soul talk

Ignacio Bussy Argentina, 1974

Monday, March 16, 2015 4 Comments 7 Likes
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Ignacio Bussy is a goofy-footer from Argentina, lives in Uruguay, and has a sandal-manufacturing and export business in Bali. His line of work brings him twice or three times out of the year to Bali. He also travels to the U.S. where he markets his products and back to Uruguay where he lives and kite-surfs (Uruguay having much better conditions for kite than for wave surfing). An old friend of ours, we caught up with him for our first SURFER PROFILE to hear some of his bule insights on Bali.

Ignacio, how long have you been coming to Bali? 10 years.What brought you to Bali in the first place? Surfing and the possibility of doing some business. But mainly the surf. What made you come back? The waves and I started spending a lot of time here setting up a business and surfing. And I met my wife here as well, so Bali became a part of… is a part of my life really. Since you first came to Bali, Bali has changed a lot, what’s your take on it? Yeah, it has changed, so the rest of the world. But in Bali it has been a very big change and certainly it is not the Bali that it used to be. If it would be my first time in Bali these days, I don’t think I would have stuck to the place. I don’t really like what Bali has turned into. What about the surf crowd? Yeah, the surf crowd is pretty obnoxious. I guess for people from Australia or from not far from this part of the world it’s ok, but for people that live on the other side of the planet I don’t think it is worth it. I wouldn’t come here to surf. I would go to other islands. So we see you are one of the many bules that seem to complain about the way Bali has and is changing, yet you keep on coming back every year. Why? Yes, I do come back every four months, but like I said, we have a business here and that’s probably the reason why we come back.

What’s your favorite area? For what? For surfing, for living, or what? In general, what would you say it’s your favorite area in Bali? Well, it was always the Bukit-Uluwatu area, though these days it is turning more and more into a circus. What is your favorite season? September-October. Is the surfing in Bali really impossibly crowded? It depends on the year. It changes by year, depending on how good the season is in terms of waves. And also, I feel like this year [2011], for the first time, maybe a lot of people opted not to come to Bali because the two previous seasons the crowds were impossible. I feel this year it was a lot better. What are your favorite surf spots? Bingin and… I don’t know… that’s it really. Yeah the south coast has many places that some days are really good. Would you prefer to surf the best ever Secrets un-crowded or the best ever Bingin crowded? It depends on the day. The best ever for both: Secrets is un-crowded and Bingin is very crowded. Obviously you always want to surf with less people, so yeah un-crowded but provided it’s good. Are you an aggressive or peaceful surfer? I am peaceful in terms of dealing with crowds. I’m aggressive in terms of how I paddle for and surf the waves. How do you view localism in Bali? Well, yeah, the locals have absolutely no respect for anyone else. In a way it’s understandable, but also if it wasn’t for the bules, they wouldn’t even be surfing in the first place. So I don’t really know how to go about that. Is localism extended throughout the Bukit? It is in the main spots, but not in the other ones. Which ones have localism and which ones have not? The classic ones have it. Bingin, Padang-Padang, Uluwatu. The other ones don’t have it. Of the ones that don’t have localism, is there any first class? It depends on the day. For example? Impossibles and some spots in the south coast like Green Balls and others.

You were just saying how if this were your first time in Bali you wouldn’t come back or you would go to other islands, but by off-the-record conversation we know you rarely go on surf trips to other islands in Indonesia. Why is that? Because, like I said before, I don’t come here to surf anymore. I have a wife and three kids and I come to Indonesia to work. I’m lucky if I get a surf on Sundays. I don’t really have time to go to other islands. I am here for the amount of time I need to be in terms of my work and then I fly back home to Uruguay.

In what different ways has Bali given to your life? Has she been generous? Of course, everything I have is thanks to Bali pretty much. What do you mean by everything you have? The business I created, I created here, which allowed me to have my home on the other side of the world, so, really, everything I have in a material sense. Also, actually, I met my wife here. My two older daughters were conceived and have spent a lot of time here as well, so there is a lot of Bali in my life. So Bali, has given you much not only from the point of view of work giving you the opportunity to start a business and a career in the sandal-manufacturing business but also from the point of view of your family; what about from the spiritual growth point of view. Has Bali given you anything in that respect? It did in the early years. Not anymore. Partly because Bali is a different Bali and partly because I see Bali with different eyes. So Bali has given you from the point of view of work, from a material point of view, from the family point of view, and also from the spiritual point of view; how have you given back to Bali? Or how are you giving back to Bali? Well, I have a factory here so I give work to a lot of people. It’s the same people I have been working with from the very beginning. We are like a…uh… big family, sort of speak. So, I feel that that is a way of giving back. I don’t know.

You work in Bali with Indonesians and in the United States [where you market your products] with Americans, what is the difference between them in terms of work culture? I can’t really say, because the work that is done here is very different from the work that is done there. I can’t really compare one to the other. Is there, maybe, a characteristic that stands out from each that is different from the other? No, not really. Also I only work with two people in the States, the rest of the work is subcontracted, here I work with a lot more people and the type of work is different so it’s really hard to compare them. In general terms -not just about work ethics; what is the most distinctive personality feature of the Balinese, the Americans, the Uruguayans and the Argentineans. Well, you are comparing a western culture -Argentines, Uruguayans and Americans fall into a western culture-, to an eastern culture. There are a lot of basic common-sense things in the western world that are not so basic common-sense in Asia. That’s mainly the biggest difference. You know, things that you take for granted are quite not that way here. But, everything is achievable. It’s just a matter of time.

How would you like to see Bali evolving into the future? I don’t really know what you mean by evolving. How would you like to see Bali changing into the future? I don’t really think about it. The way it has changed in the past six to eight years, sets a trend that is going more towards a Miami, South Florida than to an Asian tropical island. I don’t really picture to myself how it will evolve. I don’ think it is going in the right direction; but who am I to say? I think blowing up cliffs to build massive horrible-looking resorts…uhh…I don’t really agree with that, but that’s how it’s done. They…uhh… like…cars…there! I just saw a nice Mercedes go by! Is there anything wrong about somebody driving a nice Mercedes in Bali? Nothing wrong with that, but it’s under what expense they do it. You know, they are blowing up everything and building everywhere and if that is what they want to do then… It’s their island. They can do whatever they want but I don’t…uh… So that is why I don’t really picture Bali’s future. I don’t really think, “oh, where is Bali going?” I don’t really think about it. Do you have a car? No. Do you have a car in Uruguay where you live? Oh, yes, I have. What kind of car? I have a 1995 Toyota Hilux truck. What engine? I don’t know. 2.8?

Have you ever built a house? Yes, I built my house. I mean I didn’t build it myself but, you know… Where is your house? In Uruguay. Can you describe the area? Yes, the house is on yellow sand dunes so we built it on stilts. Is it a crowded or country-feeling type of area? Country feeling. It gets crowded in the summer but empty in the winter. Do you recommend people to come to Bali? Yes I do, just like I recommend people to go to Las Vegas. It’s always good to go places at least once. We talked about Bali giving you from the work, the material, the family and the spiritual point of view. What about from surfing’s point of view? Has Bali given you in terms of your surfing? Of course! It has given me, I would say, 60% of what I know about waves. Do you have any memorable sessions from Bali? Yes! My most memorable sessions have been in Padang. Actually, three days ago, October 15th, 16th, I think, I surfed the biggest and best Padang I have ever seen. Was it crowded? Yes, very crowded. But there were waves. You know, Padang it’s not a wave that you catch one after another. You catch two in a session and they are the waves of your life. Speaking about waves of your life, you were just telling me, off the record, about the best barrel of your life at Padang. Can you tell us about it on the record? Well, I’m not sure how to tell it. It was a very nice and long barrel. I got in the barrel from the take off and I stayed inside the whole way, at moments I would get closer to the window and then back deeper and deeper and then closer and then deeper again, and then I made it out and got barreled again into the last section. That was a very nice wave. Big smile on your face? From ear to ear. Will you be coming back to Bali? Yes, I come every four months. Makasi Ignacio. Sama sama.

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