So many surf trips, so little time… SE.com ponders the yings and yangs of an Indo safari vs a Euro excursion…
There’s probably a bee’s dick in this one. Sure the flights, insurance, hire cars and new boards involved in a trip to Indo aren’t exactly cheap. The pay back though is that once you are there, assuming you haven’t booked a two week trip on the Indies Trader or intend to spend your whole time in the nightclubs of Seminyak, you can still live incredibly cheap in Indonesia. Even our Greek tragedy of a Euro still buys bucketloads of rupiah, and if you want to eat healthy and surf your ring out it’s possible to spend in a month in Indo what you spend on a massive night out on the continent. Just be prepared to eat rice, a lot of rice.
Well you don’t go to Indo for the rip bowls do you? The whole goddamn point of Indo is the tubes. Now sure if you hunt hard at home you will get tubed – from big sand-up-the-clacker beachies to gnarly slabs to draining reef points. However it lacks the consistency and the perfection of the Indian Ocean.
At home with no clockwork trade winds, the breeze flickers and flares every time a butterfly farts in Mexico and whole banks disappear in hours.
You will get flat spells in Indo, but as soon as the swell comes the whole archipelago transforms into the world’s premier tube haven. If you think you can get more under the lip coverage at home, you are not only deranged, you may also be a Stand Up Paddleboarder.
As mentioned in the cost section, it’s possible to have fun in Indonesia. Like ten cocktails in boardshorts, dancing till dawn with Swedish backpackers, sex in the pool type, OMG, real fun. Unfortunately this approach takes money and steals your surf time, surely the whole reason you are there in the first place.
And no matter how good the waves are, if you are surfing with an arak induced migraine that is throbbing through your equatorial heat inflamed temples , you won’t be having fun. Back in Europe though, summer brings a three month anti-hibernation frenzy, where you can choose from beach fires with friends, beach bars with soon to be acquaintances or three day festivals with spangled utter randoms. The Staycation wins!
If you stay at home probably the biggest risk of disease comes from the sexually transmitted variety. Now this isn’t to be laughed at (and if you have ever had a 16 inch scraper-topped needle threaded down your 3rd eye you’ll know why) but at least you have the option of self-protection, be it through safe sex, or being as ugly as sin.
In Indo on the other hand, disease seems to be lurking and spitting at every corner. From rabid dogs, to amoeba ridden ice cubes, to malaria laden mosquitos and a million other tropical diseases suffixed by itis, this place is teeming with life threatening potential. In fact most people count themselves lucky if they return from Indonesia with just a case of the high grade brown squirts and a belly that does more spins than that annoying bodyboarder at your local break.
One of the best things about staying at home is your mates. You’ve had ‘em for ever and they’ve seen you at your best (helping moving house, airport pickups, talking shit on road trips) and at your worst (not helping moving house, declining airport picks ups, annoying the fuck out of them with your shit talk on roadtrips). Unless you are a loner psychopath, at home you generally have enough mates that you don’t feel the urge to go looking for more.
In Indo though, faced with alternating periods of great surf and long hot days with nothing to do, you can easily make a friend for life after two days in a remote surf camp. Maybe it’s the serotonin production from the tube time, maybe it’s the sunstroke, often it’s the Bintang, but traveling in itself is all about the people you meet.
If you can ignore the drunk aggressive Aussies, the tight Kiwis, the loud Americans, the 12 pack of Brazilians, the indecipherable Japanese and the irritating South Africans, you might just find a new friend, at least for Facebook.
- B Mondy