It was 1973 When Alby Falzon released his iconic surf movie “Morning of the Earth” that documented the newly discovered perfect waves of Uluwatu in Bali .
After that the avalanche of surfers from all over the world began. Within a decade Bali became one of the epicentres of the surfing world. With seemingly endless perfect wave setups all over its coastline. It was also really cheap living so it became the place to go for a surf adventure.
Leonard Lueras is an author and journalist who has written books about the history of surfing in Bali he recalls the 70’s in Bali: ‘Kuta was just this really nice little place, a sleepy fishing village, with lanes where you walked through coconut forests. No phones, no electricity. It was just kerosene lamps and these weird ceremonies at night and you’d just kind of wander around in disbelief.’ excerpt from Phil Jarrat’s book “Bali Heaven and Hell“
It was around this time, before the masses had started to travel to Bali, that Bob Laverty a well off young surfer who was an heir to the Thriftimart drug store chain discovered Gragagan or G-Land as it is now known
It was he who led the first expedition there unfortunately he passed away while surfing at Uluwatu in 1972 not long after.
The best surfers of the time all converged on Bali in the 70’s
Below is an excerpt from the movie “Chasing the Lotus” starring Pipeline Legends Gerry Lopez and Rory Russell who talk about their first encounters of Bali and Indonesia
The 80s led to more and more discoveries throughout Indonesia … Sumbawa, Sumba, the island of Nias off sumatra and then in 1990 not far from Nias .The biggest jewel discovered amongst all these perfect waves … the Mentawai islands .
No one can be certain who were the first to surf the waves in the Mentawai islands because surely the first guys to surf there were hard core surf travellers and kept the secret as long as they could. But amongst the first surfers documented as surfing the Mentawai islands was a an Australian named Lance Knight . Lances discovery of the perfect right hander at the small village of katiet is even more remarkable when you consider he journeyed out there on his own steam .
Remarkably barely 3 weeks after his discovery, imagine Lance’s surprise when Martin Daly and his crew turned up for the first time on the Indies Trader and were shocked when a lone surfer, Lance paddled out to greet them.
Martin then christened the wave Lances Right a name that has stuck to this day.
You can read more about Lances journey to discover the one of the most perfect right hander’s in the world here in a story penned by master surfing journalist and wordsmith Tim Baker click here.
And make sure you watch the cool video “the Ripple Effect” courtesy of Red Bull on the same link with Lance and his family returning to the fabled right hander named after himself
The Mentawai Islands is now known as one of the premier surf destinations in the world, with the largest number of perfect waves in a small area of about a dozen islands that range in size.
There are still many closely guarded surf secrets around Indonesia and yes … even still in the Mentawais . If the swells too big and the wind not quite right … those in the know with the experience will be surfing somewhere remote and secluded on their own
Above is another great video of the man himself Gerry Lopez surfing in the Mentawai Island
It’s a known fact that the Mentawai islands have the most consistently perfect waves of anywhere in the world. With an large selection of breaks to choose from.
There are now many Resorts and Surf Camps sprinkled all over the islands but the best way to sample as many of these breaks as you can is by Surf charter boat.
Bali is still “The Island of the Gods” and has a lot of perfect waves and setups even though these days it can become extremely crowded.
But if there is a “God of Surf” and in Australia his name is “Hughie” then surely he has blessed this tiny group of islands called the Mentawais with some of the best most consistent and perfect waves ever surfed