Who exactly is Marlon Gerber?
I’m 24 years old. I was born in Bali and grew up here in Kuta. I live in my family’s hotel in Kuta called Un’s Hotel. We also have a couple of restaurants in Kuta, one is The Balcony which is in the hotel, the other is called Un’s Restaurant.
Where are you right now?
Right now I’m in the Balcony having a fruit salad with the boys.
What’s your family background?
My mum is from Madura, an island off East Java. My dad is a Swiss German. He was a hippie travelling around the world when he met my mum in Bali and never left… he’s been in Bali for thirty-five years now.
Tell us what you love about Bali. What is the essence of the Balinese surf experience?
To be a surfer, Bali is like heaven. It’s like being on a boat trip all the time but with so many things to do; massages, shopping, partying, massage with happy ending is also very popular here (laughs).
Are you a full-time photo pro or sometimes do contests?
I don’t do the WQS. We have our own tour here called the ISC (Indonesian Surfing Champs) and all the events are held in the best waves in Bali and elsewhere. I also do photo/video trips, that’s what I love the most.
What’s an average day for Marlon in Bali?
Wake up early, check the waves, go surfing, eat, surf again, hang out at the Balcony. It’s pretty cruisey here… I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
And you’ve been on the travel program in 2007?
This year I’ve been on trips to Oz, Morocco, California, Mexico and I did some trips around Indonesia doing photo and video shoots. My plan is basically to continue travelling and doing photo trips, to keep surfing and stay fit.
What about travel to Europe?
I’ve only been to Switzerland twice but I love it there, it’s one of my favourite places in the world. My dad is from a small town called Thun, it’s so mellow there.
I’ve surfed in Portugal before but had the worst waves and it was freezing cold. But I’d love to get some good waves over there, and a European sponsor… a Swiss bank would be pretty cool!
Bali seems to be the place the last few years with heaps of top Hawaiians, Americans and Aussie pros spending a lot of time there. That must be a pretty interesting place for influences, seeing all the top guys all the time…
It’s really cool that we get to see all the top guys surf in person… guys like Andy Irons, Kelly, Taj, Josh Kerr and heaps of others. It pushes my surfing when I surf with these guys. We do get quite a lot of kooks coming too though!
And having guys like D Hump and Taylor Steele living there, must come in handy in terms of getting exposure?
Yeah for sure, with those guys living here plus Nate Lawrence and Jason Childs, we definitely get more exposure in the international mags, it’s a pretty sick set up. And the waves are always pumping here so it’s easy to get the job done.
How has Bali changed since the terrorist attacks in 2002? Has it fully recovered?
I’d say Bali is better than ever now. You should see it at the moment, our hotel is fully-booked, and the water is as crowded as it’s ever been. Bali is crazy right now. It’s offshore all day here and all night too! There’re so many girls from all over the world it’s ridiculous.
What would be the advantages and disadvantages of being a pro surfer living there?
The advantages are meeting all kinds of people from all over, meeting the right people, and of course, our waves. The disadvantage is that when there are a lot of pros in town it gets really crowded… but it’s no big deal, you just have to surf the secret spots, ha ha!
Seems like there’s a crew of super talented Balinese surfers at the moment? Who are the top guys over there?
There are so many good surfers coming out of Bali it’s scary. The biggest problem is to get the boys to travel because home is so good they don’t want to leave. We get homesick really easily. But guys like Garut Widiartha, Mega, Raditya, Mustofa, One Anwar and Gazali. Watch out, one of these names’ll be popping up on the CT in a few years!
You must see anyone and everyone coming to Bali to surf from all over the world. Which nations seem to have the coolest surfers/people, which countries less so?
Shit, everyone’s pretty cool really. Some of the Hawaiians can get quite rowdy, Brazilians too. But here, if you give respect, you’ll get it straight back.
How do you see the localism factor at the top Balinese surf spots? Just right/not enough/too much?
Balinese surfers are too mellow sometimes, too nice. We should regulate the spots more and kick all the donkey’s asses!
What would you change about the place?
Kill all the corrupt motherf**kers pocketing all the money, and also sort out our rubbish problem.
If you could get barreled every day in Bali and just scrape a living, or go off and surf shitty waves all the time but get good coin, which would you chose?
That’s a tough one. I don’t think I’d do very well on the QS, it’s hard to get motivated for 1ft slop when you’ve grown up surfing in Bali so I think I’d just get barreled every day. Yeah… definitely barrels before money.