surf school bali

October 13, 2008

In celebration of absolutely the most fun new thing I’ve tried for a long time, here’s a rare picture of Mr. Snow and me. Surf school was Mr. Snow’s only request for Bali, and what a great idea it was.

A look online led us to ProSurf, who were brilliant from start to finish. Information was clear both from the website and from phoning to enquire, and booking us into beginners’ classes over the phone was quick and efficient. Pick up and drop off from our hotel was included in the price, and at the school on Kuta we got long boards matched to our heights, surf shirts and shorts, and even sunscreen.

Class times were chosen according to the tide, so the waves were just right in size for us. Frank, the main instructor, started us off with a theory class on land. Once out in the water, a great team of smiley instructors helped him out to get us standing, with no more than 3 students per instructor.

After all that, how did the actual surfing go? On the first day, brilliantly! I managed to get up on the board after several tries, and with Komang’s help. Riding even those few metres to the shore, no matter how unsteadily and generally with wiping out before too long was enough to put a giant smile on my face for the rest of the day. Unfortunately my board mojo temporarily deserted me on the second day, returning only towards the end of our session. Kadek didn’t even want to let Mr. Snow leave, going out with him for one last wave after time was up. No matter, I’m hooked, and dreaming of my next go. Thanks to Frank, Komang, Kadek, Freddie… and of course the Balinese waves for that. When’s the next time?

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gold rush

September 4, 2008

We should have known it wasn’t going too well when we got to the mamak to watch Lee Chong Wei battle China’s Lin Dan for the Olympic gold in badminton… and the assembled crowd was near silent. Mr. Snow and I hijacked a table from a friendly gentleman (who subsequently felt he had to ask ‘You don’t mind, I eat first?’ when his dinner came) and settled in to watch the match.

Lee put up a fight during the first set at least, but by the time the second set came round, the shell-shocked look on his face made patently clear that he was outclassed and being outplayed, and was far from a position to attack.

The initial cheers of support were soon reduced to disappointed mutterings, and all too soon Malaysia had to shelve its gold medal dream for another 4 years. As soon as the match was over almost everyone upped and left for home dejectedly. Now we’ll never know if the rumours of an extra public holiday had he won were true…

In the aftermath there was much mumbling about the home court advantage, strategy (and the lack there of), the rings and watches Lee had on while playing… business as usual then for the rumour mill. Doesn’t take away from Datuk Lee’s silver achievement, and a fair outcome for the world No 2. Congratulations to him!

tom daley

August 12, 2008

Yesterday Tom Daley, the 14 year old British diving prodigy, came eighth out of eight with his partner in the synchronized 10m platform dive, much to both their disappointment. I had forgotten just how beautiful diving can be, until I saw this video of all his 10-scored dives from 2007. Every one was over in a flash, but breathtaking and controlled. He’s still got a chance in the individual events at this year’s Olympics, but surely very many more in the years to come too.