Gerry Lopez first surfed Uluwatu in 1974.
The Hawaiian surfer had seen a photo of his good friend, Wayne Lynch, surfing the wave and followed the clues to Bali. When he eventually found it he paddled out alone.
The ‘Island of the Gods’ was still a well-kept surfing secret and shrouded in mysticism. Lopez and his crew scored perfect surf, and the experience resonated deeply with him. “We thought we’d died and gone to heaven,” he recalls.
Forty years later Gerry returned to Uluwatu to host a yoga retreat, get a few waves between classes and reconnect with a piece of his past.
Uluwatu had changed. The old dirt track out to the wave was now a road, log jammed with tourists, the white cliffs were now studded with stucco resorts, and the empty waves Gerry had surfed in 1974 were now full of surfers. He also found that the pristine local environment was straining to cope with the pressure of development.
But over the course of a week Gerry reconnected with the spirit of the place, and found that the more things change…
In the film, Gerry uses Uluwatu – and surfing – as a metaphor for change. Gerry’s message is that change is inevitable, and we should see it, accept it, live in the moment and positively guide that change. There’s a wider message in the film that extends beyond the Bukit and Bali and beyond surfing.
“Surfing is such a great metaphor for life,” says Gerry, “because out in the ocean everything is moving, I mean nothing holds still for you. With snowboarding it does, the mountain, more or less, holds still for you when you are riding it. But in the ocean everything is just in constant motion and life is really the same way. If you don’t move with it, life just passes you right by. So from surfing you learn a great and really wonderful lesson that you have to move with it, to be in the moment spontaneously and to go with the flow smoothly.”
About Project Clean Uluwatu
Uluwatu has been a holy place for the Balinese for centuries, and since the early ‘70s has become an iconic location for surfers. It was revealed to the surfing world in the classic 1972 film Morning of the Earth. Two years later, world famous surf pioneer Gerry Lopez surfed the wave and launched Uluwatu into the mainstream spotlight. Its booming popularity however has placed huge development pressure on the area, and with no environmental controls in place, hard rubbish and leaking effluent have flushed down from the cliffs above and into the Uluwatu’s fabled waters. Project Clean Uluwatu was founded by expat surfers, and now needs help to facilitate the handover of the group’s work to the Uluwatu locals.