Oct 09th, 2020
Lots Of Laughter, Batu Bolong
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If you don’t know Bali you won’t know that Canggu is where the beautiful young people hang out and that Batu Bolong is where they surf. There are other breaks close by, Berawa is less than a kilometre away, Old Mans is only a couple of hundred metres away and what I would argue are much more interesting breaks are also within a kilometre at Echo Beach.
The reason the beautiful people surf at Batu Bolong is because they all live in Canggu and Batu Bolong is a long wave perfectly suited to longboards. Longboards are the perfect opportunity for beautiful people to look beautiful. Of course it isn’t all beautiful people, there are a fair few kooks there, and absolute beginners riding the white water in front of the temple.
I used to live nearby and so my first forays in the water were at Batu Bolong but I have come to the realisation that I don’t like it. It’s not just because I am not one of the beautiful people, there are a couple of real issues. There is a lot of swimming, Batu Bolong proper is a good 300 metres from the beach. The other issue is that Batu Bolong has taken more of my stuff than any other beach. I was there the week before and lost a fin, and a fin saver trying to get in, and then my mask got smashed up in my attempts to get it back. To be fair it was probably a little big and Marko had told me to get in at the channel in front of The Lawn but it was breaking pretty big there as well, so what can you do? The other issue is that the wave is supposed to be a left but in reality it breaks both ways and sods law is that if I sit on the left they will all go right and if I sit on the right – you know the thing 🙂 People also complain that its too busy, nut that doesn’t bother me – the more surfers there are the more likely I am to get something nice. it also gets a bit dirty in the rainy season which can lead to ear infections and unpleasant encounters with floating stuff.
So that’s the negatives out of the way. What I like about Batu Bolong is the vibe. Batu Bolong is the break where I have heard the most laughter of any wave in Bali. If its an occasion – Christmas or Valentines you can rely on the Batu Bolong crowd to be marking the event. You hear a lot of funny stuff at Batu Bolong “man chill out this is Batu Bolong, its a long board wave – everyone is dropping in.” You also hear a lot of laughter, which is really cool. If you talk to Indonesians who don’t surf they call it playing surfing, they don’t say are you going for a surf or going surfing they will say are you going playing surfing. Foreigners who surf tend to take it much more seriously linking it to their mental health and drawing life and entrepreneurial lessons from the time they spend in the water and seriously competing for the waves.
The Batu Bolong crowd are pretty chilled and on this day there was a lot of laughter, which was really nice. I’ve been thinking a lot about what constitutes a good surf photo and how I select the images that I post. If it’s longboarders the best photos are when they are hanging off the nose or executing a sharp turn. For short boarders you want to catch them throwing up a lot of water on the lip of the wave, in a barrel or in the air. There wasn’t much of that going on on this particular day.
This guy was shredding it a bit and this is my favourite shot of the day.
And this guy was also creating some splashes.
This guy was riding the nose a lot but he was going right and by the time I gave up on the left and moved across I was out of energy and he didn’t manage it on the couple of waves that he caught whist I was there.
I was in the water for about an hour and this happened twice. The second time I gave up and the sea spat me out – just a few reef scratches. By the time I got out I was completely broken, again.
So it was pretty slim picking in terms of selecting what are traditionally good surf photos. So I moved on to the second criteria – joy. I typically leave the water with hundreds of photos and spend as much time selecting the photos to post as I do in the water. What I really enjoy is when the surfers look straight at the camera and smile. It’s reassuring that I know that I am there and it makes for a good photo. Although this guy isn’t looking the laugh sums up the mood that morning.
And these two were having a blast.
I am also really pleased when I see people who aren’t stereo typically surfers, older people and heavier people. Full respect to this dude 🙂
The Technical Bit.
There wasn’t really too much technically going on. My mask was fogging which was an issue.
The images were all taken at f9, 1,000th of a second and ISO at 320. I am really pleased with the colours and exposures.
The only other issue was with my positioning. Marko was insisting that I stay on the left but then he, like everyone else was going right. Batu Bolong is a long wave and its always difficult to be in the right place on a long wave. the current is also pretty strong, pushing you back to the shore if you are in front of the break. One thing that did work was exerting in the channel, I have know about that forever but is the first time it actually had the effect of making the swim out less difficult.
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On a mission to become more active and mindful with my photography; to leave the house more often with the intention of taking photographs; to find attractive, interesting and engaging ways to share the images, videos and solutions I discover with others.