Bali surf shop aims to ride high with reopening

The surf may still be up in Bali, but for the best part of 18 months, surfboard rental business owner Halfia London has been struggling.

Her company is one of hundreds crippled by the Indonesian government's decision to suspend international flights to and from the island from April 2020 because of the global health crisis.

The shutdown stripped away almost all her business virtually overnight, plunging her into debt.

"Even just for my meals, I have had to borrow some money, which I have never done before. Our life and activities were all in the water, on the beach, surfing, and then suddenly there was nothing, It's really sad, we are very sad."

Halfia has kept her doors open for the few local customers still around, offering two-hour rentals for around $10 - half the pre-pandemic price.

There was some hope this week when the government announced it would reopen Bali on October 14 to travellers from 18 countries, including China, New Zealand, and Japan.

Visitors will be required to quarantine for five days at their own expense.

"The customers we most anticipate are those from countries like Australia and South Korea, and those are the countries which have the biggest impact on the surfing business."

Bali, where tourism accounts for more than half the economy, has been particularly hard hit by the health crisis.

The once thriving holiday spot has been eerily quiet for months, with hotels, restaurants, and beaches shuttered and thousands of hospitality jobs gone.

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