Gerry Lopez first surfed Uluwatu in 1974. The Hawaiian surfer had seen a photo of good friend, Wayne Lynch surfing the wave and followed the clues to Bali. They drove out the Bukit Peninsula, and after getting lost in the rice paddies and cactus thickets, Gerry and his crew eventually found their way down to the cave at Uluwatu and paddled out.
The ‘Island of the Gods’ was at the time still a well-kept surfing secret and shrouded in mysticism. Gerry 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.”
Project Clean Uluwatu (PCU) strives to restore and preserve Uluwatu, one of the most renowned and iconic surf breaks in the world. It’s popularity, however, has seen increasing environmental and cultural degradation. PCU has decided to set an example of how collaborative stewardship, communication with tourists and local communities and proper solid and liquid waste management can preserve the natural beauty of the Uluwatu waves for generations to come. Learn More and Support PCU