Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Bali Surf Report", by Bayard "By" Cartmell

"County Recurrent" is thrilled to have come across a classic and contemporary surf story brought to us by LACo veteran recurrent lifeguard, Kip Jerger. The following story is by one of Kip's surf dog protege's, Bayard "By" Cartmell and it is a treasure ! So sit back and enjoy! By has kindly given us permission to reprint his story here. Copyright Bayward Cartmell 2009. All Rights Reserved. Used here with permission.


*** Handy Web Map Link to Bali Surf Spots:

(Photo above shows "Desert Point" (Desert island2, day boat trip east of Bali). Photo courtesy of Kip Jerger.)

("Padang, Padang". Photo above courtesy of Kip Jerger. Per Kip, "They named it twice because it is so gnarly. From left to right, By Cartmell from Santa Monica, Erich Hottentoth formerly from Hermosa, now lives in Mexico for the last 18 years- great tube rider. Troy Campbell, 40 year veteran surfer, and worked at the Kanoa Surf Shop in Palos Verdes, and Manhattan beach in 1976. My right hand man, Director of my Manhattan Beach Surf Camp, and old friend." And Kip at far right.

"BALI SURF REPORT", by Bayard "By" Cartmell.

(Photo above shows the author, By Cartmell, at left, hangin' with some locals. Photo courtesy of Kip Jerger.)

What follows is another chronicle of my never ending attempt to slow down the aging process by a combination of acting as childish as possible combined with over doses of fear based adrenaline.

This is my third trip to Bali, Indonesia but it is the first time I used up enough miles to fly first class in a 777. Wow, what a way to travel! It was 14 hours to Hong Kong and I did not want to get off the plane when it landed. A friend of mine, Kip Jerger, has been coming over here for over 10 years and has the place really wired. Kip has the added advantage of being a 20+ year LA County lifeguard and he keeps my natural self destructive tendencies in check.

(Photo shows Kip Jerger doing his own Indo send up of "Angel Wings" in country in Bali. Photo courtesy of Kip.)

Basically I believe that I am a much better surfer than I actually am. Kip has a good friend, John, who lives here full time and he knows where to go every day depending upon tide, the wind and the swell direction. As a result we get great surf every day.

(Photo above shows Kip in native Hindu ceremonial garb. Photo courtesy of Kip.)

We are staying in a wonderful villa in the part of Bali called Uluwatu which is the southern most point of Bali and it picks up Indian Ocean swell from just about any direction.

(Photo above per Kip, "This is the Villa I rent every year for the last 10 years above Padang Padang. Maybe some of you lifeguards might want to join us next year. We still have room for 3 more this year until December.")

(Re: photo above, per Kip: "And view. Why are you guys still looking at these pictures. Get you asses over here. A trip of a life time awaits you.")

If you draw a straight line from here south the first piece of land you hit is Antarctica, All those huge swell generating storms down there keep pushing waves up to Bali with nothing to stop them until they hit the reefs here and your feeble author tries to ride them without getting his head handed to him.

("Secret Spot". Per Kip, On the far east side of the island of Bali. Photo courtesy of Kip.)

I have been here for a week now and there have been waves every day. Luckily for me the first five days the waves were only 5 – 6 feet so I had time to get my island feet under me. Even small waves like these are very different than CA waves. They come out of deep water, hit a shallow reef and jack up much quicker than CA beach break waves. If you hang out in the top 1/3 of the wave you run the risk of being catapulted forward, somewhat like shooting a stone with a spoon, and are then rewarded for your improper technique by having the lip of the wave crash on your now submerged head. I have personally perfected this technique.

Yesterday, John took us on a 2 ½ drive to the west
to a river mouth spot called Balian. The last hour was out of this world beautiful, terraced rice fields and brilliant green jungle. The first 1 ½ hours were pure Indo hell. Driving in Indonesia for 2 ½ hours is a rather unique experience. What would get your driver’s license suspended for 5 years in CA is perfectly normal driving technique here. In addition to narrow, winding roads with uncertain surface conditions are speeding trucks of all sizes, buses spewing vision blocking clouds of diesel exhaust, private car drivers in a race to see who can get reincarnated next, 5 MPH farm vehicles, hand pulled rickshaws, cows wandering wherever they please and all encased by a never ending swarm of suicidal motorcycle drivers who view traffic signals, lane dividers and any and all signs as decorative at best. I nearly freaked when a bus passed us going around a near blind curve.

You cannot imagine what these people put on a motor scooter. It is totally normal to see a family of five on one bike, an entire restaurant that is seven feet wide and six feet high or one loaded down with 10 five gallon water jugs that are now carrying gasoline (we give those the right of way). Anyone can drive a motorcycle here so it is quite common to see a ten year old in nothing but shorts and flip flops weaving at high speed through traffic, with the obligatory cigarette hanging out of his mouth, of course. The recommended driving position as a passenger is to sit in the back with your eyes closed and your seat belt cinched very tight. Praying helps. Particularly if Kip’s friend John is the driver. John is a very aggressive short boarder and perfects his skills at dropping in by driving like a possessed mad man. He views it as personal affront to his manhood and national honor if an Indo driver passes him. Motorcycles are kooks in need of a lesson, slow moving cars are sections to be pumped around, buses are close outs perfect for floaters and blind curves are potential tube rides.

("Native Driver". Photo courtesy of Kip.)

The reason John took us on this adventure was that a new swell was beginning to show and he wanted us to get to a certain river mouth break called Balian on the west coast. After five days of super steep reef break I was looking out on beautiful sloping A frames designed by the wave gods for long boards. My 8’ fish was perfect for these, Kip grabbed my long board and we rode 6 – 8 foot waves until our shoulders couldn’t get us back out. As in normal in Bali , everywhere there is a surf break there is an ex-pat who has set up a beautiful restaurant, hotel complex with a great view of the waves. So after lunch we piled into the van and headed further west to a beach called Medewi with a wave very like Rincon only it’s a left. The swell continued to pick up and by the time we digested lunch, the waves were 8 – 10 feet and a good 150 yards wide. 8 – 10 foot here is very different than CA, waves are much, much thicker here. Really head spinning to see these perfectly straight, 150 yard mountains of water charging in. You think no way I can make a wave that long and straight it is going to close out, grind me into the reef and use me for shark bait, but when it hit the point it would start to peel and if you kept your foot on the gas and pumped like a lunatic you could make it all the way. Best way back out was to go into the beach and walk all the way back to the take off spot. Another 2 ½ hour drive back, talk about a buzz kill, and we were dead asleep by 8:30. Party guys we are not.

This AM we went to a beach called Serangan.
Swell was now 15+ feet and your author felt like he had eaten a live squirrel. I was more than ready to swallow my oversized pride and take a firm seat on the beach but Kip told me I could handle it so I put on my booties, walked out to edge of the reef, waited for a lull in the waves and paddled out like there was a great white shark on my ass. There is no more wonderful feeling than when you finally get out through the death zone and out past where the waves are breaking. Luckily I went to the bathroom earlier in the morning otherwise I would have left a trail behind me as I sprinted for the horizon. Since I left my pride on the beach I decided the wisest course for me was to hang out on the shoulder and settle for the ten footers. Even those involved a near elevator drop to get into them followed by a quick pump into the hook and intense pumping to stay ahead of the beast that sounded like a freight train trying to swallow me. I gradually worked my way over from the bunny slope and got some of the best rides of my life, in addition to a couple of mega poundings when I was caught inside waiting for smaller waves more to my level of courage. Kip, of course, was carving up the biggest beasts like they were child’s play.

That is it for now, this afternoon I am going to watch Kip take on Outside Corners at Uluwatu which only breaks when it is close to 20 feet. This will be done from a cliff 60 feet above the water level with a very cold beer in my hand. I am not totally insane.


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*Author Bio:

I am not a professional writer but a 30+ year commercial mortgage banker with 58 years under my belt but with 80 year old shoulders based upon the wear and tear I have put them through the last nine years of learning to surf. I have been a life long lover of the ocean but was unable to take up surfing due to extreme near sightedness which was corrected by lasers about 9 years ago. A friend introduced me to Kip Jerger and he has become much more than my surf coach over that time. He is a great friend who is a blast and a half to hang with. He is constantly pushing me to improve my surfing in ways that have yet to get me killed. The Bail trips he organizes are beyond belief. Not only am I living the life of luxury for next to nothing but he knows the swell and wind conditions so well that I am in near perfect surf every day.

I am married with one 24 year old son. I have a home on the beach in Santa Monica and the French West Indies where I spend most of the winter in wonderfully warm Caribbean water enjoying quite consistent head high surf.

Bayard Cartmell
George Elkins Mortgage Banking Company
12100 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 520
LA, CA 90025

310-979-5752 direct dial
213-716-3203 cell
CA real estate license #01095078

***** ***** *****

"County Recurrent" Courtesy Reference Resources:

*** First and Foremost, Kudos and Thanks to Kip Jerger for introducing us to By Cartmell and his epic story telling ! Hands down the first reference to Bali Surf Adventures must go to Kip !

(Photo shows Kip Jerger at Scott Davey's Retirement party this past summer. Photo by Will Maguire.)

Kip can be reached at:

Kip Jerger
Kanoa Aquatics
P.O. Box 3582
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

(Photo above shows Kip crouching and milking even the smallest of waves true to form and tradition of never letting one get by that could be ridden. It also validates the value of doing yoga... Oct. 9, 2009, Bali. Photo courtesy of Kip.)

2. Bali; Wikipedia:

3. Surfing Bali:

4. Google "Bali Surf" Videos:

5. "Wannasurf" Bali Surf Spots:

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