Indonesia’s leading stand-up paddle board (SUP) athlete has set a new world record to be the first, and fastest, person to circumnavigate the island of Bali on a paddle board. Lukas Gallu Beko, 26, is from Sumba Island and works as a watersports instructor for SUP Bali.
He is an avid surfer, and kite surfer and set himself the challenge of circumnavigating the Island of the Gods to help raise awareness of the sport and the importance of protecting Bali’s coastal ecosystems.
Gallu set out on his 16-day journey from Sanur Beach on Saturday 2nd July. He completed his 435.75km journey in his predicted time and padded back onto Sanur Beach on Sunday 17th July to be met with a supportive crowd. He was presented with a MURI Record certificate from record-keeping officials. MURI is the Indonesian Records Museum, which can be found in Semarang in Central Java.
His 16-day journey was no easy feat and speaking to news outlets after he arrived on shore Gall shared that it took every ounce of his determination. He averages 35km a day on his paddle board and had to battle against the recent supermoon high tides and coastal storms.
On day ten Gallu paddled his longest stretch, an impressive 45km from Perjakan to Melaya. Gallu’s mission was not meant to be a solo affair. He was joined by friend and fellow SUP-er Mike Brumby from the UK who had to walk away from the challenge on day 12.
Gallu told reporters that the wind was his biggest enemy during the 16-day expedition. He was honest about his experience and shared how he even cried during particularly hard moments. He said ‘I am very proud and happy to be able to complete this challenge. The wind was an obstacle that made me cry in the middle of the trip. Because the wind made me spin in the middle of the sea and [I] even fell off’’.
Despite all the obstacles it was Gallu’s faith that helped him through. He shared that despite the sadness and difficulties ‘but I am still determined to complete this challenge, I can only join strong prayers on this journey’.
He went on to describe the physical toll the challenge took on his body ‘My body was shaking on the first and second day of this challenge. Because I still have to ride a stand-up paddle for up to 8 hours, and I do that every day until today [day 16]’.
During the 16-day mission, Gallu even found time to visit local schools. He talked to local children about his mission and introduced them to the fun and freedom that stand-up paddle boarding has offered him. He also spent time talking to the youngster about the importance of caring for Bali’s coastlines, including the need for beach clean-ups.
He said ‘There are 3 schools that I visited to socialize with them, about the importance of maintaining the cleanliness of nature, especially the beach. That is also a mission in this challenge’. When asked about what he hopes will be the legacy of his challenge Gallu explained that he hoped the younger generation in Bali would take up SUP as a sport.
Gallu explained that the sport is still new and emerging, there are many people across the world who are yet to be introduced to SUP. With Bali hosting the World Beach Games in 2023 there is an incredible opportunity for people across Bali to be introduced to beach sports at an elite level.
Gallu said ‘So if a lot of people like it, of course, it will produce new athletes and I hope that Indonesia can regularly hold this stand-up paddle competition’.
Representatives from MURI Records said that Gallu’s successful challenge was ‘rare and noble’ and they hoped the community would listen to his calls for the world to protect ocean ecosystems.
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