Before surfing helped transform Bali’s southern peninsula into some of the most expensive real estate in Southeast Asia, the land was considered nearly worthless. Now, breakneck growth has left many to question whether Bali is in danger of losing its identity to mass tourism, pollution, and overdevelopment. In a culture that holds reincarnation at its core, the next generation is searching for the bridge between the island’s legendary past and preserving its future. The answer could lie with Mega Semadhi, a Hindu priest—who is also a ripping professional surfer.
Running as a feature in issue 24.2 of The Surfer's Journal, the story of Bali's Mega Semadhi is one of the most fascinating stories I've been lucky enough to work on. I've been a huge fan of The Surfer's Journal ever since my younger brother showed me a copy 15 years ago at his place in San Francisco. Never dreamed that I would have a shot at contributing a story to the magazine, and I have to give a huge thanks to Scott, Alex, Jeff, Kyle, and of course publishers Steve and Debbee Pezman for giving me such an amazing opportunity. So cool to see Mick Curley's amazing photos in the magazine story too.
As a part of putting the article together, we also filmed a short video to share more of Mega's story, show off his surfing, and offer a taste of the beauty and culture of Bali. Huge thanks to multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and all around musical inspiration Dirk Lind for composing the original music that enhances the video. You can order a copy of the song and check out more of his tunes on his Soundcloud page. Also check out his amazing band Baaba Seth. Big thanks also to Errol Vaes for the spectacular aerial footage, the visual impact of the film would have been a fraction of what it is without his amazing angles from above Uluwatu. Big thanks also to Francesco Thilo Sili, Made Topia, and Konok Gunawan for the epic footage of Mega's surfing from Bali and beyond. Big thanks as well to Phil, John, Ngurah, and the amazing team at Liquid Eye Water Housing Systems for the water housing used for the water & underwater shots. Just click the thumbnail above to watch the movie.
You can also scroll below to see the photos that were included in the article as well as some outtakes that didn't make it into the printed piece.