The Chronicles of G-Land
This book examines in great detail, the complicated and surprising circumstances surrounding the early years of the world’s first surf camp. Indonesian author and journalist, Dian Hadiani, spent the better part of four years interviewing scores of people, who either visited Grajagan to surf, or were involved in setting up the camp. Unravelling the sequence of events, Dian’s research describes how the vision was realized and how warring parties battled to control the lucrative venture. If you think you know the history of G-Land, think again. This book will surprise you. The Chronicles of G-Land relates what really happened to the headland and the bay at the tip of southeast Java, commencing in the 15th century to the present time.
The history of the region, however, predates the ‘Age of Discovery’ and European Imperialism and reaches beyond the Austronesian Majapahit Kingdom which spanned maritime Southeast Asia from Sumatra in the west to Papua in the east. Humans over time have marked themselves in this locale as being disruptive and in many instances destructive agents of change impacting not only the flora and fauna but the whole regional ecology including its economic and socio-cultural aspects at large. King Brawijaya the final ruler of the largest Kingdom in all of Southeast Asia completed his last dance early in the 15th century, among his many legacies is a pilgrimage site left overgrown and hidden deep in the forest of Alas Purwo.
Fast forward to the middle of the 20th century, when travelling surfers brought their own idiosyncratic behaviours fuelled by their eccentric blend of ‘surf fever’ to commune with mother nature, in what has now become a pilgrimage site of a different kind, well preserved in its semi remote habitat. Bobby’s Surf Camp; Behind the Legendary Tales describes how feral surfers discovered this magical place, and how the first surf camp in a protected jungle commenced operations, all of which precipitated the massive changes which flowed from 1971 to 1983.
More than sixty surfers were interviewed, including Gerry Lopez, Rory Russell and Peter McCabe. Despite their legendary status, Dian felt no compunction in challenging any stories that didn’t make sense. She even disputed the account of an Indonesian official; such was her determination to expose the truth.
The book reads as a first-hand account of an investigative journalist piecing together multiple accounts from different and sometimes conflicting points of view. The historic significance of the work could have broad appeal, i.e. beyond the surfing fraternity. At 356 pages, the hardcover book includes many color photos, historic maps, old newspaper clippings and old documents, as well Dian’s illustrations.
“Dian’s exhaustive research has uncovered hidden secrets and sheds light on what happened behind the scenes on our epic trips in the early days, awesome stories. Five stars!” ~Peter McCabe
“A fascinating story of a Javanese jungle boy who helped Mike Boyum establish the first surf camp in the world and stayed till the end. Dian’s book reveals unknown gems buried behind the true history of G- Land.” ~Rory Russell
“Dian has passionately pursued her G-Land book project, polishing our golden memories of the early surf adventure/travellers discovery of the world’s BEST left hand point break during the golden era of the 1970s. Her dedication to this unique place in our surfing universe is something for which we should all be grateful.” ~Dick Hoole
People and institutions who provided information and/or images:
Westerners: Gerry Lopez, Peter McCabe, Rory Russell, Dick Hoole, Gary “Kong” Elkerton, Jack McCoy, Martin Daly, Barry Middleton, Mike Ritter, Bill Boyum, the late Bob Laverty’s family, Christopher Lilley, Joao de Orleans de Barança, Tim Watts, Bob Jones, Warren Anderson, John & Mark Henderson, Jeff Rowe, Stephen Spaulding, John Ogden, Tony Brinkworth, John Pottorff, Joe Mayolett, Andrew McKinnon, Bob Barron, Susan Rasmussen-Rogot, Eddie Gardner, Bill Heick, Dan & Monty Webber, Bill Morris, Bill Leimbach, Richard Flax, Geoff Doig, David Kelly, David Kennedy, Stephen Palmer, Robert
Wilson, Claude Graves, and many more, including posthumous dispatches from Kim “fly” Bradley, David Michel, and Miki Dora.
Indonesians: Sunar (Boyum’s first camp staffer) Bobby Radiassa, Gede Narmada, Wayan Sudirka, Ketut Menda, Made “little froggy” Yasa, Soetarsono (The first officer at Alas Purwo National Park’s from 1952 to 1985), Suharto (former ranger), Dariharto (Blambangan Surfing Club and retired Indonesian Departement of Tourism, Banyuwangi), Sunaryono (Blambangan Surfing Club), I Gde Berata (Surfing Club of Bali & Waja Lifesaving Club Bali), Bambang (Former staffer of tour operator to G-Land), Wahyu Murdyatmaka (Conservationist at Alas Purwo National Park), and many more.
Production Team: Tim Watts and Bobby Radiasa
Editor Team : Kevin Lovett, Dan Webber, and Dick Lewis
Physical properties: hardcover, sewn binding, 9.5 x 7.5 inches, 356 pages, color, printed on quality 70 g. book paper.
Publisher: CV. Lit Hidup, Bali
The photo of Mike Boyum’s first staffer, Sunar who witnessed the development of the camp, till Mike Boyum left Indonesia. In 1980 Gerry Lopez gave him a lightning surfboard shaped by Tom Parrish, that he keeps until now. The photo of Sunar with the LB board taken by me in 2018.
The photo of 15 years old Sunar getting ready to surf was taken by Rick Rasmussen in 1980.