It is a curious experience, when you walk down a beach, and have a look around at your surroundings recognizing that it is coming up on the time to leave. The thought dawns: will I be in this place again?
It is not an entirely comfortable feeling, this one. Especially when one connects to the place and it’s people.
I doubt there is a place on this blue marble where I have explored, that has not left it’s mark on me or left a portion of it’s psychic presence upon my self. This after all, is what life is about: relating. That two way street thing creates a hook to the heart.
Maybe it is a Hawaiian thing, that acknowledgement and understanding of a’ina? I do not know, really.
There have been certain things on my heart for many years for Bali. I have long been aware of the high number of drownings which occur in Indonesia and Bali in particular. It seems that every time there is a big swell, holiday or week end-ceremony, people pass away in the ocean.
I had been thinking about this for a long time. I am sure many have. The Aussie and US surfer-waterman- lifeguard culture has long been coming to the island, and we all think similarly, when it comes to ocean safety. We are an Ohana. You never want to lose family.
Wayan Gede Suardana is a lifeguard at Kuta. He sent my wife a note the other day, and said that they have a Surf Club that trains at Lebih Beach, here on E Bali and that we should come to workout.
I went. And there it was. One of the best answers to public ocean safety. Why best? Because it is a culturally led answer. As I watched the guys (and one little girl) training in similar drills to our own lifesaving programs, I saw so many similarities in attitude that I found myself constantly laughing out of the strong sense of familiarity and kinsmanship it bestowed.
Turns out the Lebih Surf Club has been in existence for 3 mos. Their first competition is against Java in 2 mos. This is a big deal, and I hope all of our ocean ohana gets behind this in Bali and that it becomes a National movement.
In the midst of the swims, paddles, relays and a protracted contest of flags, I ran into Lempog again. One of the best young surfers in the area, he is 18 and accelerating in his surfing career and being assisted by Quiksilver Indo. That he was adopting this, is critically significant for a number of reasons. But the primary one is leading through example, with a great deal of generosity and grace. The aloha factor goes a very long way when one is endeavoring to build a community (or anything, really). And there it was, smiling at me.
The following images are simply a gallery collection of some of the people here. Click on any of the images to enlarge. Some are from Surf Club practice the rest are surfing.
Aloha from Bali.