From Sanur on Bali I took the ferry to Lombok. I was naive enough to believe the sales-guy when he promoted the journey as a direct and speedy trip with no stops in between. As it turned out, we would stop. Several times. On all of the Gili’s to be precise and a few times in the middle of the sea because the motors kept shutting down. But who’s in a rush? I wasn’t, and at some point the ferry finally reached Lombok, apparently considered to be the Bali of twenty years ago or so. I don’t know about that, I wasn’t there back then.
The port the ferry stopped at was located in the northwest of the island, but I was sure I would easily manage to organize a transport to Senggigi further south. I was wrong. Jumping off the ferry, me and several other Gringos and Gringas were aggressively approached by what I later learnt to be known as the local transport mafia: an extremely unpleasant bunch of locals trying to usher you into their pre-selected taxis or vans and extort bizarre amounts of money from whoever doesn’t push back enough. I wasn’t going to let them intimidate me but with one of the guys not letting go, I tried the usual haggling, which seemed to infuriate him further. I let him know that I didn’t appreciate his approach and walked off, leaving the port area on foot. He followed me on his scooter, insulted me and wished me bad Karma. Not really concerned with my Karma, I started talking to another tourist who seemed to be going through the same experience. His name was Bobby and he was a German speaking Belgian. Together we approached a guy further down the road. He offered to bring us to Senggigi for a reasonable price and all seemed well, until the mafia leader came flying and shouting on his scooter. Clearly, he was not happy about us slipping through his net and he kept insisting until our driver handed him part of the agreed fare.
From there, the Lombok experience could only improve. We headed down south on the beautiful road along the coast and reached Senggigi about thirty minutes later. It turned out that Bobby was a nice bloke and we agreed to hang out later. But first I headed to the Sunsethouse Lombok where I caught Marco and Olesya (if you don’t know who they are you clearly didn’t visit our page enough) just checking in. They had just arrived from Hong Kong by plane and this way got spared the transportation fiasco at the port I went through. We were clearly happy to see each other…
In the evening we met up with Bobby for dinner. Marco wasn’t feeling well since a few days and therefore needed rest during the next days.
So I made plans with Bobby, his girlfriend Moana who also arrived on Lombok the day before with her friend Sebastian. We decided to make a motorbike tour to discover the northern part of the island.
Then it was time to go south for what I actually came to Lombok for; the surf. Fully packed I mounted my scooter and drove the 75 km to Gerupuk for the best waves on the island. Over the internet I had arranged the contact of Oki, a local with a small homestay who also offers surfguiding.
The last fifteen kilometers before the tiny village led over gravel and potholes that didn’t leave much room for road. Well shaken I arrived at Oki’s place a bit later.
Shortly after settling in, Oki took me to his friend’s nearby surfshop and I chose my board. I couldn’t wait any longer and pressed Oki to bring me out to the lineup as soon as possible. So, we waited for the right conditions and headed out on his boat, together with his son and another kid.
When I got to Gerupuk, it didn’t strike me as a crowded place. The line-up, unfortunately, is a different story. But the very friendly atmosphere between both locals and tourists and all levels of surfers still makes for a very enjoyable experience. And more importantly, the conditions were good. The head-high and strong wave was a great playground to practice gaining speed for more powerful turns. Oki’s helpful comments did the rest and I could feel the biggest improvement I have ever had in a single session. I was so much looking forward to the coming days!
The next morning, we headed out before sunrise for a wonderful mid-tide session. And once again on this trip I could enjoy one of these precious moments in life; sitting in the ocean watching the sun come up and waiting for the waves to roll in. And roll in they did, plenty of them.
We headed out again in the afternoon for some more surf. But unfortunately, my enthusiasm was stopped abruptly by the surfboard of a beginner who was wrongly positioned in the line-up, couldn’t pull back in time and violated one of the more serious rules in surfing: never let go of your board! I caught the wave but was surprised by the unmanned board that slammed into my ribs and took my breath away. Result: two severly bruised or even broken ribs.
I could still breath and I didn’t spit any blood, so I didn’t go to the doctor as there isn’t much to be done anyway. But with the pain going from constant to acute and back depending on my movements, surfing was not an option. Later on Java, the injury also prevented me from climbing a volcano I had planned on visiting and the whole healing process took about three months. Ouch.
But on the day it happened I didn’t know that yet and I decided on staying another day waiting for the pain to go away and maybe surf again. After it became clear that it wasn’t going to happen, I made my way back to Senggigi to spend the rest of my days on Lombok with Marco and Olesya who were still there.
The day before I had to catch my flight to Java, the other Marco who you might know from my posts about the island of Siargao in the Philippines, joined us before he would follow my footsteps and go surfing in Gerupuk. He was kind enough to give me a ride to the airport the next morning.
My next destination was Yogjakarta on Java, a very different environment from all the beaches of the last weeks. The most iconic Indonesian temples were waiting for me.