We went with no plans, no expectations, just out of pure gut feeling. Four girls off to live a collective dream of chasing waves, experiencing culture and open to whatever the universe has to offer.
First stop, Bali: a paradise island born from water and fire.
Once in Bali, we set up base camp on the cliffs of Uluwatu. We rented a few scooters and cruised through the sunny, winding and congested roads soaking up coastline and culture. We quickly learned a few important things such as; where to find the coldest Bintangs (local Balinese Beer), best points to view the sunset and where the best “pesta” (party) was. Every dawn we found ourselves looking out to the magnificent Indian Ocean, watching the waves roll in as if the cliffs were our amphitheater. This surreal and iconic wave originally opened the floodgates to surfing in Indonesia, now one of the premier surf destinations in the world. Its consistency, quality and perfection had us captured. We couldn’t stop surfing it.
After a few days “the ocean awoke”, as we surfers say when a perfect swell finally arrives and we had the opportunity to test our limits and push each other into bigger surf.
We gathered with the rest of viewers on the cliff and watched perfect big open faces wrapping around the point with only a few guys out surfing. It was a perfect window that we couldn’t pass. We grabbed our surf boards and ran quickly down the endless, old and sketchy stairs. We entered the mysterious and psychedelic cave, walked through the sharp and very alive reef and paddled out. As soon as our board hit the water we got dragged down the point and I lost sight of my friends. I could see a huge set on the way and for a moment I questioned myself: What are we doing out here? The quantity of water moving in made it seem as if the whole ocean was coming up over us. I finally made it out to the “outside” (passed the break), found my friends and we set a goal to catch one wave. That session gave us the adrenaline we needed to fuel us up and hold us over for a few side trips away from the coast and into the country.
Next morning instead of dawn patrolling the surf we hired a driver and went to explore the picturesque rice terraces of Ubud. We hiked around the ancient valley and took in the breathtaking, timeless, dramatic views at sunrise. After, we cruised through the busy and noisy art market palping the smell of incense by every step and admiring carved mythical figures made by the talented Balinese craftsmen. During our walk, we were surprised and amused by a small group of young girls making intricate face expressions as they practiced traditional Balinese dance with colorful fabrics.
The next day we visited the neighboring island of Nusa Lembongan, where we snorkeled in hidden coves and dove with majestic manta rays. Picture crystal clear turquoise water with an unreal world of marine life underneath.
We were ready to return to our home base of Uluwatu when an unexpected opportunity arrived in the form of an email. WaterWays, a surf travel agency that designs and conducts exclusive surf trips all over the world, invited us to visit two of their locations in exchange for creating promotional content. Their two locations; the small island of Rote and G-land off the coast of Java. Within 24 hours our bags were packed and we were on our way to a remote and secluded slice of paradise: the island of Rote. We stayed at a beautiful resort overlooking the Indian Ocean with a world class wave right in front. It was an epic week of surfing, snorkeling, biking, fishing and venturing around the island. But what truly made the island so special were the unending smiles and laughs of the local people.
Last stop on our Indonesian tour, G-land, a gnarly left-hand barrel.
The trip was booked and we were on the boat leaving Bali on our way to the promised land. There was no way out of this one. We didn’t know what we were really getting into we had only heard of this wave and by most seen it on surf films. As we wrapped around the stretch of the reef off the coast of Java we saw perfect endless lines of rolling lefts coming in from the horizon. We had arrived with the swell to G-Land. We stayed there for only four nights but it was the most memorable part of out trip. By using our patience, being selective and taking our time to study in depth the break we managed to not just surf it but catch the waves of our lives.
The trip started as an idea that quickly took shape and form and became a trip of a lifetime. Once in a while its important to reset and shake everything off, step out of the comfort zone and do something you have always wanted to do but never found the moment to do it. This trip taught us as a team of girls traveling together that we have the power and ability to do anything we put our mind to. We took our surfing to a next level by challenging each other into bigger surf and surfing higher demanding surf breaks. Realizing that this is the momentous life experiences we live for. The ones that make you feel alive, present and connect you to the internal voice who is constantly speaking to you and guiding you into new directions.
Written by Alejandra Kelly, pictures by Silvia Yom
Alex Kelly, a Spaniard, co-founded, co-owned, and operated On the Spot Surf school in El Palmar, Spain. She now works primarily with Surf with Amigas out of Costa Rica.