Spin the Wheel-o-Steel to ride the waves of wonder – Deus Slidetober Fest 2013
Part two of the Deus Slidetober Fest 2013 was set on the Sunday. And just before dawn, with only a glow in the east to guide us, we arrived at the beach, walked over the little line of dunes and gazed out at the waves. What we saw stopped us in our tracks. Out front the waves were small, clean and fun. Ideal conditions in which to hold our annual surf comp. Less than 12 hours ago is was a whole different story.
After that brilliant yet bloody hot Saturday up at Kedungal, the dust settled and crowd drifted off to their homes and holiday rental accommodation to rest before cruising the Deus Temple for a Saturday night annealed with bouts of beer and bravado talk of ripping up the dirt track. At the same time a group of us had the rather arduous task of packing our entire circus like collection of odds and sods into the back of several wagons and vans only to set them up on the beach south some 30 minutes away.
The sun headed down behind Java when we arrived at the beach and the area we were to transform for a surf event on the Saturday eve. The seas were angry. Actually downright ugly. Wind blew strongly onshore; the chop seemed to be coming from every direction. Not one surfer was out in what’s usually a couple of over subscribed breaks leaving us thinking that the possibility of getting good waves for tomorrows surfing looked about as likely as Admiral Horatio Nelson getting his eye back after losing it at the siege of Calvi.
Weather is the one thing we have no control over, even here in the island of the gods. It would be what it would be. So we set about the task at hand, erecting our patent pending bamboo ‘Lean-Too’s’ for shade, a little tower for the judges, seating for the hoi polloi and the all-important Deus Bar and Grill. Man is not a camel you know!
Five in the morning came around way to quickly and most of the Deus family stumbled, crawled, rode and walked from our various places of rest to the beach to put the finishing touches to the framework we’d erected the night before.
It became apparent, the moment we got that first clear view of the water, that this was indeed a brand new day. The swells had dropped but they had also cleaned up. The wind at this hour, nothing more than a breath on the cheek. It was mid tide and both the Rivermouth and the Sandbar were pushing out some pretty damn rideable waves.
Let you in on a little secret. If things had been swapped, and we’d had the surf comp the day before, as was the original plan, it would have been a pretty crap event.
It was definitely, game on. Anticipation is one of those wonderful things that produces adrenaline which in turn is amazing at pushing tired bodies onward and upward to get all the last bits in place before spectators and competitors arrived. The 7am start blew out a little, though we had the first heat walking water ward just before 7:20. You expect things like than in the land that coined the term, rubber time.
The surf side of Slidetober has a curious quirk. It was originally introduced to remove comfort zones and put the contestants on something of an equal footing. Nowadays we do it more for fun but it’s still the case that all contestants ride Deus Custom surfboards. A collection of polyester is accumulated from the Temple and various family members quivers, numbered one to five and it’s only from spinning the “Wheel-o-Steel” that randomly selects a number that they choose their upcoming ride.
The first heat was on the right. The Rivermouth. Being the punters that we are, we’d hedged our bets and hired both breaks. And that was a damn good thing. Wasn’t long before the dropping tide started pushing the rocks up and the riders moved over to the left. The Sandbar.
A field of forty was nibbled at throughout the day. There was a fantastic representation from the local Canggu Surf Community, locals from other parts of the island, as well as expats who’ve been part of our surfing family since way back when. Not all of whom were one heat wonders either; a few of these surfed through to the quarters and semi’s. And damn they had some pretty heavy blow-ins to compete against.
The Deus Slidetober Fest was originally this little shindig we had to surf amongst ourselves. It was plonked at the start of October. Think of it as the full stop at the end of the busy summer. With May, June, July and August behind us we could do with some hair letting down, lighthearted fun. What rose to the top was curious little grudge matches and great mash ups with mates.
In response to the rising heat through the morning, the Bintang had started to flow the crowd huddled in under the shade of our ‘Lean-Too’s’ and tents for the black sand beach had the potential to melt a layer or two from the hardiest feet.
We’ll tell you what’s a strange sight at the beach on a hot day… a group of about 50 all wearing black leathers, jeans and boots. The Indonesian Yamaha Bison Club had heard through our major weekend sponsor, Yamaha, that we had some beach side action and decided to pop their collective heads in. Was great to see them there.
With only the semi’s and the final left, the cycling of the tide once again moved the contestants off the Sandbar left over to the Rivermouth right. The on shore was in and conditions were crumbling yet the level of surfing, through these final heats, remained extremely high.
If you were only allowed to pick just one of the heats and say that was the best, the one where everyone stopped, stood and just watched. The one that was the essence of the day it would have had to be the first semi. Pitted against each other were two of Bali’s, scratch that, Kuta’s, best know and finest surfers; Marlon Gerber and Wayan “Betet” Merta. Now add to the mix local ripper and current king of the Canggu Surf Community, Sodok, a young guy whose both a great surfer and because he’s grown right here possesses local knowledge in spades. To round out the four was Byrce Young, and to answer that fast forming question in your frontal lobe, yes his dad’s name is Nat. Things on the beach seemed irrelevant while they were in the water. They matched each other wave for wave. No one on the shore had the foggiest idea of who’d come out on top.
The final four rose from the forty. Sodok in green representing the local Cangu Surf Community riders. Joel Fitzgerald in red who strolled up the beach around eight that morning asking casually if there was any places left in the field. Bryce Young who took a massive stack on the Moto-X track the day before and would be nursing a twinge in his back for a week to come and Deus family member Harrison Roach, the only person to be in the finals of both the bikes and the surf.
We had a short break between semi’s and final. Enough time for a round of Bintangs for the judges and officials and a photo moment of the fab four in Soo bean bags before all and sundry grabbed up their boards. Interestingly enough, all of these guys had chosen boards shaped by Rick Pavel at the Deus Temple. Surfward they went, dancing across the sole scorching black sand and diving into a thirty-minute final.
And that’s where it finished, well the beach end of things anyway. The order of the four unknown until later that night. The surfers came in, the judges rustled papers, and the crowd finished their beers and drifted off. Most went to where they laid their head. If they were sensible. A few hours spent recharging before heading to the Deus Temple, and the final piece in the puzzle that is the Deus Slidetober Fest. The Wrap Party.
Sundays always seem to be pretty busy in the back yard at Deus Temple for the sesh. Coming off such a huge weekend kinda made that times two. The yard was packed by seven. DJ Ozlem had been laying down beats all evening and by the time we were calling for the winners of the moto fest, there was more than a pregnant pause as they fought their way through the heaving crowd. It had become organic. Moving enmesh to the beats.
Come final four for the surf time and we once again digressed into microphone banter as Harrison Roach, Bryce Young, Joel Fitzgerald & Sodok made their way through the tightly packed throng.
It had been a pretty close final and people were once again in more camps than a Boy Scout jamboree about where people came. We should have run a book on it, could have made a little on the sly. Let us tell you now exactly what happened. Coming in fourth and representing CSC beautifully all day was Sodok. Third was the very talented Harrison Roach. Third Bryce Young and taking out the Deus Slidetoberfest Surf 2013, Joel Fitzgerald.
A quick throw to Ozlem while we assembled musicians and clicked pretty quickly over the uber talented Gypsy Cavemen & Dialog Dini Hari.
What time it finished?… no idea. When people drifted off?… about that we’re equally vague. A few side parties did spring up and more than one household saw the sunrise. It had been an amazing weekend and now it was over. It’d be another year until we saw you again Slidetober, dear old friend. Already looking forward to it.