Seasons Greetings from Freeline

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Hi everyone,

Firstly a big thanks to all of you who came away with us this year, particularly all our regulars.  2013 turned out to be our best year ever both in terms of the number of customers that travelled with us as well as some exciting developments that have happened which will keep us amped well into the future. We’re especially happy with our new logo and will have a new website online shortly. See stories and pics below for more details.

Although the weather in some areas was a little variable up until about July, overall it was a good season for surf, in particular the later season with swells right up till late November. October again produced possibly the best swell of the year and just pumped. Crowds were pretty similar to last year and some operators even had empty spots, which is a first. Thanks also to all our operators who did a great job in getting everyone to the best waves available.

The ongoing challenge to find ‘uncrowded surf’ is becoming harder, but if you are prepared to travel and have some flexibility with your time, you can certainly get your quota of quality Indo waves and go home completely satisfied, as did most of our customers this year. Surfing Village in the Telos and the Sri Noa Noa trips east of Bali especially rated highly in this regard, as did the months of October and November. Crew are also exploring all the nooks and crannys and new waves are being surfed. Plenty of ‘all time’ and best ever’ sessions were had.

Bookings for 2014 are flowing so if you’re planning an Indo adventure, please get in touch to lock in your dates. In the meantime, have a great festive season and prosperous 2014.

All the best from

Stu & the Freeline Team

Ombak Indah Losmen Update

Ombak Indah Losmen is going from strength to strength and it’s success comes from the fantastic experience everyone has there. On numerous occasions this season I had guys saying to me after about a week they they were surfed out, had had their best waves ever, or just commenting on epic sessions with just them and the mates out sharing waves and hooting each other. This is what it’s all about.

And it’s our stoked customers that are tellingl their friends (well, some of them). In particular a special thanks to Russell Doyle, James (Kel) Kelly who stayed on numerous occasions each year, bringing family and friends and always spreading the good word. You guys, along with our many regular customers (Dave Duffy & co, Scotty Shaw, Luke, Jessica & Damo, John Ferguson, John Evans, Witt bros, and so on, you know who you are), are critical to our success and we love having you. Thanks again.

Good mate Sturt Royle once said to me that Nev and I were in the business of making friends, and I’m stoked that many of our customers become our friends. In fact the area could become a surfers retirement village in the not too distant future.

Good service doesn’t happen by chance and all our staff (Sue, Andi, Ani, Nana, Dedy, Amril, Agus and all the rest) must take credit for their good work. Ani has had an especially busy year not only managing the losmen but also looking after the construction of 4 new rooms in the SW corner of the block, which are replacing the old ‘basic’ rooms in the main building, currently undergoing renovation. No more rats, bee hives, ‘black cats’ etc etc to disturb your sleep!

While I’m on it, the main complaints we had this year related to: 1. poor drivers from Bandar Lampung to the losmen, and 2. the insanely heavy traffic from Jakarta airport to the Cipta Hotel in central Jakarta on week days. In relation to point 2. we now have a good hotel option close to the airport, the Amaris Hotel (as are FM7 and the Sheraton Hotels, but at additional cost), so if you are arriving mid-late afternoon on a week day and don’t plan to go partying, then definitely consider staying at the Amaris. On the 1st point, this is a more complex problem which we are seriously attempting to deal with. More on this at a later stage.

As part of the re-development plans, Ani put on Mr Amril as Assistant Manager for this season and we were really pleased when he stepped up to take the role of Losmen Manager for 2014. This will take some presssure off Ani and allow her more time to focus on the other projects we have going and to help with the entertainment program we are planning.

Of course Nana and Dedi, our No.1 and No. 2 surf guides (or is it the other way around?) continue to do a fantastic job and really make the difference, especially for our Premium trips. But hot on their heels are our new surf guides Agus and his younger brother Aput, both from Cimaja in West Java. I have known and surfed with Agus for a long time now and am stoked to have him on the team at Ombak Indah. His maturity and steady nerve will be a real asset for the team. Other great news for the boys is that Nana is now married and Dedi and his wife had a baby daughter in September. Congratulations to all.

No one gets to the losmen without the assistance of Sue in Oz and Andi in Jakarta, both of whom have done a fantastic job. With the increase in numbers this year, Sue was pretty much at capacity. So apologies to anyone whose feathers were ruffled or who did not receive prompt return call. We will be increasing our capacity in this area in 2014.

We’re not quite sure (as Nev is the only one who could testify), but we think Andi was on his 20th year of service this year with Freeline! Well done mate and a HUGE thanks for your friendship, commitment and support.

As mentioned renovation work has started on the main building. See pics in the slideshow. It’s being done in 2 stages, the back half to be completed before next season and the front half by the start of 2015 season. It’s getting a new roof and the old rooms in the back area are being relaced with a large open lounge area, office and small reception. We’re really excited about it and expect that with this new entertainment area the fun is just going to increase.

The other big news is that the Krui airport opened in July, which is great if you aren’t traveling with boards. We’re working on getting a reliable service that we can use for packages and will keep you posted on developments. Along with this monumental step forward, the local sub-district has also been re-zoned with the centre of the new ‘Kecamatan Pesisir Barat’ located just near Krui! This will mean more ‘attention’ from the local government, and possibly…long pause…internet will be coming to the point. After all these years of anonymity, Krui is being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. You can’t stop progress.

Most of my time away this season was at spent Ombak Indah but I did manage to get up to West Papua last January and the Telos in June, staying with Mario and Paulo at Surfing Village. As usual we had a blast. See below for more info and pics. Due to other commitments I couldn’t pursue the West Papua package this season but will have a story out soon.

Our annual conference was held this year at the Novotel Hotel in Bandar Lampung, which we can highly recommend. I won’t go into detail (there are plenty of shots scattered over Facebook) but it was a blast. By the end of our stay all the bar staff and Karaoke Band knew us by first name, I needed a wheelchair after getting the final bill (not to mention getting out of the Saturday night disco), and word is that romance is in the air. Can’t say any more except that we’re really fired up and looking forward to another great season in 2014.

On behalf of the Freeline team (Sue, Ani, Andi, Nana, Dedi, Agus, Amril, Yus, Aput, the rest of the Ombak Indah staff and myself) we’d like to again wish you all an awesome festive season and prosperous 2014.

Safe surfing,

Stu