I wrote this three days ago but have not had an opportunity (ambition? down time?) to post it until now.
For a while there I was doubting my identity as a surfer. After not surfing for five months, I was beginning to think that maybe surfing isn't worth it after all, that maybe the anxiety and hassle caused by surfing might not be worth it. These thoughts actually entered my mind. And then I got to Lombok.
In Sumbawa we had heard good things about Lombok - that while there are death trap waves, there are also waves mere mortals (such as myself) could surf. Upon arrival we checked in to Tri Putri homestay and for $10/night Kyle and I got a decent room. We promptly rented a motorbike and set off looking for waves.
Mawi was our first stop, a 45 minute ride from Kuta Lombok. Most of the ride there was beautiful with well paves roads winding through villages nestled among the green hills, and breath-taking ocean views around every other corner. Only the occasional herd of water buffalo, goats or kids playing in the road got in our way. A honk, a smile and a wave as we passed through.
Unfortunately after the turn off for Mawi beach (10,000 rp entrance fee) the road turned to gravel and for the last few miles to the beach and Kyle nearly has bruises on his ribs from me digging my nails into him. I might have been a little skittish from our spill in Sumbawa, and by the time we arrived at Mawi beach my nerves were too frayed to think about surfing.
I always feel defeated when I set out to surf, only to chicken out at the last minute - especially when the waves are supposed to be "mellow". However, Mawi was not particularly mellow. It was dead low tide ad while the sets - which were a bit overhead- broke in deep water, the smaller waves drained across the very shallow reef. I opted to watch from the beach and had to drown my sorrows with Bintangs that evening.
Over beers we chatted with other surfing travellers. Everybody told us to go to Gerupuk, where there are five waves to choose from, two of which are "mellow". I didn't really believe this but I was getting pretty desperate to reaffirm my identity as a surfer, so the next morning Kyle and I rode out to Gerupuk.
Gerupuk is a little fishing village that has sprouted surf shops and home stays in recent years because of the waves it plays host to. Most people still opt to stay in Kuta Lombok - where there is a bit more going on - but I really liked Gerupuk. I found it more authentic and less touristy than Kuta, but we didn't bother to get accommodation there.
The drive to Gerupuk was much easier than that to Mawi so my nerves were not shattered when we arrived. After negotiating a price for the boat out to the waves (90,000 rp) we loaded up and headed to Insides. Although it was crowded, a perfect little A-frame wave was rolling through consistently over a sand and grass bottom. Score. Kyle and I spent the next two hours and then the next four days surfing the hell out of that wave. I am finally getting my paddle power and my confidence back - just in time to surf Bali.
Two nights ago our friend from UCSC showed up at our door as we were getting ready to go for dinner. We had a great reunion, surfed together and he showed us his pictures of the previous week in Bali, with epic lefts rolling in around every corner. It got me super excited about Bali and made it a little bit easier to leave Kuta Lombok.
This morning as I was packing my bag I found a scorpion chilling on my frisbee. I screamed (naturally) and fortunately Kyle was brave enough to toss it out the door. When I thanked the lady at reception for out great stay (minus being eaten alive by bugs in our room) I mentioned that there was a scorpion in the room. She laughed and said that they don't hurt people. Right.
Our stay in Kuta was very enjoyable. The town itself is low key - touristy enough to find bars showing American football on TV but not so over the top that one could forget they were in Indonesia. And while the local surfers were not the most forthcoming with info on waves in the area, I totally understand. It's not easy to have your home break clogged with western tourists learning to surf. Some of the local guys absolutely rip and it was fun to surf with them. I found them to be far more respectful than some of the other surfers out.
Kyle and I are now on the ferry to Bali. While we did not see much of the island of Lombok, I saw exactly what I wanted to see there. Mom and Dad are anchored off Lovina Beach in north Bali, and after we make the pilgrimage to the surf mecca that is Uluwatu and the Bukit peninsula in general, we will meet up with them again and head to Kalimantan to see orang-utans. I like Indo. It's a bit crazy.
P.S. sorry once again for the weird formatting and grammatical errors... I blame the iPhone.