We arrive in Bali late at night, as you come through passport control you will see a red desk with the word taxi above it. Yes, it may cost you a tiny bit more than one of the other guys randomly standing in the airport whispering “taxi”… But at least you know you’re not going to get kidnapped!! The price to the Kuta area should be between 80-100 thousand Rupiah. the only reason I am stating this price is that we had two other travellers we had met previously coming to Bali, they were staying in our hostel and we told them how much we paid. When they arrived at the airport they were quoted 250 thousand… A bit extreme but they stuck to their guns and eventually paid 80 thousand.
The first morning we head to the beach and do our usual exploring of the area! The beach near us is kuta beach, it’s nice, with soft sand as far as you can see. The beach is self isn’t as calm as what we’ve been used to, but this makes it a paradise for surfers and oh my are there surfers every where. There is a designated spot where people are meant to be allowed to swim without fear of having a surfboard impaled in your head, this rule does not apply. There are too many people surfing for this to be enforced… so swim with care. That’s if you swim at all because the water isn’t that calm, it isn’t warm and it isn’t the clearest of water so there shouldn’t be that much of a desire for you to get in… Unless you’re trying to cool down!
With the amount of people surfing I thought it would be a good idea for me to have a go. I didn’t want to pay for lessons so I paid for board rental on the beach, they will ask you for 50000 rupiah per hour but I offered to pay 75000 for two hours and they didn’t batter an eyelid before agreeing, they even gave me a wetsuit to wear! All kitted up I took the ocean with the memory of the YouTube video I had watched before leaving the hostel… “Surfing for complete idiots”.
The first half hour was hard, struggling to make it out past the breaking waves and struggling to even crouch on the board! The next half an hour gave me confidence… I finally stood up on the board… All be it for about two-seconds. These were the most glorious two-seconds of the first hour, standing on the board while being pushed along by a wave was great… Right before face planting into the ocean and swallowing far too much sea water! This did however give me confidence for the following hour, slowly but surely I stood on the board for half a second longer at a time!
What I write about next are both the best thing ever to happen in the sea and the scariest moment of my life in the sea! After trying to stand on the board, and successfully doing so, all be it on the already, slow moving broken waves, I thought I’d head out to the deeper water and try to get a wave before it broke! I paddle out and wait patiently for a wave… Then I see my opportunity. I face the shore and paddle for my life, as I feel the wave at the back of the board I brace myself for the wave to start to pushing the board along. I feel it start to happen and I pull myself up, slide my right foot to the front and arms out… Proper surfer dude stance! I stand up fully on the board and start surfing back, I imagine I feel like Kate Winslet did at the front of the Titanic with Leonardo Di Caprio holding her, I have a smile on my face as I surf back to shore! I start turning left and right a bit to dodge a few people, I relax and ride this wave back to shore like I know what I’m doing! This happens a few times and I start to feel like a surfer!
Now onto the scariest moment… So I’m surfing wave after wave and start to drift out further and further trying to get bigger waves. I do so successfully for a while until, after paddling out like I normally did I realise that the current has pulled me out a bit further than I was before. I don’t mind and imagine me riding a big wave back in, so I sit on the board and wait. I finally see my chance and start my paddling routine to ride the wave. I stand up on the board and start surfing back… But not for long! The wave breaks right on top of me and I go under. I normally keep calm and push up off the bottom, I couldn’t reach the bottom this far out so I start to panic! I try to swim to the surface and as I reach the top and gasp for air another wave breaks on top of me so I swallow more sea water and go back under. At the same time the board gets pulled away from me and causes the cord to wrap around my feet not letting me kick back up to the surface. I kick as hard as I can 3 or 4 times and snap the cord, make it to the surface and finally breathe in air! I look for the board, swim to it and hold on whilst I catch my breath! I decide that trying to surf back isn’t a good Idea so I slowly but surely paddle back to the surface, using the surf board as a float.
This ended my two hour self taught surf lesson! Although I nearly died I did enjoy it and I am eager to start surfing again! Let’s hope the next time it involves more surfing and less drowning!!