Name: I Wayan Mertha “Betet”
Hometown: Kuta Beach, Indonesia
Sponsors: Volcom, Rockdance, Dragon
He’s called Betet (which is Indonesian for parrot) by friends and family because when he was still a toddler, the loss of his prized pet parrot prompted him to burst into tears, crying and carrying on. From that day forth, I Wayan Mertha (as he was formerly known) seems to have lived up to his nickname with his spacey orange-dyed hair, fast-paced speech, and flamboyant surfing style.
Aside from all that, Betet is also one of the most promising up-and-coming Balinese surfers. Present-day Indonesian icons like Rizal Tandjung and Made Switra have paved the road for the next generation of Bali’s rising stars. At the ripe age of eighteen, his surfing has seen him through some of the most flawless waves one could imagine. From high-performance sandbars to mind-blowing reefs, one couldn’t ask for a better training ground than Indonesia.
With solid backing from Volcom, Rockdance, and Dragon, Betet has had the opportunities to travel abroad and experience surf and competition on an international level. His journeys have taken him to Australia and Japan to surf contests and check out the worldwide surf scene. He was also a past invitee to the prestigious Billabong Pro Junior contest held in Australia. Betet managed to take some time off from his arduous surfing/work schedule to chit-chat with Transworld SURF and tell the world what it’s like being a grom in Bali.
Betet was interviewed at Made Switra’s surf shop just off Kuta Beach on June 3. His speaking style is a mix of pidgin English and Indonesian.
Where, when, and why did you learn to surf?
In the beach, halfway, in front my house in Kuta Beach. Ten, I think ten, I start. I use six-five twin-fin first time. I just start with my friends Rizal and Peppen.
What do you like most about surfing in Bali?
I like the waves. You can surf all day in Bali. And I like the people, too, my friends. We surf together – I can see my friends surf, you know.
How do you compare the waves here with those abroad?
I think Bali better. Yeah, Bali, more better the waves. Like Australia, you cannot surf like three days. Sometimes small, sometimes b-i-g – like Bali every day.
Where are your favorite surf spots?
In Bali, I like Canggu. In Australia, I like Burleigh Head. It’s all right, yeah?
How about contests? What’s the competition like from around the world?
Hard to get win, you know. All the people surf good. I can get to like round three, and then out.
Where do you think the best surfers are from?
Australia. And America.
Any favorite surfers? Who do you look up to?
Shane Dorian and Andy Irons. Yeah, I want to be like Andy laughter all around. Local guys, I like Rizal – he surf good, Switra, and … me!
What’s your advice to visiting surfers?
Yeah, just be sopan respectful. Yeah, just maybe be friends, respect the locals.
What kind of surfing rules?
Cutback, and anything power. Yeah, power, style, do air, do some big move/big turn.
What do you eat when you’re traveling, if there’s no nasi rice?
I eat Pizza Hut laughter.
How are the nightlife and the chicks in Bali?
I never get chicks laughs. In Bali cool clubs. I go clubs, like, hari sabtu Saturdays. I like go clubs like Hard Rock, Paddy’s, and Bounty sometimes looking for chicks. But I never get chicks!
What do you do on flat days?
Maybe no wave, I do video games, like PlayStation. Sometimes drink some beer on the beach, looking for chicks. And maybe sometimes play football soccer.