Escape To Bali With Michelle Des Bouillons
Heading to Bali with Michelle Des Bouillons, the French-Brazilian surfer sharing her story about her trip to the sacred island of gods and waves.
1) When did you arrive in Bali?
I arrived in Bali at the start of the season, April 21st.
2) What is a typical day for you over here?
I wake up early between 6 and 7 in the morning, I check the waves, have my breakfast, meet my friends and then go surfing. I try to surf once or twice a day every day. Always monitoring the best tide schedule.
3) What is your favorite wave or spot on the Island? What’s so special about it?
My favorite place in Indonesia is actually Desert Point on
the island of Lombok. This is where I got the most special and difficult tubes
in my life! There are also the Peak and the Grower.
In Bali, it’s really worth knowing everything about the surroundings of the island. Uluwatu for surfing, canggu for parties and good food, Ubud with its lovely streets, temples, cultural parks and waterfalls. I still have to explore the mountains.
4) Bikini or one piece ?
One piece, the Sun Tribe one: it’s much safer and there’s much less risk to flash anybody when you fall.
5) Do you have any particular wave you’d like to surf (or surf again) in Indo?
Nias, Grower, all the Mentawai waves, Super Sucks and do a tow in during a big day at Uluwatu.
6) Where can we find the best food in Bali?
In any local restaurants of Jimbaran. You can choose the fish and sea food of your preference: all fresh and of excellent quality! They also make barbecue on the spot with the best sauce I've ever experienced in my life.
7) Tell us about a funny experience you lived in Bali?
Pretty much every time we took a ferry to get to another island. It's a crazy rush to get in, all the bikes and cars are parked inside an it’s full of local citizens with only a handful of tourists. And usually, some crazy music is playing as well. You are lucky when you can rent a cabin. When not, it is best to stay upstairs on the porch outside event though it’s quite windy. You always end up exhausted from the journey, but you soon forget about it all as it brought you to the most perfect waves of the island.
8) What kind of travel essentials do you recommend for a trip to Bali?
Bikinis, a sarong, sunscreen, a light wetsuit to avoid cuts on the reefs, sunglasses, a light jacket for fresh mornings and some cooler evenings. Light and comfortable clothes in general.
9) Where is your next trip or tell us more about your next project?
I would love to go to Tahiti to surf Teahupo for the first time, but this one will wait until next year. Now, I’m off to Paris to do some fashion campaigns and then start training for the big wave season in Nazaré, Portugal.
About her experience at Desert Point…
This was the simplest place I've ever stayed in in my life. The bungalows were made of bamboo and wood, super crooked. The stairs were frighteningly steep. And once you scaled the stairs, you had to have the courage to enter the bathrooms. There was no flush system so we had to use buckets. Electricity was generated through a generator that was only turned on at night for the ceiling fan.
You have to really love surfing to spend 7 days here...
Compensating this lack of basic western luxuries: the nature is virgin, the beach is beautiful, and the waves have the most beautiful and perfect lines I have ever seen. They are super shallow, made for fast tubes, difficult and challenging. The cuts on my feet are already countless, I would get a new one each day. Despite all that, a smile never left my face and this place is now one of my favorites in the world.
Surfing the GROWER was a new challenge for me. It had been years since I had surfed such a shallow wave with coral reef. It’s such a perfect wave: a long challenging tube difficult to get out of.
I didn’t know back then but I had already seen videos of my best Brazilian friends surf it, but I didn’t know where it was at the time.
When I found out the location, I knew deep down I had to get there and surf that wave: little did I know I would become the first woman to do that! I remember vividly: the tubes were so wide, fierce and shallow, I was terrified and ecstatic at the same time. But my time was up, and I eventually managed to surf it! God was very kind to me, there were so many falls I still don’t know how I didn’t injure myself more seriously. The scars I kept from this epic surf session are a good reminder of my luck that day.
Yet, I was not completely satisfied about my performance. From now on, I always want to go back out there, every swell I can. My next goal will be to get out of as many tubes as I can. I also want to get a 10 feet wave. I promise myself I will be back soon and intend to fully live these magical and special moments on that wave.
- Video by Hannah Anderson