Bali: Surf city
There is just something about surfing. Maybe it’s the lovelies that are photographed doing it, or the water, or the weather. Or all of that.
In Bali, it’s almost impossible not to think about surfing. For one thing, if you choose Seminyak, she sprawls along the Indian Ocean like a languid model, the surf throwing itself at her insistently all hours of the day. You can hear it from bed, the waves crashing their call, pay attention to me, come out and play.
The beach is not beautiful here; the sand is dark and coarse, litter tossed up by the sea unceremoniously, rough party-types sleep off a drunk, empty bottle as pillows, or consumate a bar conquest. But it is compelling in its starkness, and those that make their living here, squatting in the sand until someone comes along to rent a beach chair, a surfboard or buy a soda marked by the sun. Those just beginning their apprenticeship to the sea she leaves gracefully tan, vanity its enticement until they are hooked, and it begins to wizen them with age.
There’s a rhythm to surfing that only takes an hour to learn, but takes a lifetime to perfect. The concept is simple: lie flat on the board and paddle out beyond the breakers, through the crashing surf, then turn in, peering over your shoulder to find the wave. When it comes, paddle to just the middle, toes curled under and ready to spring up. It pays to have a good teacher – while the beach is lined with them, it’s best to have a recommendation.
When you feel it crest, leave off paddling and go with it. In one motion, you come to standing just as the wave breaks and you ride it into the sand, until you feel the board ground.
Or you fall on your bum.