Keramas may have been quiet, but the capital certainly wasn’t.
While the 16 men and women left in the competition, the numerous event staff, associated media, locals, spectators and hangers-on waited for the waves to turn on for the final day of the Corona Bali Protected, some 1100 kilometres away in Jakarta, six people died and hundreds were injured in protests pertaining to the outcome of the Indonesian election.
That’s a detail Joe and Pottz probably didn’t go over when the webcast fired up, but it is worth thinking about.
So’s the number five.
That’s how many Dream Tour events Indonesia has played host to in the past two decades.
Think about the waves that grace the archipelago. Think about the tens of thousands of surfers who visit its shores every year. Now ask yourself why the WSL and previously the ASP largely avoided the place for so long.
The answer no doubt resists a single, definitive answer, but it’s hard to deny the fact that Indonesia’s history of political instability, terrorism and civil unrest influenced that decision.
It’s a sad reality, considering the beauty of the land and its people, considering how many visitors come away from Indonesia with only positive experiences and perfect waves to remember it by, but large-scale violence that attracts global attention can’t help but tarnish a country’s allure as a destination for international sporting events.
Of course the infinity pool at the Hotel Komune was a long way from the perilous streets of Jakarta, and this latest incident won’t stop most recreational surfers flying in to get their fix, but we saw what a couple of nearby shark attacks did to the Margaret River contest last year.
Insurance companies, for one, don’t like countries where election outcomes can see people killed in the street.
Hopefully there’ll be no lasting impact from this.
Witnessing Indonesia’s increasing role as a venue for professional surfing has been one of the highlights of the sport over the last few years.
That involvement deserves to continue.