Tuesday, September 27, 2016

From Krui with Love // PART 1


Krui has occupied space in my mind for the last 5 years after first hearing about it from a friend. Coming from a bodyboard riding history, this place really caught my attention with its abundance of shallow ledges and perfect beach breaks. This wave rich coast of South Sumatra has been my base for the last 4 weeks.


Moments of glory

After Bali, William and I had not scheduled our next stop. We had a few neighbouring islands in mind, each with their own pros and cons, but it was with news of my homeboys JJ and Chandre choosing to visit Krui that my mind was sold. After travelling for 2 months at this point the prospect having some familiar souls around seemed like a worthy treat. It is really unique to be able to enjoy the spoils of a distant land with friends from home. Especially a place like this which has been a childhood dream for all of us and a topic of major desire on all of the coastal drives in search of waves back home.

"Happiness real only when shared" - C.J McCandless

Mr Bodenstein AKA King Pharaoh AKA Koning/Brother/Rasta in command

Krui is not nearly the isolated surf town I had in mind. The town is quite developed and highly populated. Unfortunately in Indonesia, population and pollution go hand in hand and that takes quite bit of the perfection away from this tropical paradise. 

There are many surf camps along this wave rich coast and as a result the popular spots are often crowded. Keywords in that phrase being "popular spots" as there are many spots along the coast here that are unsurfed and on absolute offer for those that dare.

I have been blessed with some great surfs on this leg of the journey, and the surf has been consistent, but perfect it is not. Moments of perfection, sure, I have seen some of the best waves this journey in my visit to Krui. The beauty of this coastline is not the pure perfection one might expect of a destination in Indonesia but rather the consistency and the variety of spots to suit the ever changing conditions that come along with the tropics.

Postcard perfection or tropical wasteland?

As of September 13, I have been trotting this neck of the woods as the dodo does AKA on my ace. My travelling partner Will left back to South Africa and my good friends Chandre and JJ went to sea in search of bluer barrels and greener pastures. 



It has been an interesting last 2 weeks to say the least. Travelling has always been a serious interest of mine, having travelled up and down the coasts almost as a ritual on the regular. Travelling alone is something I always dreamed of, to the extent that I put it up on a pedestal where it seemed flawless. This is untrue and something I am still in the process of learning. Like all situations there are definite pros and cons. What I understand to be the pro of this approach to travel would be the absolute flexibility of the schedule, own pace and own space! Unfortunately the cons to this schedule are the moments where just feel lonely and out of place. Having a travel partner definitely helps in situations where you just need something to relate to. Having someone around to rejoice with when you are absolutely stoked or just got the wave of the day is also an added bonus.

Definitely out of place here

Alienated

That being said, I am a firm believer that growth is only achievable when you leave your comfort zone and it is safe to say that this first solo stint has been out of my comfort zone. I have already and am continuously learning heaps about myself and this all translates into positive progression of the being.

Captain Kyle over and out




Thursday, September 22, 2016

Bali as I understand things



Hanging super loose among the Bingin crowd batch as captured by Mr Connor Hughes

Bali is the most populated and westernised region that I have seen in Indonesia on my galavants. Ofcourse this is the place visited by most surfers, for a variety of reasons but undoubtedly the biggest of these being the buzzing social aspect. This is where the honeys hang and where the comforts of a western lifestyle will be found. 

Unfortunately it is not all as sweet as expected. Expect serious crowding both on land and in the ocean, LOTS of pollution because this nation is unfortunately very poor and corrupt and their last concern seems to be environmental issues.  

Di turtle mon in Gili Trawangan

Bali was the second stop of the trip. It was Williams second trip to Bali and for me the first. Expectations had been building due to the isolation at the last leg of our journey and the unfortunate flat spell three days before leaving.  Arriving in Bali was exciting and the prospect of meal options and internet connection had the boys frothing. Straight out of the airport we were greated with our first hustle who insisted on charging us atleast twice what we knew to pay for our first taxi ride. Luckily, being South Africans we have a stubborn nature and got somewhat of a deal considering the circumstances. This was the start of a two week relaxation period and a change of scenery before heading off for more waves.

Binging sunset vibe as captured by Bruno Furtado
The surf schedule tuned down considerably when arriving in Bali. First stop was Canggu, a vibing coastal establishment that is pretty hip and home to some of the hiphop & happening instagram beaming coolcat hangouts. Canggu has a long beach scattered with rocks outcrops that shape the sand banks to form a pretty consistent sandbank. The waves are crowded though, all day, with a mixture of kooks and pros and a whole lot in between. I surfed here only 3 times in the week we visited. 



In the second week of Bali we made our way to the Bukit Peninsula to see some of the more famous breaks Bali has to offer. This place is beautiful. Sheer cliffs drop off into the ocean which is perfectly angled to accommodate a great selection of left handed breaks. One catch, it requires some kick in the swell and there are at least another 200 surfers located on the cliff face who are just as impatient as you. Surfing here was interesting. Every surf I had there was confrontation in the water. This place is intense and pretty dangerous, on a few occasions I had boards thrown out behind a duckdive but fortunately no casualties. That being said, I got barrelled every day and it was amazing to be surfing at a spot I have seen in photographs all of my childhood. All in all, I really enjoyed the Bukit.


Impossibles

It was great to reconnect with friends in Bali, and the food is great. If you have a big budget there is alot to spend money on in Bali! Great bars with good nightlife, surf shops with all of the major brands, overpriced beers, you name it they got it. Unfortunately in the scope of a 3 month journey it seemed silly to be spending such a ration of the budget on social life when the real reason we came to this neck of the woods (Indo in general) was to ride major waves and as a result, on the 1st of September we packed up shop and made our way back to Ngurah Rai domestic departures to seek greener pastures and blue tubes.

New day new adventure

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mentawai Island

As previously mentioned, I will be going into further detail about each leg of the Indonesian Odyssey that myself and Will embarked on. The first leg of the trip took us off the west coast of Sumatra to a rather well known, yet untouched, island in the Mentawai island chain.

The Mentawai's have an aura about them. The name of the island chain alone leaves me wanting to know more about them. Paradise is the most accurate descriptive noun to describe this peachy piece of planet Earth. 


Masao post evening session

Getting here was no simple task. A total of two 12 hour international flights, 1 domestic flight, 2 ferry's, many a taxi ride, and what seemed like endless hours in airports made the 4 day trek one to remember. Stepping off of the speedboat which took us on the final leg of the journey was a surreal feeling. Vertigo from 16 hours on sea, we had arrived!

White beaches and palm trees are just what the Dr ordered

Will shredding shaka's
Being my first visit to Indonesia and my first surf trip abroad I had no idea what to expect in terms of living conditions. I was pleasantly surprised by the standard of accommodation on this tiny island. There are 4 options on the side we stayed all priced according to what offer and all very reasonable. The crowd at these surf camps are absolute legends. Anyone who has made their way out this far, knows what they are doing. No kooks, no dickheads, all legends! Made some awesome friends out here and hopefully I will be able to reconnect with each any everyone of them. You guys all helped make this leg of the journey memorable!

Will planning a sneak attack sabotage on the Barrenjoey
The waves we were greeted with were unreal. Surfing everyday 2-3 times for 4 weeks was unreal. The level of surf here is phenomenal and the near perfect waves really allow you to surf as good as you can. It almost feels unreal. It turns out that we arrived on a real lucky run of swell and for the 4 weeks we stayed, there was atleast one major swell each week with perfect 2-4ft waves every other day.

Myself on a charmer on August 1. Photo by Chris Love

Quality Sir

What I have been dreaming of for years

All in all, this leg of the journey was most fruitful. Amazing waves had by all, great friendships made, and a whole lot learn't! See the video below from waves we had on the 1st of August (Just so happened to be Will's birthday) 


Next blog post will cover the segment of the trip spent in and around Bali.




Thursday, September 15, 2016

Indo you son of a bitch

I have been postponing this moment endlessly for some reason or another at every stop of this journey. The blog has received a facelift and for now I am back at it.

As of this coming Monday, I have been in Indonesia for 2 months. I feel like I have been here all year. I should probably add that this is my first time visiting the East as well as my first solo trip as a free lancing beach guru.

Now let us rewind the story by 60 days and view it from that perspective. The trip started off in absolute paradise on the Mentawai Island of Sipora in the small village of Katiet. There was no shortage of froth and even through the tough travel schedule and with seriously active sweat glands while acclimatising, the boys were itching for a fix. Three weeks was spent in this honey hole and this was my introduction to surfing in Indonesia. Thereafter the decision was made to visit Bali, the land of the ever growing billboards, to see what the hype was about. Bali has waves for sure, catching them is another story and even though I was able to surf everyday it was kind of weird and not too satisfying sharing the lineup with people from all odd walks of life and with questionable seaman etiquette. 

This brings me to my current situation. I am in Krui, Sumatra. I have heard of this place for the last 5 years, and as a bodyboard rider it was always on top of the list for spots to visit in Indonesia. As a surfer this region never really appealed to me because the waves seemed more boogie friendly. All of this, however, being said without much research being done. I ended up here because two of my best friends from back home chose to come here and at this point in my journey I was frothing to connect with the buggers and share some strong chit chat. The waves here are sick! I am located in a homestay about 100m from the take off zone of a delightful little left hand reef with two other reefs within 10 minutes via the shoelace express. 

Currently, I am the only customer in the surf camp and this complicates matters as it has been three days and counting since I have made a conversation with another human here. Fortunately the internet is bullet fast and as those who follow my instagram (go do it @as_the_dodo_do) will have noticed the creative story's as the never ending days tick by. 

I will be blogging on my time in the Ments, in Bali, and in Krui over the next week so check sharp for updates. Yewwww!




Picking one from the Bingin circus and taming it

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The way of the educated specie

Is a confusing way of life. My mind has grown significantly since the start of the year. This can be attributed to the extra off time now available since the end of my tertiary studies and the start of my life as an unemployed graduate.

Coming from a pretty tense 4th year, the freedom was quite overwhelming and I climbed straight into a pretty thorough sporting schedule. Before I could look again Summer was on his way out which brings us to my current situation. 

It is most unfortunate that for the average Joe out there without many connections, the most suited way to get into travelling would mean earning some Rands the old fashioned way using your man hours. This is the route I have taken for the next while before my Indonesian adventure in July. 

I am very fortunate to not yet have to use this lifestyle as a way to make ends meet and pay bills, it is purely for recreation, but fuck have I realized the many flaws in our societies generally accepted way of living. Most importantly I have found that within the 8-5 Monday to Friday way of the world there is no time to even think about what you are doing and what direction you have chosen. Well that is atleast my personal account of the setup. I find myself spending my off time just trying to slow the pace of my world down. Let alone trying to fit in all of my sports and passions. While trying to remain socially satisfied.  

I hope to find a sustainable equilibrium between having, doing, and being as soon as possible. Please!