Interview – Wayan “Ganti” Gantiasa – Padangs pioneer Surfer: Past, Present and Future of Bali


One of the Padang-Padang legends and also one of the first Balinese to surf there, Wayan Gantiasa, “Ganti” for his friends, is also the founder of one of the most important surfing families in Indonesia. His pupils includes Garut, Bol and Radytia.
Ganti still surfs almost every day and when Padang is breaking, there’s no doubt he’ll be there, getting deep barrels. He is also Indonesian Master Champion twice over, having won in 2006 and 2007.
Today he divides his time between surfing, family and his businesses. Ganti has a surf shop on Legian Street called The Surf Shop and also a restaurant on  Benesari Street, Goku BBQ, where he puts into practice his favorite hobby: barbecuing.

When did you start surfing? How old were you?  And how old are you now?
I started to surf in 1975 when I was 10 years old. I’m 45 now.

Do you remember your first board? How did you get it?
Yeah it was a white long board, single fin, I think it was something like a 7`0“.
My uncle used to have a hotel here in Kuta and someone left it there so he gave it to me, I think the board was from New Zealand.

Ganti is the one standing up at the back.

Tell us about this picture, what do remember from it?
The picture is the Quiksilver team. They were the first brand to come to Bali, so they got all the hot surfers of the time. The pic was taken on the corner of Melasti street where there is a big hotel now next to it’s main gate. The car is an old Australian car, given to us by our boss, at the time, Ketut “King Kong” Kasih, so we could go surfing.

Do you still have contact with those guys from the photo?
Yes, especially with Made Kasim he was my tutor. He taught me many things about surfing and life. Sometimes when we have time we go for a surf at Serangan and then have a beer and talk about old times. Also with Ketut “Jarut”, he`s a beach Marshall for the ISC nowadays. Rizal from time to time we meet at the beach.
I’m not sure where Made Switra is at these days.

What are the positive and negative things from the time when the picture was taken compared to today?
Positive:  It`s good for the young generation to make money from surfing and have security to get a good contract, good clothing, good boards and be able to travel all over the world.
Negative: We are not together any more because we all have different sponsors, now it`s like fighting not like before when we were more as a family.

Do you still surf? How often? And what`s your favorite wave?
Yes I do. Now that I have the restaurant , I surf about once a week when the waves are small, when it`s big I just leave and go surfing straightaway. Of course Padang Padang is my favorite wave but I also like Uluwatu.

Photo: Jason Childs

You were one of the first Balinese to surf Padang, do you remember the first time you surfed there? Were you scared?  Tell us what`s your relation with that wave?
I think I was the third one to surf there. The first time I went there was with Made Kasim, Peter McCabe, Derek Ho, Gerry Lopez, Gary Elkerton and Ronnie Burns. I think it was around 1985. Of course I was scared; my board was too short and we had to walk from Uluwatu at low tide to get there. So the first time I surfed Padang was with a small board at low tide and the barrels were big, I didn`t catch any waves that day!!!!
I`m still scared now-a-days but if I make the barrel I`ll be happy, that`s what I love to do in my life, to get barreled without getting hurt or breaking any board.

Have you ever surfed Pipeline?
Yes i did, my first time at Pipe I was with Derek Ho. He picked me up early in the morning and lent me a board. There were not many people out, but the few out were all famous, I thought I was dreaming.
I got 3 waves it was 3 good barrels.

Is it possible to compare Pipe with Padang?
No, Pipe is much heavier, lot`s of water there!!!!

You helped many locals kids to start surfing (you gave Garut his first board), what is your advice for the new Balinese generation?
Yes i tryed to help, I also lent a board to Rizal to surf Padang for his first time. I surfed first then I lent him that board, he didn`t have a big board that day. It was a board from Chaapy  Jennings, a pro surfer friend of Gary Elkerton’s.
My advice is dont be lazy, Bali has very good waves and sometimes when the waves are not so good they don`t want surf If you want to become a good surfer you have to know how to surf all kinds of conditions. Also don`t become big-headed, be humble, you are not the only good surfers in the world.
Be hungry for surf to push your own level up.

Do you have kids? Do they surf?
Yes, i have 3 Kids. Two boys, the older, a  21 years old and the younger a 7 years old then a 15 years old girl, she is the only one who doesn`t surf.

What`s your work and hobbies now days?
I work in my surf shop (The Surf Shop) and also in my restaurant Goku BBQ.
My hobbies are barbecuing at beach after surfing and drinking beers with my friends.

Matur Suksma Ganti. (Thank you in Balinease language)


More On