April 03 2020 Friday at 09:40 AM

Joel Fitzgerald and his 6'8

Joel Fitzgerald has a long-standing relationship with Uluwatu and the people there, from the early days when you had to earn the waves you rode. Hiking in though the 5 kilometres of bush and bramble from the temple, to the sheer cliff where hand dug stairs, and shaky ladders slipped into the cave. Joel was 12 years old the first time he championed these obstacles, paddling out along side his brother Kye and father Terry Fitzgerald through pumping 6-foot surf. There earning his first ride and so consummating his love for Uluwatu.

You could say this relationship was fated by his blood, having no choice but to love this magic beast of a wave. Father Terry was amongst the first to ever surf Uluwatu before Joel was even conceived, adding to Joel's DNA an Uluwatu chain. Valuable information about the wave and perhaps even an Uluwatu gene were added though Terry's own experiences. Which later were activated and utilised though Joel's own direct contact. Terry went on to win the historical and prestigious Om Bali Pro 1980 when Joel was a babe playing in the warungs, being a witness to the first ever contest at Uluwatu.

Long after nappies, Joel is back in Bali and we are stoked to host him here at the Deus Temple of Enthusiasm as a shaper. Following in the footsteps of his surfer/shaper father, Joel's been shaping, designing and constantly refining his own surfboards. The Midnight Lightening with a wing-pin tail is a board that Joel developed for steep fast barrels, and his craft of choice for Indonesia. With a swell on the horizon Joel mowed in to shape the 6'8 Midnight Lightening here at the Temple. To create a unique look resident glasser Victor put a volan patch on the deck, resin tinted the back and added in some vintage fabric from Chrystal Fitzgerald's personal reserve. Victor barley had a chance to wet rub this beauty in time for Joel to swoop it up and away choosing to christen the board at his favourite wave.

Some things change but some things remain the same. Paved roads lead straight to Uluwatu's hotel lined cliff, you can sip a latte whilst getting pedicure overlooking race tracks if you wanted to, watching all 150 boards crowd the line up that once was empty, yet there are still some un-ridden waves and less beaten paths to the sea. Joel and his 6'8 Midnight Lightening managed to score more then a few gems this day….

Words by Chrystal Fitzgerald