Balinese people love to smile. I've been hanging out in Bali for several months now and have yet to find an unhappy Balinese person. The prevailing cultural disposition comes across as naturally gentle and innately kind. Sure, some of the street vendors like to joke around and might playfully hit you on the shoulder if you refuse to buy their trinkets or hire their massage services. But deep down, the majority of the Balinese genuinely seem to want nothing more than to share love and good vibes.
This innate cultural pleasantness—for lack of a better description—combined with world-class waves, excellent food and ridiculously affordable prices tend to attract and retain expat surfers from around the globe. The surf industry is rapidly laying down roots here as well. One member of the surf apparel tribe to share and invest in the free-flowing Balinese spirit described here is Hurley International, who recently set up a summer team headquarters here in Canggu. "Bali is fast becoming the North Shore of the Summertime," commented Hurley sports marketing manager Pat O'Connell. "We've been coming to Bali for years to shoot videos and photos. It was a no-brainer for us to get a team house here."
Check out veteran Surfer staff photographer Jason Childs' slide show where he talks us through a selection of his favorite season opener Bali images. And don't miss the debut episode of Riz TV, where Rizal Tanjung takes us on a tour of the Hurley team's Bali villa, complete with personal chefs, maid service and in-house massage services. Sounds over-the-top expensive, right? Think again. There's no place like Bali for living the champagne lifestyle on a beer budget. Here's to livin' the good life. Cheers!