Of Breathtaking Barrels and Trophy Coral Cuts: Mojo’s Epic Bali Surf Adventure
“It’s gonna be outrageous!” says Nat, the founder of Mojo Surf, “It’s a three-week Bali & Beyond surf tour through four Indonesian islands, squeezed down into just eight days.”
“OK…” says Rat & Dragon. “We’re interested…”
Nat goes on: “Surfing epic tropical breaks, searching jungles for more epic surf locations, boats, planes, jeeps, boards, bars, beers, babes, dudes, random free dives, cliff jumps, pranks etc…”
“Hell yeah!” We say
“…and we want to take this to the world, daily” Says Nat.
Our bags are already packed before we can even say “Deal”. But what would taking it to the world daily come to mean? Nat promises “outrage”. Could Mojo Surf deliver? If they do, how are we going to capture it? And even if we do shoot all this awesomeness, what would it take to back it all up and edit it daily…? As with surfing, there’s no room for hesitation. Rat & Dragon paddle for it, claim the wave and ride it – wherever it was about to takes us…
First stop is the brand new Mojo Surf lair in Canggu, Bali. An awesome little villa just a couple minutes by motorbike (with surfboard side-car) through rice terraces to a selection of quality surf breaks. We meet the Mojo Surf team, a fun-obsessed crew of 11 shredding surfers and brand new beginners, all frothing to get in the water to kickstart their Indo adventure. A traditional Balinese gamelan (bamboo instrument) performance and blessing ceremony is followed by an epic barbeque and the inevitable pool party. You can get a flavour for it here.
What follows is just as Nat described it. Outrageous.
Day 2 starts way too early with ice-cold coconut hangover cures and a dawn yoga session, followed by a solid overhead surf at a break called “Old Man’s”. We load up vans, transfer to a boat and blast across the Lombok straight – among the deepest stretches of water in the world – to Nusa Lembongan – possibly the coolest island of the 17,000 in the Indonesian archipelago. There we dip in the pool, do some “skurfing” (waterskiing behind a boat on a surfboard instead of skis) and then a sensational purple sunset surf under the volcano at a right hand reef break called “Lacerations”.
Day 3 starts at dawn again. A quick boat trip across ludicrously clear, deep water to a cliff-side freediving spot and we’re suddenly swimming with giant manta rays. A dream-come-true.
And yes, we filmed the shit out of it. Check out our Manta Place Cake:
After that magic encounter, it’s back to shore for Theresa’s very first surf lesson. A quick run-down and some pop-up practice on a lawn surrounded by hibiscus flowers then into the water at a beginner friendly reef break. Theresa is off, surfing the very first waves of her life. You can see the stoke on her face, and the blossoming of a brand new lifelong addiction. If you’re a surfer, you will know this feeling. (If you don’t know it yet, what are you waiting for? Contact us for how to get started!)
The other experienced guys are back at “Lacerations” getting barrelled. Rat & Dragon are in the water there too, paddling a fine line between filming and surviving. Survive we do, nailing shot after shot of incredible surf footage that might just knock your socks off. Read about that epic surf and film session here. That night there’s another pool party…
Day 4 has a gentle start because the tide isn’t right for surfing. We eventually get on a new boat bound for Lombok. The ride is smooth, and the boat becomes Rat & Dragon’s film studio as we edit out some of the coolest content we’ve ever captured. The boat docs and we load up a couple of vans and explore South Lombok before we find another right hand reef break, just on sunset. It’s gold in the sky and it’s reflected back in motion off the surface of the sea. It’s just us. The camera is rolling and Rat & Dragon are in love with Lombok.
Day 5 is another dawn mission by van through the jungle, past water buffalo, to the tiny fishing village of Garupuk. We negotiate passage out to a left-hand reef break with some fisherman aboard two bamboo outriggers. The break isn’t ideal for the wind and swell, so we cruise across the bay to the opposite headland and surf a matching right-hander, on our own, below massive yellow cliffs.
When we’re back at our base in Kuta Lombok that afternoon, Rat & Dragon get stuck into our footage while the other guys get on with organising another party. Somehow, spontaneously, in a dusty, gorgeous, one-horse town, they arrange DJ decks, speakers, lights and about 200 young, adventurous revellers to dance and drink and party.
Day 6 starts thankfully late. We load up vans again and head to the airport, but manage a detour via a vast, stunning, white-sand beach, who’s name no-one seems to know. The waves are perfect for our beginners so an impromptu lesson on the sand precedes an epic experience. Theresa and Fanny, surfing the same crystal clear waves all the way to the beach, and re-affirming their new love of surfing.
We board the plane still salty and can see the surf breaks of Lombok below as we skim through the cloud-studded sky before landing back in Bali. The next stage is an overnight van ride and ferry crossing. We shuffle into grass huts in some secret location in East Java in the dead of night, disoriented and weary, but what we wake up to the next day makes it totally worth it.
It’s Day 7 and we’re woken by roosters. Peering out of our huts and blinking into the daylight at Red Island for the first time, we’re amazed. It’s a tiny village with nothing but a narrow dirt lane. Shafts of dusty orange dawn sun stream into a tiny glade of tall slender trees and light up the tiny bamboo warungs (shop/restaurant) hidden inside. On the other side of that we see the perfection of a vast, unknown, jungle-fringed Java beach. Just off the shore, chest-high waves peel left and right, with no-one at all out there to ride them. No-one but us, that is.
After as many surfs as we want, the locals put on a special evening event for us. Grilled fish that were alive that morning taste sensational. The beers are cold. The bonfire on the beach is sumptuousness itself for the eye and the camera lens under the starry, moonless sky. As the other guys went to bed, the temptation for the Rat & Dragon crew was too much not to film a time laps of the incredible stars, streaking through the sky as the earth spun beneath them.
Day 8 arrives and it’s almost all over. A quick morning surf and the cars are loaded for the journey back to Bali and the Mojo villa. It takes ages so we don’t get to scout any new beaches on the way back as we’d hoped. But that gives us the chance to ply through our footage again and assemble more films. This time the Rat & Dragon studio looks like a van full of surfers with boards on top.
When we eventually reach the villa, we’re not there long before we decide to celebrate the adventure with a session at a nearby night spot. Deus Ex Machina is a store selling customised motorbikes, longboards and original surf artwork during the day, and at night it becomes and meandering restaurant and bar with live music, DJs and skate halfpipe.
We’re all there on the dancefloor, surrounded by new friends and good tunes. Cold beers are raised to the adventure, to the destinations, the waves, the killer content and the personal triumphs and near-calamaties. We toast to the people we’d met. The words epic, awesome and even outrageous fit the Bali & Beyond project perfectly.
If you can’t wait to see what it all looks like, we proudly present Mojosurf Bali & Beyond, packed into 2 minutes of awesomeness to knock your socks off: