Kyle and I got dropped off by Mom and Dad in Bima, an unremarkable city in central Sumbawa. Not two seconds after Dad took us to shore in the dinghy we were picked up by ojeks - guys on motorcycles who took us to the bus station - backpacks and surfboards and all.
We opted to catch the red-eye bus across the island which left Bima at 7 PM and arrived in Lombok at 7 AM, except that we weren't going to Lombok. The bus filled up with locals and, as we were the only white people on the bus, they stuck us in the back next to the toilet. The ride was uneventful save waking up to man in the seat next to me puking and spitting on the floor. I just pretended it was a bad dream and kept my feet up.
Kyle and I got off the bus at Poto Tano at 3 AM where we had to wait four hours for the bus to take us south to Maluk. Fortunately there was a bus/ferry terminal where we could hang out. I took my board out of its bag and used the bag as a sleeping pad, but woke up an hour later to chickens squabbling a few feet from my head. By this time it seemed the city was starting to stir, so I got a cup of tea while Kyle bartered with a taxi driver on a price to take us south. Considering we were tourists with lots of baggage in a remote part of Sumbawa, we ended up getting a pretty sweet deal on rides to Sekongkang, our surf destination.
Our bus driver dropped us off at Santai Beach Bungalows, where for 80,000 rp they offer huts with beds, some with mattresses and some without. A few guys were hanging out as we walked up. We introduced ourselves and the guys showed us a room. "Just be careful of the monkeys. They will steal anything," they told us. Apparently monkeys love surf wax in particular.
Bleary eye and hungry, Kyle and I set out to find some food. Santai allegedly had good, cheap food but the kitchen was closed because everybody was at a wedding in Lombok, so we walked over to the next hostel down the beach.
I might note here that the waves were absolutely massive. The waves on the outer reef were solid ten feet and the shore break was pounding on the sand. Oh shit. I just
realised that I have not surfed in five months -- let alone swam at a beach with waves -- and these waves could kill me.
We walked up to Rantung Beach Backpackers. A few people were sitting around a table having coffee. We introduced ourselves and asked the general questions, where to eat, where to surf, where to stay... Everybody was friendly and helpful. After looking at a room at Rantung we decided we could fork over the extra 20,000 rp for a room with a private bathroom and two beds -- both with mattresses.
After moving in we got food and set down to business. "So, um, it's kinda big out there today, no?" I said casually to the group of surfers sitting at the table. "Ya," a German dude with huge gashes on his feet replied, "Supersucks should be amazing today." I had read in the guide book that Supersucks is one of the best (and heaviest) barrels in Indo, and could only imagine it would be firing (and gnarly).
Although we were on the beach there were not really surfable wave around us. Or stores or cheap restaurants to get food, water and other supplies. "How do we get to the waves around here? And how do we get back into town?" I asked. Everybody replied simultaneously: "Motorbike."
Double shit. For the record, I don't like motorcycles. I think they are dangerous. And the roads are rough. And the other drivers are crazy. But, when in Rome... And so Kyle and I set out to find a bike.
At Yo-Yo's hotel we found a guy who would rent us his motorbike for 50,000 rp/day.
"Should we pay you now?"
"No, no, just pay when you bring he bike back."
"I'm not sure when that will be."
"It's ok, it's ok. Just bring it back safe."
"Um, ok, do you want my name or anything? It's Corie."
"Ok, ok nice to meet you, see you later!" Right then.
I let Kyle do all the driving, seeing as how he drove a motorbike once before and that is more experience that I have. I must admit, I did feel pretty damn cool and we loaded up surfboards and rode around town to go surfing just like everybody else. Aside from one minor spill which left me with a stubbed toe and Kyle with a raspberry on his elbow, we have been doing just fine. And really, the injuries make us fit in all the better. You're not hardcore out here unless you're sporting at least one flesh wound and preferably a few scars.
I have yet to bash myself on the reef, but that is probably because I've been playing it pretty safe. I only got one real surf session in Sumbawa but that's because I didn't want to die. Even then, I was hesitant to drop into the head high, shallow waves and definitely took a few on the head.
Yesterday we left Sumbawa with another guy we met from San Francisco and headed to Lombok for more mellow waves. Today we got siiiiick waves followed by the best Indonesian food I've ever had. Yes, life is good.
P.S. As a disclaimer, I wrote this post on my iPhone so please forgive any misspellings, grammatical errors, or nonsensical ramblings.