Late season swell – A surf story.
It was about a week out that we saw a swell headed our way. It appeared as a big red cloud of potential creeping up the west coast of Australia and our first thoughts were to see if we could position ourselves between it and where it was to crash on the Bali coast. The digital oracle had it hitting our shores on Saturday a mere five days out meaning now was the time to do the ring around to see who wanted to rip down the Bukit for what could quite possibly be one of the last big swells of the season.
Dylan messaged local Canggu styler, Ayok Wira Dharma, as well as Deni Pirdaus and Dean Permana who are in Bali training for the National Surf Team, to see if any and all were up for a little excursion. There were after all, things to organize, not that this was far from home but it’s still a trip distant enough to have to organize rooms, food and there was always a need for refreshments.
We came together at the Deus Temple Friday afternoon to pick up rides and right then you could tell the excitement and expectation were palpable. Two of four surfed goofy. And knew what they were getting into, they’d be right as rain. But the two boys from West Java, Deni & Dean, both of them were natural, were somewhat disadvantaged as most breaks down there are lefts. If it really was to be a massive swell dealt out of the Antarctic depths of the Indian Ocean then the waves could prove destructive to the unrehearsed, unversed, and not packing a solid backhand game. So, you can kind of understand where they stood.
Equipment is always crucial, away from home, you can only run what you brung, so they bought what felt comfortable. For Dylan, who tops out at 6’ 5”; that was a 5’11” aqua blue self-shaped keel finned fish and a red 7’2” Josh Keogh Harry Concept Channel Twin. Deni & Dean both bought their 5’4” Thomas Surfboards Fish, green, and crème respectively. Dean also loaded up a 5’4” Joel Fitzgerald blue and white Space Hawk. Ayok opted for a grey 5’11” Josh Keogh Jubilee Twin and his pride and joy a yellow 7’ Rich Pavel Single. Something for everyone and all to be shared.
We set off around nine Saturday morning moving through the sparsely trafficked streets. Since COVID came, the traffic on weekend mornings has been light, in comparison to before, it is an absolute joy. Once we hit the highway, the throttles opened and we ripped through the kilometers. Not surprisingly before an hour was out we’d arrived at their destination for the weekend.
We arrived early, the tide hadn’t landed yet and we were met with pretty grim conditions, raw reef exposed along the bay and the sea gave absolutely no signs whatsoever if the swell had come or not. Noticing the despondent look on his companions' faces as well as not wanting to wallow in worry of what might or might not come, Dylan decided to try to teach the other three lads how to play Yahtzee. It took them a minute to get the grip of the game but once they did, they loved it. They played for hours, and only stopped to fuel up. Sometime around two they grudgingly put the dice down clambered down the cliff and paddled out into the growing conditions.
And stayed out. The four of them didn’t come in until just before sunset. The afternoon's waves started off good and were growing better throughout the entire session. With nowhere else to be they had decided that there was no point heading to shore while the waves were on. Besides they weren’t the only people seeking waves late in that day on that Saturday and with the waves aligned to a less than punctual arrival rate, reaping the benefits was, as it were, few and farther between. They all paddled to shore, their energy spent, showers, food, and of course, some light refreshments.
We ate dinner at our homestay. Not as a group but rather as and when hunger took us. A couple of the guys just ate and crashed, the rest decided the nasi wasn’t filling enough and climbed the hill to seek a top-up in the sustenance department. Things closed early on the peninsular so it was decided that a ride back to Jimbaran would be the best bet for a fill of fresh fried fish.
Staying right above the waves we all woke to the noise rather than the light. The tide had come in quicker than we’d first thought and conditions were once again uninspiring. That left us with naught to do but once again eat and dip into the die and another game of Yahtzee. We were amazed by how quickly they’d taken to it.
At around nine Dylan went for a post breakfast swim to wash off his bed. Being the waterman, he is, he quickly latched onto a couple of nice sized body wompers and when the lads saw him slide into one with a bit more of a bite in it they scrambled to grab their boards and get out there after him. Dylan felt under gunned on his stomach and quickly retrieved his board and a fruitful morning session began. The four of them rode until the reef started to be seen. Deni & Dean had to part ways, some team training stuff had come up and they were needed back in Kuta. Ayok and Dylan quickly fueled up, said goodbyes to the boys, and slipped back out until conditions turned dangerous. The two goofies were in their element and raced the reef edge until the game became something of a fool’s errand.
They came in ate and lounged about. Another session of Yahtzee and a little lay down while the water cycled through the tide and began to fill in. An afternoon session to finish things off with.
The swell was in, albeit with rather way too much south to really light up the Bukit’s bays. But as the sun descended and the tide came up the two of them hit the perfect moments the rest of the world is currently dreaming about.
While this wasn’t the great swell that we’d originally thought it might be; that damn weather, she is a fickle mistress, isn’t she? All four of them did get to go surf some terrific waves and hang out in one hell of a beautiful location. At the end of the day, there ain’t not one single thing wrong with that.