Raju has no plans to get the Padma Boys' trademark anchor tattoo on his hand. “My dad doesn't have any tattoos, so I don't want one either,” says Raju. Bala the boxer admits that he doesn't like needles. “I'm afraid of the needle,” he says. “Better you punch me.”
ROUND 9 Raju is the current ISC junior champion. He wants to be the best in the water every time he paddles out and says that surfing in a heat is a lot like sparring in the ring. Last year Raju was invited by Hurley to train with their international team on the Gold Coast during the Quiksilver Pro, but he couldn't go because his visa didn't get sorted in time. It was a bitter pill to swallow for Raju, but he says he has a plan to make it to Australia this year: win the Rip Curl GromSearch National Final at Halfway Beach and a ticket to compete in the international final at Bells Beach. He's finished runner-up the past two years in the GromSearch National Final, but according to Raju, “this is my year.”
ROUND 10 Last year Rizal took Raju to Pacitan on a big swell. Padang was breaking back in Bali and Rizal was calling it 8 foot out at Pacitan. Riz and Raju were the only ones to paddle out. On his first wave, Raju got smashed. He snapped his board and hit the reef – hard. But like Rocky Balboa getting back up after a vicious uppercut from Apollo Creed, Raju picked himself off the mat and got back in the fight. The next day Raju paddled back out and dropped into the biggest barrel of the day. Did he come out? “Of course!” says Raju, with more swagger than Floyd Mayweather at a pre-fight press conference. “Rizal has the photo. You should run it in the mag.” The Prince Of Padma is a cheeky grom, but like Muhammad Ali said, “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”
Random notes from director Joe G in Indonesia, filming for his latest opus, Strange Rumblings in Shangri-La.
RUMBLINGS Surfing by Dion Agius, Taj Burrow, Nate Tyler and Creed McTaggart.
MYSTERY. ADVENTURE. INTRIGUE. Hello friend, as you may or may not be aware, myself and an elite crew of the world's most famous cinematographers, photographers, tail wafters, time wasters, and bartenders have embarked on what can only be described as a death defying journey into a dark jungle of Conradian proportions. The man we plan to meet there and what we plan to do once we are reunited is, of course, completely confidential. Rest assured though, my friend, that we are on a noble mission and our intention is to overcome insurmountable odds to find what we are looking for, capture it, and return in glory to tell the story to you and the whole entire world. If you should need to reach me for any reason during this time, please leave word with a woman known only as “Vanilla Passion Foam,” after the drink she created of the same name at the world renowned KU DE TA lounge in Bali. Tell her you have a message for me and to immediately dispatch “the monkey” (not really a monkey) to send word via inscribed banana leaf to our land camp along the mosquito coast of Sumbawa. Don't worry, he knows where we are. thanks and be well, joe g
SHANGRI-LA The Whispers. The Rumors. The Rumblings. The Rumblings are around us everywhere. If you just stop and listen, you can hear them even now. A vague explanation? Admittedly, yes. Shangri-La? We are trying to find it. We don't quite know where or exactly what it is, but we have heard rumblings of its existence and now I feel like we have to go and discover it. The Perfect Wave. The Ultimate Ride. The best left wedge in the world. Hot babes (of course). Strong drink. Palm trees. Air wind. Surfing's own Holy Grail. Our research indicates that these are the things that await us when we find Shangri-La. I don't know if we'll find it, or if it even actually exists, but I can assure you that we plan to have the time of our lives looking for it.
VOYAGE You caught us on a good one. Getting over to this zone took us almost 50 hours of travel time. LA to Tokyo / Tokyo to Singapore / 12 hours of walking around eating ramen and trying to find a good foot massage / Singapore to Lombok / a bus ride / a boat ride / another bus ride, and voila! In fact, every trip we've done so far for the new movie has been crazy, but that's because we are trying to go on these grand adventures. Our trip to Iceland with Dion, Nate and Brendon Gibbens was one of the wildest nonstop travel missions I've ever been on. Fighting the cold, both from a surfing and filming standpoint, was really tough for the crew. My Super 16mm cameras actually started to freeze up one day when we were filming surfing at the base of a glacier.
HEAVY EQUIPMENT Damn. I am a maniac and for some reason force myself to shoot on the old Arri SR Super 16mm film cameras. They are crazy heavy and all the equipment that goes along with them (film too) is really bulky and heavy. Also, it's pretty sketchy when there is a language barrier and you're telling the officials of some foreign country that you can't put all of your weird metal film cans through the X-ray or it'll ruin the film. They quickly become convinced that you're up to no good. Hence, I spend a lot of time in Secondary Inspection. It ain't fun.
SUNBURNS Yes, my pasty and often wetsuit-covered California legs got so sunburned on this trip that parts of them turned purple. The ultimate tourist. Come to think of it, I should have had my hair braided too...
MOSQUITOS Goddam mosquitos, trying to give us all malaria. Hate them.
INDONESIA Indonesia to me is a place where anything that you can dream about can become a reality. The natural beauty of the place is unsurpassed anywhere else in the world, but the thing that makes Indonesia the land of unlimited opportunity is its people. I've never been to a place where I was greeted with as much warmth and openness as I have been privileged to enjoy in Indonesia. Whether in the middle of Bali or perched on the very edge of the jungle in Sumbawa, the incredible energy of the people of Indonesia is palpable and all-consuming. Whenever I leave wherever I've been in Indonesia, I feel like I'm leaving an extension of my own family, as there are always amazing people there who go above and beyond to take care of us and make us feel like a welcomed part of their beautiful world.
FILM I guess it's pretty funny that we shoot web videos on super 16mm film. I suppose you could shoot them on lesser cameras, but for me the web is a place where more people have the potential to see what you make than on any other platform. Matt Hill and Gary Valentine who run Globe here in the US have always believed in me and my passion for shooting things in film. They have supported these projects, and it's pretty wild because things that don't seem to make sense on paper sometimes can make a lot of sense in real life. Globe understands that, and because we've invested in shooting film and in working with talented people like cinematographers Rick Jakovich and Beren Hall, we've become known as being one of the best in the world at what we do. That, in turn, has led to great things, both financial and otherwise, that we never could have anticipated when we were making the decision to invest in film as opposed to digital. Also, from an emotional standpoint, while it's a real pain to travel with the film gear, once you get the footage back it's the most exciting thing in the world. Everything now in the digital world is so automatic and safe. Anyone can pick up a digital camera and make an evenly exposed image and it looks great. But for me it doesn't look "alive". Life isn't perfect and I love the thrill of not knowing exactly what's going to happen with my film. It's always this challenge to try to control something that is to some degree wild and beyond your control. For me it's a metaphor for life itself. If everything was perfect and easy and laid out in front of you, life would be pretty boring and no one would care about your achievements (including you). Satisfaction comes from trusting yourself and challenging yourself to figure things out on your own, and not being afraid to be wild and risk complete failure (or soft focus). So yeah, we like shooting film. And so far it seems like other people like us shooting film too.
BETET INTERVIEWS BRUCE
On his last day in Bali, Bruce Irons receives a knock at the door of his Komune Resort hotel room. Bruce opens the door and is greeted by a small Balinese man holding a reporter's notebook and recorder. On closer inspection, the tiny journalist is actually Bruce's longtime Bali homeboy, Betet Merta. Betet is here to interview Bruce. He says it will be the most anticipated interview since Lance Armstrong came clean on Oprah. There will be less crying and more profanity. They move to the balcony, where they won't be disturbed. Betet sets the recorder on the table and the exchange begins.
Betet Merta: When was your first trip to Bali, Bruce Irons? Bruce Irons: Many many moons ago.
Don’t forget about me. A little monkey? Yeah. Then I said, aww he’s cool, he has prison tattoos on his elbows... even though he never went. But he’s still cool. He runs this muthafucka.
When? How old were you? (Thinking) I was probably 20.
Ummm... pretty much, huh? Yeah, pretty much.
That’s not that time when Chris Coté here with your brother and Dustin Barca, and we go to Timor? Yeah, when was that? Fuck, when was that? I think you were 20. Long time ago, like 14 years ago.
How you first meet me and what did you first think of Betet? How did I first meet you? I met you through my brother. So I instantly thought, who the fuck is this little Jawa boy?
Five Rupiah. Five Rupiah. Haley, where you going? (Bruce's friend Haley is stepping out of the villa.) Haley: I have to call my mom, there’s no reception here. Yeah, right over there you can get reception.
She never forget about you, dude.
If you were born in Bali what do you think you will be doing right now? Ummmm, if I was born in Bali? Yeah, if you born in Bali what do you think you will be doing right now? Hmmm (long pause). Surf? I’d probably be like a Buddhist Shaolin monk. Ok.
What your favorite animal? I love little Jawa Betets. They’re cute little guys, little feisty fuckers (laughing). Nah, umm, I like tigers. The white tiger Did you went to see the white tiger? Correct. You close to him? You touch him? No, but we just... made contact. You make contact, right? Like a god. Like Hindu god. Like Buddha. Yeah, from one to another. Yeah, yeah.
Do you remember your first board? My first surfboard? Yeah. Yes I do. My first surfboard came from Santa Claus. He brought it. It was a HIC. It was very wide and I couldn't put my arms around it. It was a twin fin with box fins. What size? I don’t know. It was big. My first custom board was about a 5’0” shaped by Bill Hamilton. Who? Bill Hammerton? Bill Hamilton. Bill Hammerton, ok.
Yeah, exactly, I know what you mean. Surf how I wanna surf... Yeah, exactly. And it’s my expression of me...
What do you love about surfing? What do I love about surfing? (long, deep pause) I like surfing... because I can do it... Get nuts like Teahupoo after get wipeout and then naked? I like surfing because I get to surf when I want to surf...
Exactly. ...and no one else. Yeah, because you Bruce Irons. You da guy! I surf for myself. Yeah, exactly.
What do you hate about surfing? Uh, crowds and egos. And fucking kooks, yeah? Crowds and egos.
Tell me something I don’t know about you. (Betet re-reads the question) Tell me... Tell me something... What kind of question is that? Hmmm (long pause). What don’t you know about me?
I don’t know. My middle name is Pierre. Did you know my middle name?
That’s your middle name, Pierre. Bruce Irons Pierre. Bruce Pierre Irons. Bruce Pierre Irons. Yeah, P-I-E-R-R-E.
No. It’s Pierre.
Pierre, yeah? Pierre.
Pierre? Yeah, that’s my middle name.
Ok. Bruce Pierre Irons. You didn’t know that did you. I don’t know.
WILD FOR THE
A night out in Kuta with "Bali" T-shirts by Volcom, Rip Curl, Hurley, Quiksilver, Deus, Insight and Rizt.
GET UP, LET'S GO, LET'S GET OUT OF THIS LONELINESS HERE Lee Wilson & Joanne McKay Directed & Photographed by Jason Reposar Assistant Photographer: Ramon Andika Stylist: KoolKeita Make-up: Alicia Repp
Jewelry by Del Monserrat, Tiger Frame, JT, and SYG Collection, courtesy of Horn Emporium, Seminyak, Bali.
FOLLOW THE WAY JOEL FITZGERALD AND HARRISON ROACH HIT THE ROAD IN SEARCH OF MORE THAN JUST A NEW WAVE IN INDO. Words by Nathan Myers • Photos by Anthony Dodds
The road is not smooth. It’s ripped with craters and ragged with intentions. Terrorized by motorbikes and cattle. Chickens and time. It’s going nowhere. Out here. On the edge of it all. Indonesia. Joel and Harrison’s guts ache from hours on their motorbikes. They ride on. Sore arms and itchy eyeballs. Further. This is how it gets done. Inch by inch. They set out from a sprout of a Javanese surf town. Chasing the rumor of another new wave and an incoming big swell. No one knew for sure if the two fit together. What size, what direction, what wind, how to get there, where to paddle out, how to film, where to sleep and what the hell, just go go go. Another shallow and peeling rumor on the world’s most unexplored stretch of shredable jungle. The road is not smooth. The petrol pours from vodka bottles. A week earlier they’d both been shaping boards back in Bali. Single-fins with careful resin tints and templates borrowed from 1970s time machines. That was part of the plan here: to charge some proper Indo waves on legitimate old-school craft. Hand-made. Heartfelt. Modern classics. It’s only surfing. Joel is the son of Terry Fitzgerald, legendary shaper of Hot Buttered and Morning of the Earth pioneer. “The Sultan of Speed” they called him. Joel gave up on the WQS merry-go-round a few years back and picked up his father’s planer. He and his brother Kye had been borrowing (and breaking) their father’s single fins for years now and had a longstanding love affair with them. They were harder to surf, of course, but that was part of it. The boards forced different lines, moved more water, and when they got up to speed, nothing could match them. Harrison is a logger. Hates being called that. A born
and bred Noosa boy who just won all the Duct Tape Invitational events. If there was a Logger World Champ, he’d be it. But there isn’t. And he isn’t. And doesn’t want to be seen as that. Doesn’t want to be pigeonholed or stereotyped. He just wants to surf. He rides whatever suits the waves, from logs to thrusters to hand-planes, and he’s keen to prove himself in some big, solid barrels. He closed the door on the shaping bay and set forth mowing a board – his fifth ever selfie, though more would surely follow. Fitzy popped in and asked if he needed help, and Harrison declined. Best to figure it out for himself. Joel appreciated that. No one showed him what to do either. That was the way. Find the way. There is no way. The swell maps turn purple and the road stretches out before them. Long and rutted. Calling. Taunting. There’s no Internet or frozen cappuccinos where they are headed. No way to see the storm grow bigger than mother-Oz. Massive, bruised and bloody, it was the biggest early season storm anyone had seen in years. Another storm is born inside it. Bodhi and his gang rob banks. Everyone else books a ticket to Indo. Somewhere. A swell like this always raises the same question: where to surf? The same dozen options arise every time: Scars. Supers. G-Land. Deserts. Etc. Check the guidebook. Book the surf camp. Grab a flyer at the airport. Dudes are on their way. Only a rare few searches head off in hopes of something new. Something uncharted. It’s a roll of the dice. But the rewards are an empty lineup and an unforgettable adventure. Insert travel cliché here…then smash it with a rock. The road is not smooth. That’s why they’re on it.
Joao Rito won a contest online. The Portuguese filmmaker created a submission for Taylor Steele’s Innersection project and was named one of the best young filmmakers of the year. His prize was a $10,000 contract to film a section for the upcoming experimental film, Se7en Signs. Six filmmakers. Six modes of travel. And the seventh trip is the movie itself. Sounds cool, but what does any of that mean, really? Boarding a last minute plane for Indonesia, Joao realized he had no idea. They’d sent him tickets and shot lists, names and vague itineraries. But no real instructions. Just the name of some town he couldn’t pronounce. “The boys have motorcycles and hand-shaped single-fins,” an email explained. “Make sure you film that aspect. This movie is about how you travel as much as where you travel.” Vague notes. Ambiguous treasure maps. This strange experiment. Fly to nowhere now and make a film that is not yours. Maybe someone will pick you up at the airport. Maybe not. The road is not smooth. And Joao was not done winning his prize. Not by a long shot. No one met him at the airport. He hitchhiked into the little surf town whose name he could not pronounce and Facebooked, Skyped and rain-danced until he made contact. The first waves were already hitting and the boys were loosening up to their new boards. But there were still hours of road between them and the rumor. A long day’s ride. A river crossing. A mountain. An unnamed village. Things were moving fast, and Joao looked down at his detailed shot list and shuddered. It’s one thing to make a plan. It’s another to hit the road. Dust and potholes define the distance. Thirst-less heat and a sudden rain. Hot, sticky and uncool. They load the bikes onto a raft and float downriver like a flashback from Apocalypse Now. Fitzy ties his shirt around his forehead and mans the .50-Cal, blasting kooks in the tree line. Rambo would be proud. He’s losing it already. The un-smoothness rattling loose nuts and unraveling intentions. Lack of sustenance, too. Just rice and fish out here. Plastic sugar tea and deep fried squid bits. Octopus popcorn. Marinated in dust. Kicked in the nuts. Laughed at by every chicken crossing the road. Further and further again. This is the napkin map sketch left behind by Taylor and his acolytes. Roads less traveled. Visions less seen. Places unfound. The emails said he would be filming part of the next Sipping Jetstreams or Castles in the Sky movie, but only now does he realize what that really meant. No dreamy soundtrack. No time lapse sunsets. Just sweat pouring down the leg of his tripod. Dust stinging his eyeballs. This is how it gets done. Inch by inch. And they are just getting started.
4 A.M. Awake to the discordant cacophony of prayer calls and roosters. Muslims don’t sleep in. Neither do waves. Down on the beach, the thunder on the reef is stronger than caffeine. Even in the darkness. The sound of the waves. Thundering. It’s big. How to paddle out? Where to sit? When to pull out? The empty lineup asked only questions. Was it makeable? Would it hold bigger? How big was it out there already? Only one way to find out. Into the darkness. Inch by inch. Harry’s on the beach with two new boards. Big and small. Untested and unknown. Hard to know which one to paddle. Backhand single-fin barrels are difficult. And at this size…you don’t want to know. He starts with the big one. Find out soon enough. It paddles great, but the fin is too small. It slides out. Tracks sideways. Delivers him to catastrophic wipeouts. He washes over the reef with a broken leash and Joao wonders if he’ll even paddle back out. Joao wonders a lot of things. Harrison paddles back out. Small board this time. Late drop air drop sketch drop. Huge pit. Big spit. Game on. Fitzy’s on his forehand. He’s been riding single-fins since before he was born. Pioneering Indo since he was able to walk. Big waves, too. Teahupo’o and Shippies and Outside Corner. He’s in his element and he’s charging. High-line head-dips and deep streaking barrels. Speed. Son of the Sultan. And no one else out. They spend hours on the wave. Dodging the strange shifting peaks and rogue outsiders. The wave has so much power. Thick lips hurl way out to the flats. The whitewater explodes, then explodes again. When you wipe out it’s a double-bounce tumble ride across the shallow shelf and a tricky slip back to the outside. Learning. Slowly learning. The local village is assembling on the beach. No cars in this village, but four passengers for every motorbike. They carry machetes and coconuts. Wearing Spiderman and Donald Duck t-shirts, salvaged from some ancient shipwreck. And there’s this banyan tree. Right on the beach. This massive banyan tree, right at the paddle-out spot, that tilts out over the sand so that you can literally just walk right up into its branches. The village boys know this tree well. They skitter high into the branches to watch the session from the clouds. They cheer for barrels and wipeouts as though they were the same thrill. At other Indo breaks, they’re hustling happy endings and friendship bracelets, but here the thrill remains untarnished. The raw rush of seeing surfing for the very first time. It won’t last. But for now it’s beauty to behold. Proof of how far we’ve come. How many swells have passed unridden at this break. And now these new gods arrive to dance amidst the thunder. The mythology of stoke. Captured on film. Celebrations at hand. And then the realization: This town has no beer.
They sleep in a seafood restaurant. Curled up on the bamboo floors, exhausted and fried. A crude dinner of octopus popcorn and sugar tea churning in their guts. Lullaby of Indonesian game shows clucking through the darkness. Fitzy’s unshakable optimism is like a life buoy. “Wow, this is such a lovely little spot,” he says before slipping into to an infant slumber. “These people just treat us like family. They won’t even charge us to stay here. And how good was that octo-corn?” Waking up at 4 am again is easy work. Roosters. Prayer calls. Thundering swell and offshore tickle. Yes, it’s on again. No, it’s not. It’s way too big. Gargantutron. Ridonkulous. Triple-lipped Godzilla-smashing-Tokyo waves, with a closeout death-punch-reef-full injunction, slam-bam-no-thank-you-ma’am.
We stare and stare. The tide rises. The tide falls. Hypnotized by the raw ferocity of the ocean. Mindsurfing to our deaths . Sweating. Just sitting there. Staring. And staring. Horrified and in love. Sunrise. Sunset. The local children dangle in the trees waiting for us to slay the dragon again. Waiting to see just how crazy these new gods really are. Not that crazy it seems. They eat ice cream. We eat ice cream, too. The sun goes down. The sun comes up. We’re back in business. Big business. Broken board business. Sunshine and set dodging. Harrison’s on a redemption warpath. He’d spent the night before reviewing his wipeout footage from Day One and was determined to outshine himself. He logs three deep barrels in a row before the beach stops holding its breath. After broken boards, wild wipeouts and tidal tribulations, he could have thrown in the towel. But pushing through is how you reach the level he’s at. And he’s doing it once again. With clips to prove it.
Joel’s got the place dialed now. Lining up with The Tree. Memorizing the reef. Counting the sets. Pushing himself deeper and deeper. Further into the peak. The caverns echo with no one to hear his cries of joy. No one but the cameras on the beach. His boards are working. Proving themselves under his feet. The joys of being single. And flying. As he makes the jump from pro surfer to struggling shaper, this is vital. Seeing these singlefins flying beneath his feet now…there’s no sales pitch required. You want one. And it’s a healthy reminder that the best shapers are always great surfers. Now the clips are swelling up. So are Joao’s. What does that mean? Some strange viral infections from the tropics. Jungle foot. Two days ago they were just tiny bumps. Now both feet are too tender to walk on. He’s going to die. Propped up in The Tree, foaming from the mouth and filming every wave while the monkey mass of gromitude swings from the branches around him. Cheering, laughing
and waiting for ice cream. The doctors will tell him later that he has worms in his feet. Jungle worm foot. But for now, he can only imagine what viral terrors are wiggling inside swollen feet. Is it worth it, for some surf footage? Too early to tell, perhaps. Too late to ask, anyway. It will all be over soon. These waves. This trip. The fading memories of another adventure gone. Someday these kids will be selling Viagra and warm Bintang to the visiting surfers, all-inclusive in some nearby surf camp. And when the swell maps turn purple and surfers rattle through the list of known waves to visit…this place, whatever it may end up being called, will be listed among them. Someday. But not today. The sun sets once more. It always does. The footage is logged. The boards are packed. The swell is dying. The damage is done. And now we leave. The road home is always smoother. Even with worms in your feet.
Made "Bol" Adi Putra
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Jordy Smith HAMISH
Pepen Hendrik & Rizal Tandjung
HAMISH • DODDS • DOBBY • HAWKINS
Gogo Sujaya Harrison Roach Marlon Gerber Tai Graham
Rahtu Suargita HAMISH
Bali Belly is an independent youth culture magazine based in Bali, Indonesia.