The unique week-long experience will introduce 8-14-year-old boys & girls to the world of competitive surfing in a friendly and encouraging environment. Participants can expect a fun-filled program designed and hosted by Barton personally with surfing skill improvement at the top of the agenda.
Barton, the 1988 World Surfing Champion, has successfully run BL’s Blast Off annually for 15 years in Sydney during the September/October school holidays. Last year he introduced his highly regarded grom event to Bali during the Easter school holidays and it was a roaring success.
Balibelly.com touched base with Barton to get the lowdown on what will likely be Bali’s best grom event of 2020:
BB: Barton, I understand the original Sydney Blast Off has become a rite of passage for Aussie groms over the years. How long has it been running for now?
BL: This year will be the 15th anniversary and I am so proud of what we have achieved. We’ve created many great childhood memories for groms and families over the years, and I know they cherish it. A kid once told me that Blast Off was better than Xmas! We’ve had participants who have gone on to be World Champions such as Tyler Wright who won the girls 14s in our very first year.
How did the expansion to Bali come about?
Well, when I was a 14-year-old grom my mum took me on my very first overseas trip – we went to Bali. I absolutely loved the place! So in Blast Off’s 14th year it seemed only right that its first overseas destination would be Bali too. Not to mention I am a goofy foot and love the waves and people of Bali and love to spend time there.
How is BL’s Blast Off different to other junior surfing events?
We are focussed on helping the kids improve their surfing and themselves while having a blast. The coaching component makes a huge difference to the vibe and keeps the focus on SURFING, not winning or losing. That’s the principal the event is founded on. I originally called it “Blast Off” because we blast off summer, we blast off the kids surfing, and have a blast with family and friends. In Bali, we blast off the surf season.
How’d the inaugural Bali event go last year?
The waves were pumping every day at Bingin and the kids scored. We actually had too much surf really, as the first big swell of the Bali surf season hit and it was 8ft solid and macking – right on the edge of being too big – but we ran the younger kids when the waves were smaller, then had the 14s and 12s on the big swell days. They put on an inspiring show. It was impressive to watch them challenge their fears and grow.
How did the local groms fare?
All the groms performed amazingly and well above their ages. A couple were absolute standouts: Bronson Meydi, Ketut Tia, Lucky Haryanto, Western Hirst, Dylan Wilcoxen… these kids are world-class and absolutely have the ability to have a highly successful career if they continue to develop and grow.
You put together a jam-packed schedule of coaching, demos, activities, ending with a contest on the final day. I’m curious, how do you manage to pull it all off?
The help of local legend Mega Semadhi and the Bingin Boardriders make it possible to deliver the event smoothly, plus the support and encouragement of The Perfect Wave and the headquarters at S Resort help everything fall into place. Last year was an overwhelming success so we are all so excited for this year.
Fun, fun, fun – much of the same program that has been a success in the Sydney Blast Off and in our first year in Bali. Participants and their families will kick off the week at S Resort on April 11th with the coaching program commencing on the 13th. There will be lots of surfing and coaching, Blast Off Idol, the Channel Island and …Lost Surfboards demo day. The opening and closing ceremonies at S Resort and we have a few new surprises the families will love.
One big change is that Hurley is not with us in 2020 – we are a victim of the sale of the brand to new owners and are currently looking for a new surf company partner. Many of our supporting sponsors are with us again: Hydro Flask, SunBum, …Lost Surfboards, Channel Islands Surfboards, Futures Fins, Surf Meal Co, Balin, Good Times, and Bali Belly. Thank you, guys.
Aside from the Blast Off events, what else have you been cooking up?
In addition to coaching and WSL commentary, I’ve lined up some epic surf experiences in cahoots with The Perfect Wave. Together we have created trips of a lifetime where people can share great waves, great food, great vibes and improve their surfing along the way. After the Bali Blast Off we go straight to the Maldives for a boat charter (sold out) and then to Kandooma in May for another coaching trip. I love it there so I’m frothing to get back. Spots are still available so go to The Perfect Wave website to secure your place. We’re also working on a destination for October that’s looking new and exciting. Life is good!
Sounds epic mate. Thanks for your time today and looking forward to catching you at the Bali Blast Off!
Thank you guys – it’s going to be sick!