With excitement and trepidation, I ventured back into the jungle for my first visit back to G-land in a long time.
It was almost exactly 14 years ago that travel ground to a halt for me, as my newborn son seemed to eat up all the available cash that used to be dedicated to travel and surfing in general. So, almost ironically, I dragged the frother along, all 14 years old, to come and see what we had been missing all along.
A quick night at the delightful Jimbaran Bay Beach Hotel and Spa, and our pick-up was waiting, along with a few other guests. One of them was Gemma van Huysteen, a South African doctor, surfer, and a signed-up member of Surfing Doctors.
She was excited about her first visit and proved to be great company. She also proved adept at removing urchins and cleaning up cuts and scars. There were no serious injuries when we were there, but Gemma climbed in and did an entire inventory of the available medical supplies. We also checked out a room (the former gaming room) at the camp that was perfect to be converted into a Surfing Doctors medical zone, but more on that later.
A decade and a half takes its toll on the body, with insufficient surfing, stretching and training, and a few beers over the years. Still, I was ready and prepared for it all. Or so I thought. One forgets and quickly remembers that G-Land is a real wave, not a wave for beginners. There are other waves for the less experienced.
The Jawa Jiwa Experience.
Back in the day, I had stayed at and visited most of the camps on the point. I was lucky to stay at the Jawa Jiwa Camp, the higher-end ‘glamping’ camp, this year. What a pleasure it was. Clean, organised and neat, with incredible food and well-maintained rooms and grounds. The coffee (essential) was excellent, and the only complaint about the food was that there was always so much of it, and the fact that it was so good meant that surfing twice a day was imperative to keep the waistline from engorging further.
We were in one of the cabins with an excellent A/C and a well-stocked fridge. My son had discovered Beng Bengs. ‘Four flavours in your first bite,’ he told me repeatedly, and the supplies were well suited to his needs.
It was early April, and we were there for what seemed like the first real trades of the season. It was relatively quiet, which is a good thing. Our first mission was to hit Kongs on what looked like a 4-5ft west swell. However, it turned out to be quite a bit bigger than that, with rogue southerly sets rearing up and bearing down towards us at various stages of the session. Still, some absolute bombs were coming through, and the excitement levels were high. A quick trip over the falls and then a few on the head reminded me of what we have here – serious waves.
My son caught a few epic waves, but after one particular savage set, he was high and dry on the low tide reef, slowly threading his way towards the beach.
Day two was a little smaller, and the swell had gone more cleanly west, so there were epic waves. A few more crew had arrived, and we all hooked into a couple. Again, with the late morning tides, it was an excellent first session. Still, the evening low tide sessions were geared more towards sipping on a Bintang / Sprite and enjoying the surroundings’ incredible sunsets and natural beauty.
A massive crew of Russians (32 of them) arrived during the day and booked into a different camp. They were on a learn-to-surf mission, were all in the very early learner stages of surfing, and spent their time down at 20/20s, which was quite good.
My son hit Tigers on the third day and scored firing grom waves with a few others—some barreling lefts, some bowling rights, and as many waves as he could gorge on.
Surfing Doctor Gemma van Huyssteen
Hailing from Cape Town and hanging in Indo for a few months, Gemma quickly slipped into her role as the camp doctor. With an excellent basic understanding of Indonesian, she conversed easily with the camp crew and was stoked to be a member of the Surfing Doctors crew. Her first proper situation was when The Butcher suffered a fin chop, and Gemma climbed in and fixed it up perfectly. There will be more on Gemma later.
Jawa Jiwa is ready for the Surfing Doctors conference on the 15th – 23rd of July. There will be more information on the conference soon.