Last Friday a monster swell hit Bali creating some pretty decent waves for those brave enough to venture out. Check out the link below for some photos. Sitting on the beach the waves looked big but not that dangerous; in fact they look like they were moving slower than normal. But it was an optical illusion because the waves were so big they appeared to be moving slower. I tried to paddle out (quite stupidly in retrospect) and was not able to make it through the whitewash and was washed 300 yards down the beach. I gave up and paddled back in to shore to collect my wits and then spotted the riptide that could quickly transport me through the whitewash zone. I jumped into it figuring I would be out to sea in no time. The first few moments were quite scary because of some odd little waves doubling up on themselves and pounding down on the sand bar. This combined with the fact that I was being swept down and around the corner where there was no beach left to retreat to; just large waves pounding on the rock cliff wall. On top of the cliff wall sits the Ritz-Carlton luxury resort. There was a few moments when I was wondering if any of the yuppie guests staying up there would see that I was in trouble and notify someone. It wasn’t until I got out later that I found out the last time the waves with this big 12 people died out surfing. This is what some French guy told me as we were surveying the growing surf from Suzy’s restaurant. I forget his name but he works in India showing Indians how to build helicopters. Getting back to the story; after having negotiated my way through the riptide and out paddled the current I was finally paddling back up the beach towards the first take off points. They were coming through five or six at a time. Each of them slowly rising and then catapulting themselves into a thunderous barrel. It wasn’t until I had to paddle over a few of them that I realized the caliber of surf I was sitting in. They were coming in fast but they didn’t appear to be closing out that fast like they normally do on this beach so I figured it would be a safe ride as long as I hopped off at the right time. I finally managed to paddle onto one. The pattern of me being wrong and underestimating everything continued. Instead of me going down the waves and staying out in front for a fast long ride I was only able to make it down the wave about halfway before seeing that there was no way I was going to be able to keep up. So I jumped off and turned around and waited for a smaller one to come through. No smaller ones ever did come through; instead they just kept getting bigger. After a couple other guys on the beach saw that I was able to at least get on a wave they decided to come out and join me. I waited for a break in the waves and high tailed it to shore. It was then that I talked to the French helicopter mechanic over a hot coffee, banana pancake, and a fresh fruit plate. The scrawny blonde surfer stayed out for another hour and managed to catch a few and even stay out in front. No time for tricks; just a race down and out.
A few hours later I bring the family down to Uluwatu where we were expecting to see larger waves and better surfers. Our expectations were fulfilled. We took a few photos and even shot some video. Here is a link to some professional photos from that day: http://www.surfline.com/surfnews/photo_bamp.cfm?id=9394