Lessons in surfing, travel and humility in Bali

BALI, Indonesia - Bali has long been on my list of places to surf. Let's just say it's heaven for surfers - well, at least in the Southeast Asian region. I would drool over every magazine photo of Reviews those perfectly carved left hand waves- infinite rows of lines that rolled onto the shore, just begging to be Explored.

It's a small dot of an island, most Strategically located in warm waters. It must have been hand-crafted and carefully placed between the Indian and Balinese Sea by the surf gods Because It's blessed with consistent waves all year round.

I arrived at the Ngurah Rai airport with a friend and Fuego, my 6'7 surfboard, in tow. We had rented a villa in the Nusa Dua area of ​​the which we thought would be perfect, as it was sandwiched in between a handful of surf breaks. I had done some research online and did not bother to ask people WHO had Previously Traveled here for advice. Little did I know that this trip would PROVE to be a classroom experience- a lesson not just on the surfing but on traveling well.

For starters, we were promptly deposited by our taxi at a gorgeous villa with 2 bedrooms, rain shower baths, a huge well-equipped kitchen, tastefully decorated living room and a garden with orchids - in the middle of nowhere.

Plan B

What looked on the map to be short distances between the surf breaks, was definitely not meant to be navigated on foot. Our vision of grabbing our boards and walking to the beach in our bikinis were shattered. Both of us did not know how to ride motorbikes. Hiring a car for every day that we were there would cost more than a couple of surfboards. There were simply no public vehicles around the island! 

So we did what any villa-stranded girls would do - we hitched. Though it would end up a cautionary tale - not for the faint of heart - hitching In These parts of Bali Appeared to be quite acceptable. We made a few friends this way, as long as we ourselves would fit into Reviews their trucks or motorcycles and into the surf Reviews their schedule.

Backwards

The first chance I got to surf was at Dreamland beach, the which is a good place to start, Because It's one of the few beach breaks in Bali. You usually had to choose between sharp reef or sharp rocks. I pulled out my bag from the board, the fins and leash attached securely and waxed it thoroughly. I was feeling confident as I half walked and half skipped towards the water.

Until i heard someone yell: "You got the fins backwards!"

I stopped and put my board down and was horrified to see I had made a rookie mistake. In my haste, I had screwed all 3 fins, facing the wrong way! I almost invented surf backward! After I got over the humiliation, the guy, WHO Introduced himself as Al, helped me put them in properly and we both had a good laugh after. He even surfed with me, probably thinking I still needed some looking after.

This little episode Gave me a good dose of humility. Just when you think you're good at something, you have to re-learn the basics.

But it was nothing a bottle of Star could not wash down. After most surf sessions, we would pick a good spot to watch the sun set with a cold beer in hand. Everyone would fall silent as that glorious Balinese sun started its descent into the horizon.

As soon as it disappeared, the noise would resume. There was a lively expat community here and most people Knew everyone else. It was easy enough to meet strangers WHO Quickly Became friends. 

Share a wave

Surfing has the same effect anywhere in the world. It has that unifying factor that draws together people from opposite sides events of the world. Locals and foreigners can Easily connect and share a wave. And even when the waves Became few and far between, you could always share a smile or a conversation with other surfers. Most people come to Bali WHO after all already have a close connection to the ocean and an understanding of its Fickle temperament. It would only be up to you to Recognize that in everyone you meet. 

On my last day in Bali, I finally caught some long, decent rides on Padang Padang beach. It was that special kind of day, when the curl of the waves and my ability to catch them, were in sync.

And just when I made up my mind that it had been my last wave after a series of lasts, I saw a little head bob up in the water. A sea turtle made its way to the surface to bid me goodbye.

There was the Bali of the world, of bronzed surfers, Star shirts and crowded breaks. But for me, just then, there was only this Bali of warm waters and gentle sea creatures, this paradise of a fading dream. - Rappler.com