Will Pro Surfing once again hear the roar of the jungle?
Recent reports from a reliable G-land (Grajagan) insider indicate that the WSL was recently on a reconnaissance tour to the fabled left reef in east Java.
The insider, who preferred to remain anonymous, works on and off at the G-land camp. His ears pricked up when two representatives from the WSL showed up and started asking a lot of probing questions about the wave and the location. “It seemed pretty obvious they were scoping it out as a potential location for a WCT event,” he indicated to Tracks.
Many fans and pro surfers have fond memories of the three ASP events held at Grajagan from 1995 to 1997. Slater’s mesmerizing combination of barrel riding and sheer-faced, backside hooks saw him claim the inaugural event in 1995 while Shane Beschen and Luke Egan took out the other two events respectively. The three Quiksilver G-land Pro contests all featured classic conditions and paved the way for the concept of a legitimate ‘Dream Tour’ where better waves became more of a focus than bums on the beach. In an era before the Internet owned our eyeballs, the chunky VHS videos of the G-lad Pro were also some of the most sought after items at the local surf shop.
Political unrest, insurance costs and the threat of terrorism are usually sited as the major reasons why no one has been game to host another major event at G-land. The G-land event was already expensive to run but the bombings in Bali in 2002 and 2005 apparently made the costs to insure a major event in Indonesia astronomical. In the last five or six years, the prospect of returning the tour to G-land has been hinted at on several occasions but we are yet to see a serious pledge from the WSL.
In a recent article in Tracks, it was made clear that the WSL has been looking to add a world-class left-hander to the tour. When Jakes Point, Kalbarri, was identified as a potential location the move was met with major opposition by the local surfing community.
G-land does seem like a more logical venue for a WCT event. With its varied, multi-section reef G-land is a much more consistent wave than Jake’s and provides a platform for both high-performance shredding and mind-boggling barrels. G-land also has a pronounced history as an event location. Some of the famed G-land regulars may be a little reluctant to see their spot back on the pro surfing map, but it’s not as if the WSL would be blowing out an underground wave.
There’s also no doubt that hosting a WCT event on the fringes of the east Java wilderness definitely gives the tour a much needed exotic dimension. Right now it’s just a research project for the WSL, but it seems possible that pro surfing may once again hear the roar of the jungle.