The Padma Boys, WeLike Bali, and the ASC teamed up yesterday and asked Warung Melati to prepare some boxes of food that they could hand out to the people that used to make their living at the Legian-Seminyak beaches, but now have few opportunities for work since the beaches have been closed since the end of March.
Before the beaches were closed, these people sold drinks, food, renting surfboards, gave surf lessons and generally took care of both tourists and locals while they hung out at the beach, surfing, tanning, relaxing or just enjoying the sunset.
During the best of times they had a day to day subsistence, but with the beach closure and for many, no money or way to go back to their families, they are really in a tough spot, depending upon others while waiting for the situation to change.
Ervin, who is from Banyuwangi (East Java) and has been working on Double Six Beach in Legian for over a year, was thankful to be getting perhaps his only meal of the day. “The beach has been closed since the end of March, so it’s been very hard to survive,” he said. “I just go around and try to find any job I can, like construction projects and such, just to get enough money to eat and pay for my room. So I’m really thankful for any help I can get…even just one meal a day means a lot.”
Ervin is just one of many in this difficult situation, and Akung, who heads up the Padma Boys Boardriders Club, grew up at Double Six Beach so is very aware of this.
“This is our community, where every day we come to the beach to surf or just hang out and chat when we have free time, so we know all these people and they are our friends,” said Akung. “So now everything has changed, with my business and my life affected by this situation also, but as a surfer and part of the Padma Boys, it’s our duty to do anything we can to help out with others…however small or big, we must help” he added.
As an expat that has many friends in the surfing community of Legian and Seminyak, Priscilla from Welike Bali was looking for a way to give back to those who have been such a great part of her Bali life. “We are so lucky to have been surfing the beaches here in Seminyak and Legian, and it was really sad to see how the people that were working at the beach can’t earn a living anymore with the beaches closed. I wanted to give back something to them…just some way to say thanks to them for taking care of us all these years, and giving them some food was the best I can do. I know it’s a small thing, but if other people and other businesses also can join in and do the same, these people can have enough to eat and survive until they can work again. Every little bit helps, so I’m happy we can contribute something at least” she said.
The ASC’s Tipi Jabrik grew up just steps away from Double Six Beach so this is truly his home break, and he sees this as a great example for all boardriders clubs all around Bali to step up and support their local communities that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This was a collective effort with Priscilla and Akung” said Jabrik. “Priscilla because she surfs here all the time and Akung as part of the Padma Boys boardriders club, and myself as I’m from here in Legian. It’s maybe only a small thing that we do, compared to what others are doing, but we know we must do something and make an example for other boardriders clubs….to show that it doesn’t take much, just some food or small things, to make a big difference for those that have nothing. We just want to ask everybody to give a little…it will mean a lot to those that have nothing.”
After handing out food in four different locations, the crew headed to the beach to give some food to another group that is also very important in this situation, SATGAS (Legian Beach Management), who are charged with carrying out the government’s regulations concerning beach activities.
According to Mr Galung, “Our job is to control the beach area…to keep people from it as there is the rule about closing the beaches for now. Yes there have been tourists trying to go surfing, jumping over the walls and such, so we must ask them not to do that and to respect the rule. We don’t want to be bad guys, but it’s our job to control the beach and the rule is that the beach is closed.”
He continued saying, “But hopefully things will get better soon and we can open up the beaches again for the surfers and the people who make a living here at the beach so things can be normal again. It affects everyone here economically, and so we say thanks to Padma Boys and you guys that are helping out by giving us and the beach workers food. Thanks so much!”
We all hope that the beach opens back up soon, as that will allow surfers to come and exercise for their health, and also give the beach workers a chance to earn some money again as well.
But as long as this COVID-19 situation continues, we want to encourage all the other boardriders clubs and the whole surfing industry to follow this example and do as much as they can to support their local communities…it doesn’t have to be a lot…a little from everybody helps a lot of people in the end.
If you can help out by contributing food, clothes, products or anything else that out of work people would need, please contact us on email at tim.hain@asiansurfingtour or firstname.lastname@example.org
Images & text: Tim Hain.