Uluwatu Surf Villas will play host to one of the biggest events on the island this year. Gerry Lopez, AKA Mr Pipeline is returning to the majestic Uluwatu whose waves he pioneered in the 70’s. Although this time he is taking to dry land. Mr. Pipeline will be hosting ‘Yoga with Aloha’, a one week yoga retreat in June held at Uluwatu Surf Villas where people will have the opportunity to breathe deeply, back bend and balance a week away under the guidance of Gerry, a yogi from way back.
The retreat includes three organic wholesome meals a day, story time with Gerry, as well as a chance to surf with him. As you can imagine places at the retreat are filling quicker than the line up at Uluwatu during peak season, many of the guests Gerry’s personal friends from yoga and surfing circuits around the world. Tim Russo and Jake Mackenzie, the guys behind Bali surf culture icons Drifter Surf Shop, Surf Yogis (so natural you can eat it surf screen) and Uluwatu Surf Villas are responsible for bringing this once in a lifetime retreat to Uluwatu. These three brands share a similar philosophy which resounds with a lot of yogis and surfers around the world- living simply, authentically and as close to nature as possible.
Drifter Surf Shop which stakes its territory on Oberoi in Seminyak is a far cry from your average surf shop. Created in 2009 out of an aspiration to bring some charm and authenticity back to surf culture, Jake and Tim have managed to do just this. They created something that was anything but a mainstream surf shop stocking nothing more than highly recognized logos printed on T’s and board shorts. Stock is hand picked by the guys, with their wives responsible for the women’s wear. Each item is picked by surfers for surfers from many local and international underground surf lifestyle brands such as Salt Gypsy and Mikoh Swim as well as better known labels such as Patagonia, Obey and RVCA.
Drifter’s soulful surfer vibe is felt throughout the store, with their café serving one of the best espressos in Seminyak and surrounded by so much inspiration, it makes for the perfect creative working space. From their in-store sound track to up and coming labels, artworks and their large collection of books, no detail has been overlooked in projecting the essence of surfing. The books they stock include Indo travel and surf guides as well as all time classics like ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’. Each book has been picked by surf culture icons like Albe Falzon, Rob Machado, Tom Carrol as well as Jake and Tim themselves. The Drifter guys have collaborated with a number of icons in the surf world, and even boast pro-surfer clientele who come in to pick up bits and pieces when passing through Bali. Props to Drifter, pro surfers get truck loads of free gear sent to them all the time.
It’s not surprising that both guys have gone on to pursue other projects here in Bali driven by the philosophies that brought Drifter in to actualization. In 2007 Jake started Surf Yogis, the natural alternative, ‘so clean you can eat it’ zinc cream. Like all other surfers he times his life around winds, tides, full moons and swells. Jake has articulated his relationship to surfing as this- “it's really an extension of what I'm passionate about. Yogic action and philosophy is all about the circles of life, sustainability and leading an examined, thoughtful life. Considering our place in the universe and how we affect and interact with nature as a whole. Surfing is in many ways a sport and in many ways much much more. It's a lifestyle, a meditation a constant adventure”. This yearning to be close to and conscious of nature and spending enviable amounts of time in the water drove him to create a product that he himself felt he needed.
The sun being the other element that comes in to play for surfers, it’s hard to find sun protection that goes the distance when the waves of Indo can entice you to linger in the water for hours. Tested by The Bali Bible, we can assure you that Surf Yogis goes the distance and we love that it smells like chocolate and coffee. It’s an environmentally, socially and health conscious product that surfers can feel good about using, and use with confidence without worrying about the implications of using a pharmaceutically owned and recommended products.
The Uluwatu Surf Villas property is a dream come true for Tim. Perched on Uluwatu cliffs, god himself doesn’t have a better view of the swell at Ulus. According to Tim, in some karmic, typically Bali turn of events the property came to be available to him. Not only does Tim now live above his favourite surf spot, he has created one of the most sought after accommodations in Bali as well as one hell of a yoga space which now hosts dynamic classes, three times daily. The villas have a ‘surf-luxury’ vibe so it’s not your average Bali surfer accommodation. But let’s just say the property and the views command a certain level of grandeur. But Tim will also be quick to tell you that “it’s not full on luxury as most people imagine it” and that it is still quite accessible. The standard and quality is kept high while the classic Bali Joglo structures with grass roofs and a cool mix of antiques and vintage surf imagery keep the laid back vibe you would expect from a property that has the word ‘Surf’ in the name.
The yoga space at Uluwatu Surf Villas is home to Morning Light Yoga, which happens twice daily. Making The Bali Bible’s ‘Bali Bible Bucket List’, the space takes full advantage of the views. For those who surf and do yoga, the connection between the two is obvious. Not only are they physically complimentary in building strength, balance and flexibility, each encourage the mind to be focused, meditative, fully alive and in the moment. Uluwatu Surf Villas provides an idyllic setting to delve deeper into a surfing and yoga experience.
We think Jake and Tim are really succeeding in bringing that charm back to the world of surfing that has become almost as commercialised as NASCAR racing. Something about surfing seems to bring out a passion in people, a drive to be better and not always just out in the water. These guys have brought to life Drifter, Surf Yogis and Uluwatu Surf Villas from their love of surfing which is what makes these brands a gift and an inspiration to surf culture and the surfing community the world-over. From every day surfers, non-surfers, yogis, surf world icons, even Mr Pipeline, it’s the soulfulness that makes people want to get involved. The guys are definitely scratching below the surface of the modern surfing world.
Drifter Surf Shop is located on Jalan Oberoi in Seminyak near Seminyak square. Surf Yogis is available at Drifter as well as Bali Buda and other Surf Outlets around Bali and is now available in Australia. Enquiries for Uluwatu Surf Villas to be made at firstname.lastname@example.org.