When planning a surf trip one envisions gliding down the face of a crystal clear perfect reeling wave shortly after having your passport stamped at immigration. But the reality is that travel of any kind involves a fair bit of missioning before one can lavish in the fact that you find yourself in tropical paradise.
Exiting the airport in Denpasar, Bali is like being slapped in the face with a damp, sun-warmed towel infused with the sweet smell incense. Arriving in a foreign country with a sleeping tablet hang over is not ideal when having to negotiate taxi fares to your hotel. Remembering that we are in a land where karma rules, we put our haggling with our taxi driver to rest and agree upon a rate to get us to our room in Balangan. After 17 hours of traveling we find ourselves in gridlock. Over an hour of weaving through the unorganized throngs of traffic, we arrive at the paradise of Balangan Garden Bungalow.
Minutes later we are in our bikinis and strolling down to the beach. The sight of golden sands washed by azure blue waters make us finally feel that our trip has started. The waves are small, crumbling and crowded so getting our ‘bronze on’ shifts to No. 1 priority. Ah the beauty of a ‘girls surf trip’.
We finish the afternoon with a celebratory Bintang and Nasi Goreng whilst watching the sun melt into the dense tropical storm at sea. We make it back to our bungalow seconds before the heavens open.
Bintang and Nasi Goreng
The waves are a little better and less crowded so we paddle out for our first surf of the trip. A set wave breaks on my head and washes over me like soft bubblebath water- quite different from the heavy cold water beatings we’re accustomed to in the Cape. I pop out the back of one such wave giggling and revel in the thought that we have two whole weeks of this. We catch a couple of fun, fast rides before heading into the madness that is Kuta. Two hours is more than enough for us to get our fix of Asian-Western mayhem before escaping back to the tranquility of Balangan.
Balangan Beach Surf Spot
A seemingly life-threatening 4- hour car journey from Balangan spits us out along the Western edge of Bali at the seaside village of Medewi, famed for its long, rippable left hand point. We arrive at our surf camp close to sunset, greeted with howling onshore winds and soupy looking seas. Surrendering to the fact that it is going to be a day without waves we reach for a Bintang and enjoy a traditional Balinese fish barbecue for dinner.
The Medewi Boardriders have secured the Point for the day leaving us transplants scrambling for close-outs at an average beach break a short walk from the camp. A combo of reading, eating and chatting to fellow campers follows. Oh what bliss to have no ‘urgent and pending matters’.
Chilling at Brown Sugar Surf Camp.
6:30am surfs up and we’re frothing for some good waves. A great morning session follows. The waves are so long that your legs start to burn. The comradery in the water is great as we all hoot for each other with each drop and turn.
Surfing Medewi Point, Indonesia Medewi Point Break, Bali.
The waves are pumping again. A two hour morning session is followed by a quick breakfast refuel before paddling out for another two hours of bliss. By 5pm I sit Bintang in hand singing out loud to Lady Gaga feeling completely accomplished with two surfs and a massage under the belt. This is the life.
Medewi Point Break.
It’s raining. Properly pouring down. And has been since 5pm yesterday. We drive down to the Point for a surf check. Neptune serves up mushy, chocolate milkshake coloured waves. Not quite the tropical perfection we’d signed up for. Hesitant to brave the murky waters we head back to camp. It’s only 9am and it feels like its going to be a very long day. Two hours later we find ourselves geared up and navigating the treacherous river crossing neccesary when approaching the Point by foot from camp. The sight of a man relieving himself upstream sends my lower limbs into a faster cyclical motion. Amazing all three of us make it across without being washed out to sea. The paddle out is tough. Strong sideshore winds and cross current has us all paddling for the dark grey horizon and seemingly not gaining any distance. We somehow manage to catch a few foam balls that dissipate into flat water. We are amongst twenty or so hopefuls waiting for that one perfect wave to end the session. But alas the paddle of shame after a lame ride in the foam is how it all ends. A worthwhile mission none the less. You never know unless you go.
Tomorrow we depart for the next part of our adventure to the beautiful, tranquil island of Nusa Lembongan. Part two of our adventure to follow.