Heli-surfing in Bali hovers on the heavenly
The quest for an endless summer has become more exclusive with the new Heli-Surfing Tour from Tropicsurf.
The quest for an endless summer has become more exclusive now that waves can be chased by chopper thanks to the new Heli-Surfing Tour from Tropicsurf and Four Seasons Resorts Bali.
The first of its kind in Asia, the aerial shuttle offers roundtrip service from Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay to Indonesia's iconic Plengkung Beach along Java's Grajagan Bay — a location referred to in reverent tones by any serious swell searcher as G-Land.
Flying for 45 minutes (each way) in one of Air Bali's jet turbine–powered Bell 206L3 helicopters, up to four passengers are accompanied by a professional surf guide (who also serves as coach) from Tropicsurf.
The travel company specialises in wave-riding adventures for the well-heeled and tailors each trip to the experience and skill-level of the group. But for advanced and expert devotees of the sport, G-Land is the Holy Grail, especially for those who ride goofy-foot as it's not only one of the world's top surf destinations, but it offers left-hand breaks to boot.
While perfect barrels have been blowing through since the bay's formation, G-Land did not gain global attention until wave hunters Bill Boyum and Bob Laverty found out about it for themselves in 1972. Soon, Gerry Lopez, one of surfing's famed sensei, was among the regulars ripping it up. Within a few years, Bill's brother Mike opened the first surf camp there and word spread as fast as the curl collapses.
A top spot to test one's mettle and merit, G-Land provides several distinct places to drop in. At the point, Kongs is usually more forgiving and can handle over 3.6-metre swells. More time in the tube, however, is found at Moneytrees and Speedies, the latter packing the most risk and reward as the speed of the wave and shallow reef reserve it for those who can seriously shred. A little tamer but still stellar are Chickens, 20/20s, and Tiger Tracks.
The best time to take on G-Land is from April through November. But for intermediates and beginners in the bunch, Tropicsurf will arrange speedboats to more ability-appropriate places as well as provide private lessons.
When the day's sessions are done, Air Bali's bird brings everyone back to the Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay and its 156 villas and private residences. Guests who want a rest day can stay and enjoy the ebb and flow of a therapist's nurturing hands at the Healing Village Spa and replenish reserves at the resort's three main dining venues.
There is also the opportunity for hands-on engagement in the culinary arts through the Jimbaran Bay Cooking Academy. And for further aquatic action, there is rafting on the Ayung River or, as a terrestrial turn, an elephant trek that will never be forgotten.
Priced at $US10,000 (about $A13,100), the Heli-Surfing Tour from Tropicsurf and the Four Seasons Resorts Bali includes a day's private helicopter charter, speedboat, coaching, insurance, and an elevated surf safari experience that hovers at heavenly (fourseasons.com; tropicsurf).