Chasing Swell: The Mission to Desert Point

Surfers can be pretty technical for supposed ‘chilled out’ people. Some check swell reports meticulously, scouring the digits in the hope of finding the perfect combo. And when they find it, wherever it may be, they are willing to travel many hours to find the wave.

Desert Point is a wave in the southern half of Lombok, an island East of Bali. It has been called ‘the best wave in the world’, but that is obviously a very subjective statement. Nevertheless, it is well-known for being a long wave that barrels a lot. And when the swell comes through, it reaches an impressive size, and surfers flock there, usually armed with a photographer, to get some waves and sometimes more importantly, photographs.

While in Kuta, Lombok, we met another backpacking couple. They had a similar arrangement to ours. She didn’t really surf but he did, and they travelled around in search of waves. Rafael (he’s Brazilian) was determined from the moment he set foot on Lombok, to surf Desert Point.

The promise of incoming swell tends to ripple through the surfing community like a rumour, and the excitement that builds is almost tangible. Anyway, soon after our arrival in Lombok, some swell was forecasted. Rafael asked us if we would like to split a car to Desert Point with them and another Brazillian guy. We mulled over the decision for a while because we hadn’t planned to go there until nearer the end of our trip. But finally we realised we should seize the opportunity because we might not come across people to split the cost of a car with again.

The Brazilians booked the car for us, at 1000 000 IDR return between all of us. We were set to leave the next morning, so Norman and I scurried around getting our affairs in order. We had planned to move to new accommodation the following day, so we had to go and postpone that, as well as repack our bags because we were only going to take one, and leave the rest behind. We were finally organised at 12 PM ( we only finalised our plans at 9PM, okay!) and went straight to bed because we had to be up early.

Our little group packed into the car the following morning and set off on the 3 and a half hour journey. Our driver only had one CD in his car (Bob Marley) so it replayed about 4 times before we switched it off. The drive went surprisingly quickly as we all chatted and became acquainted with one another, and the scenery was also really pretty.

The boys were literally frothing when we arrived, and they burst out of the car and immediately started throwing surf slang around and commenting on the waves. There were already many surfers there so I went off to find accommodation before it all got sold out. There wasn’t much still available but it was all of a similar standard anyway – a room with a mattress on the floor, a light bulb and a single plug point. The bathroom was shared, and was basically a hole in the wall and a pipe out the wall as a shower. We booked a room and I consoled myself by saying that it was only for 2 nights. Our room wasn’t even closed off to the outside, and we didn’t have a mosquito net or fan so I was literally defenceless against the mosquitos. I am so petrified of them that it really freaked me out, but luckily there weren’t too many so near to the sea.

There is literally nothing at Desert Point. There is a wave, budget accommodation and a few warungs that serve similar food. They aren’t that cheap because the food has to be brought from far away, but they are still reasonable. There is no WiFi, or any form of entertainment. This is obviously all fine and well if you are a surfer because you are there for the wave, but for a non surfer like me it was a bit boring.

I spent my time reading, photographing Norm surf and just watching the waves. On the second day the waves were so big that many surfers didn’t even go out, including Norman, so we both sat and watched the brave (and crazy) people who were catching massive waves.

Overall it was a worthwhile experience because I got to witness some world-class waves and surfing, and it was also pretty relaxing. If you don’t surf I recommend taking some books to keep yourself occupied. I was definitely ready to leave when our taxi arrived again, and we travelled back mostly in silence because the surfers were exhausted, and I’m sure their minds were whirling with images of the waves they had just witnessed and experienced.

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2 thoughts on “Chasing Swell: The Mission to Desert Point

  1. Pingback: Kuta, Lombok Popularity & Trends - Blog Posts Over Time

  2. Miss you my friend. Seems like only yesterday we had been playing softball.

    Those have been very good times. What and honor
    it was to even know you and better to become your pal.
    And now your name lives on and cherished to have the ball park named
    soon after you. I will usually knock on wood.

    Peace brother.

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