Riding the Bali wave | stanton-company.com

Riding the Bali wave

Professional surfer Claire Bevilacqua explains why she loves visiting Bali — an island that has long attracted surfers. Her next international competition is in France next month.

Riding the Bali wave

Professional surfer Claire Bevilacqua explains why she loves visiting Bali — an island that has long attracted surfers. Her next international competition is in France next month.

Related: BARRELS OF FUN

Spiritual

There is no denying the people of Bali are some of the warmest, friendliest and happiest in the world. Their daily spiritual rituals and offerings are practised with passion and pride.

It is beautiful to see, even with our strong Western influence, that they still have managed to hold on to their colourful culture for future generations to appreciate. It’s no surprise that Bali has become a leading destination for health retreats and yoga.

Once you get out of the major cities and visit the countryside, the whole vibe changes to one of peace, reflection and relaxation.

Motorbiking

More fun and cheaper than cars, motorbikes provide a constant adrenaline rush and are best for dealing with traffic. I was hooked on the thrill of cruising the streets on my scooter.

Everyday missions were like a video game, dodging dogs, cows, kids, gaping pot holes, trucks and whatever else was thrown my way.

One day I decided to do the hour dash to Ubud to check out some organic raw restaurants. I’ve never focused so hard not to crash in my life but the synchronised traffic chaos seemed to flow effortlessly and drivers would give way.

It made quick sessions to the surf simple, where I made my own tracks on the sidewalk. The lack of road rules suited me. Locals sell $1 litre bottles of fuel on the side of the road everywhere, so refuelling is easy.

Action adventure

Every day is full of surprises on this beautiful island. You can find all sorts of adventure here.

Some find it through hiking the volcano, white-water rafting, visiting local fair-trade farms, diving or visiting the monkey temple. I found action without even searching.

One day I swatted a scorpion off my neck then dodged a falling coconut and the next day tried to rid our house of a confused bat. My favourite memory of my two-week trip was my visit to an eco resort called Bloo Lagoon in Padang Bai. This breathtaking, environmentally friendly village was the perfect getaway.

My villa was on a cliff with full view of the ocean and volcano. In just two days there, I hired a scooter and stumbled upon two perfect empty line-ups.

One in front of an organic coconut soap factory with a giant swing next door to a boy scout compound training young Bali surfers, and the other a random peak that I shared with a stoked grommet whose parents sold snacks on the beach. Nusa Lembongan island is just a cheap boat hire trip away where you can find aquarium-like snorkelling and perfect reef breaks for surfing.

Raw feasts

It was so easy to maintain my healthy eating schedule in this land of plenty and rich soil. Fresh fruit and vegie markets are spread all over Bali and as long as you stick to foods that hang off trees and scrub them clean after purchase you should avoid parasites.

I ate all raw vegan this trip, making a lot of my own dishes at home, only eating at the organic vegetarian restaurants and it’s the first time I have not got sick in Bali. Young coconuts every day made ideal hydration after surfs and the coconut meat inside is a tasty snack and also great for smoothies.

There are many tropical fruits to try; just pick the ones covered in skin you can remove, don’t drink anything with ice in it and avoid leafy vegetables as much as possible.

Surf froth

Bali is has perfect waves of all types. I stayed at a private villa for most of my trip in Canggu.

My neighbours were a friendly Indonesian family. I was content, surrounded by cows and rice fields by the sea where I felt very safe.

Echo Beach was my local; with three A-grade consistent pulsing swell magnet peaks to choose from, this surfing community provided me with perfect training grounds. I didn’t need to search anywhere else for waves.

That suited my mood, made it easy for me to make friends with the locals and become comfortable with the place. As long as you respect the people who live there and remain fair and humble in the water you will always leave with a smile, great memories and a great share of world-class waves.

FACT FILE

• Bevilacqua is an ambassador for Samudra in Dunsborough, which offers yoga lessons, retreats, has a live food cafe, and health products. It also has surfing. Details www.samudrashop.com.au and 9779 9977.

• Bevilacqua’s Bali movie, with surf action: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ff3pex7HP_o.

• Volcom surf team site, with Puerto Rico team trip video and Bevilacqua’s summer health story: volcomunity.com/contributor/volcom-athletes/

Posted on: May 27, 2011