Here is a video clip of my recent visit to the East Coast Extreme Skatepark in Singapore. It was great to get back on a full size bowl. Its been nearly 4 and a half years since I last skated vert properly because my knee was pretty much game over. However it is now 18 months since my Knee Meniscus transplant, I had a couple of goes here on my last visa run. However the meniscus transplant is doing good, have not got full flexion but have enough to skate and it is definitely good to get back on board again!
You can fly to Kuta lombok from Bali for $20 or take a ferry and moped with two people and two surfboards for $10. Luisa has a busy schedule but we managed a trip for a few days and Kuta Lombok is now starting to change since the opening of the International Airport located 30 minutes away near Praya. There is a shopping centre being built, villa projects, land for sale signs appearing in many places, lots of new restaurants and cheap homestays. However the roads have been and are in the process of being resurfaced and the locals are all still friendly and full of smiles. It is always good to go back and I have not been for 9 months so it was a visit well overdue. However compared to the Traffic and chaos in Bali Kuta Lombo kis still one of the most undeveloped and relaxed places I have ever been to. You do hear stories of muggings and crazy primitive behavior from some of the locals and it is something that I have personally experienced a few years ago. However if you smile they smile back, if you shout they call their friends for support. Aggressive behaviour does seemsa long way off from the relaxed pace of life there, but a warning to those that have never been there before.It is amuslim community the women are covered up so riding around on a moped in a bikini with an expensive camera around your neck might bring some issues to deal with your way. Most of the locals live off the land and have no money and are happy to live as farmers but for the younger ones that have started to watch television and materialistic values have been sinking in the rewards are high if a laptop, camera, or i phone can be taken from an unsuspecting tourist. So be warned. However these are the beaches and views you will see if you come here..
I rescued a puppy from our street that slept in a ditch every night. She was strong healthy loving fun and growing well. As you can see she was enjoying the thrills of learning to skate and surf. Then in a period of 3 days she stopped wagging her tail, looked depressed then died. I found out she had contracted the Parvo Virus and it kills puppies very quickly. It is basically contracted by sniffing other dogs poop that has had the virus. The virus stays alive for up to a year in all weather conditions and because so many stray dogs wander the streets of Bali the virus is everywhere. Unfortunately I didnt know this and I was planning on getting her vaccinated against rabies and other illnesses but she died before I had a chance. I can not believe how quickly it came and took her life, It was my first dog and am very upset. I buried her by our home and she will always be remembered for all the fun we had and every morning jumping on the bed wagging her tail…
This is a little stray ginger kitten I found wandering the streets near our home. Possible two days from dying from starvation. Unfortunately there are many stray cats and dogs wandering around Bali, however this little one was very fragile and needed immediate help so we took him into our home amongst the kitten mayhem that was going on. At first Our cat rejected him but every time the other kittens were feeding I would slip him in amongst the rest and Bensin the mummy finally relaxed and started to let him feed. It took about a week for this process but now the little ginger kitten is licked and loved the same way Bensin our cat loved her other kittens. In fact little Yoda follows Bensin our cat around all day long pleased to have found a mother. As for the kittens they all play and jump and play some more, no judgement, prejudice or animosity just lots of fun. The photos below show how he looked after we washed all the paint from his fur. He was searching for his food on a building site nearby and was covered in white paint. Malnourished and with congunctivitis these photos taken two weeks apart show how he has actually pulled through and is now healthy and happy that he has been adopted by our cat Bensin as a surrogate mother, It is clear to see that the milk has been helping her a lot.
In Singapore for a week my 6 months in Indonesia have passed and it necessary for me to renew my visa in the Indonesian Embassy here. Just so happens to be one of Asia’s newest and largest skateparks in the city. East Coast Extreme Skatepark.It is floodlight until 10pm and is an absolutely amazing facility to skate free of charge, spotlessly clean and has every type of skateboard obstacle imaginable. Here is still of me skating from a few video clips I shot last night..
My knee Meniscus transplant is doing great and feels really good I am super happy about the level of impact I am again able to experience without pain.
Anyone who is considering a knee transplant or a meniscus from a dead donor bank. just to let you know. It has been one year now since my surgery and I am skateboarding concrete bowls every evening for 2-3hours and its getting stronger all the time.
A few pictures of me and my friend Johan Pontell who has just arrived back in Bali to escape the Swedish winter.
Have not updated my blog for a while as I have been skateboarding lots (the knee is painful but getting stronger everyday) , surfing and have been moving location around Bali so I have not had a very good internet connection for uploading photos. The next update will be big chunk and I am moving into a house for the next 6 months close to the Globe Skate bowl. So hopefully I will be more settled and skateboard more. My return flight back to the Uk was on September 20th however I could not face the prospect of returning at this stage so I decided to go skateboarding instead of flying back to the Uk, which means I am still here,,, for now.
However here are a few clips and a few photos of Gregor Rankin the person responsible for building the Globe Bowl in Bali..Gregor is in fact a Legendary skater from New Zealand, the top boy back in his day. He now lives as a family man skating and surfing in Bali.
However a point to note is; He also Invented one of the most complex tricks ever on vert that he named a “Harlem Fling” (not sure why, maybe it is a Scottish thing, I will ask him) As far as I am aware he has never been caught on film doing it that I am aware of. However after he started doing it, Mike McGill squated one out on the flat bottom in the famous skate film “the Search for Animal Chin.” Bucky Lasek has also been known to do one and maybe a few others that I do not know of since then. It is basically an egg plant 540 Flip. Go up the vert ramp backside fly out upside down in a flipping motion grabbing indy and then egg plant / fast plant off from your leading hand. The trick is so difficult it never became popular. I get to skate with Gregor at least 4 times a week now. He has great lines in the bowl and absolutely rock solid stable style.We have to refer to him as Leg-End as he is too humble to be labelled the Legend he is. While all the other pros of his era were fighting with losing their celebrity status in the 90′s Gregor held it down being normal and working like the rest of us. He is 48 now and rips. A real inspiration to me and what makes things even radder is he teaches his young daughter and his young Son to skate and they all skate as a family. Gregor has his life on lock down just like a Boss. I will probably make a short film about skateboarding in Bali over the next few months and hopefully we can get some more GR footage..
I have decided to spend a few nights at the Breezes Hotel in Seminyak again as it has a great gym, pool area and the food and service is 5 star.This time however, when I was presented with my towel’s folded as a hanging monkey and a turtle I asked the boys if they would show me how many creations they were able to come up with from a towel. So what you see below is the Noah’s Ark of the towel folding world..
Until I get some spare time for an update please watch this video of the activities I hope to step closer to as I get older and wiser in my own pursuit of flight and speed..Allexender Polli showreel is incredible
Here are some shots from the reef at Padang Padang that I took as we walked around to find a location to take some photos of Luisa doing her yoga poses with the wave in the background. At approximately an hour before sunset time the wave which is on the west coast of Bali is heavily backlit by the sunset giving these wonderful green caves. It is an absolute exposure nightmare for photography. The bright light completely overexposes the sea and puts the surfer in the dark however the raw files on the Canon 5Dmk2 allow for enough colour correction and exposure compensation to be able to lift all the detail in post processing. This is due to the full frame sensor. These were taken hand held with a 70-200mm lens and a 2x extender. Not the best setup for land shots of surfing as the extender softens all the edges. These are also pretty cropped too but still capture the awe of Padang Padang’s hefty barrel over shallow sharp reef.
A few more smiley faces, there is no shortage of ceremony in Bali and it seems that the community spirit keeps everyone feeling involved and happy regardless of their role and position in the community..
This is one of the most beautiful places to eat in Bali. Located in Seminyak overlooking the beach, the atmosphere is great and the food and drinks are wonderful. I was Invited by my good friend Alison to come and take some photos in exchange for some free food. whilst she was working doing a restaurant review. Absolutely wonderful.
Somehow I found myself spending the night with the Chilean Navy, The Chilean Embassy and some of the heads of Bali in one of Seminyak,s most prestigious restaurants Gado Gado. Their ship was docked for a few days in the nearby Benoa Harbour. It was a fun night out and I am had some great tasting food and drink with entertainment of Balinese dance and ceremony on the beach nearby. I had my camera equipment on me because I had been taking some photos during the day. In Bali the more open I am to new experiences the more seem to come my way
This photograph is dedicated to my my friend Handa, we were speaking about photography yesterday and I was explaining how with the correct understanding of light, reflection and perspective you can discover unlock and present the beauty of any given subject. This is a photograph of three Indonesian coins worth approximately 15 cents or 10 Uk pence. They literally have no monetary value except to pay to park a motorbike for an hour on the side of the road. However with the right combination of technique and appreciation for the detail and beauty that they do have, It is possible to present them in a way that looks as though they belong in a Jewellery catalog or the Royal Mint…
The light here is amazing, and I can not resist taking little snapshots of all the natural beauty that exists in the corners of the chaos known as Kuta Bali..Such contrast here, concrete buildings and tourism everywhere and the roads jam packed with traffic. However there are so many places where pockets of natural beauty arise like a phoenix from the dust of the building sites everywhere and this is what you can see when you look closely.
I have been skateboarding for two weeks now and my knee is healing and recovering well. My friends Tony, Fernando and Paul from the Uk are all trying to improve their bowl riding skills. Concrete scares most people but the rewards are there if you persevere. The difference in Bali between being a beginner surfer and skateboarder is skateboarders are happy to teach you and share the bowl. In the sea you have absolutely no chance of anyone sharing a wave with you here. Fernando is aiming to go as high as the tiles one day,.The little one is Gregor Rankine’s Little boy Robbie, walking in the the old boys footsteps…
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