Padang, Outside Corner and Impossibles just about coped with the second 'high-surf' day of Indonesian swell.
Our roving photographer initially tried his luck at Keramas in the grey dawn, only to be frustrated by the swell direction. Inevitably he headed to the same stretch of reef as every other rubber neck. "Padang was a different wave from its usual self." He told us. "It was big and swollen, meaning the tubes were not as deep as they could have been. Fortunately by the afternoon we begun to see deeper tubes, unfortunately, the wind then turned to the east and ribbing the previously smooth face."
Unlike day one the morning wind was allowing a few other candidates into the mix. The final section of Impossibles was offering its usual potential cuddle with the reef, and had a few fleet-of-foot contenders. Also, Outside Corner at Ulus was shaking into life for that very specific Bali charger who lives to surf these massive days. Their reward is big drawn out scoops on the super-sized face, but it takes a bundle of raw courage to tangle with this mass of water, arm-sapping currents, and the 30 minute paddle out on a big gun.
These two days have been equally difficult and unforgettable.
"I was one of about five guys out at Balangan." Said Richard Baimbridge "Some massive bombs coming through there around sunset, with a full-on inside section breaking over reef so shallow you couldn't even duck dive. As the big hole in the bottom of my board now testifies. I caught a few heart-stopping giants that I'll never forget."
This swell also caught experienced operators off guard with tales of carnage dropping in from Nusa Lembongagan. It was reported that the Bounty boat from Bali to Nusa Lembongagan was caught out by a huge set and ended up leaving stranded passengers to be rescued by other boats.
"Yesterday Nusa Lembongagan was like watching the movie Waterworld on steroids." Said Ed Scheepmaker "When the first bomb hit Lacerations the crowd went from 30 to five. The Playgrounds pack just disappeared completely as the channel became the funnel. A whitewater torrent took leg-rope-less boards out to sea and had people paddling for their lives, or the fun ship platforms."
"The tourists on the Bounty platform were stranded decked in life jackets all day when their ship took off for deeper water. With each set the Waterworld behemoth lurched and groaned. Now it's turned 45 degrees and moved about 50m closer too the reef. Staff now scrambling to secure it.
"Four or five small boats got swamped at their moorings and two mega cats parked on the very outside were lucky to scrape over a mega 20ft set around 2pm. The fun ships snorkelling boundary ropes made Lacerations almost impossible to surf. Whipping everywhere. Best waves were had by those who surfed Tamarind Bay point.
Leo Walsh of the Bali Surf Express claimed to have effected a rescue of seven of the floating tourists."We took our speed boat from Bali to Lembongan and after leaving the harbour from Serangan I could see what was ahead. I've been across this channel for many years and this was the biggest I had seen since 1998. We went snorkelling first at Crystal Bay on the low tide. There was a left peeling off the wall and I knew Lembongan was going to be good. Around the corner was Playgrounds and Lacerations. As the tide was filling in it was a good 5ft+ and my guests and guides were on it. But not even 30 mins later a wave of almost 8ft came in and crushed everyone.
"That flipping snorkel net was going everywhere and we had to get your guests out for safety. Even my crew and guides were freaking on the size. As we all got back on our 30ft speedboat a monster set came through at 10ft, closing the channel... Playgrounds Left was meeting Lacerations Right. We got away, and over it, but many snorkelers were washed away from the platforms and to make it even worse their giant yellow ship left for deeper waters.
"People in life jackets were just left floating. And we heard "help us" everywhere. So we went back in and got seven out and back to their ship. Others where helping now. Afterwards we went straight back to Bali, cutting our trip short, or so we thought. Back on the East Coast we surfed a semi-secret spot past Serangan and it was 3 to 5ft and nobody out. Wow what a day."
*Note: This platform mentioned isn't your normal wooden sun lounger, it's a huge, post-apocalyptic construction complete with a water slide accessed by 'fun boats' full of Bali tourists.
All photos Liquid Barrel
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