It was 4pm on Sunday when my neighbour and I walked from our house to Batu Bolong beach in Canggu village, Bali, for my sunset session, when a girl with dreads, tattoos, a black bikini and boots, riding a loud café racer style bike carrying a 7-footer, passed by leaving us nothing but dust. “Hipster…” my friend said. I paused, and then started to ask him about his opinion. “Dude, those hipsters come here, act like they’re so cool with those kinds of bikes, tattoos, rock-n-roll attitude and their “natural-organic-down-to-earth fake lifestyle”, but in the end what? Classic Bali man!” he said.
My friend’s emotional opinions made me more curious, so I asked him to describe more. “Now this beautiful village has slowly become more like Kuta you know.. Everywhere there are people in Bintang singlets, drunk and driving, and as for the girls, they’re just gonna get tricked by the locals again; back home with a broken heart and level-3 bike exhaust burns on their legs.. you know.. classic”. He replied, with more emotional tones.
I am getting more curious about my friends thoughts. Well, for a guy from California who gave up his life to live here for almost 10 years, I am pretty sure that he would have a different opinion. But for me, I can really see significant changes since the last time I came here about 15 years ago. I still remember back in the day when my dad and I had to walk through the rice paddies and bushes to reach the beach. I still remember how there were not so many options for sleeping in this area, and sometimes we had to ask a local family to sleep on their Kubu (gazebo). Now, there are heaps of hotels and bars along the way and even the beach-front.
My sunset session just finished and it was fun. Maybe it was a bit of a crowded line-up, but people still share the waves. Some sets were amazing and really fun to ride. It was a good choice to bring my fun board. After planning our night over a fresh coconut and couple of beers at Oldman’s Bar on the beach, my friend and I went home. “Let’s go skating tonight!” he said. “Deus or Pretty Poison?” I replied. “Let’s go to Pretty Poison first, and then if it’s closed we can go to Deus”. The three establishments I just mentioned are the hippest venues in Canggu right now. Offering different promos, events and different vibes; they compete to get almost the same customers.
I have never been against area development. Like they say, “everything happens for a reason”. I can see in Canggu, that pop culture takes a big role in its development. Many people I have met have said “if you like surfing, skateboarding, yoga, organic food, good music, flat white, awesome parties and cool bikes, then come to Canggu!”. Well I have no doubt on that.
Dominated by around 70% Australian tourists and 30% of tourists from other continents (mainly Europeans), Canggu is full of people in their mid-20’s, where passion, creativity, ideology and emotion are at the highest point. You can feel the dynamic movement in Canggu. The creativity explosions and the bold trend happening. So is Canggu a new tribe of people, or are they just hipsters? You decide. Now we have to go skating a bowl with my friend’s so-not-called-hipster custom bike.