To be able to immerse yourself into a local community and school environment for a whole week is not something which would be included on everybody’s wish list. With basic fan cooled accommodation and shared bathroom this in itself would definitely put off most people and have them booking into a resort with the all-inclusive package. We love visiting the school and seeing the amazing work Tom and Karen our full time teachers are doing over in the Mentawai, really making an impact where it is most needed. We recently had some clients, Peter Williamson and Larry Colombo staying at the start of their 3 week Indonesian trip and have shared their experience firsthand what a raw immersion experience was like for them!


Well we have been back a week now, and I just wanted to send a thank you to Tom and Karen for the first week of an amazing 3+ week trip!

I will always treasure the week at the Education and Conservation Centre and want to thank Marie, Jamie, Lachy and The Perfect Wave for initially making it happen, and Tom and Karen for giving so much of themselves while we were there. I get the feeling that what we saw as an amazing effort from Tom and Karen that week, was actually just what they do in a typical week! I would fully understand if they were wrecked after the week, with helping us surf every morning and then putting on their master classes for both the kids and adults in the afternoons and evenings.

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SD Class Tom and Larry

It was great fun helping with the kids classes, joining in on the school dancing sessions around the corner without notice, and the adult classes where you could see the benefits firsthand of Tom and Karen’s skills and dedication coming to the fore. Then the girls surfing lessons, the SUP / surfboard / canoe marathon across the bay, waterfall trip and recycling sessions were another thing altogether! (Particularly Larry’s debut on a SUP  )

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Surfing-wise I really enjoyed both Iceland and Arriks (Suicides Right, which now enjoys the title as the only break where I managed to ding my board just by sitting in the line up – boy was that place shallow!) It didn’t even matter that Telescopes wasn’t happening the whole week – it was much better having the excitement of crossing that dangerous channel in a dodgy dug-out canoe with a dodgy engine powering it! Just ask Karen how much she loved being on the bow at low tide!

Then to top it off, the trip to WavePark was faultless and WavePark, Christie, Alice and Shane delivered on their reputation. We were very lucky to have a big S swell and then a big SW swell, which meant that when the 3 weeks were done and dusted I managed to surf 18 different breaks – unbelievable! (Although I do fess up and at one I didn’t actually manage to catch a wave – was a bit too freaky for me). I think my favourite wave was Bank Vaults, based on the fear, adrenaline and reward factors – I am looking forward to improving my surfing further and giving it another crack in the future. The signs are promising!

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At the end I had a 2 day ‘taster’ at S-Resorts Hidden Valley in Bali, and that was great as well. I had never surfed Bali before so it was ideal to have Daniel, Hank and Rob (Undies) show me some of the breaks and be on top of how small changes in conditions can lead to big changes in surfability and outcomes. The highlight in a bizarre way was when Daniel and I rescued a non-swimming, non-surfer, non-verbal, non-helpful Russian at Greenball. He was 200m out caught in the channel / rip. Took us 45 minutes to land him given the big tides and huge rip and surf! It was about the 20th rescue Daniel has done there, so all credit to him! The Russian’s wife was naturally incredibly grateful that her man came back alive. Unfortunately I can see very clearly that many tourists (and non-swimmer locals) will drown there in the coming years, so hopefully Bali will put some Lifeguards there like Pandawa around the corner.

Thanks very much again – it was truly a trip of a lifetime!

Peter and Larry

If you too would like to experience what Peter and Larry did, then please contact me for further information

Marie Gray
Director/Sponsorship Manager
A Perfect Foundation Charity Ltd