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Tag Archives: Bali

Bali a withering paradise

In the May-June 1977 issue of Breakway, R. Langlois (Rob) and G. Nugent (maybe Gary) gave their impressions after trips to Bali 18 months apart. Rob was credited as a regular contributor to the magazine throughout 1977. (There is still a business Rob Langlois Photography in Melbourne). The article is prophetic: the authors capture the changing mood and landscape of Bali and the Balnese, particularly in the coastal (surfing) areas that attracted ever growing numbers of tourists.


Bali, still beautiful, but 18 months has taken its toll. While the landscape remains much the same, western society and its ways are becoming more evident in the people every day, especially the youth.

This, I am afraid, is to be the main downfall of Bali as a paradise. If it hasn’t happened already, it will be in the near future. Prices rocketing sky high, western rip-offs appearing on the scene and last, but not least, the dreaded rise of the multi-storey, hotels – the backbone of capitalism itself. Work on the hotel at Nusa-Dua (one of the best beaches on the Island) is already underway, and the word is, Uluwatu could be next. My god, they’ll be everywhere!

Getting back to the culture change of the people, particularly to that of the 18-22 year olds (who are by the way, avid Bruce Lee and Charles Bronson fanatics). The temperaments of these guys would not have been so a few years ago. It’s frightening and yet funny to see groups of these matinee idols trying to lay their macho image on you. Two nights in one week there were fights between local heavies and Aussies at the Legian Disco. Apparently the locals were becoming a bit too friendly for the liking of some Aussie babes.

Also, there’s the incident of a friend, who accidently knocked down a Balinese girl on his motor bike. Although she blatantly stepped into his path, he could not leave the scene until a small price was agreed upon by a rather pushy group of ‘Balinese Bronsons’.

Speaking from experience, hiring a guide in search of that perfect point break may turn out for the worst, if one is not too careful.

After finding ourselves stranded on a deserted beach, left for dead by our friendly-faced guide we also discovered he had also exited with a hot little handful of money, while we were surfing. This was Rodney’s second time unlucky after already losing a $200 watch, camera and clothes the week before. Fortunately we found our way back before nightfall, thanks to the Adidas ripple-sole – amazingly easier to backtrack than bare feet.

Don’t expect Uluwatu to be at its surf movie primo every day either. There are places to find elsewhere that hold the same, if not bigger, swells and are much more organised with power to match. Also, breaks at offshore Islands on a full moon will certainly separate the men from the boys (or the sane from the insane). At some of these places you pay your landing fee to the chief of the Island. (Donation for the upkeep of the palm trees, I suppose) and if you decide not to pay don’t expect to surf, it’s as simple as that. It’s not bad though, especially if you can handle being stared at for 24 hours a day – ideal for the true exhibitionist, that’s for sure.


I asked a Balinese kid why he wore jeans and shirts when it was so hot.

He replied: “We only want to look white”. To them, “West is best” and you won’t change their minds about that. The thought of flashy cars and shopping centres 10 storeys high excites them greatly and many would give their right arm to get to Australia. Let’s only hope that the current progress rate will ease a little, so these kids can appreciate this true paradise before it’s really too late.

Ocean & Earth founder Brian Cregan interviewed at 20

Ocean & Earth was started by Brian Cregan and some partners in Sussex Inlet, NSW, back in 1978 and made some basic surfing products. By the late ‘80s Ocean & Earth’s products had grown to a broad range of surfing accessories, backpacks and a small range of clothing.
In 2010 O&E released the “World’s Strongest Leash” – a fully moulded surf leash as opposed to three piece heat welded surf leash. Cregan’s introduction to urethane leashes happened in Durban, South Africa, when Shaun Tomson (IPS world champion in 1977) showed him the cord he was using.
“He gave me the address of where to get it and I bought back to Australia a roll to experiment with,” Cregan told an interviewer.
“From there we sourced it locally and then introduced urethane leashes into our range and the Australian market.”
Three years before the launch of Ocean & Earth, Breakway interviewed Cregan, then 20, during a trip to Bali where he was filmed for Harry Hodge’s movie Liquid Gold. This was July,1975.
He talked about leg ropes, professional surfing and even hinted at making a living from what he loved doing.
Cregan obviously relished the hollow, powerful Bali waves. And his surfing was impressive.
Riding his own boards, “Cool Curl Cruisers”, he was by far the best backhand surfer at Uluwatu.
Breakway: How big have you ridden Uluwatu?
I’ve ridden three times since I’ve been here. The first time it was a small 6 ft. the second time just a little larger and yesterday it was a solid 8 ft. with some 10 footers. There were two big sneaker sets about 14′ ft. I reckon. The first one broke in front of us and washed us way back down the line. I had a leg rope on and it pulled out the metal pin in the rope box. Luckily a guy got my board before it was battered against the cliff. Later there were only three of us out and another set with about ten waves poured through. We all managed to scratch over them. I think I was more scared the second time because I knew how hard they could hit. I think Harry Hodge got them on film for his movie.
Breakway: Is it like anything you’ve ridden before?
There’s a place on the south coast which definitely breaks in a similar way. It has as much power I think but more predictable, a shorter ride but as tubey as Uluwatu.
Breakway: Why do you make your own surfboards?
I never used to get exactly what I wanted from the guy who used to make them for me. I thought I’d be able to get closer to what I wanted by making them myself. The first couple worked all right and I’ve kept improving on them. I enjoy riding my own boards. It’s a fulfillment – you feel good riding a board you’ve made yourself.
Breakway: Would you like to make boards full time?
Maybe not for 12 months of the year, but through the summer it’d be feasible. I just enjoy being creative in my spare time and there’s not much to do weeknights in Sussex.
Breakway: What’s your opinion of professionalism in surfing?
It’s really great – for surfing in general and for the good surfers. It’s bringing surfing to older people and those who don’t surf. I think guys have got to understand that being a professional doesn’t mean just winning money in contests, it’s a whole lot of other things like endorsing products, appearing in movies and even shaping surfboards. At the moment it’d be fairly hard for a surfer to live solely from pro-contests.
Breakway: Would you like to become a professional surfer?
I think a lot of people would.
Breakway: Have you ever won any money?
I won a surfboard once; at Woolongong about two years ago, I just missed out on a trip to New Zealand. It was called the Aquarius festival.