Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wake Boarding in Batam, Indonesia

It's been almost a week since I went wake boarding and my arms are finally starting to recover. For the last five days they were so sore I could barely straighten them above my head or clasp my hands behind my back. 

Batam Cable-Ski Park

The wake boarding adventure took place at the Batam Cable-Ski Park in Batam, Indonesia. The day package was S$105 per person including lunch, a round-trip ferry from Singapore, and the two-minute bus ride to the park. Use of the wake boards was also included. The food from the on-site "BCP Kitchen" was not that great, but the Japanese Curry Rice I got was pretty decent. The excursion was organized by our roommate Tim, and due to his exceptional leadership skills in managing a group of seven people, we ended up calling him Tim Leader instead of Team Leader, which eventually became Tim Leiter (because he's German). 

Singapore to Batam

Our instructor Syed gave us a brief introduction to wake boarding and started us out on a knee board, which was much easier and gave us an idea how it felt when the cable pulled you and how to do turns. 

Syed demonstrating how to knee board
After slathering on the SPF 30 so I could keep my delicate porcelain skin as pale as possible, I was ready to give the knee boarding a try. I was able to knee board pretty successfully; it's when I started wake boarding that I ran into problems. 

Wake boarding is really difficult, and a lot of the guys make it look easy, like Tim and Julius who were kicking some serious ass. but don't be fooled! When you inevitably fall, you just swim to shore, wade through some thick squishy mud and then scramble over some rocky soil and weeds to a little path where a guy on a moped will pick you and your board up and take you back to the start so you can do it all over again! I think that if you have some snowboarding or surfing experience, wake boarding will definitely be a lot easier for you. 
Some of the highlights of the day include:

Tim disco dancing

Julius doing an ollie

Julius doing a jumping start

Kelly getting peed on by a baby monkey

There was an old lady walking around with an adorable miniature monkey clinging to her. It looked just like one of those cute Monchichi baby monkey dolls from Japan. She let me hold it and I was so happy but a little bit afraid because I didn't want to get bitten. I guess the monkey was afraid too because at one point I felt something warm trickling down me: it was monkey pee! At least I didn't get bitten.

What do people in Batam do for fun on a Sunday afternoon? They come and watch the wake boarders of course! You can see them hanging out on the shore in the background of the photo below. You can also see all the trash they leave everywhere. In Indonesia it's apparently okay to litter. 

Here's a video of me finally standing up after about 1,000 tries. 

Here's a video Julius took that will give you an idea what if feels like to wake board. Warning: viewing this video may make you sea sick. 

We took the ferry back to Singapore at 18:40. The inside of the ferry smelled like gasoline, which wasn't very welcoming at all, so we went to the back of the boat where there was a tiny outdoor deck. We were surprised to find Tim Leiter and his friends Jochen and Fabian sitting on the roof of the ferry and the Singaporean first mate pleading with them to come down. "No can!" he yelled. "No Balan!" 

When Tim Leiter and his friends refused to descend, the defeated first mate disappeared back inside. Once he had gone, Julius and I seized the opportunity to join them atop the ferry. The place was a pigsty as you can see in the picture below, but the view was amazing. When we started picking up speed, it felt great having the wind in our hair and being out on the open sea, and as sailors often do, we burst into song. We started singing Titanic's "My Heart Will Go On" and shouting "I'm the King of the world!" Okay maybe that was just me yelling the latter one, but it was exhilarating! 

Our view from atop the ferry
Julius took the picture of Jochen, Tim, Fabian and me "on top of the world"

When we started going really fast (about 60 MPH) I could see what the first mate meant by "No balan". The boat was rocking from side to side a little bit, and I guess they noticed this inside as well because the skipper appeared and told us we must come down. This is what he said "No can! No balan! Boat!" (translation: "You can't stay up here. You will throw the boat out of equilibrium") So we were forced to descend by way of a tiny metal ladder while racing towards Singapore at 60 MPH and I have to admit I was a little bit scared. We think the real reason they made us get down was because it wouldn't look very good to see a ferry arriving from Indonesia with five crazy westerners on the roof!

1 comment:

  1. That looks fantastic!!! Love the videos guys!!!