Julian Wilson’s Guide To The Perfect Bali Vacation
Jules’ musts and must-nots when it comes to his favourite annual sojourn.
I go to Bali at least once every year. What makes it so special for me is just… everything. I like the food there, I like the variety of waves, I like getting about on a motorbike, and the freedom, being unshackled for a little bit. It’s obviously gotten a lot busier, but I still feel like as long as you’re avoiding the danger zones, you can have a pretty fun time over there. Here’s how I do it…
Canggu has a lot to offer, says Jules: Ramps with push, enjoyable food and high vibes. Here, he chums with Betet Merta, Lee Wilson and their gals. Coconut never tasted sweeter.
Where to stay.
I steer clear of Kuta – I haven’t been into Kuta for about five years now. Every time I’ve been recently I just stay in a villa in Canggu or Seminyak, and go across to Keramas or out to Ulu’s. I always used to go into Un’s (hotspot owned by Marlon Gerber and his sister), have some food and stuff, but it’s just so hectic in Kuta now that I try to avoid going in there. It’s completely out of control.
Obviously late night on a motorbike is something to avoid. Sunset time, if you’re not locked in somewhere, it’s usually pretty hectic. I feel like that’s kinda prime time over there, when everyone’s racing to the bars to get a spot for the sunset. There’s a lot more cops around now though. It’s obviously getting busier in Bali, and things get pretty heated out in the water. Guys get pretty fired up… the locals are just trying to hold down their spots, which are obviously pretty blown out now. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, they’re just trying to keep some sort of regulation going.
I definitely don’t get any special pro surfer treatment. I have Lee Wilson, who I’m good friends with, and I’m friends with Betet (Merta) and Marlon (Gerber), and some other local boys. I try to surf with those guys most of the time, just because it’s getting more crowded and they try to get their own waves still. It’s not the nicest place to be on the wrong side of the locals. You never know what might happen. But I really enjoy surfing with those guys, and it’s definitely a lot more comfortable to surf some of those breaks with them, as opposed to when you rock up and none of them are out there, and it’s a free-for-all. I’m talking to Lee all the time, he still comes back to Noosa often and we’ve been good mates for a long time, so anytime I’m going over I connect with him. He’s awesome to surf with.
Where to surf.
I don’t know of any secret spots, but I actually just love surfing the main spots. I love surfing Canggu Rights, Keramas and Padang. They’re kinda the three that I go between when I’m there, and it kinda ticks all the boxes that I’m looking for. Bit of everything, whatever size swell there is. I don’t really go hunting for waves in Bali, I just kinda accept that it’ll be a bit crowded but it’ll still be fun. I’ll just go off whatever the forecast is for the next day. If there’s plenty of swell, I’ll make sure I get up early before the traffic. You can go from Canggu to Keramas or Ulu’s in no time at all before the traffic starts, which is only like 6am. It’s only half an hour’s drive between.
I still get someone to drive. I wouldn’t be that comfortable driving there. Motorbike from Canggu to Keramas is too gnarly for me. But I always ride a motorbike around the zones I’m staying in, if I’m going to eat or whatever. I’ll go between Seminyak and Canggu comfortably, but I don’t get out on the faster roads or anything too hectic. You pretty much take whatever’s available, you never know – you could end up on a piece of shit that barely works, or you get a 150 or something that’s brand new. It’s a lucky dip. Ash (girlfriend) will jump on the back of the bike for sure, we have fun.
Man, there’s so many good spots to eat. It’s gotten so much better in recent years. Barbacoa is a mental dinner spot in Seminyak. Betelnut in Canggu, it’s a little treehouse vibe, they do really good breakfast and lunch. There was a really good new cafe we were going to last time called Milk and Madu. The acai bowls were the best thing on the menu. There’s so many new ones popping up every time I go over. I think it’s super easy to keep it healthy there and not go into crazy holiday eating mode. It’s nice-healthy, it’s not like you’re sacrificing your tastebuds. I’ll have a lot of fresh juices and smoothies and sandwiches and wraps. They get their hands on a lot of fresh produce.
Two integral parts of Jules’ aerial game – the oop and the slob spin – both perfectly tuned, thanks in large part to the rights of Canggu and Keramas. This is the real high performance training facility.
I’ve been out at Ulu a couple of times, I don’t spend too much time out there but it’s pretty nice, and you can go to that Single Fin bar, which gets pretty busy, and I guess it’s cool if you wanna have a bit of a party or whatever. Though, it’s not exactly a chill zone. But there’s places in Seminyak, like Ku De Ta, or Samaya. I’ve been to Potato Head a few times, but I swear it goes through waves. We’ll go there and there’ll be a really fun crowd, then we’ll go another time and it’s the most random group of people you’ve ever seen. It depends on whatever tourists are in town. Sometimes it’s just dirt and no grass, with kids running around everywhere, then other times it’s a cool, young crowd and it’s been really well looked-after. I guess you’ve just gotta go and hope for the best. Like everywhere there, there’s no real regularity to anything. Which is one of the great things about Bali.
Drop of choice.
I’ll drink a lot of Moscow Mules, they’re hard to make badly and they’re pretty enjoyable while you’re watching the sunset, if you’re not having a beer. When it comes to beer, I don’t drink anything other than Bintangs when I’m there. I don’t think I’d ever drink a Bintang when I’m in Australia, but they’re good over there! A nice cold Bintang after a long day of surfing over there is the best thing ever.
With his newly-acquired fiancee Ms. Osborne more than likely enjoying the show under an umbrella in the foreground, Mr. Wilson puts on his own dazzling act in the background.
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