This is a pretty heavy email I got from my bro Julian. He and his wife Jenny are in Indo right now, and they were really shocked to come across what he describes in his story below:
So, picture the day. Jenny and I turn up at Ulu’s at about 2pm for a surf (surfing late as not feeling great in the morning due to too much sun yesterday). It was pushing low tide, offshore, sets about four to five feet and looking pretty good. our sunburn has finally got a bit better and life seems pretty good. It looked a bit hectic for Jenny but she was keen to paddle out anyway as she had sat in the clifftop warung yesterday (I had a killer session, four to five foot, offshore and clean, heavy and managed to get quite a few waves). so walking down through the cave (there are now concrete steps rather than the old shitty ladder) we passed a handwritten cardboard sign requesting that they were filming the Quiksilver Young Guns surf video between 3pm and 6pm so could people please get out of the water and show respect…
We were surfing at Ulus till 2pm the day before and there was no signs or other info to alert anyone. We got in the water and surfed for about 20 mins.
It was quite crowded and a bit aggro (about thirty people out), but actually not that bad as there was only about five really good people (yanks). So, on my second wave I took off (lovely set wave, getting bigger down the reef) did a bottom turn and a top turn (setting up for the section) and some yank wanker takes off just inside me as I top turn, bottom turns and basically hassles me off the wave. I shout and him (‘shit man, you must be joking’) then get nailed when I should have speared him. during this time, guys on the cliff have started shouting and whistling for everyone to come in. there are about thirty guys out along the whole reef at Ulu Watu. Some people thought it was a shark sighting! then local guys start walking out on the reef ledge and most people realise that they are calling everyone in. so, I am feeling pretty pissed off about the snaking but jenny and I paddle in as we don’t want to piss anyone off. I am wondering if the blond wanker who snaked me is meant to be in the video so don’t want to hassle him too much in case the locals come after me. so we come in, walk out of the cave to hear shouting and screaming from above. At the top of the cave a big local indo guy has a western guy in a headlock, and another indo guy is punching him in the back. No one seems to know what is going on until I speak to an older ozzie guy who is saying that the white guy is a french guy who was giving the local ‘lifeguards’ hassle about not being able to go out. he said that Quicksilver had paid off the local Ulu ‘lifeguards’ to clear the ENTIRE break (bear in mind there are about four peaks) so that they can film a surf video. there are lots of angry people about. anyway, the guy is finally let out of his headlock, another guy comes up with a wooden two by four (it looks pretty nasty for a minute) and then smashes the fins off the french guys board and pretty much beats the shit out of it. the local ‘lifeguards’ (all in yellow shirts) tell him to go and not come back. strangely the frenchie seems up for the fight, despite having the shit kicked out of him a minute ago. he is chased up the steps where some ozzies finally persuade him to go. It is pretty tense after that. The Quiksilver sponsored sufers (three or four of them) were actually sitting on the steps next to me and I had previously asked them what was going on (they didn’t know but were apparently quite spooked by the whole thing). We went up to our warung and started to clear out as there was a really bad vibe. a helicopter turns up to take photos, along with a camera guy in the water plus a rib out in the sea. It is pretty weird, you look out from the cliff and the whole sea is totally empty apart from these four quicksilver guys, the camera crew and the helicopter. We took a few photos of the helicopter scene and left. The ladies from our warung actually apologised as we left…
The only consolation was that less than an hour after they cleared the water, a big storm came in, it poured with rain and went on shore so they can’t have got much footage for their pains. (we were surfing now shitty waves at dreamland at this point) what was quite sickening about the whole thing was that it was all ‘sanctioned’ by a multinational corporation like Quiksilver. Ok, some people might argue that the ocean is free for everyone, but Bali does have a communal society with self appointed village committees (banjars) which handle sharing, ownership etc so maybe there is something like that at Ulu Watu. But to beat someone up really sucks. Quiksilver must have known that by paying the locals off this sort of thing would happen- and there were quiksilver guys present (surfboard riders, film crew and managers) who could have stopped the violence. they could have advertised it properly (a few days at least before like a contest) and given money to the local community (or at least advertise that) and maybe given out a few t shirts to the pissed off travelling surfers who gave up their afternoon surfing for their cause. Having spoken to quite a few surfers after the event, everyone was genuinely shocked at how out of hand things became and were really angry that it was all created by Quiksilver.
It would be great if you could put this out into the media, I’ll happily provide any further info you need, personally, I won’t be buying any Quiksilver gear again. It would be interesting to know what their view is on the whole thing.
by Julian Soper.
You may distribute and link to if you quote Cape Town Surfer as the source and the Author – Julian Soper.