The newest GSN postcard from Vanessa Cook, one of Team GSN’s most well traveled girls, is from Bali in Indonesia. This is the next leg of her 2013 adventure with her fiancé, Michael. So far they’ve been to Samoa to work at a land based surf camp before heading to Nias on a surfing adventure. Now they find themselves regathering before hitting one of the Word’s best left-hand reef breaks, G Land.
Following words by Vanessa Cook.
Straight off the plane at Denpassar, Bali’s’ International Airport and the local taxi drivers shout at Michael as we wait in line for a taxi.“Transport! Transport! Hey Mister, you want Transport”? When it was our turn, we load our boards on the roof of the little car with some standard rope that the owner kept in his boot. The taxi from the airport to our accommodation cost 145,000 IDR upfront which got us and our boards to our destination safely.
It’s my fiancé, Michaels’ second time in Bali and my 11th time here. The airport has grown over the years with a few refurbs as well. It’s now brand new and has so many international chain stores. It’s very different to the airport I landed in on my first time here.
We weave in and out of the traffic until we come to our hotel, right in the heart of Kuta. Just perfect for restocking our supplies and then off again! But my god, this place has gotten expensive. I used to pay $15 a night. Now for exactly the same hotel and room, we are paying $55. Not too impressed! But the faithful Bamboo restaurant I’ve visited many times before hasn’t changed, with its red and white checked tablecloths and dirt cheap prices (22,000IDR for a nasi goreng dish), it’s still awesome!
We hire a scooter and drive like rats through the back alleys to the Centro Shopping Mall to get all the things we can before the next leg of the trip. Mozzie repellent spray, mozzie protective clothes, sunscreen, batteries and chocolate…. All the essentials for the next 2 months of jungle surfing! We even manage to pick up our wedding rings! Hehe :)
Next stop is the famed Uluwatu surf break.
We took the scenic road to Uluwatu and along the way I noticed that the island has had a massive clean up, no longer being a plastic and rubbish wasteland. This was so nice to see! Once we arrived in Uluwatu, I also noticed that most of the old warungs (small Bali restaurants) had been replaced with Western style shops. My old faithful warung; Surbaya, was still there. I’ve been to Surbaya many times before and loved it! It was soo good to chill there after a long day of sun and surf. Today, however, there was no welcoming smile, no water to wash off after a surf like I’ve had in the past. Just some grumpy old women, dishing out terrible service. I’m not going back there again.
For our last bit of luxury here, we ate in Poppies restaurant. Poppies has a quaint rain-forest style setup and is a little haven away from the hustle and bustle of the main streets. We ate big, gourmet meals including calamari, shrimp and steaks, washed down with red wine, crème Brule and black sticky rice pudding. We weren’t going to get food like this for a while so we enjoyed it while we could.
NEXT STOP, G LAND.
G Land is an international renowned reef break in East-Java, Indonesia. The break is known to pick up large swells generated from the Antarctic which can peel for hundreds of meters along the reef, staying hollow the whole way.
G Land. It should be F-Land. F, for Floggings. Not barrels or long whackable walls.
The whole trip is an amazing experience. It starts with a dark 2 hour speedboat ride from the main land to get to G Land. You then change from the speedboat to a small tinny boat until you get close in to the reef. When the boat can go no further, you have to walk across the reef to get to your next mode of transportation, old army truck… Think “Good Morning Vietnam” style!
The smell in the air is like the smell of a zoo. We are driven through jungle to the camp and are shown our cute little tree houses on stilts! There’s a sign about closing your windows and doors as they have very naughty monkeys here. Classic eh!
The G Land wave is scary as hell!! I’ve worn full protection, leggings, knee is strapped and wrapped, thermal vest (it gets cold), a helmet, Surfkini and booties and only ridden my Al Merrick 6’6”. It’s been 8-10 foot for the first 2 days and I got only about 15 waves. Michael has scored bomb after bomb on his 7’2 Misfit gun, pulling into some huge round open barrels. The 3rd day was my best session, I scored at least 15 waves in the morning session at 6-8’! Apparently I’m the talk of the 3 camps with my big wave charging! Hehe! The local Dr called me “Miss G Land”!! Although it’s easier as the swell is now on its way out so you don’t think you are going to die from the next set.
G Land breaks over a long stretch of reef and has three main sections.
This is a deep water, long whackable wall . It breaks the furthest up the point. Beware of the current taking you out to sea!
A fast long wall with occasional barrels, breaking over shallow reef. This is the section that is most commonly ridden which is in front of a few viewing towers.
As the name suggests, Speedies is a fast, shallow, dredging barrel waiting to chew up unsuspecting surfers and send them straight to the infirmary. Its’ here at Speedies that you could potentially score the barrel of your life.
Things you will learn whilst at G Land
- Patience is a virtue.. You have to learn the markers, and definitely do not make yourself the sacrificial lamb for the set.
- Until you are sure of the wave and happy taking off with off shore winds holding you in the lip until the last minute, take the 2nd or 3rd set wave.. or else expect a flogging of your life!
- You will not take off on the shoulder, you will learn to take off just millimeters from the lip.. Mother Nature makes sure you are aware of her power and she will hold you up in the lip until the last split second when you will perform some lifesaving amazing drops and bottom turns that set you up for the rest of the long ride.
- You will need extra boards. I saw one wave break 4 boards.
- Every camp has a doctor. Surfing Doctors have built their own infirmary and it is well used. Be nice to them out in the lineup ;) During our 6 day stay, 3 people required facial stitches.
- You will get some of the biggest, roundest best barrels of your life and the entire crowd will cheer you on.
- If you think you are going to get barrelled and try to stall, you are probably too late to get barrelled already, so say hello to the lip on your head!
- Mother Nature doesn’t let you off easily. I’ve gotten used to climbing up my 7’ leg rope and can’t thank enough my recent breath hold training courtesy of BET (Breath Enhancement Training).
- When you want to come in, catch a big wave in, don’t wait in the impact area for a small one, unless, like me, you have a gymnastic background and are happy with your legs bent backwards above your head!
- With such a long wave and many different sections, the crowd is spread out. The only drop-ins occurred down at Speedies. The crowd is really nice and the atmosphere back at all the camps is super chilled and relaxed.
- If you can’t paddle out at the Keyhole- you probably shouldn’t be surfing this wave yet.
- Reef booties are a must and you will learn to love them! The 500m walk across the sea urchin reef is no fun at sunset low tide. The urchins come out of their holes and move into position at night time.
- Don’t stand under trees for too long- the monkeys (and I’d love to be a monkey for this sheer pleasure!) love to use you as target practice for their pee and poo! He he!
- They have the most amazing sunsets here. Very romantic.
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