Imagine sitting on a comfy beanbag, on a white sandy beach, watching the sun go down behind a volcano, with pristine waters as far as the eye can see and one of the best waves on the planet pumping behind the reef. Imagine you're sipping an ice-cold Bintang beer too. Well that is exactly what François was doing when I managed to get hold of him over Skype.
François is a good vibes guru. He's spent most of his life in the outdoors. He is permanently tanned, dressed in colorful t-shirts and he's either barefoot or in flip flops. His hair is bleached by the salt and the sun, as he has been pursuing this tropical lifestyle for over 30 years.
Behind this relaxed look is an incredible entrepreneur. From sports instructor to textile guru, graphic designer and now hotel owner, François has always been a true pioneer. This guy knows what it is to be outside his comfort zone and how to overcome challenges, against all odds. From the French Alps to Sumbawa, Indonesia, François' path is a really interesting one. I first met François when I was living in Bali. To be honest, it's quite hard not to like François and his wife Natalia. At the time, they had just purchased the real estate, and were starting to create their dream, their very own surf camp in one of Indonesia's secret bays.
Fast forward 5 years, 2 volcano eruptions, countless earthquakes and a few hurricanes later, and François is still pursuing his dream with the help of his incredible wife Natalia, and kids Jaï and Vega. Together they have turned Scar Reef Lodge into a mini paradise on earth: a boutique hotel for surf lovers on one of the most pristine beaches of Indonesia. The cherry on the cake being obviously Scar Reef, the notorious world class wave and a couple of other perfect reef breaks within paddling distance.
In our conversation François shares the flukey story about how he found Scar Reef in the first place, and the challenges he has had to face ever since he's invested in Indonesia. Sometimes the postcard picture comes at a price, and François shares his knowledge with us. That said, he has created a pretty cool lifestyle on his « desert island ». We discuss what it's like to surf Scar Reef and although the break is renowned for its gnarly days (it's one of the most frightening waves of the planet when it's on), it is incredibly gentle and safe on small days. This is why François is now focusing on attracting longboarders to his boutique hotel.
I questioned François offline about the possible problem of getting longboards to Scar Reef Lodge. Problem solved, as the Lodge has a special taxi service for your longboards shipping them overland from Bali straight to the lodge in Sumbawa. François has also a quiver of longboards just in case yours doesn't fit on the plane. So if you're a single fin maniac, François will have you covered!
I would like to give a massive thank you to François for putting up with my crappy internet service. We must have made 30 attempts to connect on Skype. Thank you François for your persistance and for believing in this podcast! I hope you enjoy the episode, I personally adore François' French accent!
Enjoy the episode. In the meantime, take care, have fun and enjoy the waves!
Scar Reef Lodge: www.scarreeflodge.com
Son of Kite (Kitesurfing school in Mauritius): https://sonofkite.com/
Chrishanson Surfboards: https://www.instagram.com/christensonsurfboards/
Thomas Surfboards: https://www.facebook.com/thomas-surfboards-290331200434/
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You can find pictures of François in my article on Medium.com.
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