It was around 1999 I guess give or take a year, I was doing a long stint in Bali, around the time of the economic crises, US dollar hit 17000 to the rupiah which I didn’t have any of so it didn’t much matter. But I could get breakfast on the beachfront at Benny’s for 6o cents it didn’t last long but hey a wins a win. So I am walking along the beach to surf near the Jayakarta Hotel 2 ft and clean feeling glad I brought a longboard this trip for days like these. I see and older guy fit tanned working over some little beach break peelers with formidable style. Now this was rare to see other longboarders around at the time and one with just the correct amount of panache, foot work and hand jive to seal the deal, this guy had it. Watched a few more rides and I quickly figured it out who it was, Southern Californian sixties supremo, interesting I thought to ones self.
So I start seeing this Mr Cali around more and more surfing the beach hanging out here and there, I get talking to him and he tells me his plans of moving to Australia, married a girl whose father has a place at Burleigh heads asks about the surf there, mentions he would rather be around Broken head but hey a right point is a right point. Generally it was just a little small talk between sets, but even from the beginning things didn’t seem to add up and he seemed somewhat vague. He was riding a friend of mines longboard and I asked him about it and said he was staying with him and had lent it to him, I am thinking what kind of surf star travels to Bali without a board and hopes to score a ride, each to his own I guess.
A couple of weeks later I run into my mate who was putting Mr Cali up and I mention to him that I had been surfing with him on the beach. I see his voice change and he tells me how he met the charming ex surf star on the beach one day and offered him some hospitality. He allowed him to use a spare room in his house and one of his surfboards which he broke and them said no problem I have some being sent over from USA and I will give you one of those. Anyway he was really starting to work my friend over on the generosity stakes and then things started to turn strange when he started to receive and send faxes from his house and they were exchanges with the FBI back in America. He started to glance over a few of them and realized he had done a deal with the FBI and was there to grass on a bigger fish who they had been after for many years. Subsequently he was about to enter a witness protection scheme which would place him in Australia. This all got too much for my friend and asked him to leave, but before doing so asked about the replacement board for the one broken, when the reply came ‘who do you think I am father christmas’ well that was the last straw and told him to fuck off. ‘The whole thing had left a bitter taste in his mouth, just trying to help a brother and got jammed in the process.
Sometime later I am up at Uluwatu and Nat comes out of the water and we are taking about old times as he used to live near my home town and knows the names and faces. Tells me he just got back from G land and I ask him about the waves as you do and said there were some good days but the wind was a bit funky. Then said the strangest thing happened one afternoon he was relaxing in his hut and heard this commotion happening next door and put his head out to see what was up and 6 FBI agents and 5 Australian Federal Police had come into the camp and picked up this older American surfer staying in the hut next door to him and marched off with him, word was he was a long time smuggler that had evaded the authorities for years and they were happy to get their hands on him. Shit I thought can’t even hide out in the jungle.
Stay true, stay straight enjoy your rides, respect the brother and karma load where possible.