Here’s an all-too-familiar scenario: It’s peak season in Bali and a large mass of energy is sweeping through the Indian Ocean, en route to the Indonesian archipelago. Eager to evade the unruly crowds of the Bukit Peninsula, you and your amigos hire a boat, hoping to score some R&R around the neighboring islands. The captain motors hundreds of miles through the empty night, and you’re literally on the verge of exploding. You can’t eat. You can’t sleep. The anticipation is gnawing at you from the inside out. All you can do is think about the pot of gold that lies at the end of the rainbow. The captain signals that it’s time. “This is it,” you tell yourself. “This is what I came here for. This is why I spent my life savings and traveled thousands of miles from home.” If only things always worked out like they were supposed to.
Upon catching the first glimpse of what’s on offer, your heart is ripped right from your chest. To much disappointment, what you thought would be a few days of solitude turned out to be 20 boats full of wave-hungry hyenas frothing at the mouth, ready to pounce on anything that remotely resembles a wave. You attempt to convince yourself that it’s all part of some kind of sick, elaborate joke. Unfortunately, it’s not. This is more or less surfing of today.
On a recent trip to Indonesia, Louie Hynd, Jacob Willcox, and Harry Bryant were subjects of a very similar storyline when they were greeted by a hundred heads occupying a single peak in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Of course, it was pumping, but the crowd looked a bit like Lowers on the first decent south swell of the year. However, Louie and the funky bunch had other plans. Their choice to do some exploring is perhaps the wisest decision they ever made, and it’s one we can all learn from.
The next time you see a crowded lineup, think before paddling out. Take a chance. See what else is out there. Don’t settle for the first spot that looks fun. Sacrifice a bit of quality to surf a different spot with no one out. It’s better for everyone, really. Ask yourself: Which would you rather choose? Absolutely firing and crazy crowded? Or tons of fun with no one out?