Construction work at Nias

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Just over a month ago, news broke about construction occurring on the rock platform at Sorake, Nias. Surfers were understandably aghast at the work and the prospect it could destroy the famed wave. That the project didn't seem to serve any purpose only added to the sense of lax regulations and environmental oversight.

Since then the proverbial battle lines have been drawn with visiting surfers rallying the online troops, creating a petition, and making noise. However, they've had to tread carefully as foreigners telling locals what to do in their own land risk accusations of imperialism.

There's a scene in 'The Lost Jewel of the Atlantic'  - a documentary about the battle to save Jardim do Mar from foreshore development - where an indignant local from Madeira chides the visiting surfers for meddling in local affairs. It makes for uncomfortable viewing. White man's burden shown up for the paternalism it is.

Then again, the breakwall the visiting surfers were trying to halt has interfered with Jardim. Not as bad as was first thought, the wave isn't ruined, but on small swells and high tides backwash runs through the lineup. Maybe the meddling surfers were right after all?

The above doesn't make for a clean overlay to what's happening in Nias, though it provides some context. To get some more information about the Nias construction project, and also a quick historical lesson, Swellnet reached out to longtime visitor Mark Flint. What follows are his thoughts taken from a conversation with Craig Brokensha:

The construction work at Lagundri isn't a road, it's a flagstone paved-path intended to provide better pedestrian access from the inland road to the point.

Foundations for the soon to be constructed pathway

The construction work hasn't risen out of a vacuum, there's a long history around land use on the point at Lagundri, with the land owners caring little for government regulation.

Back in the 80s and 90s the reef was in worse shape than it is now. Hash's losmen - the most easterly losmen on the point - used to extend right out onto the tip of the point. Waves would wash around it.

Also, back in 1995 a study was done on the state of the reef finding that fertilisers from run off were creating algae that was killing the coral. 

In 2005, the Nias earthquake lifted the reef by one metre exposing more of the rock platform. Already in bad shape from the fertiser run off, much of the coral reef died from exposure.

Later, the Governor of North Sumatra recommended a 30 metres green zone - a buffer between the land and the edge of the reef. However, Hash's new place reclaimed the land out to about 25-30 metres from the edge of the reef. Other land owners also started pushing outward, sparking tit for tat land claims.

Aerial view of the point showing the rockwalls where losmen owners are trying to reclaim land above the reef (Photo Shield)

Reclamation works continue further down the point

The new path will be 1.2 metres high off the rock platform and have a side that slopes towards the reef. It'll be topped with 1 metre rocks.

The losman owners weren't included in discussions about the path - as per normal in Indonesia. However, in the absence of enforcement, the new path will set a good boundary for the losmens to stick to. 

Under average conditions the wall will have no effect regarding backwash or interference.

As it already stands, Nias gets a bit of wobble and backwash during very big swells and high tides, caused by water pushing down the reef from Indicators and emptying into the lineup. The path may exagerrate that.

During those same swells there's potential for the new path to be scoured by the energy of the waves.

If the path adversely effects the wave it can easily be changed as it's just placed on top of the rock platform.

Lagundri Bay is feeling other pressures with sand being removed from the bay for construction of tourist hotels - not the losmen surfers stay in but hotels catering to the general boom in tourism. The sand mining is noticeable at the end of the point where sand used to flow onto the reef. That area is now denuded.

Comments

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Thursday, 22 Aug 2019 at 7:00am

What's with the checkered tile walkway too? Seems to be nothing more than a selfie opportunity (scoll through the images below for an example).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Maya Nuzul (@mayanuzul) on


 

 

Smorto's picture
Smorto's picture
Smorto commented Thursday, 22 Aug 2019 at 9:43am

Judging by the image with the surfer it looks like the path goes all the way out to the keyhole, so it was probably justified as being functional in assisting surfers walking across the reef to the paddle out spot.

But yes it definitely seems excessive and more for the tourists as there was already an informal rock path you could walk out to the keyhole.

conrico's picture
conrico's picture
conrico commented Thursday, 22 Aug 2019 at 10:04am

was in nias recently. Smorto's right, its basically just a walkway to the keyhole, that prevents you from cutting your feet on the reef. Doesn't interfere with the wave at all, although it maybe detracts a little from the beauty of the place
i loved it though!

FerrisBueller's picture
FerrisBueller's picture
FerrisBueller commented Friday, 23 Aug 2019 at 7:12pm

Have you read the article? this "walkway" is going all the way to lagundri beach (from the point)... it's not just out to the keyhole and they've only just started it. The stepping stones and the path are completely different things

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Thursday, 22 Aug 2019 at 5:52pm

Ben, if it is anything like most Indo tiles it will be comparable to ice skating walking on these Collingwood lovelies, particularly with a nice film of water over them!

Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon's picture
Ted from the moon commented Thursday, 22 Aug 2019 at 7:16am

Good article. Sounds fair - its really hard to imagine a land grab happening............

Seen plenty of these walk ways across the islands over the years....normally they do not last. They get one battering and they start to hole up. Maintenance is never carried out and eventually they become much more than just a trip hazard and visual eyesore. They always look nice when freshly completed though for the officials to have their pics taken..

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref commented Thursday, 22 Aug 2019 at 10:48am

Spot on.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 22 Aug 2019 at 9:51am

Good work Swellnet, gone to the best most reliable source possible and actually given us a totally different perspective on the situation.

Now knowing the bigger picture it could actually be a positive if done right, one semi natural borderline and hopefully a re greening of the area rather than a chaotic patchwork of land reclamation that is currently slowly been happening.

GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley's picture
GuySmiley commented Thursday, 22 Aug 2019 at 10:31am

More boiling of the goose that once laid a golden egg.

Old mate was there in the late 70s, Ive seen his photo album many times with great envy, maybe 50 pics of him barrelled all different waves of course, people with vested interests in gravy train gunna say it’s a good thing, old mate knows otherwise.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 23 Aug 2019 at 12:00am

I believe Mark Flint was one of the early guys of that golden era, seems to have more credibility, respect and influence as a westerner in the area than anyone and his resort has only made the place better some actual tasteful buildings and gardens and hopefully the way he has built his place the locals will copy in time.

Why Sorake is the mess it is is not as simple as just bad development the tsunami was a huge factor it stripped the area of vegetation the beach was lost the old high tide line has become a kind of no mans land of old reef and stagnant water, its only natural that man and nature reclaim the land the problem has been, man reclaims only what he can get away with so you end up with the current pattern of unnatural straight lines like a patch work quilt, not to mention different heights and designs etc or just plain concrete

This project seems more about trying to counteract that current patchwork trend and that wasteland area and try to bring back a degree of more natural flow and consistency...but yeah being Indonesia it is hard to not be concerned about how they implement it all.

FerrisBueller's picture
FerrisBueller's picture
FerrisBueller commented Friday, 23 Aug 2019 at 6:57pm

"his resort has only made the place better some actual tasteful buildings and gardens" that's actually a matter of opinion, there are plenty of "tasteful" buildings in Nias with gardens. New Raya Inn, Barriga, Jamburae Lodge...to name but a few

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 23 Aug 2019 at 9:09pm

I dont think its much a matter of opinion,

Comparing open space and gardens, focus on use of timber and traditional design, natural lines.

To almost all other places on the point that are concrete boxes only metres apart with little to no greenery.

FerrisBueller's picture
FerrisBueller's picture
FerrisBueller commented Friday, 23 Aug 2019 at 11:43pm

New Raya Inn is far from concrete boxes and they are in a beautiful bright area?

But that's besides the point, your argument about him having credibility because he owns a ''tasteful'' resort is completely irrelevant.

That's exactly why he has to say that the development is a good thing. It appears to be going ahead regardless of any petitions/objections - as already stated he has invested interests.

Having a big concrete pathway/road in front of your "tasteful" resort, which will interfere with the wave on a big swell/high tide isn't really good for business now is it.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 24 Aug 2019 at 1:26am

Basically two choices.

1. Let things continue as have been with losmen owners reclaiming land, and it will become even more of a shithole slum than it is with no public foreshore space and a patch work quilt of rock and cement walls.

2. Create one uniform boundary with a shared public space that is practical and fingers crossed also has some green space of some kind.

Really not a hard choice, but 100% understand peoples fears about how it is implemented.

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref commented Thursday, 22 Aug 2019 at 10:47am

Maybe there should be paths out to all reefs in Indo?

G-land would be a good start. Avoid those pesky urchins.

FerrisBueller's picture
FerrisBueller's picture
FerrisBueller commented Thursday, 22 Aug 2019 at 11:13pm

You're joking right? If you can't walk across a reef you probably shouldn't be out there in the first place.

Half of those tiled stepping stones in Nias are now overturned with broken tiles scattered on the reef...And the concrete slab right at the keyhole is covered in slime. yeah...great idea that one.

If it's not broken don't fix it. Leave the reef alone. you damage the wave that's it...no going back. Why would you even think to risk it?
There's a roadway right behind all the losmens...there is not that much traffic. There's absolutely no need for this path/road on the reef.

Not only that but there's an abundance of sea life on that reef. Which is now being covered with rocks and cement

teaqueue's picture
teaqueue's picture
teaqueue commented Thursday, 22 Aug 2019 at 3:47pm

Did it get rid of the crowd?

Stupot's picture
Stupot's picture
Stupot commented Thursday, 22 Aug 2019 at 9:07pm

They probably saw the road around Kirra point and thought what a fantastic idea...

Unemployment isn't working...

fishnsurf's picture
fishnsurf's picture
fishnsurf commented Friday, 23 Aug 2019 at 8:23am

When i go on a holiday i enjoy nothing more than getting involved in local government decisions. Look at the influence westerners have had in Bali. My suggestion would be to leave the locals to their own country. Oh your 1st world has some issues that need addressing if your not too busy.

Surf ingredients

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 23 Aug 2019 at 9:34am

Get a grip.

Surfable waves are probably the single truly sustainable and natural recreational resource on the planet. Every wave is provided free of charge without impact on the environment. It behooves us as surfers to do what we can to protect every wave we can , irrespective of its location.

Surfers, and particularly Australian surfers , have contributed much towards improving the lives of many Indonesians. Think about the donations and direct aid after Nias was destroyed by the Boxing Day tsunami.

It is ultimately up to the Indonesians to do as they will in their home, but there is absolutely nothing untoward about surfers voicing their concerns about the potential compromise of one of nature’s gifts.

Some people would surely cut off their nose to spite their face.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 23 Aug 2019 at 9:37am

Not to distract from the point you're making, but 'behoove' is such a good word.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 23 Aug 2019 at 12:24pm

Courtesy of the drill Sargent trope from a dozen war movies.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 23 Aug 2019 at 12:27pm

The image I have is a short-fused Scotsman telling me to behave.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM commented Friday, 23 Aug 2019 at 11:15pm

I always thought it was an olde English word from medieval times meaning ‘to vacuum’.

For example: “And yea verily, yonder squire shall behoove my castle beforeth supper.”

fishnsurf's picture
fishnsurf's picture
fishnsurf commented Friday, 23 Aug 2019 at 2:39pm

Oh come on. Your all there for yourselves . Not the locals. Improvement by who's judgement ? First come the surfers then the tourists then the developers and before long the locals can't even afford to live in their own towns. Bali was paradise from what i can see from the early photos. They had everything they needed. Now I'm not sure what they have but it certainly isn't paradise.

Surf ingredients

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 23 Aug 2019 at 3:19pm

Turns out the Balinese needed everything that we need.

Save your ill treated noble savage fantasy , they’re just people with desires no different from you and I.

Sure , everyone could kick back and allow the local developers to ignorantly fuck up the economic life blood attraction for the entire town , then you can stroll through Nias and enjoy watching the locals back to poverty level existence.....you’d be so proud of your defence of the people you consider to be hapless , dumbfuck throwbacks who wouldn’t have adopted to modern life without it being spoon fed.

Smorto's picture
Smorto's picture
Smorto commented Friday, 23 Aug 2019 at 4:22pm

I was with you on your first comment Fishn but that second comment went too far and now Im 100% with Blowin.

Just because you have romantic visions of women in sarongs carrying water on their heads and eating rice from banana leaves doesn't mean that's the reality of the situation. Like us, they want good schools for their kids and decent medical facilities for when they hurt themselves. I guarantee that the chances of amputation for a broken leg were much higher for the Balinese when it was 'paradise' compared to now.

I've spoken to many Balinese who are proud that they have good health care, good education, better living standards and that the all round wealth of Bali is well beyond most other regions in Indo.

Yes its overdeveloped and yes its not somewhere many of us Aussies want to visit anymore, but in the eyes of most locals their standard of living has improved drastically. Who are we to tell them they they are better off living in grass huts and walking 2km each day to fetch water?

fishnsurf's picture
fishnsurf's picture
fishnsurf commented Saturday, 24 Aug 2019 at 9:11pm

Surfers are not bringing health and humanity where its lacking around the world. But they do certainly have a conscience that makes them help the locals in the immediate area. I understand its not easy to sit on a beach surfing waves with more money for a holiday than the locals make in half their lives. While thats not the fault of the visitor it also not fair to compare the local life to the visitor. Grass huts and a 2 km walk ?
Really. Like many indigenous peoples they have survived very well for a very long time. Including the Australian aboriginal. Perhaps we should accept their way of life rather than feeling they should accept ours .

Surf ingredients

Smorto's picture
Smorto's picture
Smorto commented Monday, 26 Aug 2019 at 1:34pm

Hey if they want a traditional way of life then that's great and I accept that.

What I am saying is given the chance most third world cultures (including that at Nias) will chose running water, paved roads, electricity and mobile phones over a subsistence way of life any day of the week, even if it means ruining their environment.

Thats what Blowin was saying, you can't go over their and tell them not to build that hotel, not to chop down that tree (or not to build that path along the reef) because they simply want the first world life that we have.

GM's picture
GM's picture
GM commented Saturday, 24 Aug 2019 at 12:33pm

I wasn’t going to comment on this until I heard a news report this morning of an indigenous New Guinean’s death in anti Indonesian riots in West Irian.
So here it is.
I did an annual sojourn to Nias starting from 1979 to 1985 inclusive.
My last trip was because in 1985 the eldest son of the family I stayed with had come back a basket case from a TNI tour of duty in West Irian.
This family were Christian, and the son could not reconcile the fact that he had taken part in the indiscriminate murder of civilian New Guinean men women and children.
In his words, they were required to forcibly “relocate” villagers into the bush from the productive lowlands the Indo generals, politicians and connected business people wanted.
Anyone resisting was shot.
When he questioned the morals of this with his comrades he was told not to worry about it because they (the New Guineans) were only monkeys anyway.
From that moment on I vowed never to provide any financial assistance of any kind to Indonesia.
I was 27 then and am close to 62 now and I have never returned to Indonesia.
You see, Blowin, I believe that we as human beings have a higher behoving to protect the human rights, dignity & lives of our fellow human beings before any chickenshit behoving to protect the shape of the momentum delivery device of our recreational fibreglass toys.
And yes, in your words, I cut my nose off to spite my face.
But if I had returned to Indonesia simply for the waves sake, then even though that may have made me more of a “real surfer” in the eyes of “..Australian surfers (who) have contributed much towards improving the lives of many Indonesians…”, (your words again) in my view it would have diminished me as a human being.
Hence I am quite comfortable with my noseless face.
So keep the faith and good luck with your concrete path protest.

FerrisBueller's picture
FerrisBueller's picture
FerrisBueller commented Friday, 23 Aug 2019 at 7:03pm

So what, we aren't allowed to express our opinions in local politics when it's a result of us visiting the area?!! If it wasn't for people like us coming to the area to begin with, it wouldn't even be on the map as a tourist destination. All this construction is a result of surfers coming and the QS being held here. Why do you think they made those tiled stepping stones along the reef? they do it because they think it's what surfers want...but the majority are against it.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 23 Aug 2019 at 1:27pm

I've just been reminded of this photo from Andrew Shield we ran recently which shows the rockwalls pushing out onto the reef.

Also added the photo into the article. 

Right click to view full size.

GM's picture
GM's picture
GM commented Saturday, 24 Aug 2019 at 12:12pm

I wasn’t going to comment on this until I heard a news report this morning of an indigenous New Guinean’s death in anti Indonesian riots in West Irian.
So here it is.
I did an annual sojourn to Nias starting from 1979 to 1985 inclusive.
My last trip was because in 1985 the eldest son of the family I stayed with had come back a basket case from a TNI tour of duty in West Irian.
This family were Christian, and the son could not reconcile the fact that he had taken part in the indiscriminate murder of civilian New Guinean men women and children.
In his words, they were required to forcibly “relocate” villagers into the bush from the productive lowlands the Indo generals, politicians and connected business people wanted.
Anyone resisting was shot.
When he questioned the morals of this with his comrades he was told not to worry about it because they (the New Guineans) were only monkeys anyway.
From that moment on I vowed never to provide any financial assistance of any kind to Indonesia.
I was 27 then and am close to 62 now and I have never returned to Indonesia.
You see, Blowin, I believe that we as human beings have a higher behoving to protect the human rights, dignity & lives of our fellow human beings before any chickenshit behoving to protect the shape of the momentum delivery device of our recreational fibreglass toys.
And yes, in your words, I cut my nose off to spite my face.
But if I had returned to Indonesia simply for the waves sake, then even though that may have made me more of a “real surfer” in the eyes of “..Australian surfers (who) have contributed much towards improving the lives of many Indonesians…”, (your words again) in my view it would have diminished me as a human being.
Hence I am quite comfortable with my noseless face.
So keep the faith and good luck with your concrete path protest.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 24 Aug 2019 at 2:57pm

Why cast all a Indonesians in a bad light because of the behaviour of their corrupt leaders and some skitzo soldiers ?

You’ve just finished telling us about the deeply troubled soul of an Indo friend of yours before you start describing how heartless the Indonesians are.

Weird.

And if you prevented yourself from enjoying the country, it’s people , waves , culture and food for decades because of this twisted rationale then yes , you did blow it.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 24 Aug 2019 at 3:07pm

If you are going to take a moral high ground and not travel somewhere then you might as well forget travelling, i mean look at our own history and we still invade foreign lands plenty of innocent people including women and children die because of money and oil etc over wars that have nothing to do with us

Media are quick to report these incidents but how much press does other incidents by the OPM etc get in west papua?

Sweet F all, what about the couple of innocent Indonesian road workers shot dead by the OPM the other month?

If they were Papuans shot by TNI it would have been a huge news story.

West Papua is a complex issue but the recent progress made by Jokowi in the region is amazing it receives the highest per capita funding of all Indonesia's 33 provinces, with huge infrastructure, health and education projects, all improving the life's of its people this year he also secured a major share of freeport for Indonesia a percentage of all profit is set to go directly back into the province, that should be noted along with Aceh has special autonomy. (Jokowi even has a papuan minister in one of his cabinets)

Ensuring stability in the region is extremely important and most indigenous Papuauns and non indigenous Papuaans just want to live in peace unfortunately a minority don't and every now and they try to create friction, namely through separationsist groups like the OPM i mean the OPM that would be classed as a terrorist group in any western country.

Unfortunately the region will always have a degree of conflict and violence you only have to look over the border to PNG to see for Papuans the roots of violence is ingrained culturally, with some of the highest domestic violence rates in particular sexual based violence in the world, extremely high homicide rates, gang violence, kidnappings, tribal warfare, witch craft and sorcery killings, while even in Indonesia even west papua these things are much lower or even unheard off.

robert-james.hook's picture
robert-james.hook's picture
robert-james.hook commented Saturday, 24 Aug 2019 at 3:12pm

"where ever surfers go, they destroy the environment" - Peter Troy

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 24 Aug 2019 at 3:16pm

BTW kind of on a similar theme, currently in Sth mainland Aceh, always expected all that money we gave would be wasted through corruption.

Happy to say everywhere i go locals tell me Australia or USA paid for this or that, coastal road is like a hway apparently USA funded and in amazing condition, locals received government support to rebuild houses, new shit and positive stories everywhere and when talking to locals they seem to be happy to identify as Indonesian.

Timmy49's picture
Timmy49's picture
Timmy49 commented Saturday, 24 Aug 2019 at 4:07pm

Coral reefs need to protected. A path way to a jump spot protects the reef. What damage does walking on the reef do? Every land based coral reef should have walkways to stop damage from people walking in them.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Saturday, 24 Aug 2019 at 4:30pm

That Peter Troy quote is garbage.

I could name you 100 places off the top of my head where surfers have existed for years without harming the place anymore than any other member of a modern society.

It’s the greed that arrives once the development potential of a surf break is realised that is the culprit and it’s not usually surfers doing the damage.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 24 Aug 2019 at 5:30pm

100% Blowin it could even be argued surfers help give an area value around a surf break, hat often leads to protection of the area.

You can see this on some of our Aussie point breaks, bells, Angorie, lennox, Noosa pts, even goldie points, are the only real protected pockets on the Goldie.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 26 Aug 2019 at 1:44pm

The Peter Troy quote needs context. The explanation that followed was that quite often, and almost exclusively in Less Developed Countries, places discovered by surfers go from basic villages to modern towns in a very short space of time. Developments that would ordinarily happen over many decades, allowing locals to adjust and move with the changes, sometimes happen in less than a decade. When that happens, the foundations, either cultural, educational, or physical (sewerage, clean water, garbage removal etc) aren't in place.

It's the pace of change that he was mostly commenting upon.

None of that applies to Australia, US etc - as per Indo's comment - as Troy was talking about places where surfers were the spearpoint travellers.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 26 Aug 2019 at 1:59pm

The context which it was employed in this instance was that the innocent Indonesian natives would continue their beguiling technological and developmental free existence if surfers hadn’t imposed their evil might upon them.

It conveniently ignores the fact that most Indonesians happily embrace technology and development on an almighty scale as soon as they’re presented the opportunity .

Jakarta doesn’t have too many inspiring surf spots , yet it seems to have developed at quite a clip.

SI's picture
SI's picture
SI commented Tuesday, 27 Aug 2019 at 9:17pm

I reckon the idea that Aussies or other westerners who surf are somehow improving the lives of people in Indonesia is highly questionable. Even as a surfer with a lifetime in the water under my belt, I feel that westerners go to Indonesia with a "dog eat dog" attitude. The water is crowded with the worst behaved people in the world; great waves ruined by out and out disrespect. I was recently there and witnessed so many Aussies behaving like pigs. They have dished out their $$$ and think they are owed a living and will burn anyone. I saw them openly disrespecting culture and degrading the locals. I heard one guy in a Losman crapping on about how he liked to lie on his back and shoot "jizz" on the sheets of his bed, whilst swearing incessantly and bigoting himself and his mates. He was saying this in front of the people who cleaned his room, in particular a very well behaved muslim woman who changed his sheets and her husband who also worked at the Losman. This sort of behaviour is not isolated but widespread. The Aussies and Brazo's and others are absolute shockers who have transformed a place of paradise into a living hell. Don't want to return. It's just ruined. Of course, this is only my opinion, and I'm sure the guys who make $$ out of the whole scene will keep on pushing the "perfect wave" paradise angle. For my part, it was anything but perfect. At times I felt ashamed to be Australian.

Barrelrider

Naughtyboynature's picture
Naughtyboynature's picture
Naughtyboynature commented Thursday, 29 Aug 2019 at 7:44am

This debate should probably start and finish with a question of what’s best for the reef life itself. Little alone it’s impact on the wave, and the potential follow on impacts on the ‘local’ economy if they stuff it. But on that point, I think it poignant to mention that last year when I was there, the community were piling over plans to fill in the key hole so the point extended (and thus wave broke) all the way through from indicators. Surely such a mentality demonstrates, at least, a naivety around the risks that such development could bring. But I feel it also demonstrates a complete lack of understanding or care for their natural heritage. They are the custodians of that reef, and owe it some gratitude for whatever commerce it already brings. They need to look after it. Marine life are the true locals. What right do any of us/them have to pour concrete over the reef for the sake of convenience or delineating some arbitrary development front?

My sense from being there a couple of times now, is that the (non surfing/not local) Indonesian bureaucrats who sit around with local law in Hash house, and the Indonesian tourists that roll through in big vans from Jakarta etc, just want a bigger piece of the action. But they are disconnected from the spirit of the place and why westerners actually visit. If we (and stakeholders like the WSL CT) don’t speak up, we are leaving it to greedy developers to turn it in to Bali. And then they can have it.

If the authorities were truly interested in the welfare of the place, they would install some bins/rubbish disposal. To deal with the most immediate problem of single use plastics, which adorn every square meter of the place. Currently, it’s thrown into toxic fires which burn throughout the day and night, smoking out the lineup.

Humans are cooked.

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