The Southeast Asian buffet is served, enjoy!
10.02.2011 - 26.03.2011 31 °C
It's been a while since I updated this blog. The main reason for being so is that I've had a blast these intensive weeks. I'm now back in Bali for another month of surfing buffet. Now both the east and the west coast are working on and off making it possible to surf the east coast in the morning and the west coast in the afternoon if the wind allows it to. Spoiled is the word! So what have I done these past weeks? Well, two capitol city weekends, chilling out by a volcanic lake, trekking in the jungle spotting wild orangutans amongst other cool creatures and most important of all right now: improving my surfing in Nias and now back in Bali.
Having Bangkok as more of a stopover really, I couldn't explore too much. Instead of boring you guys with a lot of text I'll let my photos do the talking and show you my version of the city.
Landing in Sumatra or Medan to be precise, I headed off to Lake Toba immediately. There's nothing to see in Medan really, so don't bother if you're heading that way. Lake Toba is a lake inside a volcanic crater. If that is not impressive enough for you, the lake holds an island the size of Singapore! I stayed on that island and the scenery is truly breath taking. A couple of days up to a week is enough time to spend there, after that it can become boring. It's a perfect spot to rest tired travelers legs at though.
Borneo is usually known for it's orangutang population and I thought I wouldn't see them during this trip. To my pleasant surprise there are orangutans in Sumatra and Bukit Lawang is a excellent jungle village to start your trekking from.
I have to warn you that unless you've been to India, traveling through Sumatra is often a long and very uncomfortable process. Once you get to Bukit Lawang, you are obliged to get a guided tour through the jungle. You're not allowed to trek by yourself, which is reasonable since it's easy to get lost. I went for a two day trek with one night in the jungle, here's the reward:
It was quite a surreal experience seeing the orangutans, I tell you. Also in the jungle, we spotted two monitor lizards which are a bit smaller than it's big brother: the Komodo dragon.
After the jungle trek it was time for me to move on to Pulau Nias and Lagundri bay. I took the ferry to Gunung Stoli which is a town in the north of the island. I really regret this since it took me totally two days to get from central Sumatra to Lagundri. Apparently it is possible to fly pretty cheap from Medan to Gunung Stoli. If you're heading this way, catch the plane. This reef break is considered to be THE best right hander in the world and it's easy to see why.
The swell pumps in to Lagundri's south tip which is a horse shoe bay and is pealing nicely all the way in. This wave starts to barrel at three feet and is consistent all year round. At peak season, June and July, all the pro's flock in their exclusive yachts outside the line up to ride 15ft beasts. Considering the sharp reef, peak season is really surfing with consequences. For the two weeks I was there, there was only a proper swell for two days really. The locals in Nias are truly amazing, especially the younger talents. One guy, Anton, surfs a break nobody had the guts to surf due to the dry reef in front of the barreling beast. He was an amazing and inspiring character.
The rest of the time it was a perfect trial and error size, which made me improve a lot. I bought a shortboard from Anton, to make faster cutbacks and to take it to the next level. It is an entirely different style compared with my mini malibu. According to Anton it is good to switch from the cruising surf of the mini malibu and the fast cut backs of the shortboard from time to time. That way you'll have a nicer and calmer style while shortboarding. I have to say that I learned more in Nias during two weeks than anywhere else. Lagundri is highly recommended if you want to improve your surf, however it is easy to get cut and bruised from the underlying reef (it is razor sharp) if you surf on the inside section of the bay.
Especially the take off point is a bit gnarly with the rock you have dodge. Reef boots are preferred.
After another exhausting two day trip to get from the island, this time to Padang, I got an Air Asia flight to K.L. The so called visa run is really convenient compared to the hassle and head ache the Indonesian immigration offices serve you. I only spent two nights in the city this time and spent most of the time resting after the 42h nightmare journey. I got a couple of shots though.
Now back in Bali, I'm really happy. All the sessions in the Philippines and Nias has proven to be useful. I'm dropping in on waves I was terrified of before I left Bali last time.
Hitting the lip and cutting back comes naturally now, the main thing for me now is clearing a barreling section. I've been in a barrel three times now but never made it out. Even so, I can say it is a surreal experience being surrounded by water shaped as a tunnel. The doctor prescribes more surfing! I'm staying in Bali until the 11th of April before I leave for K.L. (for the fourth time). A couple of days in Malaysia will be the last asian experience this time before I fly back to the hectic life in Europe and London on the 15th. Hopefully it's not too cold since I don't have much when it comes to warm clothes. That's all for now, I've got to hit the beach before it's too late.
Keep it real!