Oakley takes Junior Surfers to the Island of the Gods

MICK CURLEY_OAKLEY PRO JNR_DAY1_3-10-2011-4252

Sixty-six of the world’s best young surfers gathered before sunrise on the pristine coastline of Canguu in Bali, Indonesia anxiously awaiting the start of the highly anticipated Oakley World Pro Junior.

The day began with a traditional Blessing Ceremony during which the surfers, wearing customary Kabayas and Kamens, received blessings for safety and good luck from the Pemangku, or Chief of the Ceremony.

The Pemangku also made offerings to the natural order for allowing the congregation to enjoy the bounty of waves and natural beauty of Canggu.

The influence of the Balinese culture is felt throughout the event from the presence of the handcrafted Pengor, a tapered bamboo pole decorated for traditional ceremonial use, to the local fare and the obvious awareness of the contest’s impact on the environment. This connection to the locale gives the event a one-of-kind feel and offers a truly unique experience for everyone involved.

Just passing through the countryside en route to the contest site, one of 33 surf sports on the island, competitors witness locals preparing morning offerings in banana leaf baskets, pass statues erected to honor the Gods at major intersections and fight traffic with some of the most fearless scooter drivers in the world!

Balinese locals drive scooters as their primary means of transportation. With each passing year there are more and more cars on the road, but today their streets still resemble the territory of a massive scooter gang. Because of this, you don’t see many gas stations – not the kind found in more developed countries anyway. Instead there are shelves of glass milk bottles filled with petrol in front of small shops and seemingly at random along the roadside.

Known as the “Island of the Gods,” it is no surprise that myths and legends centuries old are still respected and honored in Bali. One surfers should be aware of is the legend of Nyai Lorokidul, or the Goddess of the Southern Seas. She is believed to claim the lives of men wearing green to be her eternal lovers. She lures them in with false beauty and it is not until they’re drowning that they realize she is actually a witch. Needless to say, green is considered a particularly unlucky color among the Balinese people. Watching the live webcast of the event, I wouldn’t expect to find too many of our 20 and under competitors sporting the ill-fated color.

Certainly, the Oakley World Pro Junior is a place for young juniors to make a name for themselves and a place for veteran juniors to hunt for a coveted world junior title, but it is also a place to experience the richness of the Balinese culture for all it has to offer and Oakley is proud to make this opportunity available to some of the best your surfers in the world.

More Bali Facts:

-Indonesia has one of the longest stretches of coastline in the world
-Baruna is the Balinese God of the Sea
-Bali is 8 degrees south of the Equator
-Tourism is the Island’s main industry
-It is impolite to use your left hand in greeting, exchange, etc.
-Bali has a cast system and each cast has it’s own dialect
-Dogs are believed to be the reincarnated souls of wicked humans
-Family ties are strong. It is common to find multiple generations living in one household