“Right now we need surfers who love this wave and know how to advocate and create fundraisers and want to help us.”
It was only a matter of time before they found out.
Even though surfers have been making the trip to one of the biggest barrels in the world for decades, Desert Point, that little bend on the northwest coast of Lombok, is now under threat of development.
“The other day a guy from a development company showed up,” says Budi Man, the unofficial surfing mayor of Desert Point who runs a simple surfer cafe, “and this guy says they’re going to offer 15 million rupees each (1,450 AUD) before moving in with tractors to get rid of the surfers!It’s our life and it has been for generations.We are more than 2,000 local inhabitants who depend on the international community of surfing… we need to stop this.
After all, a bunch of developers are finishing up a massive Moto GP track right in the center of Kuta Lombok – Lombok’s other surfing area. The new Moto GP facility and surrounding infrastructure and accommodation are set to make Lombok a world-class motorsports destination, just like Abu Dhabi.
Desert Point could serve as the feather in the cap as the island’s sporting destination as it is said the developers want to partly convert Desert Point into a “world-class surfing competition venue”.
Complicating matters is the fact that just like Grajagan, Desert Point is on national park land and although locals have been there for generations, the legality of land ownership is unclear. Other rumors abound regarding plans for a large Eco-Resort on Desert Point and a marina development near Bangko Bangko.
There has been no word yet on plans to make the wave accessible to the international surfer crowds who revere the location. If access were to become exclusive, it would mean that the modest boat operations from Bali and the few tiny prahu fishing boats that serve the place would explode in popularity, if in fact they were permitted.
With all the hard-to-find facts, understanding what effect the development would have on the environment, local culture and surfing experience is anyone’s guess.
“It has brought such sadness to such a great surfing place,” says Usman Trioko, local surf pro and stylish tube-rider who grew up in the spinning barrels of Desert Point, “but we are strong and we will try to ensure that we protect our beautiful wave.It’s like a member of the family for us.
To that end, Budi Man and Usman Trioko have launched a grassroots fundraising effort for what could become a contentious legal battle. This could become another David and Goliath environmental donnybrook and Budi and Usman hope that everyone who has already ridden the wave will support their campaign and donate generously.
“After all these years of perfect waves, it’s only fair to ask our visitors for help,” says Budi, “I mean, where are we going? This is our home. Always. Right now we have need surfers who love this wave and who know how to defend and create fundraisers and who want to help us, our own resources are too weak.
Obviously, if this supposed development progresses, it will be a long game.
If you would like to help, you can contact Budi Man at [email protected]
Expect more updates.