April 03 2020 Friday at 07:31 PM

NINE FOOT TALES

When the Deus 9 Foot and Single first ventured onto the sand of Batu Bolong, Canggu, six years ago, it was little more than an excuse to get a bunch of mates together for some choice waves and a bit of a party. Surfers came from around the world, enjoying the warm waters and consistent swell, they drank beer, talked story and had a blast. But that was then… this is now. It was a humble affair back in those days, thrown together on an idea and a shoe string, but the 9 Foot and Single is all grow’d up – the consummate surfing celebration. Wedged into the four days of festivities, a diversity of events encompasses myriad waveriding forms, history, culture and craft, from single fin longboarding, as the name suggests, to traditionally influenced shortboards, bodysurfing, art shows, live bands and music and shaper discourses conveying the mysteries and nuances that take place behind shaping room doors. Judges, trophies and competition may provide a facet of activities, but they are a single feature in a greater picture and that vehemently repels convention. The rule book was sacrificed in funereal ceremony, ashes blown aside in favour of new criteria; innovation, inspiration and enthusiasm. While the surfing component is still a showcase for world class surfing talent, the handcuffs are off and the contestants liberated. But this is only one element of the 9 Foot formula. Days are bisected, beach in the morning, the Deus Temple of Enthusiasm the post-surf destination. With a contest site filled with judging tower, chill-out areas, retail and the Deus Bar & Grill, the black sand of shoreline offers the perfect, shaded spectator venue from which to witness a showcase of some of the world’s finest surfing going down in the globally renowned waves of Batu Bolong and Pererenan’s Canggu Right. With plenty of time to rest up, refuel and wash the salt and sand from your hair, the Temple hosts a swathe of events come sun-down. Shapers – including the legendary Bob McTavish and Deus regular guest shaper, Thomas Bexon – drag up a couch, crack open a Bintang and divulge the traits of their craft, sharing unique, inside insights into their life-learned skills with a planer. Reflecting their wisdom, a panel of surfing invitees join the shapers in conversation, iterating their knowledge in layman’s terms and helping all present gain a greater perspective on the diverse elements it takes to create the perfect surfcraft. Surfing and art are symbiotic, the experiences in the waves reflected on canvas, print and multimedia in a diversity of expression. Rarely is this more present than in the evocative work of Harry Holiday. No stranger to the Deus Gallery, Harry brings new work to the walls, inspired by the surroundings of Canggu and bringing new flavours to his repertoire, including his familiar and much-loved stylings with the addition of multimedia and installation pieces for something a little bit different. Surfing in all its diversity is the lifeblood of the Deus Nine Foot and Single and, whether longboard, shortboard or bodysurf, the local beaches will be abuzz with some of the planet’s most talented waveriders. The legendary Deus Womp Comp does away with all the paraphernalia, stripping things down to basics – just man (or woman) and wave in a bodysurfing showcase. The hollow, powerful peaks of Pererenan Beach are the ideal setting for such an event, breaking close to shore and offering ideal conditions. It’s one thing to ride a wave on a buoyant board, but to expertly slide along a wave with nothing more than a pair of fins, trimming with your body alone across the face, the lip throwing over you as you wrangle with the tempest and maintain control is a true exhibition of talent. Like dolphins gliding effortlessly in the curl, competitors make this challenging discipline look easy, but it is valid testament to their acute water skills. Sun-baked and weary, surfers and spectators alike will congregate at the Temple on the Saturday evening of the festival for the triumphant release of Deus ex Machina’s latest cinematic offering, ‘South to Sian’. The film’s key stars, Harrison Roach and Zye Norris will both be in attendance for Dustin Humphrey’s latest magnum opus, ‘South to Sian’. Harrison and Zye spent numerous months on an exploration of the Indonesian archipelago. Surfing deserted waves, riding the slopes of ancient volcanoes, connecting with friends and collecting a lifetime of memories across 4,000 kilometres of challenging terrain and pristine, Indian Ocean lineups culminating in one hour of breathtaking footage. Prior to its international release, the Deus Temple of Enthusiasm proudly hosts the national premiere of ‘South to Sian’ on the penultimate evening of the Nine Foot and Single. Logging at its finest is the signature format of the Deus Nine Foot and Single, and a wealth of international invitees – some of the finest male and female traditional longboarders on the planet – go toe to nose-hanging toe for the Nine Foot and Ladies’ Log Fest events on the final morning of activities. No legropes, heavily glassed single fins, evoking the style and equipment of halcyon days – some would say surfing as it is meant to be – it is the new face of longboarding, a face born half a century ago come full circle, influenced by innovation, contemporary equipment and technique, but with one foot firmly planted in the past. So too with the Under Nine Foot and Fish Fry events. The former, a contest on shorter boards, far from the modern day, cookie cutter craft of high performance, but the surfing no less dynamic. Single fins, fishes, bonzers – anything goes, so long as it breaks from convention. The latter, the fifth annual Fish Fry, is a chance for all-comers to experience something different. Laid out on the grass of The Lawn, overlooking the rolling swells of Batu Bolong, the Fish Fry draws a quiver of shortboards of myriad form. Open to everyone, the Fish Fry allows the opportunity for surfers of all abilities to widen their perspectives on board design, talk them over with owners, shapers and fellow surfers and even paddle out for a few waves. It’s a chance to try something different and expand your knowledge of surfcraft. Like any good celebration, the Deus Nine Foot and Single is never content with just one more wave before fading away into the sunset to be forgotten until next year. A host of bands invigorate the crowd, weary but no less enthusiastic after four big days. For the second consecutive year, Sons of the East bring their smooth folk rock to the Temple back yard. A resounding success in 2015, the Sons return after a huge year, touring, recording and attracting a strong international following, Sons of the East, like so many art forms, draw on the culture and influences of surfing for their musical inspiration. With a packed house of competitors, friends, the public and doyens of the surfing community, the Wrap Up Party sends echoes that whisper through the year until it all comes back around again. This is the Deus Nine Foot and Single, taking place from 26th to 29th May for four days of music, art and surfing. For more information and a full schedule of events, please visit the official website: deuscustoms.com/9ftandsingle