The first time to a new break is always daunting. Where do you paddle out? Where do you sit? What waves are the best ones and what waves are the burgers? Throw a significant swell forcast in the mix and the world renowned wave of G - Land and all those factors multiply. We went, we explored, and we were left wanting more. Here's a small rundown of our strike mission to Grajagan Bay.

Words and waves by Ryan Glover.

Jacks Surf Camp had more wild deer, pigs and monkeys than it did guests. There were leopards too. A leopard ripping a monkey apart just outside the camp kitchen the week before we arrived. One guest wouldn't leave his hut without a big stick. At first I thought it was a joke, but as the days wore on you definitely got the sense that the jungle was... how do I put it... closing in on you.

The walk up the point is a good example of this. A path weaves in and out of nasty thorn covered bamboo. Glimpses of the waves come and go. The key hole is where you paddle out and a break in the path to the beach is just past some seaweed picker's huts. I kept walking, kept getting glimpses of the waves, then a long time later I realised I hadn't found the path to the beach. I'd missed it, no worries. By the time I did find beach access I exited into the bright sunlight reather disorientated. The beach was deserted, the waves looked unfamiliar, I couldn't see any surfers. Obviously I was way up the point, but how far? I had no idea. The surf was small that day and it was high tide so I paddled out anyway. The keyhole doesn't look like much but it definitely sucks you out. This spot didn't. When I finally made it out the back I could see the wooden tower a long way down the point. It took me a number of waves before I reached the first pack of surfers.

One evening we had just finished our sundown Bintangs and were leaving the tower when a surfer in a spring suit and booties came out of the jungle. "Where am I?" He was visibly freaked.

"Jacks," someone replied. "All good mate?" Maybe someone had hit the reef.

"I came in over the reef and thought I was down the end so started walking up. Then it got dark. Couldn't find shit and the path was weird, so then I turned around and came back and thank fuck found you guys."

"Where are you staying mate?"


"Keep heading down it's the next camp."

"Cheers boys, fuck me, got the heart racing."

He set off at a jog down the path and as we were laughing, the jungle swallowed him.

Kongs is the furtherest break up the point but surprisingly isn't the biggest or heaviest. A deeper water, softer wave that rolls in on less of an angle making it very rippable. Low tide it seemed to come into its own and you'd often see it pumping with a lone one or two people out.

Money Trees is the next zone. Wider sets swing in and hit a straighter reef. I often found I'd catch a shoulder here only to make one section and find another, then another, and another. The wave just keeps going. You had to pick your waves carefully though as many would shut down or section off. Obviously this depends on the swell and direction though. The camp vibe was everyone would wait till around late morning when the offshore trades would properly kick in. I heard an Aussie describe Money Trees as a close out until the winds kick in. Also the wave was very pear shaped so until it got bigger I did't see many people making much. When it did get bigger a saw some serious choppings. But I saw one older guy pull in and weave perfectly through four or five sections getting barreled the whole way. It was a beautiful thing and you start to get the sense that this is what people return again and again for.

I spent the first few days familiarizing myself with the reef and the wave energy mostly surfing Kongs. We were waiting on a bump in the swell and every day the size was a little bigger. I'd spend my morning drinking coffee in the tower and watching the tide push in over the reef. Studying the waves. When the reef finally disappeared I'd gear up and make my way through the jungle, up the point and find the key hole. Every morning there was a steady pilgrimage of surfers making the same trek as most were on the same schedule. Breaking through the line of white wash to open water you would find the pack of Money Tree surfers to your right. I couldn't help myself, I'd always turn left and head up the point to sparser waters. As you moved up Kongs you'd come across a small packs of surfers working a section and you'd get glimpses of people surfing waves further up. Everytime I thought I made it to the top of Kongs I'd be surprised to see a one or two people further up the point. Late one glassy morning, a couple days in, the surf was super fun and I kept trying to paddle to the top of Kongs, but then a wave would come, so I'd turn and catch it. This kept happening. I could see the Money Trees pack way down the point. I could see people further up. I kept trying to get further up the point but a wave would come so I'd turn and catch it. This went on for a long time and I ended up in a sort of wave daze. Eventually I stopped to take a moment around and realise I'd been surfing by myself for most of the session. The point really is that long. Like a theme park you can pick your ride.

That day eventually the offshore kicked in and with that the sections smoothed out. I found myself on a bigger, wider one and was suddenly surfing through the Money Trees pack. Barely making the first section I was met instantly by another section. I was on a twin keel fish and was simply enjoying the fast feeling and high and low lines. I went high, dropped down, made another section. Flying. The wave just kept going, the sections kept coming. I went until a section finally got me and came up grinning. Wow, okay, so this is Money Trees. I made my way back up the point. Money Trees was much busier and you had to pick your wave carefully otherwise it would run off without you, but it was such a different shape and so much faster. I surfed until the reef started to look awfully shallow in the crystal water, then made my way in.

I was woken early the next morning by weird sounds on my roof. Hissing and monkey noises, scampering, growling and screeching. A real racket. Snake? Monkey? Snake attacking monkey? Was it on the roof, or in the roof...? Today was supposed to be the day the swell hit so I abandoned my hut to the jungle and went to check the swell. Outside was a thick sea mist. So thick that you couldn't see the reef from the tower, let alone the waves. I resigned myself to coffee and patience. The mist lasted many hours and wasn't until mid morning when it finally cleared.

The swell was a little bigger but a little disappointing. Everyday the tide was getting later and getting impatient, I found myself scrambling over ankle deep reef trying to get to the keyhole. Waiting for the trade winds to start I surfed Kongs. When the offshore started puffing I moved down to Money Trees.

The swell was slow and while there was solid 4ft sets the wave shape was very almondy and not particularly open. Unless you got the very corner of a set wave they were quick to section off. Throw a hungry pack of Surfline experts who had arrived fresh off the boat that morning for the new swell, the pickings were... slim. I thought about making the paddle up to the wide open vistas of Kongs, but now having a taste of Money Trees and seeing what it could do, I was resigned to do my time, and hunt for... the one. A couple hours later I was feeling frustrated and underwhelmed.

The time between waves got me wondering about my travel mate Ryan Heath. Ryan was well versed in G- Land lore as his father had run Jacks Surf Camp through the early 2000's. I'd been picking his brain constantly, and at night over the communal dinner he had told a few stories of long school holidays spent in the camp through his teenage years. Ryan had planned this trip for the large tides and his favourite ride was a part of the reef called Speedies. Every time we'd hit the line up at the keyhole Ryan would disappeared down the point never to be seen again. Maybe I'll go find Ryan, I thought. I looked down that way and it didn't look like much. The wave seemed to only get straighter and smaller. I started drifting and eventually saw a pack of surfers. This must be Launch Pads, the chip into Speedies. I held deep off the pack about fifty metres and let a few sets roll under, somewhat out of courtesy, and somewhat just trying to get a feel for what was going on. A lump appeared out to sea. This set had missed Money Trees but looked as big as any I'd seen that day. It had a sharp corner so although I was a lot deeper than the pack it felt like a go. I paddled hard, pumped once, then set my line. The large mound of moving water ahead of me suddenly dropped out and threw much quicker than I anticipated. Things were wide open though and an exit didn't seem like it was going to be an issue. Then out of nowhere it went again. I held my line and as the barrel ran off it pushed me higher. Out of nowhere it went again and what had seemed like a walk in the park was starting to look doubtful. I squeezed in tight, got clipped a touch, lost my vision and was rocked a little high. I had no idea where I was, I had not been this far down the reef, I had no idea how shallow it was. I could have been running full speed into a Bingin 'greedies' section for all I knew. Suddenly I was dropping again, I shook the spray from my face, the vision cleared and the barrel was still going, the lip running off in front of me. The barrel was getting tighter and tighter and could see the shallow reef through the clear water. I was now expecting it to run off but sensing the wave slow, everything closed in around me, I took a breath and closed my eyes. I managed to find a doggy door and breakthrough the white wash. I came out the bottom of a fluffy end section, and in the bright sunlight looked up to see another section, and it was actually about to go again. Feeling like my luck had been run I made the call and pinned feet first into the flats. Despite the wave being a miniture of its former self, it promptly picked me up, and slowly but forcefully, threw me back over the falls. I pulled myself into a ball and waited for the sharp kiss of the reef... but it never came.

Paddling back out Ryan was grinning at me. "Holy shit that was set of the day," he laughed.

"I had no idea where I was, I was just hanging on for dear life."

"Fucking Speedies, aye."

"Yep, Speedies."

Just like the 'Oh so this is Money Trees', Grajagan had done it again, so this is Speedies.

There was a flurry of sets for about half an hour and then like a tap turning off the waves dried up. The reef was getting awfully shallow so we made out way in.

G-Land packages start in three day increments and we were supposed to be returning to Bali the next morning. The forecast swell was showing, but certainly hadn't hit yet, so that evening we negotiated another day and managed to book a boat back the day after. Having tasted Speedies now, another day of bigger more consistent swell was an opportunity we couldn't pass on. The tides were getting worse for Speedies, the water on the reef getting less and less everyday, but we still had two hour window through the middle of the day.

Dawn brought the new swell and white wash lined the reef. Initially it didn't look much bigger but as the tide came in signs of sets breaking on the outside bombie proved not to be the case. Talk on the tower the pundits agreed it was 8 - 10 ft. Having to wait another hour before scrambling over the reef and out the key hole was almost too much for the nerves. This time I decided to turn left and head up Kongs. I wanted to get a feel for the fresh swell and give Speedies some time to gain a bit of tide. When I had left the tower there had only been two people out Speedies. Making my trek up the jungle path there had been noticeably less pilgrims. Anticipation was high. The key hole was a different beast but I managed to get out without too much problem. A few solid but fluffy ones later I started my drift down the point. Going through Money Trees was interesting. It was much bigger but still very almondy and the risk vs reward ratio was high. The large peaks were roaming all over the show and while the smaller ones were better, and hugged the reef, you ran the risk of getting bigger ones on the head. The line up had noticably changed. Bigger boards and a saltier crew. It's always an interesting phenomena in Indonesia, when a swell hits all these chargers come out of the woodwork. I wondered what part of the jungle they'd been hiding in. There were even a few impact vests. Not commiting to any through Money Trees I drifted down further and to my dismay a pack of about fifty people were on Launch Pads. Where the hell had all these people come from? I small skiff appeared motoring up the point and answered my question as five more surfers splashed into the line up right on the peak. Back in camp there had been a lot of grumbling about the lower camps using the boats to get dropped off in the line up instead of paddling out the keyhole. I figured I'd use a similar approach as yesterday. Hang deep up from the pack and pick off a good one, when my turn was due. Every now and then a lucky punter would fly by from Money Trees and get one right through. The bigger it got the more the point lined up. It was amazing to see and get a feel for a proper swell on a a world class reef.

A set appeared on the horizon just as a skiff appeared and three surfers dived over board. The large lumps were coming at me and I got the feeling this was it, it was time to dig in, or go in. To my dismay one of the guys who had just jumped off the boat started paddling furiously. I I couldn't believe the nerve and losing composure yelled, 'Don't you fucking dare,' and without thinking properly, turned under him and went. The wave, while similar to the one yesterday, was much bigger. It failed to drop out, or maybe I was wider, but by the time I made it to the Launch Pad pack I was negotiating my way through the fifty surfers and not the barrel. I wasn't disappointed though, I figured there was plenty more to come and was happy to just get a feel.

Paddling back through the line up I found Ryan and we chatted. The swell was here but it was raw. Everytime a set hit Money Trees, water would rush out over the reef like a toilet flushing and lump up the Launch Pad peak. The froth factor was high and everyone was trying to shoot their shot. I managed to get two more waves and one barrel. Although all were bigger than the day before it was less perfect with more water moving. But it was an amazing experience just to be in the water and get a feel for such a swell.

Our final morning the swell was even bigger and as we sat in the fast boat waiting for the luggage to load we watched a couple lone surfers have go. There was not much action as the top breaks were washing through and the lower breaks didn't have enough tide, so as our boat motored up and around the point we didn't feel too bad for turning our back on waves and saying goodbye to the jungle. The passage back was rough and relentless in the small speed boat and we were redirected from landing in Kuta to Jimbaran Bay because of the large swell. On dry land Ryan and were to part ways. I was off to Canggu and Ryan was heading to the Bukit. Although I was spent I was slightly jealous, low tide was in a couple of hours and Padang Padang was probably doing its thing. Whether he would make it through the traffic in time, though, was another story. Either way it was a beautiful evening and good to be back on the Island of the Gods.