Owing to its geographic situation and a coastline exposed to a constant swell rolling in from the Antarctic, Indonesia has for forty years been regarded as a surfers paradise. Alby Falzons film, 'Morning of the Earth' and its footage depicting a lone surfer Stephan Cooney (16 years old) riding backside a seemingly endless wave, thrilled surfers worldwide. Ulu Watu. A few years later another mythic surfer, Gerry Lopez, would be filmed surfing a tubular wave and the craze to experience Bali's surf beaches was born.
Today despite mass commercialisation of the region, there still remain isolated beaches where a surfer can experience those once idyllic conditions... but that would be telling!
Rory Russel at Ulu Watu
More recently, I discovered that Indonesia is also something of a motorcycle paradise. Years of Dutch and British interests in the Islands left thousands of discarded machines, and these classics are now lovingly restored and cared for by their owners who have formed clubs spreading across all the islands. Used motorcycle parts are never thrown away or discarded, instead they are repaired and rebuilt to be used again.
Rudi Sudjono from Bandung (Java)
The Indonesian custom motorcycle scene is also thriving, and skilled local craftsman are more than capable of creating a bike on a par with anything ever produced by their Japanese neighbours.
Mochammed Bellazam, an officer in the Jakarta Merchant Navy, fell in love with Nortons at an early age. His father had previously owned a Dominator, so when Mochammed eventually passed his test and asked his father which make of motorcycle he would advise buying, his father naturally replied 'Norton'! Mocha was soon hooked, and has since restored several Norton's including two ES2's, a 1969 750cc Commando and a 1934 596cc International, discovered in a garage hidden beneath a pile of cardboard boxes, much to Mocha's delight!
The previous owner agreed to sell the Inter in order to pay for a new Harley, his only condition being that Mocha promise to restore the machine to its former glory and never sell her.
Mochammed is a frequent overseas traveller and is no stranger to the world of motorcycling, to the extent of being an 'Ace Cafe Rocker' addict, albeit the only one in Indonesia!
Mocha's next restoration project? a Dominator.. but first he has to get married...
So does Indonesia capture your imagination?