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Bali Report By Tara Ryan

Line Up Surf Australia
Travel Reports

Bali Trip 1998

(assisted grammar by Mum)

It was a dream come true, my family and I surfing and holidaying in Bali. We were so excited leading up to the 10 day trip. No school, surfing with Dad, playing in the pool with my little sister, Mandy, eating out at restaurants each meal. Yes! 

Dad and I trained hard for the trip as Bali has some of the most challenging waves in the world. After lots of training and preparation, all of the experience was about to be put to the test. Dad encouraged me that I could do it, but I had to be careful and that very few young surfers ever surf places like Ulu and Padang Padang because of the dangerous sharp coral.

After a 6 hour flight from Sydney we were flying over Indo and about to land in Bali, we could see the waves from the plane, they were perfect.

Bali was hot and sticky, with heaps of different smells, a lot different to home. After going to our hotel, Dad and I went straight out at Kuta Beach for a surf. The waves were 3' perfect peaks, so easy to surf. We surfed in boardies in the warm water for hours.

That night we walked around Kuta and had dinner and checked out the surf shops. I was stoked because my sponsors Quiksilver and Line Up Surfboards had given me so much gear for the trip, which wasn't just a family holiday, but a photo session for surfing.

The next day my family hired a car and we went straight to Uluwatu, which gets the biggest waves in Bali. It was only about 4', but still powerful and dangerous. We set up camp with the local people with a good view of the break. The local Balinese carried my boards and looked after us.

My Dad made me study the waves before we went out. Ulu is not just your every day local surf beach. It's a reef point that the only access is to climb down the cliff through a cave then a long paddle out to the long peeling point. I forgot my booties but fortunately it was high tide. As I paddled out with my Dad I watched the wave peak up and guys pull into big barrels. I was a little scared but excited, as I paddled into the line up everyone looked at me. I didn't realise at the time, but was later told by local Balinese surfers that I was the youngest surfer ever to surf Ulu.

The Balinese surfers were hassling many of the guys, but would give me any wave I wanted and cheered me on. This made my first surf at Ulu very special. Local surfers would paddle up to me and look me in the face and say "You Girl" and just laugh and paddle off. My Dad, who had surfed Ulu many times told me that they gave me respect because of my courage, this also made me feel very special.

We surfed Ulu several days and made many friends and learned about the wonderful Balinese culture. Back at Kuta we heard of a big storm in Western Australia which would bring huge waves soon. While we waited for the swell we explored Bali. I'll never forget climbing an active volcano with Mum, Dad and my sister Mandy. I had been studying volcanoes at school so it was very interesting for me. We even saw a big hole with the fire in it, you could feel the heat from it and it was making all these rumbling sounds, jut like it was going to erupt. It was great.

We also went to the Monkey Forest. As we pulled up we wound up all of our windows but Mum left hers down a bit to let air in, a monkey leaned in and snatched her sunnies off her face and raced back up the tree. People say he will use them to trade for peanuts later. What a little villian!

The next day we woke early and headed up to Ulu, it was amazing, on the way up a tropical storm hit washing away the sand in the cave making access to the 8' to 10' surf super dangerous. Dad said I couldn't go out, I didn't say anything to him, but I had no intention anyway. We then backtracked to Bingham and Impossibles. The waves there were the most perfect I have ever seen. Dad and I went out to Impossibles, a long left hander, which took us 20 minutes to get out. A photographer came out to shoot us. It was huge, a solid 5' Dad said, I thought it was 10'. I couldn't get the sets because they were too big, so every time I moved in to get the smaller waves the sets would come again. The ocean was pumping, I had about three minutes between the sets. If I didn't get a wave wuick I would have to paddle back out over these giant walls of water. Finally after an hour I got my first wave, Dad helped me by pushing me onto the wave, I dropped down the wave on my backhand and went straight along, no turns just speed until I could flick off.

I only got three waves that day, but my Dad said I got a mountain of experience for a 10 year old. That afternoon I played on the beach with Mandy and watched my Dad get some big tubes at Bingham then I went surfing with Mandy who's 7 on the right hander at Padang Padang. The waves were 2' to 3', perfect for Mandy and I. Mandy was really getting into it, getting super long waves. She was ripping and having the time of her life. Spending time in Bali with my family was a dream.

Believe it or not the best waves were yet to come. I had surfed with some top Aussie pros at Kuta and the next day we went to Kuta Reef, hired a boat to the outer reef and Dad and I surfed the most perfect waves that God could make. They were long and clean about 5'. Once again it took me about 20 minutes to get my first wave, I took off, it looked easy, yet all of a sudden I went fast, it was hard to control the speed, then the wave just bubbled and lined up ready to barrel. I didn't get barreled but I didn't really want to because of the reef. I got a few more smaller waves, Dad was getting big tubes. One time he was in the tube and I was paddling out and he was showing off and got wiped out and got smashed, he still came up laughing.

Towards the end of our surf Dad and I got caught inside by the biggest wave I ever saw. Dad talked me through it, yet I got hammered, it was the worst wipeout ever. We came up after being dragged across the reef, I got a mouthfull of water, Dad started laughing which he always does after we've been worked, but I told him it wasn't funny.

That night I told Mum and she didn't want me to go out there the next day but Dad said it was up to me. We woke early and it was bigger, I was a bit tired but Dad said to just take your board and come on the boat and see what happens. When we got to the boat I asked Richard Marsh about the waves and he encouraged me to go for it. We got to the line up and it was bigger than the day before. I was excited and determined to go out again and jumped off the boat be


fore anyone else. The waves were epic. I'm glad I did because th

e last wave of that session was the best wave of my life, a big barrelling l

eft haner which was fast and powerful. I got a backhand barrel for about 2 seconds and I could see all the people on the boats parked off the break cheering and hooting. I rode the wave right through to

the end of the reef and put my hands in the air and cheered. It was my last wave in Bali an

d the best wave of my life.


Tara Ryan.