Keramas during a WSL event there a few years back. | Photo: WSL

Fears of “worst crowds ever” at once secret surf spot following listing in “world’s best black sand beaches”!

"Especially popular among surfers…"

With locals already pining away for the pandemic days of yore when Keramas was empty and local kids could become really good surfers in under two years, the prestigious Travel + Leisure Magazine just had to go and list it as one of the world’s finest black sand beaches for tourism.

Now that the borders are open the last line-up count on a good day at Keramas came in at fifty-five. And, this is a one-man, or one-gal, wave.

Still, you can fantasize that you are Rizal Tandjung, who is still out-surfing the 18 year olds at age 47. He is our Indonesian Kelly Slater. Such is his level of local respect that he gets the pick of the litter on any set that he damn well pleases.

Dream on.

Due to the combo of local crowds and new visitors these days, the common salute to any overseas visitor headed over to surf Keramas is “Good luck, mate”.

Along with such secret spots such as as Iceland’s Jökulsárlón Beach, Italy’s Spiaggia di Ficogrande beneath Stromboli and Japan’s Miho no Matsubara in Shizuoka, Travel + Leisure has described Keramas Beach as “stunning” and “especially popular among surfers, so it’s a great place to hit the waves or at least watch as the surfers ride in over the black sand.”

Oh Christ.

Anyone who has bounced off the reef at Keramas can sneer at the wisdom of that.

But isn’t it comforting that squares will never understand the sport of kings?

The magazine feature also fails to mention that the word Keramas translates to “Washing Hair”. The rivermouth that has honed the reef to perfection having once been the perfect place for Balinese women to bathe.

The Travel + Leisure feature also notes that Keramas Beach is “perhaps the only surfing beach in Bali offering nighttime illuminated surfing”.


It’s the only one. Thank the Gods.

And other than the deadly virus of wavepools sweeping the globe, any surfer in the world would be hard pressed to name any others.

Yet, it is true.

You can actually pay the Komune resort to flip the switch on their stadium lights and surf by an “illumination” that expat John Anderson describes as “about as good as surfing by the lights of a Ute parked on Seven Mile Beach”.

Also, surfing at night is strictly forbidden by the deeper Balinese culture.

The ocean at night here is the realm of child stealing spirits and must be respected.

No joke.

And so it goes. Open borders and prestigious awards.

After all, Bali loves the smell of tourists in the morning…it smells like…victory.

Four thousand clicks from Bells. Unhappy cropping angers fans.

Surf fans in wild pile-on following WSL and surf forecast partner Surfline’s embarrassing social media blunder on eve of Australian leg of world tour, “Bells is now in WA?”

“Has Bells gone mobile? Like REALLY mobile? 

The World Surf League has been forced onto the back foot again following an embarrassing blunder on their various surf media channels. 

In a post to the billionaire-owned organisation’s 3.4 million Instagram followers, a map of Western Australia is presented with the line,

“With less than 24 hours until the first call, let’s take a look at the official @surfline forecast for the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach…” etc. 

Surf fans, predictably, went wild. 

“Bells is now in WA?”

“Where is Bells?”

“At least they had the right country. Maybe next time try to get the right coastline.” 

“Has Bells gone mobile? Like REALLY mobile? 

“I hope the judges haven’t flown to WA.” 

The effort was, likely, the work of an inexperienced intern or a non-surfer, Surfline’s graphic cropped to fit the IG square.

The post has since been amended to include Bells Beach.


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Meanwhile, the event looks like it’ll run in unpretty three-foot, maybe four-foot, junk.



Ronnie, his gasoline-and-battery powered sled and giving hell to a Cronulla left in photo behind him. | Photo: DR

Dirty Water: Jet-boarder Ronnie “Skull” Hill reveals the sorcery behind his big-wave slaying, reef-dominating gasoline-and-battery powered $20,000 craft!

"It's been a battle since the beginning."

A few days back, you were introduced to a Cronulla bodyboarder turned jet-boarder who ruled the day of the year at Shark Island, the heaviest of the area’s reefs.

Following a post on the Instagram account @sufads, however, the figurative knives came out from surfers apparently jealous of Skull’s innovative and effective approach to wave-riding. 


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“He’s a known pest and they’ve been trying to get him for a while now.”

“After wathcing this i think im now done with surfing forever.”

“Tbh you have to give the man credit, he has been a pest at shark island for years however on Sunday during a bodyboard comp managed to run through the lineup for about 30 mins. Every single person there told him to fuck off and he just kept doing laps kinda finding it funny hahahahahahaha.”

“Is this guy trolling? Looks like hes really trying to piss off the lids??”

“…this warrants violence.”

I figured it be instructive to meet Ronnie, a high-level bodyboarder who first rode Shark Island in 1987 and who was regularly appearing in boog magazines back when the sport was still at thing.

Ronnie knows what’s it like to be hated for his choice of craft; he lived through the boog-surfer wars of the nineties, a conflict stoked into a fever pitch by the non-surfing photographer Paul “Sarge” Sargeant, who would later be banned from the pro tour “for performing an unsolicited sexual act on another male journalist in his sleep, who suffered from violent nightmares for two years afterwards.”

This interview took place at a joint called Island Inflatables in Menai, west of Cronulla, and where Ronnie keeps a workshop.

Gorgeous new road to rim Bukit!

Iconic Bali surf spots Uluwatu and Padang Padang under threat as plan revealed to “rim” entire Bukit Peninsula with a two-lane highway, “suspended off the cliff and ploughing through the lineups!”

“The proposed South Bali Ring Road is intended to increase tourist access to our popular sun-bathing beaches."

In a terrifying kneejerk reaction to the deluge of  international surfers and tourists swamping Bali, a plan to ring the entire Bukit Peninsula with a two-lane highway, one often suspended off the cliffs and ploughing through the line-ups of Uluwatu, Padang Padang and Bingin, has been revealed.

“The proposed South Bali Ring Road,” said a spokeperson, “is intended to increase tourist access to our popular sun-bathing beaches and rim the east, south, and western perimeter of Bali’s southern Bukit peninsula” .

Well, there you have it. An IDR2.7 trillion, or 250-mill US, rim job.

Those supporting the project are now calling for the 37 kilometer roadway to be designated as a ”National Strategic Project” .

For surfers it will be more like a National Ruination project.

Must tourist progress always mean the destruction of the natural beauty that people come to worship in the first place?

A rough diagram of South Bali Ring Road.

Not showing the segments that will be built on the reefs. Complete with selfie points.

Segment #1:  13.2 kilometers (Nusa Dua, Mushrooms, Sri Lanka, Geger and other soon to be not secret spots)
Segment #2:   9.9. kilometers (Pandawa and other soon to be not secret spots)
Segment #3:   7.8 Kilometers (Green Balls, Yang Yang and other soon not to be secret spots
Segment #4:   5.5 – 5.6 Kilometers ( Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Bingin Dreamland).

For now all they need for the go ahead is for the central government designate the project of “strategic national importance”.

So here’s the rub: It started with a fire that burnt down this semi-secret luxury beachside club near Balangan up in the Bukit (Voted among the top 50 best beach bars in the world near a benevolent left breaking wave beloved by all) .

Warung owners go to war with corrupt officials as Bali reopens to world, “Why keep the charm of the place when you can bury it under a mountain of cash and cement in the form of overseas resort investors?”

Bali needs more modern development, yes?

With the current onslaught of no-quarantine-required tourists here on the Island of the Gods comes yet another controversy.

And it affects the surf and sunset beers crowd directly.

Having opened its borders to such tourist rich countries as Tunisia, Cambodia and Belgium, “the powers that be” have deemed it necessary at this jubilant junction to pour ice down the pants of beachfront businesses, both humble and luxurious.

This is rumored to be with an eye to save these prime pieces of real estate for more lucrative investors.

After all, Bali needs more modern development, yes?

Why keep the charm of the place when you can bury it under a mountain of cash and cement in the form of overseas resort investors?

So here’s the rub: It started with a fire that burnt down this semi-secret luxury beachside club near Balangan up in the Bukit (Voted among the top 50 best beach bars in the world near a benevolent left breaking wave beloved by all) .

While rebuilding, an access road was hastily built to fight possible future fires. This drew attention to the prime location and a case of suspected misappropriation of a seaside parcel of public land was slapped on the owners.

Now, the traditional villagers and the restaurant owners they had a pretty sweet deal with are ensnared in a labyrinthine legal horn lock with “the powers that be.”

And everybody knows how it will turn out.

Special fees, fees and more fees.

So, fresh from this success, “the powers that be” have now turned there attention to the 30-odd illegal businesses “discovered” near Berawa Beach, Canggu’s latest hot spot for the surf and sunset cocktails crowd (if you are thinking of visiting you might want to brush up on your Russian language skills).

No word yet on any scrutiny of nearby Echo Beach, Old Man’s, and its longboard haven stalwarts extraordinaire.

Anyway, it seems these illegal “buildings” on Berawa were built by local residents who then lease them out to “outside interests” who, smart enough, offer the village inducements like employment guarantees and high-blown rental payments for the right to use these prime locations otherwise banned from private use.

Says one disgruntled investor in a heavy Russian accent, “You gotta realize that Villagers view these beachfront lands as part of their ancestral legacy and can be disposed of as they please. And we like that”.

In contrast, provincial officials insist that any “public lands” are forever held by all Indonesians and regional laws take precedence.

In other words, a total shit fight with one side heavily favored.

The final dispositions in these cases may have far-reaching surfing effects in Bali, where so many surfside warungs have broken every building code in the book.