Tangled up at Old Man’s

Went up to Old Man’s this morning, pretty good conditions but also pretty big waves, not to mention a big crowd. At the end of the session a massive set came in with waves up to 10 feet. We paddled hard to get outside them, and were lucky to make it past the first one (boards were flying left and right behind us), but we didn’t make it past the second one… Eivind and I both got washed, and apparently we were a little too close to each other, because when we surfaced, we realized that our leashes had tangled up together. Another wave broke in front of us, and we didn’t have time to untangle, so we weathered through another wash. Then another one, before we finally made it out of the impact zone and into the channel. The damage report showed that Eivind’s board took a pretty heavy beating, with a fin missing (!) and a couple of good-size dings. My board wasn’t hurt nearly as much, just a small ding on the tail. Luckily none of us got hit by the boards. So, we had to pay another visit to the board-doctor. He told us that it’s actually a pretty easy fix, and both should be good to go again by tomorrow afternoon. Got some valuable experience today.

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Leaving Balicamp

Our three weeks at the Balicamp has come to an end. We’ve enjoyed the stay, great coaches, staff, food, accommodation, and company of other guests. I feel ready to take on some waves on my own, but I’ll probably miss the coaching and the advise for positioning out in the water, being at the right place at the right time is kind of important. However, it’s time to spread the wings and fly on our own for a while now, before we book another surfcamp. First, we’re heading into Seminyak for a few days, and the nonchalant plan is to take it from there. Here is a sample of photos from our stay at the Balicamp.

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My first surfboard!

July 24th, 2014. The date when I purchased my very first surfboard! Pretty stoked now 🙂

I went for a 7 foot 2 inch board from Vision Surfboards out of Australia. 22 inch wide and 2 inch 3/4 thick. Should suit my level of skill, height, and my weight of 98 kg well (has plenty of volume). It’s hand-shaped and made of epoxy, making it both light and strong. Gotta be careful with it though, the hardness of the material means that it’s not very good at absorbing energy, so it dents easily. The price tag was 6 million Indonesian rupiah. That included fins from Shapers, leash, boardbag, and wax. Definitely a fair deal. Tomorrow morning I’ll get it wet for the first time, almost feel like some kind of ceremony and perhaps even a baptism at the beach is required ;-)))

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Surfing at Kedungu

This week we’ve been surfing at Kedungu, a pretty sweet reef-break spot. Been riding a 7 foot 8 inch bamboo-board this week. My main focus these days has been on 1) getting the timing of catching a wave right and 2) turning and wave orientation. Quite a few waves go by where I’m either too late or too early getting up, but I feel I’m improving a little bit each day. And when I catch a wave I need to orientate better, like in the video below where I stay up high on the wave for way too long, I should be going more downwards to gain more speed and prolong the surfing. But I’ll get there, it’s only a matter of keep pushing, and I’m having a ton of fun out there, plus I’m riding pretty good size waves for a beginner 🙂

My mate Eivind has been surfing very well! I’m trying to catch up with him as he has a few weeks more experience than me, but so far he’s still a little ahead. Here’s a video of him from Kedungu.

Unfortunately, Eivind got beaten up by the shorebreak today. Got hit in the face by the board and hurt his foot being washed around, so he got a little limp now. Hopefully he’ll be back on the board soon!

The conditions out in the water can get pretty rough sometimes, is my first-hand experience so far. I got a black eye last week from hitting the board (not so bad that it bothered me in any way), but I also got some slight pain in my left bicep. I’m pretty sure it happened during an Eskimo-roll, trying to wrestle for the board with the wave might have caused a small stretch in the muscle. Luckily, I don’t use the bicep much when I’m paddling, and it’s not painful, just a little sore sometimes after a session. I might give it a few days rest after this week, we’ll see how it goes. Some minor injuries must be expected in this game, there’s power in the waves out there, but that’s also part of what makes this sport so much fun! 🙂

I also had to lend a hand to some poor German girl the other day. I was in the impact zone where the waves are breaking and coming towards you one after another, and saw a board without its owner. Suddenly a girl comes up from the deep blue, and she was panicking, yelling “I can’t breath” over and over again. So, I tried my best to calm her down and got her up on the board. I told her I’d go back to the beach with her, so she was laying on the board and I pushed her to the channel and paddled towards the shore. We were about 100 meters out, so it took a while to get back, and the water was a little choppy that day. Half way back a fellow from Bali joined in and we got the girl safely back to the shore. Felt pretty good to be able to help out like that 🙂

Surf film festival

Last evening we headed over to Seminyak for the Ombak Bali International surf film festival 2014. The festival rigged up right on the beach attracted a good-size crowd who kicked back in bean-bags and on blankets scattered about. Several short-films were enjoyed such as Chasing Unicorns, Out in the Lineup, Tierra de Patagones, and FV-25 (filmed in Norway), along with beer and candied popcorn. Good times!

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Coffeelicious

There are plenty of things to do and see between the surfing here in Bali. A visit at a tea- and coffeeplantation is an example of a tasty way to spend an afternoon. After a tour through the plantation, we were handed a set of numerous samples of tea and coffee, all organically grown. Talk about joyride for the taste buds! A few of the absolute favorites ended up being invested in, and are surely to be enjoyed after future surfing sessions.

At the plantation, we even enjoyed a cup of Kopi Luwak, which happen to be the most expensive type of coffee in the world. However, at a price per cup of 50.000 Indonesian Rupiah, equivalent of about 4.2 USD, it was affordable even for a couple of backpackers like ourselves. I suspect it runs for a few times more back in Norway! 🙂

 

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Surfing at Old Man’s

This morning at 8 o’clock we went down to a place called Old Man’s on Canggu beach. Conditions were just plain awesome, just a small breeze and almost glassy water. Waves were breaking steadily and it wasn’t too crowded. Since I dented my board yesterday, I tried out a new one today. Went down from 9 feet to 8 feet and 5 inches long, a 23 inch wide soft-top. After a couple of attempts where I didn’t have enough pressure on my front-foot and fell off backwards, I was able to catch some good ones on my own 🙂 Tomorrow I’ll start working more on wave orientation, and try to do some more turns.

 

 

Doctor’s appointment for my board

This morning we went surfing at Batu Bolong. There was a pretty strong onshore wind which made the waves quite fast, and the waves were about 5-6 feet, and the water was a little choppy. Not the easiest conditions, so I’m very happy to say that I was able to catch two green waves (one on my own), and I rode them for a long time. Unfortunately, I must have hit a reef at some point, since my board got dented. I also got a small scratch on my knee today, but that’s nothing. So, the board I’ve been using needs to go to the board-doctor. Luckily it can be repaired.

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Butterfly Park

Today we went to a place called Butterfly Park. Eivind was so excited he could barely sleep last night! 😉 As expected, it was a little far out, but also pretty cool seeing some magnificently colored and size HUGE butterflies. Plus the garden in which they live is beautiful, and there was plenty of space for them to fly around. There was also a butterfly hatchery located in the center of the garden, where we learned that many of the butterflies only have a lifetime of five to seven days after they hatch! All in all, pretty mindblowing stuff 🙂

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First week of surfing

It’s Friday which concludes the first week of surfing. We’ve been heading out every morning between 7 and 8, mostly to Kuta Beach. This means that we get up about half an hour earlier for a light breakfast, and the drive to the beach is about 45 minutes. Then we surf for about an hour and a half, before driving home for a solid second breakfast. The food at the Balicamp is fantastic, and with the appetite that we work up during surfing, coming back to the camp for second breakfast is such a good way to wrap up a session.

Since Tuesday I’ve been riding a big old 9 foot board, which suits both my weight and my level of skill well. Happy to say that progress has been made every day, and I’ve been able to catch a couple of green waves on my own, and some more with the help of my coaches. Nevertheless, I still feel clumsy like some sort of hippo out there, especially getting up on the board. Watching videos of myself reveals quite a few technical details which requires immediate attention and improvement. And perhaps most important, I need to get more of a feel of it, get the timing right, and build up more paddling strength. But it’s so much fun! Even though I ended up getting thrown around like a rag doll a few times this week, got caught in the so called washing machine.

One of the neatest tricks I’ve learned this week is to Eskimo roll. When you lay on the board heading out and you see a wave building up and breaking in front of you, you simply roll around so that you lay protected beneath the board. As you feel the wave washing over you, you grab a tight hold of the top of the board, and give it a kick at the bottom. That way, the wave passes above you, you can roll over again, and continue paddling out.