Happy Days in Bali – Surfline
Photograph by Federico Vanno/Liquid Barrel and Pete Frieden.
When our forecast team presented a vision for the Indonesian surf season in May, it seemed somehow counterintuitive.
At the time, a huge storm was preparing to create the swell of the year in the Indian Ocean – from the west, the very angle we suggested was probably quite calm.
We all know what happened with that gold coin.
Yet now the Indo surf season is changing along our team’s distribution lines: a steady shift to more southerly swells as the current climate pushes winds and storms into the eastern Indian Ocean. (Sorry about that, Western Australia, by the way. Crazy winds there right now!)
And with change comes more surf for the middle of this vast chain of islands: all over Bali, and also the unique and magical Desert Point of Lombok.
Photographer as Federico Vanno spent the past week traveling the region from island to island, from the east and west coasts of Bali to the deserts and back again. Fede has detailed insight into how local and longtime surfers view these swells coming in and rocking from west to south. “That’s what’s happening in Indonesia, where we have a lot of world-class waves scattered all over the islands,” he says.
“Most of the time when a big swell comes, it doesn’t have the same effect everywhere because of the big size of Indonesia, and it can happen that when it hits the central southernmost part of the archipelago, such as Bali or Lombok, the waves are larger than in northwestern areas such as the Mentawai Range and mainland Sumatra.
“Knowing each wave in the area and knowing which direction the swell works best along the chain is very important if you want to make the right choices. The tide makes this much more complicated – some waves can only be activated with the right tide. There will be usually crowded spots in average to good conditions, but with the right knowledge you will have epic conditions at those same spots at times, with just a few surfers in the water enjoying the perfect waves.
“The surfing missions I enjoy the most are the ones where I try to predict what might be in front of me. I adjust my lenses and my Liquid Eye case to connect to that prediction. It doesn’t matter if you’re a surfer or a photographer aquatic, as long as you have an idea of what you will find the next day, or after a few hours of travel by car, bike, boat or plane, it makes everything easier and you can be better prepared for the waves you find.
“Being in the water with the right surfers makes everything more beautiful, and sharing the good vibe with them makes the waves even better. With no stress in the water, you can capture only the best waves, and for me, as an aquatic photographer, it’s easier to find the right position and angle.
Thanks Fede! We all enjoy the view.
Desert Point, Fri, July 29
STORM LOCATION/MOVEMENT: Complex area of polar low moving across the central Indian Ocean, centered near 65S, 95E on July 24 and moving ENE to southwest Australia
MAXIMUM STORM INTENSITY: July 23 at 953 mb, but then the low expanded NE into a broad 963 mb system across the central and southeastern Indian Ocean on July 24-25. The second phase of the storm was targeting SSW wind perfectly along the 200-220 degree swell window of Lombok/Bali
STRONGEST STORM WIND/SEA: Sustained SSW winds of 35 to 45 knots created a sea area of 28 to 32 feet, detected on July 25 at about 2,000 NM SSW of Desert Point
WAVE TRAVEL TIME: ~5 days
More days like this to come in the region: bali | Lombok