Canggu is all on it’s own. Once an outpost, now a surfing colony, it’s been cut off. The natural disaster known as tourism and development, combined with a total lack of subsequent infrastructure, has resulted in a geographical isolation due to snarled traffic. From Kuta to Canggu, a bad best of an hour of breathing near pure carbon monoxide, this traffic is a result of a massive exodus of adventurers, scoundrels, criminals and vegans who have forged Canggu into the most outlandish surfing community in the world.
Although just the mention of the word Java has been enough to send imaginations soaring throughout history, to the modern surfer it holds even more mystery than most imaginations are capable of. With a deadly, rough coast, ship eating waters, volcanic events that alter the very tectonic plates beneath us and over 1000 kilometers of exposed coastline, this 13th largest island in the world remains one of our last unexplored surf zones.
In 1991, a heartbroken Aussie surfer named Lance Knight lies awake and dreams of a perfect wave all to himself. He wakes up determined to move forward. He finds some Marine charts of the Indian Ocean and starts mapping out rumors he’s heard. He decides on a small island called Sipora, off West Sumatra. Having traveled most of the way from Australia overland, He arrives in the capital of Padang by bus.
As part of the celebration of Russian surfing here on Bali, this year’s Surf Jam Festival at Balian featured a photography contest. The results were extraordinary. A window into a surfing place that is a galaxy away from the Indonesian experience. A window into the power of the passion of surfers regardless of their environment. Surfing in Russia. Sub-zero weather, snow, ice, mystery.
The motivation of surf travel has shifted. Blame the modern age. In today’s world of selfie madness and Go Pro mugging, with most of a surfer’s day taken up by personal social media management, the travel experience has become something seen and not felt. These days a surfer has to get back to his phone to actually see where he was. Post it or it never existed. All website surf footage these days is just an exercise in advertising. We only see sponsored video shorts. With the touch of a delete button, Surf stars today are disposable.