April 03 2020 Friday at 02:01 PM

An afternoon we won't forget, in a place we'd forgotten.

When you are consistently coming to Bali you tend to go away from the first places you visited. Seeking out the new. The better. In some respects, we think that we are becoming more sophisticated as travelers and therefore we need to be in a more urbane environment. Kuta would have to be that first stepping stone of Indonesian culture for a large portion of Australian’s dipping their toe into the warm Indonesian waters. Since the mid-seventies, it was the first word in Indonesian surf. Nowadays it has been replaced by places called Uluwatu, Bingin, Keramis, Medewi and even for the first timers, Canggu. Nowadays there’re places to stay in every remote corner of the island and as the places of the once Balinese mecca age and lose a little lustre it’s no wonder people are heading further afield. People want to tread the untrodden path, even though it might only be a less trodden one. Harrison Roach and Deni Firdaus were chatting. Deni was telling Harrison about a little comp he’d attended that had been run down at Half Way and how good and uncrowded the waves had been. The tide needed to be right and the banks in, but if you could get all your ducks to line up, you could score some great little peelers. Or you could grab a third, someone with a little on the ground knowledge. Ayok, local Canggu Balinese surfer and the right man to know when to go and where. When asked he seemed to have all the answers. HalfWay is a spot that sort of straddles both Kuta and Legian. Harrison made light that he’d never surfed there. That he’d come to Bali somewhat later than a lot of others and had missed that whole preliminary bit and in doing so, that whole end of town. Neither really remembers who finally said, let’s go. But one must have. And they did. That very afternoon they packed up a couple of boards each and going against the grain, headed into town. They arrived mid-afternoon and with a low but rising tide sought their smaller boards first. They paddled out into the lineup. And indeed, after the hustle and bustle of Canggu, they did indeed feel it was rather empty. They traded waves for an hour before returning to shore, splitting open a couple of coconuts and then grabbed up the longboards and headed out for more. They surfed until the sun finally dipped and crashed into the sea. They were full to overflowing of a great time and the buoyant conversation bobbed along to show it. They made their way back to the bikes and even the backed up traffic they moved home in didn’t daunt their spirits. Sometimes you have to lose something to find it. Even for those who hadn’t lost it in the first place. A summer shoreline story by Ano Mac Images by Harry Mark