The recent grounding of the Ho Tsai No. 18 fishing vessel at Padang Padang has proven an undeniable study in contrast. An idyllic, tropical rendering of all that is good in the natural world has been graffitied with a rusty, fish-killing colossus that has not only made for some interesting photographs, but now threatens serious damage to one of the world's wonderful waves.
In the latest update from Bali, Staff Photographer, Jason Childs, reports that the boat has begun leaking oil as many expected, but the surfers haven't halted their enjoyment of the Indonesian jewel.
“Rizal, Benji, and others surfed there, and had to put up with slippery boards from all the oil and diesel in the line up,” said Childs. “It’s a really sad situation and it appears that the next swell due Monday will probably see the ship break up on the rock and pollute the whole area.”
The ship began to wash up on the rocks after a failed attempt by locals to tow the boat further out to sea, and as a large swell begins to fill in, activists embark on a race against the clock to remove the boat from causing any further destruction to the beach.
“Everyone is now preparing for the worst,” said Childs. “Today, the tug boat that was meant to come and drag the boat off the reef didn’t show for a number of reasons so local fishing boats were coordinated and tried to drag the boat off the reef but they were under powered and the tide was running out so the boat wouldn’t budge.”
So how has this affected the Rip Curl Pro Search trials? After much speculation, event directors decided to postpone competition.
“The contest has been put on hold for this swell, and they will reevaluate again on Monday for the next big swell,” Childs reports. “There is lots of diesel and oil in the lineup at Padang Padang and it's now stretching all the way to Uluwatu this morning. A combination of wind and currents dragged it that way.”
A local organization called Role Foundation aims to be in the water at sunrise tomorrow morning to haul the boat off and provide as much relief as possible. Hopefully officials and residents can band together to salvage a paradise lost.