I always wondered how it is to ride a huge wave like the ones I see on magazines or on tv. I thought it would be so cool to get wiped out, too. Well, I finally had my chance and I almost drowned when I tried surfing without an instructor at Kuta beach in Bali, Indonesia.
Surfing Wipeout at Kuta Beach
Kuta beach, great for beginners
I was excited to go to the beach just because I haven’t gone for a swim in quite some time. Much more now that I had the opportunity to surf without somebody holding the board and assisting me whenever a wave was fast approaching.
Almost Drowned Learning How to Surf in Bali
preparing for the waves
I was still hesitant to rent a surfboard because I felt intimidated by the huge waves and I felt that I didn’t know how to surf. But then, that’s actually the point of trying it out; so that I could learn. When I finally went to the sea, the inhibitions were gone and I started paddling.
Note: Cost for the surfboard is 70,000 Indonesian Rupiah (8 USD) per hour. On the second day, I asked for a discount. I was charged 60,000 Rupiah (7 USD). On the last day, I asked for another discount, I was charged 50,000 Rupiah (6 USD).
heading to the deep
I swam to the deeper water so I could get the bigger waves. I paddled and waited, got up and fell. This went on a few more times as I was maintaining balance. Every time I fell, I pulled my board back and repeated the same steps until I gained more control. When I finally did, it felt good.
I spent three days surfing for an hour each day. I learned to paddle harder each time. Catching a wave was already a big accomplishment on my part, but I wanted to go farther. So I swam some more.
Once I’ve gone farther, I’d catch a wave and then swim back. I only noticed that the water was already deep when I was sitting on the board and my feet couldn’t touch the base anymore.
I waited and waited, but no waves were appearing. I was just floating so I simply enjoyed the sun’s rays. I felt at peace because the water was calm and not much action was going on.
That Big Wave
I saw a few surfers at the time who seemed to be catching other waves. I didn’t realize that they were the more seasoned ones who were waiting for the bigger swells. I wondered what I was doing there, but I stopped when I saw a big wave approaching fast.
I felt a little confident since all I needed to do was paddle and lift myself up. I did paddle and I was able to lift myself up, but only for a split second. The next few scenes were not so pleasant.
bigger waves from afar
When I realized that the water was about 8 to 10 feet high, I panicked. My nerves got the better of me that I immediately fell off the board. I got washed out by a wave that was still gaining more momentum.
I was wiped out and I thought that it wouldn’t last long before I’d float to the surface; but I was wrong. The wave ran over me and when I attempted to breathe, the water continued to break. I was gasping for air but I kept rolling around and my head couldn’t reach the surface!
everything was a blur
What’s worse was that the strap snapped and I was left without a board. The board that was supposed to help me float was gone. I screamed for help but no one was around. I felt so small. I felt so alone. I felt so helpless.
I normally just stay afloat and let buoyancy take care of me reaching the surface. This time was different; I had to swim hard because the water was sucking me in.
Thoughts were running through my head while I got washed out:
* How long can I hold my breath till I reach the surface?
* Cover your head, Ed! You might hit another surfer and it’s going to look ugly.
* So this is how it feels to be a human laundry inside a washing machine.
* Shoot, I lost my board! Now I have to pay extra if I can’t find it! How much does a board cost?
* Stop thinking about the stupid board. Stay alive first!
Sheesh, even in the state of drowning, I was still thinking about the surfboard! Another wave broke, but it wasn’t as hard as the first one anymore. I was able to swim to the shallow area afterwards. I coughed because of so much water I swallowed.
I’m a daredevil and I do a lot of crazy stuff; however, this one wasn’t something I expected. I asked for a huge wave and that’s what I got; but it wasn’t a pretty experience to get wiped out.
I had to pause to recover from what just happened.
taking a break for now
For a moment, I felt that surfing wasn’t so fun anymore. Good thing it was only for a moment. Maybe I just needed that big one to slap me so I won’t try something when I can’t handle it yet.
I guess that’s the beauty of this sport. It’s how many times you stand up after how many times you fall. It’s the drive to never give up even if you’re already losing breath. I may not have as much control over these waves, but I’m getting there; and one day I will.
I hope this post doesn’t discourage anyone from surfing. It’s really an awesome way to pump up the adrenaline. Just ensure safety as always.
still smiling even after the wipeout
Right after I almost drowned, I thought I’d put surfing out of the things I wanted to master in this lifetime. But the next day, I went back to the sea.
As for the lost surfboard, a surfer was kind enough to give it to me when I reached the shallow area. I’m still glad I didn’t pay for a replacement.
*Photos were taken by my girlfriend. 🙂
Check out my other blog articles about my trip to Bali, Indonesia here:
- Seven Days in Bali, Indonesia
- Surfing Wipeout at Kuta Beach in Bali, Indonesia
- Sunset at Kuta Beach in Bali, Indonesia
- Three Kids in an Airport in Bali, Indonesia
- Monkeys and Cliffs in Uluwatu Temple – Bali, Indonesia
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soloflightEd.com is a travel blog by Edcel Suyo. He enjoys performing headstands and crazy stunts during his trips in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Now based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and working to earn a living, he takes time to enjoy the city and travel during weekends.
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