I first visited Bali in 2008. The climate, waves, and culture were unlike anything I had previously experienced. Those who’ve been there will agree—there aren’t many words that can adequately speak to the unequaled allure of Bali. There was, however, one thing I didn’t expect to see: crowds. At least not to that extent. Hoards of tourists seized the lineups of the Bukit like troves of starving hyenas, wave-hungry and willing to snake their own mother if it meant just one more wave. It was utter savagery. “It’s the season,” one local explained. “This is when the waves and wind are best.” Nonetheless, I had an absolute blast.
I returned to Bali in 2012, only this time I visited during the off-season, as I heard there were a few waves just a short motorbike ride away and the crowds weren’t half as bad. To my surprise, the same spots that were firing during peak-season were firing throughout my stay. The only noticeable difference was the occasional rain and the unmistakeable absence of Australians and Brazilians. It was brilliant.
I recently came across this video of Teahupo’o doing its thing during a time when things are usually pretty quiet. It made me think of the lucky souls who had gone on a whim and took their chances of potentially getting skunked. My point is that everyone should consider doing the same (depending on where you’re going, of course). So what if you don’t get waves? There are tons of other things to do. Take some time to really immerse yourself in the culture. Take the chance, because the reward far exceeds the risk.