Surfing for P.E. at the Green School in Bali
First published on My Life On Board on December 3, 2013.
What if your life as a student was something like this? You’re up at 5 in the morning to tend to the vegetables. And on your way to the tomato patches, you catch glimpses of the solar panels powering the school. You run across a majestic bamboo bridge to get to your next classroom, where you see your classmates leaving their slippers outside the door. From here on, you all go barefoot. After two more classes and some afternoon yoga, you’re finally ready to go surfing— your favorite subject.
This is what I imagine a day at the Green School to be. Situated in a lush Balinese mountainside an hour away from Kuta, the Green School was built to give students a holistic education shaped by environmental awareness. In these classrooms without walls, nature is truly the way to nurture.
The greener side of studies
The Green School believes that teaching sustainability as early as the primary years is the key to building a sustainable world. When the school opened in 2008, they became the pioneers in pairing first-hand environmental education with the rigorous standards expected of institutions for higher learning. The Green School teaches students from all over the world, starting from the early years up to the high school years. The students learn not just academics as they live out sustainability, diversity and creativity in the rich outdoors.
Isabel and Melati from grades 6 and 7 respectively, came out with a petition encouraging the Governor of Bali to enact a law banning the use, sales and production of plastic bags in Bali. Their goal is to reach 1 million signatures worldwide by tapping into the extensive reach of social media.
Here in these solar-powered bamboo huts and in this sprawling farm landscape lies the new generation of global thinkers, determined to take charge of building a safer and more sustainable world.
The Green School is also home to the Green Waveriders Academy (GWA), a specialist provider of surfing education. Their goal is two-fold: to offer tailored surf coaching that will improve water skills and deepen one’s passion for surfing, and to help build professional credentials needed to enter the fast-growing surf industry.
“We made the program because I wanted to surf more,” Colin Kuit, the GWA director, says jokingly.
Their program is certified by the Academy of Surfing Instructors (ASI) in Australia and is supported by Quiksilver. Bali Learn To Surf Co., the first surf school in Bali, manages the classes. A percentage of their profits goes to the Indonesian Scholarship Fund to sponsor aspiring local surfers. Matt Scarff, owner of Bali Learn To Surf Co., and Roxy rider Lorraine Lapus are among GWA’s talented team of ASI-certified coaches and lifeguards.
GWA students get to surf various breaks in Kuta, Canggu and Serangan, as well as go on trips to Bali’s world-famous breaks in East Java, Medewi, West Bali and G-Land.
The GWA also offers waterman training, which includes lifeguard skills, first aid and ocean fitness to increase one’s competence in and out of the water.
So it’s back to the Green School after an afternoon of learning how to ride waves with style and ease. A student hangs his board shorts across one of the many bamboo poles that support the humble hut he calls his second home. In another part of the school premises, a group of kids start a bonfire and the night air is soon filled with the faint thumping of djembes and chatter about the day that just ended.
They all can’t wait for tomorrow.