Wind, waves and religious offerings??!!


End of July at my house - Christchurch, UK. Timo Mullen passes by as I am packing my bags, once again!!

"Hey Tris, where are you off to?" - "Bali"
"Sounds like a great surfing trip - you want a break from sailing then?" - "Nope, I'm going there to sail as well. I want to see some of those great waves I've heard so much about and seen in the surfing magazines for so long, and hopefully sail them."
"Are you crazy? There's no windsurfing in Bali, there's no wind!" - "Maybe, maybe not - that's what I want to find out……….."


The truth is that it wasn't just a whim that made us decide to make the trek half way around the world to Bali. It was stories of surfers fed up with the strong winds that picked up day in day out during the summer months and the urge to see somewhere new and completely different that brought about the decision. In fact, Asia is somewhere I have never had the opportunity to visit until now and Bjorn has been trying to make it here to Bali for years. So, having battled against the elements for weeks in the Canaries (60 knot winds at Pozo) and given the break we had before the next contest in Sylt, the decision was made to venture out into the unknown.

Bali Mountains (click to enlarge)   

Bali - waves like Uluwatu, Padang and nearby G-Land spring to mind along with the infamous 'Kuta', considered as the Aussie equivalent to the Canaries for Europeans in terms of partying. Aside from that I have to somewhat ashamedly admit that until now I knew very little about the island.


   Bali Wave (click to enlarge)

Under Dutch rule until 1946 Bali has since been independent, with various shifts in power. More recently though the country has certainly not been without its troubles politically speaking, much like the rest of Indonesia. Indeed the much-published overthrow of the Soewarto regime has had considerable impact on the country's economy, people and general infra-structure. It has become somewhat lawless, in the sense that the system is incredibly corruptible - money talks as far as almost every-thing is concerned. However, it is not lawless in terms of real crime, violence or disorder, although petty theft has become more rampant with the huge influx of tourists to the area.


The Balinese are on the whole pretty friendly, although unfortunately there is often a hidden agenda behind their friendliness. Despite the massive progress that has taken place in the country, with internet cafes popping up on every corner and all the amenities now in place that us westerners are so used to, Bali is still very poor, perhaps at the roots, even more so than before.


Therefore it is hardly surprising that we as comparatively rich westerners should seem like easy 'meal tickets' to the local people. In the shops they quote a tourists' price and a local price. The difference between the two is astronomical and a great deal of bartering is required for us to get even a half way decent price. However, it must be said that the interaction that we had in general with the Balinese was all good, certainly an experience and at times, extremely entertaining!

Tristan and Bjorn meeting local people (click to enlarge)   

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