It's a Groms Life...

It must be every surf obsessed grom's dream to be able to surf everyday, never mind being able to call Kandui Resort and the surrounding Indonesian tropical island, their home, their classroom and their playground! Last summer I had the privilege of being apart of such a fun adventurous island life, through teaching, hanging out, and surfing with said island boy Dylan, his little brother Jayden and sister Alin, a.k.a the Kandui Groms!
It truly is an island life for this trio, with barefoot adventures, non stop smiles, laughs, learning in between surfing world class waves everyday. It didn't take these groms and their papa, Ray very long to make me feel right at home on their beautiful Island, and I realised fairly quickly that I'd landed a dream job...but it feels wrong to call it a job..more like my barefoot, carefree, soul hugging, dream summer!

School Life

School life was so different to school life back home! Going from a classroom of twenty-five students every forty minutes to a tropical island setting with a class of three wee little surfer groms, I knew it was going to be good! I was excited to share in their island life and motivated to make school enjoyable and interesting, in between break time surfs. I found it an enjoyable challenge using some of the many questions Dylan had about everything and anything to come up with lesson ideas and ways to keep the groms engaged and learning. For example, we would sometimes go on educational nature walks around the island and learn about the different plants and animals, which would open up conversations and learning opportunities about other habitats around the world, or interview guests that had interesting jobs or famous surfers. Of course the best way to keep an eight year old surf obsessed grom interested is to relate things to surfing, be it researching the different surf spots in each of the habitats we learned about, writing a letter to ask for sponsorship, or calculating math problems by using the number of people in the line up, wave height, measurement etc.  The ideas are endless.

There was lots of cool lessons and ideas you can get from living on a tropical island and with different teachers coming before and after me from different parts of the world, it was interesting and fun to share ideas/approaches with them too. When motivation for school was low at times, which can happen when you live on a tropical island with pumping surf within your line of sight.. it just took a wee bribe for a promised lunchtime surf session, or a youtube clip of John John afterwards to keep him motivated. Sometimes there was teaching moments while out in the lineup and Dylan would be eager to listen and learn in between sets, sometimes asking random questions and keeping me on my toes. It was a very enjoyable experience and I am looking forward to revisiting the Kandui Groms with even more ideas than last time.

Nonetheless, I think Dylan would agree that the best part of the day was when we got to go surfing together at 4Bobs or Karambat! I would say Dylan has surfed more waves than any other boy his age in his life. All day Ray (his papa) would tow him into waves for hours on end and Dylan would just keep going, with endless amounts of energy. I had to remind him to eat sometimes as he would get too excited about going surfing. I even managed to do a few tow ins in some smaller surf, which was great fun. The whole summer experience was a breath of fresh air, and that was without the surfing!

I got to surf lots of different waves around the area. When I first arrived I thought I would not go near most of them but thanks to the encouragement from some friends I met along the way, and the surf guides, I managed to pluck up the courage after a week or so and paddled out into six foot Bankvaults. When halfheartedly paddling for my first big one, heart pounding, I could just hear people shouting at me to go and so I just went and it was my best wave of the trip thus far which then me hooked. I wanted more!! I got many beatings and probably the heaviest hold downs I've personally ever had, but I learnt so much and gained a lot more confidence in my surfing. I somehow managed to escape the summer without any serious damage...apart from a minor knee injury and when I bust my back from landing on my board going over the falls, but thankfully loosened out after a few days.

My favourite wave of the trip was probably Bankvaults or Rifles. They are both different. Bankvaults is big and heavy but in deeper water (unless you get washed to inside) and really got the adrenaline pumping, whereas Rifles on it's day is a perfect peeling right hand barrel, which also can be big and daunting and a lot shallower! I look forward to giving them another bash next time! Hideaways was also a favourite of mine for my backhand, but not a favourite for my backside or my feet which ended up bouncing off the razor sharp rocks a few times! Ebay is another good left that is more fickle but amazing when it works!

4Bobs, which was an easier, fun right-hander wave out front, was not only heaps of fun, but also had a floating dock, which most guests will agree is a sweet bonus to staying at Kandui Resort. It is where everyone meets at the end of the day by either coming out form the island for a sunset surf or jumping off a boat coming back from further afield. Floating jus alongside 4bobs and Karambat, (another fun left hander), it is the perfect spot to chill out and to hop in and out as you please, or sip on a Bintang while you watch your buddies surf! This is where the kids would also hang after school or during lunchtimes. It was always the perfect end to a day of surfing and a good spot to capture the amazing sunsets. A Frames was another nice left-hander that can be super fun and it is close to the resort too for those lunchtime sessions. Here are some photos of the many different surf spots and Video Edit.

Surf Spots







Video Edit

My summer at Kandui was an amazing opportunity that I will be forever grateful to have had. It was one of those 'pinch yourself' type experiences. Surrounded by palm trees, white sandy beaches and tropical turquoise seas, the most incredible sunsets and sunrises, surfing amazing waves in warm water, showering outside under palm trees surrounded with bamboo sticks, walking barefoot to class to teach the coolest groms and meeting so many lovely people working there and those coming and going from the island on their holidays. It is at times like those, when I am so far from home and the world that I usually live in, that you just take a step back, look around and realise how much more there is to life.. how important it is to not sweat the small stuff and to just live in the moment and enjoy and appreciate what life brings each and everyday!

One of the many groups of lovely people I met :)

Shaman Dance

Rifles Tower

Stormy day
A lovely place for a stroll..

Having spent two months here, my time on the island was coming to an end. I was sad to go. However, I had missed a few home comforts so I do remember, towards the end, mainly looking forward to the following; non itchy feet from mossies and sandflies, finally being able let my increasingly painful reef cuts heal and clean in the cold without being caked in sand, being able to use as much hair conditioner as I wanted in my hair and even though the food was really amazing, I could not wait for one of my moms Irish dinners and some decent chocolate haha. Saying that, I could have stayed there months longer. It was a hell of an adjustment having to wear shoes and lots of warmer clothes again, I was returning to Ireland very satisfied after such a kick ass, amazing, and unforgettable summer.  The whole Kandui experience made me want to come back this year, and plan to see more of the world in the future, to make more memories like those, although it will be tough to beat a summer like that for sure! Thanks Kandui Resort for having this Irish lass over and sharing your beautiful home with me! Until next time.. Thanks for reading :)

Lump on my head but happy out :) What a summer!