Ru & Gem’s Return To Indo

Words by Ru Hill

Visiting Bali is a trip every surfer should do at least once. It’s second only to Oahu in terms of iconic surf destinations and seems to pop up in every new surf video these days. Uluwatu was the wave that made the island famous back in the 70’s but it seems to be a right hander on the other side of the island called Keramas which gets all the attention now. Even Bali’s less glamorous neighbor, Lakey Peak in Sumbawa is getting visited regularly by the world’s best and had it’s own section in last year’s jaw dropping movie Modern Collective. Maybe the popularity is due to the fact that you can still do the southern part of Indo on a budget, where as visiting The Mentawis in the far North of the country usually involves paying as premium for a boat charter.

Ru (above,) used to spend every winter in Indo back when he coached surfing in the UK and, despite living in the same village in rural England, it was in Bali that Ru and Gem got together. So the pair were very excited to return there this autumn when the Surf Simply resort closed for September and October as the rains fell hard in Nosara.

Bali is a lot more crowded and expensive than a few years ago but the waves still pump from March to November as low pressure systems, spinning round the roaring forties, pump swell after swell up through the Indian Ocean to peel mechanically over razor sharp coral reefs.

Ru was stoked to meet up with his old friend Oney Anwar at Lakey Peak. Years ago when Ru was living at Lakey’s paying his way by taking photos of other traveling surfers, Oney was just a knee high grommet. Ru gave Oney an old pair of shorts to surf in (which were so big that Oney had to tie them on with rope) and got a few shots of him surfing one foot (yet nearly head high) waves which was a big deal back in the pre-digital era (below left).

Fast forward to the present day and Oney has become the first Indonesian to win an ASP Pro Junior Event (above right). He now has sponsorship from Al’s old friends at JoyStix Surboards as well as Rip Curl (who have had a great program running for a number of years helping talented young Indo kids surf contests and stay in school). Oney is a great ambassador for the youth Indonesia and for surfing; he is modest, polite, works hard and froths over good waves. Everyone here at Surf Simply wishes him all the best in what we hope will be a shining career as a pro surfer.

After visiting Lakey’s, Ru and Gem travelled over to G-Land. The freight train left hand reef break (above and below) peels over a kilometer of reef, stuck on the southern tip of Java. The wave gets thicker and faster the further you ride it down the reef with the final section (called Speedies) folding over on dry reef, once the tide starts to drop.

Ru & Gem were lucky enough to get some solid swell while they were there. Solid enough for Gem to put her helmet on and for Ru to comment that he still has a lot to learn. This was said between grinning with satisfaction at the waves he’d caught and muttering expletives as he dabbed alcohol on his multiple reef cuts.

How do you know if your ready for you’re first Indo trip? A good rule of thumb is this: you need to be comfortable catching waves on a board which is small enough for you to duck dive underneath a surfer as they surf over the top of you. (You could be forgiven for needing to read that again.) If you’re comfortable with that then neither the crowds nor the steep take offs, will detract from the fun which is to be had in a country which has so many surf spots that you could surf a different break every day for 34 years.

Photos by Gem; shots of Ru & Gem surfing Lakey Peak by Grommet; little Oney Photo by Ru and big Oney photo used coutesey of

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