“But the hard cored mongrels remained loyal to the original village of Kuta which had now become known as the 'Ghetto'.” Words and images by Cory
Cometh the hour cometh the man, and Sean Peggs was the man! The MVP, ace, call him what you like, he was a demon in the pit. He was also the perfect travelling companion cause he didn't fall asleep for the whole days drive like the groms did.
Back when the waves of Bali were first discovered in the 1970's the nomadic surfers of the day centralised themselves in a small quiet fishing village nestled in amongst the coconut trees known as Kuta. Within a few years and with the whole population of surfers from throughout the world all wanting a piece, the village grew beyond what could ever have been thought imaginable by those pioneers to become the epicentre of partying, cheap shopping and local eating. Whatever you wanted you could get in Kuta and I mean anything. With basic accommodation at bargain prices this was exactly what surfers of the time wanted, after all they were here for a long time not an expensive time, and needed only two things apart from waves, cheap food and a roof over their heads. The village became a town and then became a bustling city in a way, shopping malls popped up in place of home-stays and markets, and what many had known changed. In this time surfers changed to, no longer was it a sport associated with the cheap and nasty. Those with money visiting for only a short time turned their nose up at a the sight of a rock hard stained mattress with a fan suspended on the roof about to fall off as it wobbled from side to side. They wanted, air-con, pools, salons to get their after surf facials at, and a nice quiet cocktail bar so that they could sit and relax. Sharing a heaving dance floor full of sweating Ozzies donning Bintang singlet's while sipping on a lethal dose of chemical infused orange juice wasn't their idea of a good night out, they can't of been hardcore surfers. With this change of attitude the whole surfer movement expanded out to other areas that became known as upper class in a way, places such as Seminyak, Canggu, Nusa Dua, all began to cater for those with a bit more
“Nek minute they had an all-nighter and were dribbling on about some super model love of their lives they had met. Ahhhhh you’re only a grom once.”
coin, who preferred organic food cafes, sipping on latte's and Italian restaurants. But the hard cored mongrels remained loyal to the original village of Kuta which had now become known as the 'Ghetto'. This is where you'll find those core surfers who spend plenty of time in Indo, the best surf shops, the best food, the kind that doesn't make you sit up all night shitting ya pants, and the iconic figures and characters of the island. They are all here in the Ghetto and that's also where you'll find us! We had lounged back into the ghetto in between trips for a bit of R&R after spending 12 hours a day at the beach and in the surf for a week, a little worn out you may say. However, the groms, Elliot Paerata-Reid and Dune Kennings were quick into action, and after pretending they were sooooo tired and sooooo hungry, reckoned they were just going to get a feed and hit the bed bug infested sack. Nek minute they had an all-nighter and were dribbling on about some super model love of their lives they had met. Ahhhhh you're only a grom once so who was I to stand over them like the Sergeant of fun police, after all I was far too busy with my main man Chong down at the local gym pumping iron and
working on my guns to worry about spoiling the greatest night of two groms lives. At the gym? I hear you say, weren't you relaxing? Yep well to some of us on this planet pressing a cool 200-kilos on the bench is quite relaxing. The groms parents had asked that they didn't get caught up in the Kuta vortex as it has become known, and they hadn't. After all there was only two empty bottles of Absolute Vodka beside their beds, so it was obviously a very mellow night, and they even put on a brave performance and were up ready to hit the waves at 5am only later admitting they just got home ten minutes before I arrived, to which they seemed quite surprised when I said, "Yeah I know." Come on groms, give me some credit, you're not the only two on the planet that were young once. During this down time in Kuta I always like to get a damn good massage, the kind you pay $100 or more for at home that only costs $5 here. I like the unhappy ending type, not the immediate happy ending ones that are so widely sought after on this island. You see when a grown man sinks his elbows into your back, then suspends himself from the roof pretending you are a cockroach and just when you can’t breathe anymore he sticks bull horns full of flames onto your back and then sends you on your way bruised and battered, yet three days later when you can finally move properly you feel like a new man and that's the happy ending in a way. With several days of near flat conditions our stay in the ghetto was perfectly timed, yet with a new swell showing on the charts it was time to make plans and blast on out of here. Sean Peggs was another lad who cruised on into the ghetto after spending most of his trip based up at the Bukit Peninsula readying himself for the Padang contest, and he was immediately keen to go on a mission of discovery. Chong, who many may know, just like the pop musician Prince is the man formerly known as Indian, lives in Bali now and is a man possessed when it comes to the surf forecast charts. His claim to fame is that he has never, and he says never, been wrong when it comes to being in the right place at the right time. Laugh we all may, and yes we did, but during the trip when he was getting calls at all hours of the night from heads of industry and some of the world’s best surfers all wanting to know where and when to go, well there must be something in that. Chong laid our options for this next swell down to the groms, and the reasons we shouldn't go here or there, with tides, winds, and size all being factors. And then talked it up how much fun it would be to drive 32 hours and sleep all night on the luxurious ferries on the island crossings. So when only several hours into the trip we hit a snag not having the original registration papers and we had been impounded by the police, you could see the look on the groms faces and knew they were thinking, "we could be having the second greatest night of our lives". In intense negotiations that could have swung either way the police filled their pockets with our bribes and with a wry smile and a cool stroke of the moustache showed us the way to the front of the queue and onto the luxurious ferry with bunk beds awaiting. Well you should have seen the look on the groms faces when we learned that this was the worst ferry in the world with no seats, coaches, or beds for hire, not even a dirty old pvc mattress to spend the night on. Swift negotiations began to take place between the groms and staff of the ferry who reckoned they could get a "very very big cardboard" to sleep on instead of bunking down on the diesel stained vomit soaked steel floors. Well when they came back with one unfolded cardboard box, which they wanted $20 to rent for the night, I was out of there. A true 'Only in Indo' moment, especially when it was explained to him that the box wasn't even big enough to put one person on let alone three, and his comeback was, “you can all lie on different angles with your head on a corner each,” gold! I found a life raft to snuggle into up on the top deck and although I was sprayed every time the ferry smashed into an oncoming wave in the darkness of the night feeling like it was about to roll at least I didn't have to contend with the stench of spew and managed a few
hours of shut eye. Arriving in the port of Lembar in Lombok, home of all the biggest beat offs in the world, I found the groms all curled up inside a piece of carpet like a human tortilla, negotiations must have come up a level from the cardboard box. It was 4am so unfortunately we didn't get to meet all our good mates that love to hang out at this port and pull knives on international guests, I really missed that and if we didn't have waves to go and score we would have loved to stick around. Throughout Indo all the surfing becomes focussed on the perfect reefs that the islands are renowned for, and after all most people surf beaches back at home all year round so the reefs are what they come here for, but if you check out a map of the coastline you will see that Indo is around 90% beaches and yet not many of these ever get surfed. While most are on the windward coasts facing the trade winds if you get up early enough they are in fact offshore and due to the smaller swell that we had at the start of our journey this is where we ended up, at a random beach with no name, scoring the best barrels of our trip so far before the trades kicked in and blew it out. For two days we hit this beach with no others in sight and it became our new fave, who knows if it gets like that all the time and who cares, it was for our stay and that's all that matters. The new swell had begun to build and it was off to the next ferry Sumbawa bound and to an old favourite Lakey Peak, the older boys hadn't been here for a few years and Dune had never been and was already describing each air that Julian Wilson had performed here in the latest video. When it comes to travelling for surf in Indo it always pays to be as flexible as possible if you can, initially when we booked our tickets back in NZ we had absolutely no intention of ending up in Sumbawa but that's just the way it worked out. The tides were too low for G-land, the swell too south for Desert Point, Bali was a zoo and would probably get too big during this swell, Central Java would wash out and we couldn't afford to go to the Mentawai's so Lakey's it was! After all the locals down there are like family to a few of us, even the grom Elliot who spent a few months here when he was just a little tacker, and it’s always good to catch up with brothers from another mother and those
ABOVE: As the new day dawns the local workers are up and at em, harvesting rice so we can eat fresh Nasi Goreng, good on ya’s. BELOW: Lombok’s volcanic range featuring Mount Rinjani.
ABOVE: A place without a postcard and a beach with no name. Lets call it ‘EPICS’
ABOVE: Motorcycle mayhem got the best of the groms. / BELOW: Chong and Elliot squeeze every ounce of light out of their surfing day.
ABOVE: Dune pedal to the metal and about to drive on through another looping section down the line. / RIGHT TOP: Peggsy cool calm and collective. / RIGHT BOTTOM: A possum in the headlights, Dune lights up the Peak.