It has been a long time between drinks, but the WSL is setting up for a much-heralded return to Grajagan for this year’s Quiksilver Pro G-Land with a waiting period June 4 – 14. We thought this as good a time as any to have a look at G-Land, what happened there back in the days, and what we can expect for this year’s contest period.
The Quiksilver Pro G-Land has been run three times before. In 1995 the inaugural event was won by Kelly Slater from Jeff Booth, in 1996 it was Shane Beschen who beat Kong in the final, and in 1997 grumpy Luke Egan won the event in perfect 6-foot Speed Reef by defeating Chris Gallagher in the final.
Much like J-Bay, a wave the length of G-Land is divided up into a number of primary sections, with each section having its day on certain conditions. J-Bay has Boneyards, Supers, the Carpark Section and Impossibles, while in direct contrast G-Land has Kongs, Money Trees, Launch Pads and Speed Reef.
J-Bay then has Tubes and Point, with Albatross further down the point, all with considerably less energy than the main break of Supers. G-Land similarly has the softer waves of Chickens and 20/20’s, with Tiger Tracks in the distance.
In the past, access was always a mission, with most surfers doing the overnight mission via Gilimanuk and the ferry crossing to Ketapang before arriving at Plenkung (G-Land).
The surf camps now offer the speedboat option from Bali, at a higher cost, but it takes less than 2 hours.
For those who have an unlimited budget, there is a helicopter landing at G-Land and with a certain amount of persuasion and a loaded credit card, the chopper is a preferred option, and will no doubt be the preferred mode of transport by the WSL larneys.
There is a road to G-land now. The WSL are going to have to roll in a bunch of heavy equipment in order to run a world-class webcast from the jungle, and to facilitate this they have constructed a road to G-land. The Banyuwangi-Kalipahit road has always been in existence, but more of a jungle walking path than an actual road, it has now been improved into an actual rode for truck access right to the camps.
There is fiber in the jungle. There is no way that the WSL would be able to broadcast their multi-angled commentator-based webcast to the screens of the world without fiber in place. As early as September last year there were rumors of massive cable wheels being rolled in and gathered at G-Land for future placement.
One of the key criteria in G-Land is the medical facilities. The WSL has an on-point medical team, but a full medical facility in the jungle is a challenge to set up. The Surfing Doctors have been working out of G-Land for over 12 years now, and have been asked to stay on and be on hand for medical assistance during the G-Land Pro.
The founder and main dude from The Surfing Doctors is Dr. Phillip Chapman, originally a born and bred Cape Town surfer. He has been going to G-land for the last 25 years or so, and Is well-versed on what sort of injuries can and do happen, and what needs to be done when things go wrong.
Apart from dealing with surf injuries and patients, Dr. Chapman is well versed in the art of pulling into big left barrels. Growing up surfing The Kom, Dunes, Off The Wall and K-Bay, goofy-footer Chapman knows his way around the G-Land Reef like few others. Jordy and Matty would do well to chat with him before their heats.
The Quiksilver Pro G-Land is where the initial Dream Tour under Rabbit Bartholomew kicked off when the concept of the professional tour became ‘the best waves in the world’ as opposed to the most people on the beach. Let’s hope that this event spear-heads a similar sort of approach from the WSL, and will possibly see an aversion to wave pools and fan-based contest sites and will instead look at a few remote outlier contest venues for 2021.