YOU MAY HAVE SEEN A FEW SHOTS APPEARING THE MAG CREDITED: PHOTOBOSSBALI. YOU PROBABLY THOUGHT THEY WERE FROM A TALENTED YOUNG BALINESE LOCAL, BUT IN FACT THEY ARE FROM A WEST WALES EX-PAT BY THE NAME OF LUKE CROMWELL. LUKE HAS MADE HIS HOME IN INDO MAKING A LIVING FROM SKIPPERING SURF CHARTERS AND SPENDS HIS FREE TIME GETTING STUNNING SHOTS WHILE ON LAND.
ow old are you now? And how long have you been out there now?
I am 33-years old and I have been living in Bali for six years.
HSo how did a Welsh lad end up being a photographer in Bali?
So the story began back in Tenby, a small fishing town in west Wales, I grew up surfing Fresh West but also spent a lot of time in the Llantwit area.
I worked alongside my brothers on the crab and lobster boats. We would fish as much as we could in the summer months then surf our brains out through the winter. Not a bad way to make a living but after eight years I wanted a change and booked a one-way ticket to Indonesia.
During my first few weeks in Bali I decided to do a boat trip to the Mentawai. I was lucky enough to meet some great guys who helped me out and within two months I managed to score a job just helping out on the boats. In 2013 I was employed by Phil Kiem, owner of Tengirri surf charters, starting as deckhand and working my way up to skipper and surf guide - "the dream job". While I still froth every day I sometimes get sick of the comment “You're living the dream", as it's not all rainbows and butterflies. Life at sea in such a remote area with unpredictable weather can be very challenging at times.
I have been lucky enough to work alongside guys like Tony ‘Doris' Eltherington (legendary Mentawai explorer) and last year spent six months aboard the Indies Trader 4 (Ratu Motu) exploring the eastern Pacific side of Indonesia. Getting to explore those islands with Captain John Shawcross and owner Alan Green (founder of Quiksilver) was a real dream come true.
While life on the charters is great my real passion and stoke comes during my time off the boat. The photography is more of a hobby but I'm always stoked to get a good barrel shot, especially if it's one of the boys getting the wave of his life. I work on a one month on / one month off basis so get a fair bit of time to go chase waves around Bali and Indonesia always searching for that next spot just around the corner.
What are you shooting with?
I purchased my first camera at the start of 2017, a Canon 5DIII, with an Aquatech housing. Since then I have mostly been working with the local boys but the plan is to try catch up with travelling surfers from the UK. I set up with the alias ‘Photo Boss Bali' don't ask me why just thought it was a funny name!
So a gaff in Bali and camera. You must be really, really popular with your mates? Usually I’ve got a full house. I live close to Greenbowl beach on the tip of Bali and there is always a bed available for any barrel frothers that come and visit. We still get uncrowded waves and I'm still surfing new spots every year. I have been lucky enough to travel through most of Indonesia.
What do you have planned for the future? My goals for the future are to hopefully get a few cover shots of British chargers in Indonesian barrels and if one day I can make a living chasing big barrels and documenting my travels I will be one happy chappy. My next mission is to Super Suck in Sumbawa for this next swell which looks like our first proper swell for 2018. Yeeeeoooooowww!