Another Fine Wave Destroyed! (This Time, In Bali)
One of the best right tubes in the world, sliced by development. So long, Nikkos!
It was known for churning out mechanical barrels up to 10 seconds long, but not any more. Nikkos, a mysto righthand reef off Bali’s east coast, has been destroyed by a seawall, which was built right through the wave by a luxury hotel.
“They made the jetty for some rich people, it’s fucked up,” fumes elder Indonesian surfing statesman and longtime ripper, Dede Suryana. “They do whatever they want, they don’t think about other people. It’s bad. Really destroying the place.”
Dede knows the wave well. He filmed part of his movie there and confirmed to Stab that the spot’s been ruined: “(The jetty) is all the way to the lineup. I used to surf through there and get so many barrels. I had my movie there, got some nuggets out there, but now it’s cut off.”
The seawall is part of a gargantuan multi-million dollar development project led by western hotel chain, the Kempinski group. The group is said to have taken advantage of Bali’s notoriously corrupt and confused development and planning process to build the seawall.
“The Kempinski Corporate Office has failed to do their due diligence regarding this project,” explains not-for-profit group, Project Clean Uluwatu, on its Facebook page. “Rather than applying the Western Standard of Hotelier excellence and ethics (“since 1897” as their website brags), they’ve piggybacked their project on and therefore taken advantage of the disorganisation of Bali and its bureaucracy.
“They’ve pushed forward simply because they could and nobody could tell them otherwise. This is a horrible and shameful practice from a hotel brand that prides themselves “that the local economic and social impact of our hotels can be managed positively and responsibly.””
In the four (plus) decades since the tiny Hindu island of Bali burst onto the mainstream tourism map, it’s gone from idyllic surf paradise to almost certain environmental demise due to development. Bali-based president of the Asian Surfing Tour, Tipi Jarbrik, says the island has reached a crossroads.
“For me, the ecological effects will have bigger harm to the island,” he wrote of the endless development. “Imagine all the waste that will be pumped to this island. The soil and water will be effected in some serious ways. As an individual it will be hard for anyone to say anything. This is something that government need to care and be aware more of. But back again, all those people must be involved in some ways. So this is a cycle of no ends of destructing our island of Gods.”
In unprecedented scenes earlier this March, tens of thousands of Balinese took to the streets to oppose the $3 billion “revitalisation” of Benoa Harbour, also on the island’s east coast. The development, which was spuriously approved by dubious government officials with minimal community consultation, was likely to have caused flooding on the island and destroyed dozens of culturally significant land and water sites to the Hindu population. Elsewhere, the island continues to wilt under the pressure of rampant development. In Bali’s already overpopulated south (a pizza-slice area stretching from Sanur in the east to the Bukit Peninsula in the south and across to Canggu in the west), a government moratorium on new tourism developments was delivered in 2011 in a bid to preserve the island. It’s largely been ignored with hotel construction continuing, leading to an accommodation over-supply, a predicted water shortage, and a severe waste and sewage disposal problem. It’s not just Bali, either, says Dede. On his native West Java, he’s seen another world class wave destroyed by development. He’s had enough.
“You have all these rich people, who build and build and build and make more money, but how much money you need? They need to appreciate what they have, and make a better world, not just destroy. It’s good to have some money but not for destroying the place. Bali was already beautiful without the jetty. We want it natural. Don’t build over nature, keep the country country.”
For those hoping to invest in Bali, he has a simple message:
“The rich people who come to invest your money in Bali, please whoever have their money look after the world.”
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