Ujung Bocor Like this at Your Front Door?
Close by surf breaks - Jimmy's Point
Banana Island (Pulau Pisang)
Laae Beach Breaks
Then Ombak Indah Losman Surf Camp
Recollections - The Beginning....early days in South Sumatra
Recollections - The Beginning....early days in South Sumatra
By Nev Hines, August 2009
This bunch of recollections of my first and subsequent visits to Krui and surrounding areas are meant to serve as a semi history of the surfing exploration and development of this part of West Lampung province, Sumatra. It is by no means complete, only covering my recollections as far as I was involved and what has happened in later years. I’m writing this about 16 or 17 years after my first visit so I’m relying on my memory and comments from friends and others. If I’ve left anything out or my memory has let me down, I’m keen to hear from anyone who can add to or correct this story of a beautiful area with many quality waves.
While I’d never claim to be the first surfer to come to this area, I was without doubt the first to keep coming back and Freeline Indonesian Surfing Adventures, of which I’m the founding partner, was the first tour operator to consistently bring surfers here. I can honestly say I found a lot of the breaks in this area, and may have been the first, with various friends and early adventurous tour groups, to find and surf several of the great waves we discovered on this coast. Other breaks, like Way Jambu, the Krui lefts and rights, and the righthander at Jimmy’s Point were almost certainly surfed before I first arrived.
No one was here to show the way, give me a surf map or to tell me where to find various breaks, so I can say, with certainty and without any ego trip, I was an early pioneer of surfing in this area and over the years have watched it’s development and growth. As well as the many locals who helped with transport etc in those early days, I’m indebted to Adam and Claude and my then wife Sharon who stuck with me on that first exploration trip back in 1993 and to the guys who took a punt on the, then relatively unknown Freeline Indonesian Surf Adventures with me as the surf guide, and came on the first official exploration tour. Thanks, Mark, Stuart, Lance and Tim. (Jimmy) Without you guys I might still be in Australia shaping boards and not sitting here at the Ombak Indah losmen/surf camp listening to the sound of waves breaking along the reef while writing these recollections of the past 16 or 17 years of great waves, adventure, fun, drama, and the buzz of exploring and surfing a new and unknown area and watching the inevitable growth and development that always follows as a place becomes known to the world.
With the exception of my friend Joe Gray from Hawaii I haven’t yet met anyone who claims to have surfed in this area before I arrived with Adam and Claude. I have no doubts that there were earlier surf explorers so if you’re out there please contact me so I can add you into the history of surfing in this area. I’m also interested to hear from anyone who came, either on their own or with Freeline in those early days so I can add your memories to this story.
The First Visit……After Joe Gray had told me about this area the previous year I decided to do a recon trip and suss out the potential of the area. My companions for this trip were my then wife Sharon who was always up for adventure, 2 mates of a good friend who was going to come but had to pull out at the last minute, Adam from Byron Bay, and Claude who lived in Sydney. (sorry boys, time has played with the memory and I don’t recall your last names) Also coming along were some friends of mine from Forster in NSW. Graeme Quigg, Peter Coleman, and John Monkley.
In Jakarta, we oganised transport to take us to Bandar Lampung in Sumatra. We had a Lonely Planet or Periplus travel guide to Sumatra and from that we learned of the Krui Hotel in Krui which was to be our destination. Those days there were no regular scheduled flights to or from Jkt and Bandar Lampung so it was to be overland and by ferry. From Krui the plan was to travel up the coast to Bengkulu, surfing as we went, and fly back to Jakarta from there.
That was pretty much the extent of our info at that time, overland to Krui, stay at the hotel there and fly back from Bengkulu so that was our plan. We knew nothing about the surf or what to expect in that area, the travel guides were, and still are, a bit vague about that part of Sumatra.
We started our adventure on a bright sunny day from Jakarta and had an interesting but uneventful drive to Merak to catch the ferry, about 5 hrs from Jakarta. Waiting to board was fun and interesting, the bustle of the sellers and passengers and general bystanders was cool to watch and there were a bunch of kids jumping off the wharf or the ferry as it lay waiting to leave, diving for coins thrown into the water for them. Holding the coins in their mouths, with bulging cheeks and big smiles they were keen for us to throw more. No matter how difficult we tried to make it by throwing wide and deep they’d always come up triumphantly holding up the coin we’d thrown.
Eventually,(Indo style) the ferry got underway and we had an interesting trip across the strait to Bakuhuni in Sumatra. 3 hrs more driving and we got to the city of Bandar Lampung. Travel had taken the best part of the day so we consulted the travel guide again and ended up staying the night at the Kurnia Hotel in Tanjung Karang. The hotel was good, clean, secure, and friendly. Now 17yrs later, if I have to stay over in Bandar Lampung I usually check in at the Kurnia, though the staff have changed and the vibe, though pleasant, is not the same as it was in those early years. They’ve seen plenty of westerners since then.
Next day a sweating mission to organize a car for the following day was eventually successful and all was set to go. Sharon and I wanted , while we were in the area, to visit Way Kambas an elephant sanctuary where Sumatran elephants were trained for work in a logging camp or kept in safety for tourists to see. As their environment shrunk some of the elephants became a pest for farmers etc and the Way Kambas staff would remove them to the sanctuary. Better than shooting or poisoning them.
It’s a very interesting place and well worth the time to visit. Sitting on an elephants back while we crossed a large expanse of ground and looking down at a large cobra traveling at speed to avoid the huge feet landing real close was a buzz. The driver kept alongside for a few minutes before letting it escape. The whole place was great, elephants everywhere, feeding and playing in the small river while their handlers cleaned and cared for them. They had a veterinary hospital which was interesting for Sharon, being a veterinary nurse back in Oz.
We were also lucky to meet Mr Yaman who worked at the government tourist office. He was, and still is, very enthusiastic in the promotion of Lampung province. He showed us many interesting things around Bandar Lampung and to this day remains a good friend of mine. While Sharon and I looked around Bandar Lampung the other guys had gone on to Krui and the plan was to meet at the Krui hotel.
I was keen to get to the coast and see what the boys had found so we ended up on the Krui Putra bus for the uncomfortable 9-12 hour trip which involved multiple plasic bags or spew being thrown out the windows and doors by bad travelers, 3 punctures, ‘no problem, that’s why there’s 2 wheels each side of the back axle’) and the explanation for the joke: Q. How many people can you fit on an Indo Bus? A 10 more!
Anyway we arrived in Krui around mid afternoon totally stuffed by the incident packed 11.1/2 hour journey. At the Krui hotel we were told the boys had gone surfing at Way Jambu so we just crashed in our room to wait for them to show up. When they did get back, I was surprised to see only Claude and Adam. They told us the other boys had bailed early on the second morning and were supposedly on their way up to Bengkulu. They hadn’t said anything to anyone else and just bailed for their own reasons.
Anyway Claude and Adam took me down to the lefthand reef break at Krui beach (Labuhan Jukung). It was only small, about 1mtr, but real fun. Well worth the paddle out even if it was a bit inconsistent. With only us 3 out there, there were plenty of waves to go around .and we surfed till dark, it was so good being part of it and the feeling of being in a totally new place was exciting. It was just so nice being out there, clean, glassy waves, with the colors of an awesome sunset as a backdrop to the silhouettes of the small outrigger fishing boats with their triangular sails heading out to sea for a night of fishing. Bloody unreal! I felt like I was part of an exotic postcard. I was stoked, the grime of the days travel washed off and the freshness of the ocean made me feel clean again.
I took a long look to the shore, thinking what a great place this was, white sandy beach with the many tall coconut palms in the background. Add in clear, clean water, waves, the sunset with all it’s colors, the blue sky all just went to make this a special memory. Little did I know at that time what a huge influence on my life this was all going to become. After each days exploration we surfed this beautiful spot in the arvo until dark and we went looking for dinner. It really was a beautiful spot.
Some 2 years later we arrived at the beginning of the season to find some peabrain had ordered the cutting down of all the coconut palms that lined the beachfront at Labuhan Jukung. Unbelievable! Up until the present day, despite several lame attempts over the years to do something with the place, it has never really looked much more than a wasteland. That, combined with the habit of the locals to use the beach as a toilet, especially up at the picturesque northern end, has ensured that what could and should be a beautiful beach area and an asset for the town has never reached it’s potential. To the present day it remains a dirty, scruffy area with a few suspect warungs and at night it’s populated by ladyboys and other people of doubtful standing in the community.
I feel a certain sadness when I remember the beautiful spot I saw on my first visit and on my return the following year.
Anyway, during the next few days we explored the coast, mainly to the south of Krui finding several spots but mainly our best waves were at Way Jambu. On our first go out there, Adam, who was a bit of a charger, after several waves got smashed and broke his leggy. He had a very uncomfortable swim in along the unknown and menacing reef getting pounded by the 5’-6’ swell. He was closely followed by Claude and I making sure he was safe all the way to the beach.
In those few days we stumbled one day on what is now known as Ujung Bocor. It was very hard to find and on the first day I saw it he wave was big and lumpy and not really a good prospect for a go out. Claude and Adam had come across it the day before I got in from Bandar Lampung and surfed it about 4’. It looked like a long wave and I noted the potential for any future visits, little knowing that in the future it would become my home.
When we decided to head north I’d started a note book with many spots marked as good, not so good and showing potential. We hired a vehicle to take us as far as Bintuhan just over the provincial border. Bintuhan was a one street town, small and pretty quiet. We camped at the Losmen Eka Nurza run by a very nice lady with a beautiful little daughter named Eta. who became Sharon’s shadow for the short time we were there. I forget the mothers name but she made us really welcome and was helpful, and stoked to have westerners staying. We were a rarity in those days.
The best thing about the Eka Nurza was it’s proximity to the local beach, just a short walk down a small dirt road. A headland ran out on the right hand side and the reef looked to have a potential wave. However, that first day the beach breaks were firing and we had plenty of waves to wash away the days travel and freshen us up.
The next day we were down there early and the righthander was breaking about 4’, peeling down the reef in good form. As usual we attracted a crowd of locals, mainly kids with a few adults standing off a bit but still very curious about the westerners and their strange craft. It was all very new to them.
Us three guys could escape into the ocean, but we did feel sorry for Sharon stuck on the beach. There was no escape for her and from the safety of the lineup we could see where she was by the large clump of humanity that was moving around the beach. After a fairly long session we came in, had breakfast and then went looking for a driver to take us on the next leg of our journey. We found ‘Fang” named (by us) for the single tooth hanging in the middle of his smile from his top gum. The rest of his gums, top and bottom were bare of ivory. Must’ve been a hassle eating a T bone steak! Fang was a real nice guy and didn’t want much to take us to Manna, the next town up the coast about 3 or 4 hours away.
The drive was pretty much uneventful, we saw a couple of rivermouths with potential but access was difficult and when we got down for a closer look nothing seemed worth the go out. The main thing I remember from that drive was trying to understand Fang’s Indonesian which took on it’s own sound through his gummy, one toothed and smiling mouth.
When we got to Manna it was still early arvo and we checked into a losmen, I forget the name, and went to find what waves there were around for us to sample. Fang was cool and didn’t mind running us around checking different spots. We eventually paddled out into a big bay with banks all over the place. The swell wasn’t to bad and we all got plenty of good waves at this unusual setup. While walking back along the beach to the car park after we’d had out fill we were struck by a foul stench. We noticed, near the waters edge the bloated and dead body of a dog. We saw 2 more on our way to Fang’s van. Since then I’ve always remembered and referred to the place as ‘dead dog beach’.
We returned to the losmen, paid and farewelled Fang and wandered around Manna, not a bad little town, had a feed and sussed out a driver for the last leg to Bengkulu the next day.
Between Bintuhan and Manna on that trip and later ones, I’ve never really seen anything worth even thinking of a go out. A couple of rivermouth setups with a bit of potential but a bit sketchy with rips and looking a bit sharky. Mostly just long shingle beaches with nothing really to cause a good wave of anything like the quality of the waves in the Jimmy’s Point to Way Jambu area to the south.
In Bengkulu we stayed at Nala Cottages on Pantai Panjang, a bunch of cottages managed by a real nice Indo guy named Mr Rosi who took good care of us helping with transport around town and booking flights back to Jakarta.
My memory of Bengkulu is of a nice clean town with a lot of history behind it. Down by the old Chinese and waterfront area was Fort Marlboro, built by the English when they had control of the area before they passed it over to the Dutch in a deal for Singapore. Out in front of the fort was a big river/harbor entrance and the beach in front had a small, left good for a longboard, wave peeling down it. It ran for a long way but was way to small for us on our short boards. Over several visits in later years I never saw it as much more than a soft good for a longboard wave. No doubt it gets good on it’s day and the feature I remember the last time I was there was the number of local kids on bits of wood or anything that would float them, catching the small swells and semi body boarding the length of the wave. The only surf we did get was a small reef out in front of the Nala Cottages, fun but nothing exciting.
We enjoyed our short stay in Bengkulu, checking out a couple of spots but didn’t see anything good. After a couple of days we were on the plane to Jakarta and back to Australia until my next Freeline tour to West Java three weeks later.
So that’s the story of my first visit to Sumatra and especially the Krui area in 1993. We got some real good waves but I was sure there was more and took a punt on the potential of the area, made an itinerary and promoted and advertised the first Freeline Indonesian Surf Adventures exploration tour for 1994. I figured that using the term ‘exploration tour’ would cover me if we didn’t find waves. I needn’t have worried, Krui came through and that first tour was pretty much a successs.
We surfed breaks that I knew about, others that I’d seen and thought could be good and found some others, like Jimmy’s Point, Ujung Bocor, Mandiri etc. Those first early years were real fun and exciting as it was all new and we rarely ever saw other westerners in the area. I’m stoked to have had the opportunity to experience the buzz of paddling out at new and unsurfed breaks in an unknown area in a foreign country.
No regular airline flights were available those days between Jakarta and Bandar Lampung so we traveled overland. A typical tour would start in Jalan Jaksa after I’d got the boys together and we’d drive to Merak, catch the ferry over to Bakuheni then drive to Bandar Lampung for an overnight stay before leaving the next morning for Krui and the dubious comforts of the Krui and Krui. We’s surf and explore the coast until about 3 or 4 days before we were due to return to Jakarta then we’d make our way up the coast to Bengkulu, surfing along the way before flying back to Jakarta.
Those early crew who took a gamble on Freeline and me were the real pioneers of this area and I’m grateful for their company and the sharing of the waves with them as we learned about the area and the good things and fun we experienced along the way. When the airline service became more regular, the trip got a bit easier. though the plane was small and at times all our boards didn’t arrive together. After a bit I found that a payment to the baggage handlers overcame that problem. These days the planes are bigger and fitting the boards in is no problem though the guys still have their hands out, but it does cut down on damage and they help in other ways. They’re cool and always ready to help.
Jump to any place
Recollections - Jennys Right
Recollections - Jennys Right
By Nev Hines, August 2009
There’s been some confusion over the past few years over the name of this break which is located in the Pugung area just south of Jimmy’s Point. So to set the record straight here’s the true story of how the wave got it’s name.
Freeline had been bringing surf tours to the area for about 18months or so but we’d never surfed or seen this right hander worth the paddle out until we headed north one day with a group from NSW Australia which included ‘Mexican Ray’ a semi professional video camera man who was making a documentary about another member of the group, a well known Sydney girl named Jenny Sheehan. Jenny was a longboarder (soon to change) who was well known in the Australian longboard contest scene.
Anyway, on this particular day we rocked up to the village, drove on through to the high point where we could overlook the break. We saw for the first time, a clean maybe 4’-5’ wave peeling down the reef. We were stoked and quickly got our gear ready for the go out. Jenny got changed in the privacy (?) of the front of the vehicle and just like at Jimmy’s Point a year or so earlier the locals, mainly kids, were very curious about us and the scrutiny was from as close as they could get.
It was about half tide and over the wide reef were several large rock pools to navigate on our way out. Jenny, having a longboard, was first out the back and before anyone else got a chance she caught the first known wave at this location. As usual she rode it with style right to the end and pulled off with a big smile. It was a great session, everyone got waves, Ray got good footage and I got several photos.
Later, back at the Krui Hotel, with a few cold Bintangs we were a happy crew, discussing the days adventure. It was a unanimous decision that Jenny should get the recognition she deserved for catching the first wave at ‘Jenny’s Right’.
Remember that in those days Freeline was the only operator in the Krui area and to the north and south. I didn’t see any other surfers in that area who didn’t come either with me or with Freeline and as I was the Freeline surf tour guide I was pretty much based there for a few years and saw most anyone else who came that way. It was at least 3 or 4 years after my first visit before I saw another surfer traveling independent of Freeline or myself.
We named places and in the main those names have stuck, most people respecting the crew who went before and the ones who had breaks named after them and the fact that they were generally a part of the exploration, history and growth of the area.
About 5 or 6 years after Jenny’s Right had been ridden and named, in the off season of 1999-2000, a certain American (we won’t name him here, but many will know who he is) arrived in Krui. He’s been responsible for many dramas and ill feeling which we won’t bother with now.
After he’d been in the area for a few years he ended up buying or renting a house on a block of land overlooking Jenny’s Right, to use as a kind of accommodation extension to the hotel/losmen he’d built at Tanjung Setia in front of the break known as Ujung Bocor. Which this ‘Johnny come lately’ has also tried to rename to suit himself.
The possession of this land, in his confused mind, seems to have made him think he had the right to disregard history and rename the break Drew’s Right after himself, and ignore the fact that it had been named several years previously after the first surfer to catch and ride a wave at this location.
Over the years since, this has caused a fair bit of confusion among visiting surfers so I’m using this opportunity to set the record straight. There are several witnesses to the truth and the fact of the matter is that ‘Jenny’s Right’ and Drew’s WRONG!
A note to this story. For the rest of this tour both Jenny and her boyfriend Warwick both lost interest in longboards and have since been shortboarders. Bad luck for ‘Mexican Ray’- he never did get enough footage of Jenny on a longboard and the documentary project was shelved permanently. Jenny, after successfully owning and operating a ding repair business for several years in Manly sold up and with Warwick now lives on the NSW north coast where they manufacture an excellent board wax named ‘Barking Wax’ and enjoy the quality waves of Crescent Head and the surrounding area.
A real surfer and deserving of the recognition of having a good surf break in Sumatra named in her honor.
Jump to any place
Origins, Birth and Growth of Ombak Indah Losmen (Surf Camp)
Origins, Birth and Growth of Ombak Indah Losmen (Surf Camp)
By Nev Hines, August 2009
Prior to the opening of Ombak Indah Losmen in 2001, the nearest accommodation to the main wave in the area, Ujung Bocor, was about 30 minutes away by bemo over a pot holed and dusty road. After a long day in the surf the drive back wasn’t much fun, especially since the ‘best’ hotel in Krui was rat-infested and with no guarantee of cold beer. Nev explains how all this changed….. .
In April 1999 the 5 members of the Big Rock 5 group gathered in Krui. It was the first time the BR5 had been in Indo together at one time. They already operated a camp in West Java (Batu Besar) and they all came to the Krui area at the instigation of one of the members, Nev Hines, who first came to the area in 1993 and started bringing Freeline tours to the area in 1994. Another of the group, Stu Horstman, Nev’s partner in Freeline Indonesian Surf Adventures had visited several times over the years and both were keen for the other guys to see and surf the waves on this stretch of coast. Mick Harris, another of the BR5 guys had also been here before but John and Dave Rich had only seen photos and heard stories of the place.
Nev says, I’ll always remember the first time we took the boys to Ujung Bocor, (see Nev’s recollections) the waves were cranking about shoulder to head height and were peeling down the point almost with perfection. The sun was out and the white sand and palm trees made the place look like every surfers dream. We piled out of the van, stoked at what we saw and the waves we were about to attack. Dave exclaimed, “This is like paradise, we should buy some land here. A babble of agreements from us all and our driver was given the task of finding the owner and checking availability. Then we hit the surf and had a ball during a long session.
That night, back at the Krui hotel our driver came to see us with the news that land was available and we could check it out next day. The following morning was again bright and sunny and the surf was pumping when we got to Ujung Bocor. Surfing came first and we got out and into it speedily. After a couple of hours we came in for a snack and a drink and we were ready to check the land.
Our driver had a bit of a map of the layout. Western boundary was the Indian Ocean, easy to follow, the southern boundary was harder, down between the last row of Abu’s coconut trees and the first of Abdul’s. Crashing through the bush and undergrowth we stumbled until the driver said to turn left and follow the eastern boundary, also between 2 rows of coconut palms. We didn’t have a clue where we were as the bush was too high and thick to see anything except the coconut palms on each side. After what seemed like another half hour of crashing through the scrub we turned left again and beat our way along the northern flank for what seemed a long while. We emerged from the bush sweating and scratched up from the dry vegetation. All we could tell was that as it took so long to get around the bush it must be a pretty big block of land. “We’ll take it” was the unanimous decision.
I often wonder why we didn’t bargain about the price, we’d all spent enough time in Indo to know the deal, but when we were told we just looked at each other and agreed, it seemed like a great deal and we’d take it. I don’t think any of us even thought about bargaining. The old rouge who sold it to us probably couldn’t believe his luck and it’d be interesting to know how low he would’ve gone if we’d bargained. Ah well! It’s all turned out ok and the value of land on the point has appreciated a lot over the years. Didn’t take us long to round up the required deposit and organize to get the rest sent over from OZ asap. Within 2 weeks we were the proud owners of what has turned out to be the best positioned block on the point.
The following February Stuart and I came to Krui to pick out a position for our losmen and see about cutting some of the coconut palms to make way for the building and get enough timber to make a start. By then the block had been cleared and fenced and we could see what a bargain we’d scored. Awesome! We were here for just over a week and it never stopped raining and the westerly wind didn’t back off, until our last full day here. We arrived on site to make final arrangements but it was sunny, offshore and about 4’ out the front and looking too good to miss, and we didn’t! Our first lesson about the wet season at Ombak Indah.
When I got back for the start of the season it was all systems go. We organized the builder and ordered materials. We had a plan, drawn by Mick but somewhere along the line the size of the rooms had, unknown to me, become smaller and the width of the verandah had gotten narrower. This didn’t become apparent until I had to take a group back to Jakarta and do a visa run to Singapore. Six days later when I got back with a new tour group I was horrified to see the small rooms, the narrow verandahs and also the ceiling was about 2 metres higher than planned. It was too late to change the room sizes and the ceiling but I did get the verandahs back to the planned size. How those plans got changed we’ll never know but the building has served us well over the years though bigger rooms would’ve enhanced the overall look and comfort of the place.
As the season went on it was exciting to see the first building coming along toward completion. We were staying at the Krui hotel in Krui and most days traveling down the coast to surf the point which was cranking pretty much every day. Progress on the building was steady through the season and every time we surfed the point I could keep an eye on things and watch it all taking shape. Exciting stuff!
We got to the last tour of the year and the Krui hotel’s charms and comforts (?) were wearing a bit thin by then and a couple of the crew were over it and keen to move down to the new losmen. I was keen to move but hesitant because I didn’t feel we were ready to open. No power or generator, no beds or bedding etc, no cooking facilities and no anything else I figured we’d need to start having guests. The hotel must’ve been getting to the boys more than I realized, “No fucking worries” was the collective voice, “we can make do, anything would be better than that bloody hotel”.
So, Ani and I went shopping for kero lamps, foam mattresses, cooking utensils and other stuff we thought we’d need. We moved into Spartan conditions but we were all happy to be in clean surroundings and real close to the most consistent surf in the area. “This is what we thought we’d signed up for” the boys later told me. They were stoked. We started to check out potential staff, mostly locals who naively thought of huge wages working for the westerners. With the off season just around the corner we had to be a bit cautious as we’d all have to be putting cash into the kitty to pay wages and keep the place open. We got a crew together and bought supplies.
So the Ombak Indah (means Beautiful wave) was officially open for business. Ani and I were proud hosts to the first guests, all Aussies, Dave (the Messiah) Custer, Sturt Royal, Luke Waters, Matt Gillet and Don Kee. 3 days later, 11th Sept 2001, the braindeads crashed their planes into the WTC in New York to begin the ‘war on terror’. We didn’t hear about it till about the 13th and the news was pretty muddled, a plane crash, then 2 planes crashed, an accident, not an accident, and other stories, some far fetched and some accurate, but we all realized it was a serious happening. We went into Krui to one of the few TV’s and viewed footage of it being played continually on all the Indo channels. Mind blowing stuff!
Then the dumb arse story….. “George Bush is going to throw all the muslims out of America”. Where this came from is unknown but more stupid than the story was the stupidity of the people who bought it. But it caused enough stupid and agro talk around the area to make us feel a bit uneasy. There were only a few days till the end of the tour but Luke and Matt decided to bail early, the others agreeing to stay as planned. I took the boys back to Bandar Lampung and sent them on to Andi, our manager in Jakarta, who convinced them to stay and go on their previously planned trip to Panaitan Island, which turned out to be a good move as no trouble eventuated and they scored real good waves. A few days later the other boys joined me in Jakarta which brought to an end the Freeline tours for 2001 and the end of the first occupancy of the Ombak Indah losmen. A success all round.
All the drama and carry on about the WTC terrorist attack made sure very few surfers were traveling to remote areas of Indonesia during the wet season and the camp lay quiet until the following season. We kept the staff on so they could start getting ready for the 2002 season which we expected would probably be a non event.
We underestimated the thought patterns of surfers, strange, since we were all surfers ourselves. Instead of being a bit worried about traveling to a muslim country and worrying about terrorism, the call was, “Cool, it’s gonna be uncrowded so let’s go!”
2002 kept us busy with plenty of crew coming to stay. Along the way we built 3 more rooms, bigger than the first ones and they came into operation well before the seasons end. Both Freeline and Ombak Indah did reasonably well that year and I remember feeling pretty happy when I stopped in Bali in October on my way back to Oz for the summer. I was thinking that the fallout from the WTC hadn’t affected us too badly and if 2003 was as good as we’d just had we’d be in a good position to implement the plans we had in mind for Freeline and the new losmen.
That optimism was shattered a few days after I’d arrived in Bali, when on 12th October, mindless hatred struck at the famous Sari Club and Paddy’s Bar in Legian St damaging severely, the good vibes and economy of this beautiful island which had brought so much pleasure and fun to countless surfers and tourists and had given the economy of Bali a steady income for so many years.
Not only Bali was changed but all areas of Indonesia suffered from this pathetic act of hatred which, apart from the 202 innocent victims murdered and the many others injured physically and mentally by this mindlessness, caused untold innocent Indonesians in remote areas to suffer badly over the ensuing years from the severe downturn in tourism and adventurers traveling off the beaten track who previously had helped local economies.
However, surfers are hard to put off, no matter the perceived dangers and 2003 seemed to have promise with early bookings for tours etc. It could’ve been worse but my expectations for the season were way lower than I’d hoped pre bomb. The lure of uncrowded waves and warm water brought enough surfers to Indo to make it a reasonable year for Ombak Indah losmen. Nothing new was planned in the way of new buildings etc and we followed a wait and see how it all turns out plan for the year.
It all went well in 2004 and we all started feeling confident for the future of Ombak Indah. Ani and I had moved permanently to Bali and could keep a closer eye on losmen activities. The season was progressing with enough guests coming to stay and surf and we seemed to be doing well but it didn’t seem to be reflected in the bank balance and we were getting reports of minor problems with the staff and the running of the losmen.
We were visiting regularly and nothing too bad seemed to be a problem. We’d had a few management problems over the years with corruption being a major drama but each time we changed managers we thought it would all get back on track, though a feeling that all was not well was growing with me Ombak Indah was getting plenty of surfers, through Freeline and ‘walk in’ customers.
2005 was a good year but we’d had to start with less cash than we’d anticipated and as the year went on it became apparent that we were getting fleeced. We checked it out as much as we could with out arousing attention that we were on to it. The first thing was to get the name changed on the relevant certificates and licenses. While that was in progress disaster struck Indo again. More bombings in Bali at Kuta Square and Jimbaran Bay seafood and beachside restaurants. The fallout from this new act of futile hatred was way more than the first bombing in 2002. The following year, 2006, was a real downer for business in Indonesia. Everyone suffered, and Ombak Indah was no exception with a severe downturn in the numbers of guests coming to stay.
However we got rid of the old corrupt regime, and by years end we’d installed a Balinese girl, we thought we could trust as manager. She operated the camp through 2007 but from June was without supervision as Ani and I had to go spend some time back in Australia. Originally we thought it would be for a month sorting out business stuff but health problems kept me in hospital for 3 ½ months and a further 6 months recuperating. While we were away we received several suss reports from the losmen and many things didn’t seem quite right.
Ani and I got back to Bali in March 2008 and as soon as we got business sorted there we headed up to Ombak Indah with the intention of fixing any problems and getting it all running smoothly. A week or so before we left Bali we got the message that the manager had absconded in the night, not the actions of an innocent person, and we never saw or heard from her again. Seems temptation had been too hard to resist.
Once again we had to start a new season on a shoe string and really the only thing that saved the day was the sale of our losmen in West Java which gave us enough to get started again and to begin building the first of our new premium rooms. 2008 was pretty successful, thoughts of bombings in Indo had faded somewhat though the dickheads still did a few in Jakarta, Marriot Hotel and the Australian embassy were two semi major incidents, but mostly it was Indonesians and Indonesia who were the victims. And they called the leader of this group of misfits and wankers ‘the mastermind’.
Back at the camp things were going well and the first 2 new rooms opened for guests around July and were an immediate success. Enough to have us planning for 2 more in 2009. We also did a couple of extensions to the kitchen, installed a new generator, built a store room for the bar stock, extended the dining area and made a few other improvements. With Ani and I running the camp the staff moral picked up and the losmen started to run more smoothly and the potential we’d always seen started to show. There was more control on how the cash was used though we still had a lot to learn about operating a losmen/surf camp. The off season kept us busy with long neglected maintenance and repairs. By the time the 2009 season was ready to start we were feeling pretty happy and confident we could make Ombak Indah the premium camp on the point.
On 12th March as the season was about to get underway the first major disaster we’d ever had at Ombak Indah occurred with the passing away, in the surf, of one of our guests. No one is really sure of what happened except he caught a good wave right through into the bay and some time later we were called and told he’d been found in the lagoon on the inside of the reef. It was a horrible day for everyone, especially his girlfriend Caroline who handled the situation bravely. RIP Michael Glanford. We only knew you a short time bro, but it was a good time. You were a fellow surfer and you won’t be forgotten.
After that sad beginning we started to get pretty busy with guests coming and going regularly and except for June which had a few vacancies we’ve been pretty much a full house right through to October. During the season we completed the second block of 2 new premium rooms and they were operational early August with guests moving in as the builders moved out. It was our best season to date and a feature was the number of repeat guests coming and also the many Sth African surfers who, thanks to our new agent, True Blue Travel, in Sth Africa came in numbers to sample the waves in this area.
So there you have it, the story of how Ombak Indah losmen/surf camp came about. Our aim for the future is to provide the best service and facilities we can to match our choice position we have on the point. We want to keep the friendly and relaxed surf camp vibe going and have you all going home relaxed and surfed out.
Cheers from Nev and Ani and the rest of the BR5 and all the staff.
Jump to any place
Recollections …Looking Back From 2009
Recollections …Looking Back From 2009
By Nev Hines, March 2010
Since my first visit in 1993 I’ve spent a lot of time surfing and hanging around the coastal area north and south of Krui. I was lucky enough to have come here when it was virtually unknown and many of the breaks were unsurfed. In that time I’ve watched the growth and development of surfing and tourism in the area. Regular tourism is pretty much a non event here due mainly to the inaction of Lampung tourism people. However, surfing has thrived on this coast due to the excellent and world class waves here and the usual surfers desire to surf them.
I can remember back in 1999 when Freeline brought a crew of semi pro’s here from Hot Buttered and Surfing World magazine. Along with Gary Harrison and Darryl Ford from the NSW mid Nth Coast, we had Christo Hall, a young WQS surfer and Kye Fitzgerald both Narrabeen regulars and Heath Walker, from the Gold Coast and also on the WQS , and a soon to be well known charger from Byron Bay, Kieren Perrow. They brought with them Mark Anders a well known surf photog and Mick Waters on video. So the trip was well documented. An excellent article was printed in Surfing World mag, and selected footage was used in Mick Waters surf vid ‘Fade” and also in the movie ‘Ulu 32’.
Other footage from that trip has been used in Freeline Indonesian Surf Adventures ‘Rubber Time’ series of promo vids and several other productions, including the YouTube clip for the losmen. Mark Anders excellent still photos have also been seen in several surf productions. There were no other surfers around and the boys were lucky enough to score all the major breaks big and in perfect conditions. The three things I remember most about that trip apart from the great surfing from the boys was the dedication of Mick and Mark, I don’t think a wave was ridden that didn’t get filmed or photographed. Second was the frequent comments from the boys along the lines of “these are world class waves Nev, where is everybody?” They were stoked to get it all to themselves.
The third was that though I believed in the quality of the waves Freeline was offering to our guests, it wasn’t until I saw the story and photos in Surfing World and in Mick’s vid and saw they matched up to other more well known spots featuring in the surf mags of the time that I was sure we were on a winner.
The growth and development of the area hasn’t been too spectacular except as far as surfing goes. There’s been some good stuff and some not so good stuff but in the main it’s still a beautiful area, with generally friendly people, a lot of potential and above all choice waves.
Where to start? It’s been a long, fun and interesting journey since that first go out at the left at Krui where I sat out in the middle of a sunset postcard marveling at the beauty of my surroundings so maybe we can start with the goose who ordered the cutting down of the palms at Labuhan Jukung. The first negative I noticed in the area, a not so bright move that’s never been rectified and can’t be blamed on surfers or tourists.
The point at Tanjung Setia/Bumi Agung now has 6 losmen/surf camps with 3 or 4 more either under construction or in planning stages. A lot of people seem to think the losmen gravy train is an easy one to jump on and can’t run off the tracks. I feel the next few years will be interesting and it will be survival of the fittest with a few running off the tracks. Hard work and knowledge of surfers and surfing will pull the survivors through. We got our first non surfer, non local developer this year so the gate is opened.
Don’t get into the locally owned and non locally owned bullshit, all have their place and contribution to the area. (see the FAQ section on this website). Stay where you want but remember if surfers didn’t come and pay for facilities the others waited for and got free, eg, road, power etc you’d all be doing it tough. I hear the Krui hotel has picked up it’s act and facilities are better. An era has passed! The only thing that seems to have changed at the Rahayu, apart from the staff, is it’s name. Maintenance hasn’t been a priority and the once popular eating place for visiting surfers has slipped a few levels and other, better food outlets have opened and look good. Another era has passed!
Not too much has changed at a lot of the surf breaks, most beaches are still being used as toilets and overall development and improvement is negligible. The’ idiot’ has bought land at several locations and feels it gives him some kind of ownership of the surf breaks and from time to time he tries to charge to go surfing at ‘his’ wave. Don’t buy into that crap, just tell him to get f%#$*@ and go surfing in our (everybody’s) ocean. I’ve talked to local govt officials, tourism groups and local people and the result is he’s way off base and karma is following closely. Since he’s been in the area the ‘idiot’ has caused heaps of trouble and problems but he seems to be Teflon coated and nothing much seems to stick. I can only hope he receives the karma he deserves. Anyway, enough of that seppo sad sack!
The roads have improved, both locally and to and from Bandar Lampung and we don’t get the police shake down as much as previously. Electricity has come to the area, though still pretty erratic and we still need to have a generator. The mobile phone service (?) is better than the power supply and is occasionally frustrating, but both have only been available for a few years. Improvements will come….? The internet has made it to Krui and that’s a bit of a plus. Could get it at Tanjung Setia next year (maybe). An ATM in Krui is still just a dream but like the airport we get rumors that this year (whatever year you’re talking in) is gonna see it happen. We can only hope this is the year but nobody’s holding their breath. Variety of supplies and quality building materials are still often hard or impossible to get and can drive us nuts trying to operate a surf camp to a professional standard.
Without a doubt, the best part of the past 17 years has been the people and characters I’ve met on this journey. There have been very few dickheads so I won’t bother with them. Everybody has played their part in the pioneering, growth and development of this wave rich area and it’s ongoing,. but you’re too many to mention so I’ll just say thanks for your company, friendship and support over the years and I hope you all enjoyed your time here.
We’ve had some really hot surfers and a few who maybe would’ve been better off going to somewhere more mellow. However these guys extended their comfort zones and went home as more complete and competent surfers and I’m sure we all learned a bit more about life in general too. I’ve seen many long term friendships formed here, in the surf, over a few cold beers cards, chess, ping pong or just hanging out talking to each other (no TV or DVD helps with this).
The characters are too numerous to mention all, but Gary Harrison who made his 7th visit this year is notable. Harro, a likable and friendly guy, involved all his life in surfing and the surfboard industry, suffered a serious off road motorbike accident a few years ago which left him badly damaged both inside and out. Harro was told he’d never walk again, but like the stubborn bugger I remember working with years ago at Bob Brown Surfboards, he’s gone one better than just walking again, 5 years after he got out of hospital he rocked up to Ombak Indah to fulfill a dream started when doctors told him he’d never walk again, let alone surf. It was his seventh trip to this area and his 2nd to Ombak Indah. His surfing may not have been up to his previous high standard, but was still pretty good and in my eyes his achievement in returning and catching and riding the waves at Ujung Bocor again was nothing short of heroic. Sorry Harro, I know you reckon you just did what you wanted, as usual, but I reckon it was a top effort and you’re an inspiration bro.
Then there was Wally, a big guy, bodybuilder, and a real good surfer. Not real fancy but nothing could knock him off his board and to see him smash through a wall off whitewater after a section had let down on him was a special sight. Wally wasn’t planning on learning Indo or making Indo friends. ‘ I probably won’t be back this way so what for? I’m just here to surf’ was his thinking as we set off from Jakarta. When the Sempana Kids first laid eyes on this big stern looking man they were in awe of the biggest bule (westerner) they’d ever seen. “Mr Mambo” they asked me with not a little trepidation, “What’s his name?” But Wally, of the serious and unsmiling face and power packed body was just a marshmallow inside. Within a couple of days the smiling faces looking up at him in awe and the chorus of “Hello Mr Wally” had this soft hearted and gentle man stopping to ask their names and learn an Indo word or two. He soon acquired the nickname among the locals of ‘Mr Hercules’ Every time we went in or out of the hotel there was always a chorus of “Hello Mr Hercules” from the kids and smiles all round. He was the favorite. He needed to eat a fair bit to fuel his big physique and it wasn’t long before we’d go over to the Rahayu for a feed and one of the girls, Suzi, would smile up at him and say shyly “Hello Mr Five pieces of chicken!” They couldn’t believe how much us bule’s could eat but Wally made us look like we were on diets. We wondered why Mr Hercules sometimes bailed early after eating, until one of the boys, heading up to the market spotted him in another restaurant. His explanation, he was still hungry and was too shy to ask the Rahayu girls for more chicken. Mr Hercules was a big man in all ways and charged the waves no matter the size, he was a fun guy to hang out with and the Sempana Kids loved him. He lived life fast but sadly a road accident took him from us a few years ago. RIP Mr Hercules, you’d be pleased to know the Sempana Kids, grown up now, still remember you.
Over the years we’ve hosted several father and son combos, come to surf Sumatra waves with Freeline. With only one sad exception early in the piece all have been a positive and enlightening experience. It’s a buzz to see, as the trip goes on, the bond and understanding that develops between dad and son hanging out and surfing together. Something special about being a surfer, I don’t think a similar bonding thing would happen, to the same extent, on a golf or tennis trip.
Jarrod Howse and his mates were great to hang around with, their surfing was of high standard and they were always ready for some fun. Like every night while we stayed at the Krui hotel, around 9pm a local braindead would come screaming through town on his motorbike as if the cops were after him or he was late home with bakso for his wife. We’d hear him coming from the south side of Krui and with no worries about the possibility of a goat, dog, slow moving old lady or anything on the road he could hit in the dark, he’d flash noisily past the hotel, head down and roar up the darkened main street. Half an hour later he’d do the same but going the other way. We’d hear him coming past the monument and flat out past the hotel, down the south road and vanish until the same time next night. Like a lot of Indos he seemed to think by pulling the guts out of the muffler, removing mirrors etc they could turn these little step-through scooters into Harleys. Well on day the boys were up in the market and came across some old style bangers, like the old ‘double happys’, fireworks of my youth, loud but harmless. That night we were all ready for this goose when we heard him charging into town.
Crouched behind the handrail with the lights out on the verandah of the Krui hotel it was perfect timing as he passed below, 3 bangers went off over his head. He shit himself, almost lost it and zig zagged up the road, legs sticking out both sides for balance, narrowly avoiding hitting anything. When he stopped, checked his bike and the surrounding area he could see nothing, we were back in the darkness laughing like maniacs. Success! Finding no problem he carried on. We waited for his return, at speed and it was an action replay only going the opposite direction. It took 2 more nights before he realized where it was coming from and he treated us to some unprintable Indonesian abuse and fist shaking. He didn’t know who it was as we kept the lights off. It cured him though, he never came roaring through town like that anymore.
Then there was Noel Pearson, from Wollongong NSW who came with 2 mates (sorry boys, time has taken it’s toll and I forget your names) on a Freeline trip. We also had a Norwegian surfer who promised great coverage and photos in a Norwegian surf and sport mag in return for a good discount. (we got a few, very few, photos and no magazine article. Lesson learned! No discounts until we see the goods) We also had along ‘Demon' a hard core charger from Canberra and Phil Keim from Newcastle who quickly gained the nickname ‘Waterboy’. He was a lid rider (bodyboarder) and got his name due to the amount of time he spent in the surf, probably equal to the time he spent on the land!
Anyway Noel and his mates didn’t mind charging the big stuff and scored Way Jambu huge and close to perfect. Over 3 days they charged through way overhead size barrels, the biggest I’ve ever seen Way Jambu before or since. Epic! But that’s not all, a few days before that, and what earned Noel this mention, we pulled up at Jimmy’s Point to see the right hander maxing out. How big? No idea! (see pic above) Maybe 15’ maybe bigger on the sets. Time plays with the old memory and one mans 15’ can be bigger or smaller to someone else. Enough to say it was Huge! We all decided it was a good day to get the camera out except Noel, who reckoned he was up to it.
He waxed up got the big leggy and paddled out by himself. We watched as he reached the probable takeoff spot and spent a few minutes lining himself up. Out back we could see a big swell looming, Noel jockeyed around, paddled out a bit further as he sized up what was coming. After letting a few go by to suss the situation he made his move, an stroked into a giant. His positioning was spot on and the drop, from our vantage point safe on the land, was awesome and seemed to go on forever, down and down he dropped and then vanished behind the preceding wave, we couldn’t see his bottom turn, the wave in front was blocking the view. Up onto the face he flew and as the lip threw out into a perfect barrel Noel casually positioned himself, standing tall, for the coverup. What a wave! Noel was just a small figure on the face of that monster. We were laughing and hooting as he blasted out the end and started the paddle out for another one.
He caught 5 monsters in that session, while he was out there another guy, known only as Indo Steve or Indoman showed up. Steve was an Aussie who traveled around Indo by himself on a motorbike, distained losmens or places where other surfers hung out and usually camped on his own in a tent away from company. I’d met him a couple of years earlier in West Java and he was a nice guy but didn’t really get his trip….he marched to his own drummer! Anyway at this time Steve was staying with an Indo family down at Ujung Bocor and had gained a rep as a charger who didn’t mind being out in the big stuff on his own. Didn’t seem to have many friends but he sure had big balls!
Well up rocks Steve on his motorbike while Noel was on his 2nd wave and after a quick look waxes up and out he goes. We watched as Noel caught another big mother and Steve started to position himself to do the same. A couple of sets came and went, Noel on one of them, and I was surprised to see Indoman starting the long paddle in. When he got to shore I cruised over to see what the problem was. ‘ Fuck Nev, that was so scary I figured it was a better move to come in’ he told me with a straight look. ‘Your mate’s crazy’ he added.
Noel caught his last couple of monsters and came in himself. When he reached us he apologized for being scared and coming in after only 5 waves. He was serious and had us feeling pretty limp and apologizing for leaving it all to him. It was an epic effort on his part and easily the biggest I’ve ever seen Jimmy’s Point ridden. I could go on for a few more pages (books) looking back over the years at what I’ve seen and done and especially the great bunch of surfers I’ve met here either with a Freeline trip or independently or as guests of Ombak Indah losmen.
With a bit more good luck I’ll be sitting here at the end of next year writing ‘Looking back from 2010’ and adding to the ‘Recollections’.
Any of you who want to add to these recollections with stories of your own experiences in this special area just email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be stoked to add them to the story.
Good surfing to you all, hope I didn’t bore you all, I’m looking forward to meeting a bunch of you at Ombak Indah or somewhere in the area. Cowabunga!
Footnote, Karma caught up with the ‘idiot’ in 2008 &2009 at Way Jambu and Jenny’s Right and he suffered some damage to ego, body and possessions. Pays to treat the locals with respect!
Waterboy was hooked on Indo after his Freeline trip and is now a part owner and surf guide on the Tengirri, a top quality boat operating Mentawai surf tours out of Padang.
Jump to any place
Recollections - Way Jambu
Recollections - Way Jambu
By Nev Hines, March 2010
About 15mins south of Ujung Bocor is the small village of Way Jambu. It’s right on the beach overlooking a reef with a classic barreling wave. It can hold a very big swell and a few years ago, probably about 1998 we had a Freeline group of surfers that included 3 guys from Wollongong in NSW Oz, who didn’t mind a bit of size in their waves. These 3 guys (I forget their names now, though the biggest hellman was called Noel) ripped into the biggest Way Jambu pits I’d ever seen ridden there before, or since. My estimate of the size would be at least 12’+ and the boys were getting way deep in these stand up barrels with the lips pitching out overhead in the perfect clean conditions. There were no other chargers around and the rest of the group, me included, were just stoked to see this exhibition of big fearless barrel riding.
This was 3 days before the trip ended and we went down there the next day and were treated to a repeat performance for a while though I had to take the other boys to another break so we could get a surf too. I think we surfed Ujung Bocor. The last day and Noel and the boys hit it again, coming back with stories of more big barrels. The rest of us had surfed Labuhan Jukung (Krui lefts) at about 6ft and perfect. It was a great few days for swell and the best way to end a surf trip.
When I first rocked up at Way Jambu with Claude and Adam in 1993, from the beach it looked to be about 3’-4’. We could see it was going to be a long paddle out once we got through the crunching shorebreak. We guessed it to be maybe half to low tide but the wave looked good so out we went. It was a beautiful spot, in the corner where the white sand beach met the reef was where the local fishermen pulled up and parked their outrigger fishing boats (jukung).
The shoreline was tree and palm lined and with the houses in the background the whole place was very picturesque. It was spoiled only by the Indo habit of using the beach and foreshore as a toilet. This gave rise, during later Freeline trips, to the place being nicknamed, among others, ‘Perfume Point’ The white sand beach stretched away north towards the headland that was home to the right hander at Biha and around the other side, Ujung Bocor.
It was a battle getting through the shorey to begin the long paddle out to where the waves were peeling down the reef. Adam was in the clear first and made it to the lineup about 50mtrs ahead of Claude and I. 3’-4’!!! Distance can play tricks, it was easily 6’ and hollower and faster than we’d expected. Conditions couldn’t have been better and I can still remember Adam stroking into his first wave, a good six footer, a sharp bottom turn and he was away with the wave throwing out over him. Choice! Claude and I soon were getting our share too but the half exposed reef was a bit daunting. I found it better angle my board and just concentrate on the wave face along the line and try to ignore the water draining off the reef directly in front of me.
We’d been surfing for maybe an hour when Adam ate it on a big late takeoff and snapped his leggy. The waves were smashing onto the front of the reef so there was no going straight in that way. A long swim was on the cards and around a new and unknown reef it seemed a good idea if Claude and I paddle in with Adam swimming, just to be on the safe side, there being no one else around to help him if he needed it. It wasn’t the most fun thing we’d ever done but the waves we’d caught were good enough reward. Adam’s board was intact, a few scratches, but the 3 of us were stoked to have scored such good barrels in such a beautiful place. ‘Perfume Point’ held a great wave and over the coming years we’d see and surf heaps of good waves there. We had one more good session there before we left the area, a bit smaller but the barrels were still barreling and the conditions matched the wave.
Since then, Way Jambu has stoked a lot of surfers and photographers, scared a bunch of guys, snapped a large collection of boards and leggys and had a few guys washing shit off their feet from not looking where they were walking. Not only is the reef a danger but the landmines on the shore can be messy, but easily washed off.
Some seppo goose (we know who) has been trying to rename it Sumatra’s Pipeline, a name that has semi stuck because it’s a left and a hollow barrel, but we’ve always, since 7 years before he showed up, called it by it’s local name Way Jambu. Nearly every surfing country has a hollow wave called Pipeline, but Way Jambu has got it’s deserved reputation for hollow fast and challenging barrels under it’s own name and we reckon there’s enough ‘Pipelines’ around the world but only one Way Jambu.
So you who came here late or listen to the idiot who came way late can have your Pipeline but surfers who know and believe the history of this choice wave and have surfed these barrels will stick with the name Way Jambu. This beach, like so many others on this coast could be a postcard with the jukungs parked in the corner, beautiful white sand, tall palms and the many cows who come down to hang at the beach and get their photos taken.
Why isn’t it? Our favorite American has bought land there, claims to own the break and as is his habit where ever he seems to go has cut down so many of the trees and palms on the foreshore there. Also the local habit of using the beach area as a toilet has made it a flyblown spot and not pleasant to hang around after a surf.
Education is the only real answer both for the locals and the idiot but neglect by the areas authorities is a big contributing factor to the lack of good facilities, progress and benefit to the locals that the influx of foreign surfers can bring. The tourist authority has to make a better effort, in action, as well as talk, to encourage tourism. Who wants to sit on a smelly, shit covered, but otherwise beautiful beach?
But those primo barrels keep on coming and so will we!
Jump to any place
Recollections - First Freeline Trip in 1994
Recollections - First Freeline Trip in 1994
By Mark 'Legend' Nichols, August 2009
I responded to an advert in Tracks magazine that caught my attention ahead of all the other surf travel adverts. The Freeline advert said ‘fussy eaters may have a problem on this trip’. I figured it must be going off the beaten track, and that appealed to me.
Nev ‘Mambo’ Hines was at Jakarta airport to meet me and after I arrived we had to wait a while to meet a guy from Sth Australia, named Tim. Later on he became known as Jim as the Indos had a bit of trouble with Tim. From Jim, he became Jimmy. From the airport we traveled in to Jalan Jaksa and a place called Borneo Hotel. We got cleaned up and went down to a bar/restaurant in Jl Jaksa named ‘Memories where we had a few beers and a feed.
Later, I meet a woman there and invite her back to my room. She hangs around the next day and accompanies us on a bit of a tour round Jakarta. We get back and I take a shower, when I come back to the room I notice my camera, some cash and travelers checks are missing. Then I catch her trying to return my camera and some fishing lures she’d taken. I go and get Nev and while I’m telling him the problem we notice her trying to stash some of my cash in the back of a disused fridge that was just outside my room. Nev, you know what transpired after that.
(Nev, Yes Legend I remember, and it goes like this,… I called security and they come and question the girl, as usual in Indo a fair bunch of onlookers were on the scene to see what was going on. After recovering most of Mark’s stuff except the travelers checks the security, who were pretty pissed off at her, asked, ‘why did you do this? She replied defiantly, ‘he owes me this!’ when she’s asked why does he owe you she replies ‘because he f&%#@* me 8 times last night!’….Chaos!
Suddenly the theft was forgotten, the whole scene turns into a comedy, as all eyes, about 15 sets, swivel in Mark’s direction, admiring smiles and comments like ‘you very strong!’ ‘What medicine do you take?’ and similar comments of admiration and respect. We sort it all out and the chick gets evicted.
Next morning and Mark was getting smiles from all the girls, thumbs up and “strong man!” smiling comments from the men.. While having breakfast a local gay guy, Gaul, who was always hanging around came up behind Mark, put his arms around him and murmured in Marks ear, ‘You very strong man Mr Mark” Mark jumped up in shock and we all cracked up with laughter. Tim goes ‘ you’re a fucking legend man!” and that’s how Mark became the legend of Jl Jaksa. Now he’s just known as ‘Legend’).
Later we had to go out to the airport to meet two other guys. Lance, from NSW came through first, he was fully pissed and made a commotion, loudly blaming a guy he’d met on the plane for the state he was in and with his gear falling all over the place. We guided him to the side of the terminal where he collapses like a derro with his stuff spilling out of his bags.
He then discovers that he’s misplaced his passport, tickets and wallet. Nev has to go back and find it all. The security guard was not impressed and gave Nev an earful. Luckily he recovers it all. By now Lance is attracting the attention of the airport police, all carrying machine guns. Luckily they left us alone as we found out later Lance had bought in an oz of dope in his underpants. By now Stuart, the guy from Victoria has arrived. Soon as he comes out from customs we get going so as to get Lance out of there.
That night we hang out at Hotmans nightclub where Lance continues his bender. We load our gear in the morning and get on our way. First petrol stop and Lance has a spew, he was quite hungover and it was 3 days before we saw him semi sober. On the way we get stopped by police and have to give them money. We arrive in Bandar Lampung late arvo and check in at a good hotel. Andy says goodbye. We go out to a restaurant for a feed and cold (frozen) beer.
Back at the hotel Nev organizes transport for the morning and the trip to Krui. We arrive late that arvo and check into the Krui hotel and walk to the beach for a surf check. There’s a nice little left at the far end of the beach so we go surfing. It’s fun and only us out. While surfing there’s a storm but the waves are good and it’s dark by the time we get back to the hotel.
On the way back we pass the town generator shed which provides Krui with power from 6pm in the evening until 8am in the morning. Back then Krui only had power for those limited hours and there was no phone service. No calls to home and no fridges or cold beer. Nev organizes a local to deliver ice each arvo and we could get about a dozen bottles of beer every day. At night after returning from dinner we sit on the verandah of the hotel drinking cold beer and watching the passing parade.
Our first day in Krui and the driver Nev had organised turns up in his vehicle with plastic chairs tied into each corner. Along the way we check a few places including Ujung Bocor, before it got that name.. The surf was huge and we end up surfing a left (now known as Lances Left) breaking over a shallow reef that was inside the bay from Ujung Bocor. Lance injures his knee pulling out after a ride and tears his ligaments or tendons. He’d brought a really good knee brace with him as he had a suss knee but for some reason didn’t wear that day. I had to help him out of the water and along the beach to the car. I could tell by the way he was limping and the pain that there would be no more surfing for him on this trip.
Next day we travel in normal style (no plastic chairs) south to Way Jambu. Before we get there the police stop us and Nev has to give them our names and addresses so that when we die (in the big waves) they can ‘help us’. At Way Jambu the surf is 10’+ with barrels you could drive the ‘Sunlander’ through. While surfing we get caught inside by a monster set and get washed in across the reef. We were all chickenshit after that although everybody goes back out, catching a few good waves, taking off on the shoulder near the barreling inside section.
Next day we have a good surf at the town left and go check out town looking for a warung with cold beer. We had been eating at the Rumah Makan Rahayu just across the road from the Krui hotel and were seeking some different type of food and we find a place in a back street that served fired rice and noodles and they also had a few cold beers.
By this stage of the trip we had started to arouse some interest with the local girls. A couple were hanging around and helping us to look out for Lance. Nev organized to get a set of crutches made for him.
Next morning we head off up the coast and pass quite a few points and bays that had a lot of surf potential and arrive at a place that later became known as Jimmy’s Point, named after Tim who surfed the first wave on the left. A lot of the Indos couldn’t get their tongues around Tim and called him Jim, and so did we. There was an agreement in the group that whoever got the first wave got his name on the break.
When we arrived the local kids were chanting ‘tourist! tourist! tourist!’ and running after the car. They also let the school out so the kids could come look at the westerners and there was quite an audience on the beach. When one of us caught a wave and pulled off at the end you could hear the screams and yahoos coming from the shore.
On our way up the coast that day we could see an island a couple of km’s offshore that had a right breaking off the southern point. It was called Banana Island (Pulau Pisang). On the way back we stopped for a look from near where the road was closest to the island. It looked like a good right breaking.
Near where we stopped there was some bamboo growing and I found a small piece to give to Lance so he could make a bong as his cigarette papers were no good. One good thing about Lance smoking was it stopped him whinging. He was becoming a whinger! That night back at the hotel Nev talked to Budi, the owner, about hiring a boat to take us out to Pulau Pisang the next day. In the morning we meet at the small boat harbor in Krui and we board the boat for the island.
The right was breaking but not as good as we expected. It was big and and we were a little bit chickenshit. Lance called us pussys. I had a few waves then got nuked and ended up on the beach then had the long paddle back out to the boat.
We return to Krui and that night go check the local cinema. It was crowded and hard to breathe as there was a layer of cigarette smoke from head to ceiling. We left well before the movie was over, could hardly see the screen through the smoke, and ended up on the verandah at the Krui hotel drinking beer.
Nev and I were awake early and we went down to the beach and I surfed the left while Nev took a few photos. The next morning we leave Krui and go north toward Bengkulu. On the way up the coast we pass several river set ups with waves peeling for about 100 mtrs, but the water was brown and murky and there were no takers.
First stop was at Bintuhan where we had a surf at a right breaking into the bay. We stayed at the Losmen Eka Nurza where we met 2 Aussie surfers who were going south. They asked if they could share our cold beer and the last of our tinned corned beef, cheese and cracker biscuits. No thank you came, just a lot of bullshit bout how cool they were.
Next morning we head up the coast in another vehicle organized by Nev and travel to some coastal locations including a bay with a wharf where they were loading logs onto a barge. The next place we stopped was Manna with a point that looked like it could have a good left on a big swell. We decide to keep driving to Bengkulu where we check into some cottages near the beach. Lance Tim and Stuart get the Presidential Suite and Nev and I stay in a separate cottage. I’m not so well and go to bed for the rest of the day. In the morning we go check out some local sights including ‘Fort Marlboro’ and a small wave out in front of the fort.
I remember Nev not being his usual cheerful self. Later I find out from the other boys that Lance had been really abusive and had a go at Nev wanting to fight while hopping around on his one good leg. I hadn’t been present as I’d been in bed sick.
Lance was way out of line, Nev could not have done more for him and the rest of us had all gone out of our way to help Lance as he was severely incapacitated. But by that time he’d smoked all his dope and was just looking for someone to blame for his problems. That night we walk to a hotel with a big poolroom with about 20 tables and hostesses to rack the balls and bring you drinks. We had a great evening playing pool and drinking cold beer.
Next morning we leave for Bengkulu airport for our flight to Jakarta then Bali. It was a great trip and I had seen and surfed some fantastic places. Nev did a terrific job as our tour guide. Thanks for that Mambo!
Regards Mark ‘Legend’ Nicol.
Jump to any place
Recollections - Jimmys Point
Recollections - Jimmys Point
By Nev Hines, September 2009
On the first Freeline Sumatra tour (1994) we went north after a few days to see what waves we could find. The previous year during the initial exploration trip with Claude and Adam we’d seen nothing much north of Krui, having concentrated mainly in the south where we’d found some good waves.
It was, as usual, a nice sunny day and we left the Krui hotel with high hopes of getting some choice new wave action. We passed several beaches and points along the way but didn’t see anything exciting to provoke a paddle out. Several spots showed potential, same story as the year before, but apart from Banana Island which seemed to have a good righthander the coast didn’t provide us much excitement.
We got to what is now Jenny’s Right, it was almost doing it, but we continued around the track and across the front of the headland. Very beautiful, heaps of coconuts but not much surf. The swell was just crashing straight onto the front of the mainly unbroken reef. We passed a small bay but the swell wasn’t hitting it right. We later had a few surfs there, sometimes OK but mostly just a ‘get wet’. A crew of bodyboarders who came on the scene several years later named it Honeysmacks and it has since proved to be a real good lid wave. I’ve seen some of their photos and they’ve scored it really good since they started surfing it regularly.
Anyway we carried on around to the other side and a long lefthand point which had a sketchy sort of wave but across the big bay we could see a crescent beach with a small headland with a reef out front and a small village in amongst the coconut palms and trees.
We reckoned that was where we wanted to be so drove back onto the tar road and continued round, past a school located right on the beach, and on around the bay. We went up a rise, past another school on the right but the vegetation and village on the left obscured the reef and we went on past the small track that that led down to it. A half kilometer on when the road veered right and headed up toward the hills we realized we’d overshot the turn off. A quick U turn and we soon were on our way into Penengahan.
Our vehicle, with 5 westerners on board and surfboards sticking out the back soon attracted plenty of attention. We jolted along the track through the village with a throng of kids following and chanting ‘Hello mister’ and ‘tourist, tourist.’ Kids and adults lined each side of the track outside of their houses up ahead not sure what all the commotion was all about. As we drove along smiling and excited faces were all around. Old and young were out chattering happily to see western tourists in their village with their strange craft sticking out of the Mitsubishi colt.
We found our way to a clearing under the coconut palms near a small beach overlooking the reef and what looked to be the righthander. We soon learned the dangers of the beach when we jumped down to check it all out. The smell of shit was strong and lurking in the sand, sometimes covered, (more dangerous) sometimes not lay some big healthy turds and also some obviously sick individuals had splattered the sand. The locals used the beach as a toilet and while we were checking the wave potential a couple of the local crew casually drifted away from the excitement and took a dump while they watched proceedings.
The right wasn’t really doing it that day but the potential showed. However we noticed over on the other side what looked to be a left breaking and decided to take a closer look.
A quick word to our driver and we soon had a crew of excited kids leading the way past more houses to another clearing where a crowd quickly gathered for the days entertainment. It was a real nice sunny day and most of the kampung inhabitants, except the very old and frail were interested to figure out why we were there and why we were so focused on the wave action. The left definitely looked rideable, at least head high or a bit bigger so we were keen to give it a go.
It was hard to get the boards and gear out of the back of the vehicle, the locals were pushed so close so as to see what these strange things were. Getting the boards out of he their covers was a trip too, with the danger of stabbing someone with the nose or fins. Waxing up was a hassle but when it came to getting changed we had close on 200 interested Indos wanting to see if we had the same equipment in our shorts as they had. Finally we were ready to go out.
It was bad luck for Lance who probably would’ve been the charger of the trip. The previous day while surfing a break, now named Lances Left, he’d torn the ligaments in his knee which kept him out of the water for the rest of the time. I knew him from back in Oz and had made him 2 sticks for the trip that I was sure would be ideal for a charger like Lance to rip into some fresh Sumatra juice.. Unfortunately we were never to know as he didn’t surf again on this trip. He was an unhappy spectator and as the trip went on his discontent and frustration with his situation grew until it finally boiled over when we reached Bengkulu. But that’s another story.
As we pushed through the mob of spectators and headed toward the reef to jump off, one of the boys asked, “Where do we paddle out from Nev?” I had to answer, “,Not sure, it’s my first time here too”. Laughing, we found our way to what looked like a good spot and we were soon paddling out to a new and unknown wave with high expectations.
We jockeyed around a bit in the lineup trying to find the good spot on what looked like a pretty gnarly takeoff. Not long, and then South Australian surfer Tim Beadman, aka Jimmy, stroked into a good size wave, jumped to his feet and on his backhand handled the steep drop, bottom turned and came charging along the clean face with a big foamball chasing him out to the shoulder. The wave seemed to suck up on itself a bit and there was no long wall stretched out in front, so you had to surf pretty close to the hook, but it went like that for close to 100meters.
Hooting and laughing as he went by we all started to push for one for ourselves. The ice was broken and we were caught up in the buzz of surfing a new and strange break which luckily didn’t have any obstacles or dangers. We all got our share of these new waves. One of the high points was when you pulled off at the end of a ride, the maybe 200 young and old spectators could be heard clapping, and hooting, laughing and cheering as we glided over the back and started to paddle out again feeling like the surf stars we weren’t. We were brought back to reality when we realized that the biggest cheers were for when one of us fell or got smashed. That was their favorite bit.
In our haste to get out into the new waves and escape the crush of spectators none of us had thought about getting photos. Lance was too pissed off to sit and take photos and he probably wouldn’t have been able too anyway as he was constantly surrounded by chattering kids and him not being mobile enough to get away.
When we came back in, all of us excited and raving on about the surf and what it was like, we had to go through the reverse performance getting changed with the locals all trying for a glimpse under our towels. There was no privacy at all, couldn’t even drift off for a piss without a mob following to observe from as close as possible.
We nearly caused a few injuries as we slid our boards back into their covers and while the boys were loading up ready to go, I went over to a few old local dudes standing a bit apart and enquired if they’d seen anyone surfing here before. The answer was a definite Tidak! (no) So unless someone contacts me to say they were first, as far as I know, we were and Jimmy was the first to catch a wave there, at least on the left.
So the whole point, left and right handers got named ‘Jimmy’s Point,’ a name that has endured for the last 17 or so years in honor of Tim Beadman who took that first drop, way back when, on a sunny Sumatra day on the first ever go out at that spot. I’ve since heard that a Hawaiian surfer by the name of Joe Gray may have surfed the right the year before us.
That’s the true story of our first day at Jimmy’s Point as far as my memory goes and I still remember the buzz of catching my first wave at that unknown break so long ago, with the locals hooting and cheering us on and making us feel like champions.
While I’m at it I’d like to thank Mark, Tim, Stuart and Lance for taking a punt on the new Freeline tour and on me as the tour guide.
Thanks again boys you made that trip memorable.
Jump to any place
Recollections - Krui Hotel & Rahayu (Krui)
Recollections - Krui Hotel & Rahayu (Krui)
By Nev Hines, August 2010
My recollections of the early days surfing around Krui and the surrounding areas wouldn’t be complete with out mention of the Krui hotel. It played a big part in our lives and has provided many stories and memories for pretty much all of us who stayed there over the years.
When I first arrived there in 1994 the boss and, I think, the owner or co owner was a big, for and Indo, round faced man with a shock of unkept black hair named Budi. Though sometimes on a different wavelength he was a real nice guy, always happy and quick with a laugh though sometimes we weren’t sure what he was laughing at. His main attire was usually a pair of old shorts, a T shirt and bare feet. He was also very interested in literature, e.g. Penthouse, Playboy and Hustler mags (just for the articles I’m sure). He tried several times to get Mark ‘Legend” interested in a business importing these and other similar mags so he could sell them to the locals. Those sort of mags were illegal at the time (still are), in Indo and if the customs or police ever caught you with them you could expect a severe frowning and instant confiscation of the offending mags.
Budi was unique among Indos and was the first and probably only Indonesian who ever, unasked, gave me a gift in appreciation of the number of guests I brought to stay at his hotel.
One time he gave me several Javanese ornaments and the like. Very beautiful and unusual. I offered to pay but Budi wouldn’t hear of it and insisted I accept them as a gift. A year or two later he gave me a beautiful sarong and sash made in the local style (tapis). It was black with gold and colored thread in an intricate pattern. It was all hand made and very expensive, once again he wouldn’t take anything for it. My wife Ani wore it when we got married in 2005 and she looked stunning.
When Budi ended his time at the Krui hotel the vibe changed a fair bit. The new boss Eder was a soft speaker and always seemed to have a secret plan. He was OK though and caused us no problems, basically leaving us to do our thing, but he really wasn’t so helpful. When I caught one of the Indo guests trying to get into one of our rooms he pretty much did nothing, preferring to slide off speaking softly. Also when the American idiot made trouble and damaged Freeline guests boards and leggys etc he only tried to avoid facing up to the situation and did nothing, only thinking of the cash he thought he’d be getting from the idiot. That backfired on him as when the idiot left the hotel he owed a substantial amount of money. Karma!
The Krui hotel was a 2 story building located in downtown Krui, on the main street and opposite Abu Sutarno’s Rahayu restaurant. There were other accommodations around but the Krui hotel suited our needs best, and anyway, with the exception of the Wisma Selalau (not enough rooms) most of the others were in an even more rundown condition than the shabby old Krui hotel.
In the downstairs lounge/dining area was a TV where the late night crew of deviates would gather to watch porno movies. Strict muslims digging hard core human and animal porn had us wondering what they were all about.
On both sides downstairs were rooms, on the right directly at the bottom of the stairs was a room we named ‘the pit of death’ mainly due to the dark dingy atmosphere and the poor condition of the beds and toilet. The other rooms on the righthand side were only marginally better but the back rooms on the left were smelly, hot and with not much ventilation. They had toilets but there was also a drain which ran through the 3 rooms for the rare occasions when the toilets got cleaned. Some of the Indo guests had a habit of pissing in the drain (easier) and the piss would run through each room on it’s way to wherever it went. I had occasion to stay one night in one of those rooms just after we’d moved our operation to the new Ombak Indah losmen down south. I was very embarrassed about the bad conditions and smell my guests had had to endure that when I got to the losmen the next day I gave the previous occupants a beer and my sincerest apologies.
At the top of the stairs was a lounge with dilapidated lounge chairs and a TV which only played what was being watched downstairs. There were 4 rooms up there but we only were allowed to use 3 of them. One was a large room at the front with a double bed and 2 singles. It had it’s own toilet and apart from the street noise, (which was relentless), it was the prime room in the hotel. Just across the hallway also at the front was a smaller room with 2 beds. The 2nd best in the place. The last room was labeled C3 (which I took to mean cell 3) and it wasn’t much bigger than the inside of a Kombi van. It had narrow beds and the door opened out into the lounge. It was my ‘home’ for about 7 years.
The upstairs rooms had light, fresh air and street noise but the downstairs rooms were dank and dingy but relatively quiet. All the beds were suss and used to collapse regularly.
Out the front upstairs was the feature of the Krui hotel and about the only thing we missed when we moved down the coast to the new Ombak Indah. It was a full length verandah from where we spent many hours over the years drinking cold beers, bullshitting, waving to the girls at the Rahayu and watching the comings and goings of the locals, generally oblivious to the tourist presence.
While sitting up there we could look directly down at the Rahayu, a Padang style restaurant with usually 2 or 3 young girls serving and cooking and making sates. (goat). Old Abu, the owner, worked them mercilessly with long hours, low wages and very ordinary conditions.
Out front was a small BBQ for cooking the goat sticks and pieces of chicken. The girls sometimes did the cooking but usually it was manned by ‘Mr Sate’ a happy and smiling semi chain smoker who looked, when he smiled, like a forest fire had swept through his mouth - only a few black stumps remained!
We used to insist that only the girls cooked for us as some of his hygiene habits were a bit suspect.. He cooked with a cigarette in his mouth or hand while turning the sates or adjusting the ‘traditional’ electric fan. From time to time, with ciggy in hand, he’d turn his head, place his thumb against one nostril and blow whatever was up there out onto the dirt. He’d then repeat the procedure on the other nostril and blow out onto the dirt on the other side of where he stood, he’d then calmly go back to cooking the sates in front of him, sometimes wiping any residue casually off his fingers and onto his shirt. Cigarette ash would be dropping off all over the place. As far as I was concerned goat sticks were off the menu.
Out the back was a roaring fire where they cooked the food, a food preparation area near the toilets and goat execution area. A well was on the left also used by the Gembira losmen next door. The condition of the Gembira was even worse than the Krui hotel.
Guests were always bemused when, while sitting and eating in the restaurant area, old Abu the owner, pulled up outside in his pickup with a goat in the back tray. Then either he or Mr Sate or both would haul the hapless goat out of the pickup and drag it through the restaurant, past the diners and out the back to what was to be it’s last memory of life on earth. The goats always seemed to sense their fate and went to their end very noisily with bleats of protest and futile struggling.
The girls working at the Rahayu were always very young and cute. They were always keen to try to learn English with the guests. Though we seemed very strange to them they were always happy and smiling when we turned up for a feed, mainly because we always greeted them with a smile and treated them with respect and politeness. And gave tips! They were hard working and Abu got the most out of the low wages and long hours they had to endure.
Back at the Krui hotel we suffered smelly rooms, rats and the same breakfast for over 7 years. A scoop of white greasy rice with a few strands of shredded omlette and a teaspoon of canned sardines. It was called ‘nasi goreng’ but that was stretching the imagination a bit.
Only one time did it change, after several complaints and requests for something different we were greeted one morning with a big smile by the worker (for want of a better description) and the cheerful and proud announcement as he topped the stairs, “New breakfast!”
There on the plate he held was a large pile of ‘fairy bread’ Bread, not too fresh, and butter topped generously with colorful hundreds and thousands. The boys were very definite about going back to the old breakfast. I’d learned a lesson, don’t try to change things!
From time to time rats were a problem. In the mornings I always woke when the wailers at the nearby mosques (there were 3 or 4 of them in the area and I’m sure they were competing) started their wailing, I’d get up, open the door then lay down again and doze a bit until the boys woke and made their way to the lounge for our ‘nasi goreng’ before heading out for a surf.
Sometimes, depending on conditions, I’d go for an early walk down to the beach to check the waves and, on return, give the boys a surf report and decide where to go for the day. One particular morning I went back to my bed in ‘cell 3’ After a while something disturbed me and I .sat up and looked out my door. Breakfast had been delivered and had been placed on the coffee table in the lounge. No one was around except a big rat up on the table snacking on our ‘nasi gorengs’. I jumped up, the rat saw me and bolted, but what to do? I decided not to mention the incident to the boys, due to embarrassed from a couple of previous rat incidents . I never did tell anyone what happened with their breakfasts.
I became more vigilant after that and when the breakfasts arrived I’d get up and sit in the lounge and guard the plates of ‘nasi goring.'
One other rat incident worth mentioning occurred after a guest reported waking in the night to find a rat sitting on his pillow looking at him. As we’d had a couple of other rat dramas I went downstairs and complained forcefully to the manager and the ‘worker’. They promised action. I didn’t hold my breath.
Well the next morning when the wailers woke me I got up, opened my door, intending to guard the breakfasts when they turned up. There, in the middle of the room was a large piece of cardboard covered in a thick pink glue, a small amount of rice in the middle and 5 rats of various sizes wriggling and whinging, trapped in the glue.
It looked bizarre and when the ‘worker’ came up with our ‘nasi gorengs’ and saw the nights catch he was stoked, “Bagus” he beamed at me proudly. He then just picked up the cardboard and rats, calmly folded it in half, which set the rats off whinging again and stuffed the lot into the rubbish bin and disappeared happily back down the stairs.
As the boys woke and came into the lounge their faces were fun to watch as they each checked the nights catch still struggling and whinging in the bin.
I wouldn’t say it was real pleasant staying at the Krui hotel but we had so many funny and strange incidents in the 7 or so years we stayed there. We kept our sense of humor and the memories are strong and I can look back at it all fondly.
The only things I missed when we eventually moved south to the new Ombak Indah losmen in Sept 2001 was the great little bunch of local kids who lived in the vicinity of the hotel. Ranging in age from about 12 down, the main group consisted of about 6 little girls and maybe 3 boys who became known to us as the ‘Krui hotel Kids’ A lot of their names escape me now but I remember the 2 Evi’s, short and tall, Gus, Fina, Nova and I have photos of them all growing up over about a 7 or 8 year period. These days some will occasionally come down to the losmen to say Hi and from time to time when I’m in Krui a young adult girl will approach me and ask if I remember her from the days when they used to hang off the bars on the downstairs windows looking in at the strange, but friendly tourists and calling out “what is your name?” or hanging around the front door with “hello mister”.
It’s nice to know they remember those days fondly and they have kept many of the small gifts I used to bring from Australia, NZ or Singapore and the many photos I gave them. I’d like to think that in the future, when they have kids of their own, they can tell them about Mr Mambo, his friends, and show their photos of those happy days. The other thing we missed when we moved was sitting out on the verandah drinking cold beers and watching Krui life pass by, But not for too long. We also missed the young girls at the Rahayu and their ready smiles.
The Krui hotel was a dingy, smelly, rat infested pit with not very competent staff but it was a big part of my life for over 7 years and the memories are generally good and the experience has given me many stories to tell. The Rahayu is still pretty much the same but the name has changed. It’s now ‘Abu Sutarno’s Restaurant. The girls have all moved on, I hope to happy and better lives. Like the Krui hotel I have many fun stories to tell about those early days dining at the RM Rahayu and Dewi, Suzi, Por, Perah, Leni, Siska and Mr Sate and Rizal and the others whose names are lost to a bad memory hold a special place in my life and I’m sure many of the previous guests from the first few years would feel the same.
Becak Racing A feature of the time spent living in Krui was the becak races which always drew a big crowd of excited locals. I don’t recall how it got started but most Freeline groups got into it. Winning only gave prestige and about 30 seconds of fame.
The best I ever did was a second place, couldn’t get round the top roundabout with it’s loose gravel surface without cracking my knees on the handlebars or spinning out. The regular drivers sat in the passenger seat with the tourists driving/peddling. Their shouting alternated between mad laughing, abusing their mates, yelling at their friends on the side of the road and screaming “pelan pelan” (slowly slowly) and “cepat cepat” (faster faster) as we peddled furiously up the darkened main street to the bemo terminal, round the small monument and back down to the front of the Rahayu, a distance of maybe 5 or 600 mtrs, enough to get a real sweat up.
The races always drew a big crowd and had the locals stoked, laughing as a bunch of big tourists peddled these awkward bikes, knees banging on the handlebars up the street dodging traffic with the regular drivers sitting in front shouting instructions, warnings and abuse at their mates but all the while looking forward to the Bintangs we always bought for them at the end.
Each time I brought a group of surfers to town the locals would always be asking when the races would be on. I still marvel at the fact we never had any serious injuries in the frequent accidents.
Jump to any place
Recollections - Jenny's Right
Recollections - Jenny's Right
By Stuart Horstman, April 2010
The break ‘Jennys Point’ was named in May 1999 during a 14 day South Sumatra trip. In the group was Nev, our tour guide, Ray, Francina, Fordy, Warwick, Jenny, Agus, our surf guide from West Java and myself. Ray brought all his camera gear to get footage of the waves in the area so we could put together a promotional video, that later become the original ‘Rubber Time’ video. Ray got some really good footage of what we think might be the first session at this break, and certainly the first time the place was surfed by a female, Jenny Sheehan, after who the break was named. These are my recollections of this session.
I can’t quite remember which day of the trip it was, but it was about half way through as we’d been surfing perfect, empty Ujung Bocor for a quite a few days beforehand. The days started like all the others, very early! About 4.30am the call to prayer started blasting through PA speakers set up around the mosque which was located about 100 meters from out hotel. This went on for about half an hour so.
Not long after that small kids selling various sweets and snacks just cooked by their mothers started their sales rounds. With their goods placed in large woven bamboo trays balanced carefully on their heads, they would parade up and down the main street of Krui yelling out at the top of their voices ‘cue’(pronounced kooaayyy, meaning ‘cake’), along with other words I never quite understood.
By the time the kids had sold out and headed back home the rest of the town was pretty much awake heralding the incessant flow of motor bikes, many without mufflers, up and down the main street. Suffice to say, unless you’d had a belly full of Bintangs the night before, sleeping in was impossible. So at day break we’d do the ritual 5 minute walk from the Simpana Hotel to Krui beach to check swell. On this particular day there were small but very rideable waves at Krui left, indicating that swell was still pushing thru so we decided to take our first trip north in the hope that Jimmy’s Point would be working.
At that time Jimmy’s and Pulau Pisang were the only known breaks surfed north of Krui. It’s testament to the remoteness of the area that two weeks later there would be 2 new waves to add to the list of surfable breaks, that is Jennys Right and Truck Stops. ‘Truck Stops’ is another story though.
After the standard breakfast of Nasi Goreng, we loaded up the boards and headed north. It was a beautiful clear day and about ½ hour up the road where the base of Gunung Pugung touches the ocean, we caught our first glimpses of open swell lines pushing through. The morning offshore was blowing and our hopes were high for some good waves.
The road then takes a high route through thick jungle before touching the coast again, exposing amazing views of Pulau Pisang. We stopped to check the right reeling off on the south west corner of the island, took a few photos and moved on. After another 20 minutes of so the meets a small village situated on the north end of a classic little bay. As we passed a school on the right hand side some kids caught a glimpse of the weird bags strapped to the roof of our cars. Word quickly spread and before we knew it the road was full of school kids checking us white folk out. We couldn’t more the car if we wanted. The kids went berserk. It was fun, and a great photo and film opportunity but after about 20 minutes (of valuable surf time I might add) the teachers were over it and started herding the kids back into class.
We pushed on, taking a side road that hugged the coast. As we drove up the little hill at the top of the bay we saw the rights breaking down the reef and stopped to check it out. I remember saying to Fordy; ‘check out that right! And there wasn’t just one or two waves, each set had a handful of 4-5ft waves that peaked sharply in the same spot and peeled perfectly down the reef for about 100 meters before doing a strange closeout on the reef.. ‘Has that been surfed before?’, we pestered Nev.
Looking back, we were mad not to just jump on it straight away. I’m not sure exactly who said what, but we all had Jimmy’s Point on our brains. It was a ‘known quantity’ and just seemed logical to check it out first. Nev commented: ‘you should never drive away from good waves’. But like the professional that he was, he was happy to let the group make its own decision. Maybe there was an element of fear paddling out to an unsurfed reef, but whatever the case, got back into the vans and bolted to Jimmy’s, about another 20 minutes away.
But much to our horror, Jimmy’s wasn’t doing it. Back then there was no Google Earth or internet swell maps and forecasts, and wave knowledge of this remote area very limited. The local kids went riot while we moped around speculating on wrong swell direction or something before realizing that there was an un-named, un-surfed, pumping right hander only 20 from where we had come…...
And the rest is as they say is history. Fordy was the first one in the water. I know this, not just because he was the first in the water on every other session of that trip, charging anything that came through, but because it’s on record. If you ever happen to see the original Rubber Time video, the first wave of the session is of Fordy going over the falls in classic style! But the rest of us weren’t far behind him and we shared heaps of really good waves for over three hours, when the trades kicked in. It was an epic session, one that will always live in my mind. Stumbling across an epic new break with a group of friends is what the dream’s all about. And it was fitting that such a great person and surfer now has the break named after her.
Jump to any place