Despite the fact that I had invested $150 in cheap non reimbursable tickets to go again to my favorite island (and for that reason I previously decided not to go to Sumbawa earlier), seen the weakening of the forecast for that spot, I decided to remain in Bali.
In hindsight it was a good decision (the swell only gave 1.5 good days over there, versus 5 good days in Bali), but it's still feels like a bummer, because I truly love that wave. And for the money, of course.
Talking about which, I feel like mentioning that the cost of my two months trip in Indo (18 days in my favorite spot and the rest in Bali) has been still cheaper than the cost of a 10 days boat trip to Mentawaii. Which is why I think I'll never go there, unless I figure a cheaper way to do it.
Anyway, I remained in Bali I was saying, and Uluwatu was pretty damn good. There was a WQS contest to watch in between sessions which was the icing on the cake. Here's the best shots. No caption needed.
If you have never been there, here's a screenshot I stole from one of the highlight videos of the contest I will link below that shows (I put an arrow) where I was sitting. Right in front of the Race Track section of the beautiful wave.
Here's the links:
Highlights day 2
Highlights day 3
Here's an interview with Japanese surfer Masatoshi Ohno, whose name I knew because he competes in many of the North Shore contests on Oahu. Very humble guy, as this article about him also outlines.
You can also see what kind of pristine observation point that is.
The last contest related shots are these couple that I took with Damien Hobgood who I met by luck while we were both going up the mystical stairs of the cave. What a place that is. Doesn't matter how many times I go there, its beauty always hits me.
Damien was happy because he won his first heat. Unfortunately, he didn't make his next one.
There we go, up the stairs. I went first because I wanted to keep shooting and take this angle. Sorry Damien.
The contest was won by Australian Jared Hickel who beat Brazilian Jean De Silva in the final. Full results here.
And now the dreadful gopro shots sequence. You got to bare with me, I really like those shots. The colors are amazing.
|escaping the closeout|
|escaping the closeout kicking out the back of the wave. Much better.|
|Not a drop in this time. It was my turn, the guy said "go, go!", he was engulfed in the white water, but I still wanted to kick out. Didn't do that gracefully.|
This is the best wave I got in those sessions.
Indo trip coming to an end and it's time for a balance.
This was my fourth season in a row in Indo and by far the poorest, from the conditions point of view. The previous three years had been incredibly consistent, with pretty much no flat days and in the smallest days Uluwatu was still head high.
This year there have been 3,4, sometimes 5 days in a row with very small waves.
The wind map below explains why: a strong high pressure sitting in the middle of the Indian Ocean that kept the storms too far and with the fetches oriented on a straight west to east direction.
Someone in the lineup told me that it's related to El Nino. I briefly investigated that online, but didn't find much about it.
That's how it "normally" looks like instead. That storm is closer to the island chain and has a fetch oriented from the SW. Related swell will hit towards the end of August, but I'll be out of here.