#1 Lombok Skate Trip 18: Longboarding under palm trees

cover englisch

Lombok has more than deserted beaches with surfable waves, Nasi Goreng, hidden waterfalls and a volcano. Lombok has endless downhill and freeride spots, whether in the deep jungle or under palm trees with ocean view. And Lombok has a skate crew that makes every day unforgettable. At the moment, the local crew creates an international stir!

From my last three stays on the island – of course every time with my longboard – I already knew that Lombok has a lot to offer in terms of longboard spots. Back in in November 2016 I visited the longboard pioneer Ozzie in Senggigi. I got to know him and his crew on Facebook. I could not have imagined a more hearty welcome and better adventures with the local crew. One and a half years later I travel for the fourth time to the paradise island in Indonesia, which is famous for its surf spots, tourist resorts and the volcano hike to Mount Rinjani. The reason is called #lombokskatetripvol3. Btw. here you find the video of last year‘s Lombok Skate Trip.

Variety of views, temperatures and road surfaces

As at last year’s skate trip, a different spot will be skated every day. Around the volcano the roads are steep and very curvy, to slide every few meters is essential. A little further away, the road winds through the jungle, lianas hanging from the branches. In the trees and at the roadside are sitting cute monkeys that target everything that is not nailed down. At a spot in the south of the island we enjoy the view of the sea while skating, but we have to focused on not sliding through small holes in the road. Again and again someone lands in grass, bushes or scree, whether because of a change of road surface, a cow patty, an unsuccessful slide or an underestimated braking distance. In the jungle the temperatures are bearable, with most spots however the sun burn is burning down. To avoid road rashes, most people still wear long trousers. The Lombok Longboard Riders, as the local crew calls themselves, don’t take it too seriously with the knee pads. However, numerous scars adorn their maltreated knees. At least, they all wear helmets. Skate-Dad Ozzie, who organizes the Lombok Skate Trip together with his friend and sponsor Shandy from Jakarta, makes sure that everyone stickst to the helmet duty.

Shandy am Rutschen
Shandy knows how to fall in case he loses the balance. Photo: @Photo by @victographica @ismarabdulnovan_

He’s also responsible for the safety of the skaters: He places the crew members on the route, equips marshals with red and green flags as well as radios and gives them instructions. We skate «open road», that means oncoming traffic is not out of question. Thanks to the safety precautions, we know at least whether something is on the way after the blind corner and whether there are just scooters or even trucks on the track. Not only do the guys do a great job in terms of safety, but also in terms of transport. Of course, if we only practice on two corners or on a very steep track, we walk up again ourselves. Sometimes I am surprised by my endurance and the punch I had to go up and down again and, even in blazing heat. For longer distances the guys pick us up with the motorcycles. Up to four skaters can be transported at the same time. Apart from that, a wide variety of vehicles take us back to the starting point. For example, banana transporters, pickups, ice cream vendors or old farmers on their bikes. Many stop for a moment and watch us fascinatingly as we slide through the curves, mostly on the rollers, sometimes also on the butt or the elbow. That’s just part of the game.

Marshal Enok
Entertainer Enok is in charge of our safety. Photo by @victographica @ismarabdulnovan_

Showering from the bucket, sleeping in hammocks

If you want, you can make the trip very cheap. In addition to 7 dollars a day for bike and bus transport, which takes between one and three hours, there are only small expenses for Mie Goreng (local pasta dish), Nasi Campur (rice dish) and the daily portion of ice cream, which soon established itself as a fixture in the daily routine. Participants in the Lombok Skate Trip are free to choose their accommodation. The cheapest and most adventurous option is the hammock or tent in Ozzies garden next the skatebowl. The bowl was finished this spring with donations from Europe and is the meeting place for the longboard crew as well as for kids from the neighbourhood. Late into the night, the children and young men try turns and other tricks in the bowl, barefoot on old boards. Young men and women sit outside, the latter in hotpants and T-shirt or with headscarf and long trousers. Everyone is welcome and Ozzie hopes that more tourists will find their way to his bowl in the future.

Ozzies Garten
Before and after te daily trips tothe skate spots everyone is hanging out and skating in Ozzies backyard.

There is no running water, so if you wants to shower, you first have to pull up the water from the well in the garden. At night, when the hullabaloo is over in the bowl and backyard, stray dogs and squeaking rats sneak around the tents and under the hammock. In the morning you are woken up by the muezzin of the nearby mosque or by the crowing cocks in the neighbour’s garden. Last year, after seven days of longboarding and a not really recovering sleep in the hammock, I felt quite whacked, so this year I decide to have my own accommodation with pool and breakfast service. The hammock option in Ozzies Garden, however, is available to travellers not only during the annual skate trip, but at any time and without prior notice. If you have any questions about skating and staying in Lombok, just get in touch with Ozzie or me.

Preparing for the (international) Lombok Skate Trip 19

The organizers would have liked to welcome more international skaters on the trip. Already on the last trip the organizers were hoping for the attention of European and American skaters. Unfortunately, contemporaneously with the Lombok Skate Trip in May there were two international longboard races taking place in Korea and on the Philippines. Thus only four «Bule», as white or westerners are called here, participated in the trip. The rest of the 25 skaters came from various Indonesian islands, most of them from Lombok. However, one of the four «Bules» was none other than Matt Kienzle. He is someone of note in the longboard scene and works for the globally known skate platform skatehousemedia. He is a scout for skate spots, where international races and events could take place in the future. Therefore his mission was to get to know the local spots, skaters (as partners for the event organization), culture and climate. The longboarders in Indonesia now hope that not only the fourth Lombok Skate Trip, but also the first international race will take place in 2019.

Matt Kienzle in Action
Pro Skater Matt Kienzle is taking pictures and shooting for upcoming skate events on the island. Photo by @victographica @ismarabdulnovan_

This was the first blog about this year’s skate trip. In the second blog I write more about the local skate scene and the cultural challenges of this trip. Not to forget of course the adventure on a skate-free day.