Colonial Surfer - The ReSearch is a project about the contemporary globalized world and power structures within the surf industry and its realm. Surfing is not just a sport but also culture, producer and distributor. In current discussions you hear about the post-colonial but the situation today is better described as neo-colonial. Surfers do travel a lot and sometimes to places unknown to other tourists. The way surfers behave and represent themselves in the adventures search of perfect waves has a lot in common with ancient colonizers and their roles. To surf maintain and conserve already existing structures. History.

Editor: Kristoffer Svenberg

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bali (The Morning of The Earth - and The new colonialists)

Sometime in 1936, an American named Bob Koke took a break from building his hotel on the deserted shore of Kuta and strolled down to the breakers for a surf on his home-made Honolulu style surfboard. He’d learned to surf when he was in Hawaii, a sport he took with him to Bali, and that afternoon, he was the only surfer in the water...

The surf tourism and then the wider tourism to Bali is said to have begun by the movie The Morning of The Earth that was released in 1972. A film by Alby Falzon which includes footage of the first waves surfed at the now world famous surfspot Ulu Watu. (Evil Water / The Devils Water). In 1970 they were climbing down the rocks into the significant and spectacular cave by the shore. The one you either have to paddle, or walk through depending on tide, to reach the break. Nowadays there are stairs built here for an easy walk down. And on the cliffs right above, there are hotels, swimming pools and parking lots.

Hard Rock CafĂ© is today located on Kuta beach exactly where Bob Koke were building his hotel in 1936. This picture that is photographed by Kuta beach are from the project: “All we do is surf". The text on the poster that says: XXXPlosive is a pretty provocative expression, especially after the terrorist attack in Bali 2001. Two famous night clubs populated with young tourists and surfers were targets for bombs that killed hundreds of people. The people who got killed were in average around 25 years old. The night club and bar Sari Club were completely blown out. The other one, Paddy's bar, opened soon again under a new name. The new name of the night club became Paddy's Reloaded.

I myself visited Bali for the first time in 2001. Since I have returned on several occasions over more than a decade I have begun to see structures in how Bali has changed and evolved. And there is no doubt about that surf culture has a very strong dominance here. To understand how such a global sport tourism movement and its offshoots do impact on a small and in economy less wealthy place, Bali is a really great island to study. Bali has in many ways now become financially richer through its role as a tourist paradise. But who is in charge? Who are in power and influence the most about the Island’s development and life? Who pays the price?

Derek Rielly a surfer, writer and entrepreneur from Australia has written a spot on text about the situation in Bali and the title is very much the same as this STNC blog: The new colonialists. Click on the link below to read it in The Sidney Morning Herald, National Times: 

READ IT HERE: Derek Rielly, The New Colonialists, The Sidney Morning Herald