Lets you know where you are and where you need to be.
A local legend indeed (and not just for streaking down the track at the annual Deus Dress and Drag Race a few years back) ! Our next “Faces of Bali” has been described as a Godfather of Canggu. With a head that wears many hats and a passports which has done a few full tours of the world. Monty Montell has more then a few stories to tell. From restaurateur, photographer, surf comp judge, wedding planner, t-shirt maker, surf and skate memorabilia collector
(we mean museum quality and quantity), this list could go on and on and on…
We sat down to talk nostalgia, collecting and Canggu and got a whole lot more. This co founder of the local staple Canteen and Lifestyle brand Boomba has a lot to share.
When did you first come to Bali ?
In 1981. It was a surf trip. My mates and I were either heading to Sri Lanka or Bali.
We found a trio promotion to Bali for 600 Aussie dollars that included a custom surf board. We couldn’t refuse. Could you?
The trip was for 2 weeks I ended up staying for 6!
Where did you stay?
Poppies 2 in Kuta. We felt we were on the fringe because everyone was staying at Poppies One. It was an entirely different place back them. It was raw and rustic. The streets weren’t pathed. For food, it was whatever they had, jaffles and nasi!
There was a place called ‘Waltzing Mathilda” that served western food. It is was Bintang and burger joint.
Was it then that the Bali bug bit you?
Bali and the travel bug! J After my first trip to Bali, I was determined to come back. I was in and out for years. I was summoned by the waves and the cultural exposure here. It’s truly multicultural place; Muslims, Hindus and Christians all living together.
Who was traveling to Bali in the 1980’s?
The demographic was the nitty, gritty, murky people; surfers and backpackers. The surfers were mostly from Australian. A touch from Hawaii but that was it.
Everyone had a copy Tony Wheel’s “South East Asia on a Shoe String”, the Lonely planet precursor, under there arm, It was as though they were handing them out for free at the universities. Everyone had one.
After my first trip to Bali, I headed to Europe. I put down my surf board and travel inland, inspired by the people I met here. I crossed through Europe back into Asia, traveling through Pakistan and then turning to the Middle East making it to Iran .. this was in ’85!
When did you first come to Canggu?
Canggu has always been on the surf map. I first came in the 80’s. I came to surf but you couldn’t stay. It was all rice paddie’s. It was easier to get to Pererenan. There was a road leading to that beach. Then, it was the more popular side.
To get to Canggu it was easier to ride on the beach in low tide then try to find the road leading out there. It was a lot faster too! I have a photo of me doing wheelies on the beach in Canggu with a Yamaha DT 100. We’d hang out at the local Warung we nic named “The Chew n’ Spew”. Wayan, the owner, didn’t take offense. He actually made t-shrits with “Chew n’ Spew’ on them.
When did you decide to move here?
It was a chain of events. Janeen (his wife) and I always felt we wanted to make Bali a home for a while. On one of our trips to Nusa Lombogan house envy set in but it was on a family surf trip to the top end of Java that really sealed the deal. We met a couple up there doing relief work, helping the locals recover from the tsunami. It was there and then we decided to move to Indonesia. On our way back to (Australia) we passed through Bali. We spent our two days here exploring schools. Within three months we were back long term. It was a 1 to 3 year plan. That changed quickly. Haha
Life experience is everything. It’s great for the kids. We were happy to burn a bit of our savings away to make this happen.
Lets talk surf and skate memorabilia. Your an avid collector. Have you always been?
I love history and memorabilia. I’m great at dating things. I have a huge collections of old surf magazine’s dating back to the 1960’s.
My first job after returning to Australia was as a construction worker. On a site I found an old 1960’s long board. I loved riding it. That’s when the bug set in.
Later, as a flight attendant, when everyone else went shopping, I’d take ground time to hunt down vintage memorabilia.
Whatever I saw, I’d take it, skateboards, posters, surfboards, whatever
I couldn’t help it when I came to Bali. There were so many boards left behind on the beach in Kuta; in the wracks. They were just left behind. Not anymore.
Three most treasured pieces in your collection?
Most treasured, is ever changing, boards are treasured for multiple reasons e.g. how well they ride, who shaped, what brand, what shape, how it was acquired and how rare. I have a couple of mid 60’s boards that I love both are on loan to mates, a Bobby Brown shaped G&S and a Bob McTavish shaped Cord, I all so have a very nice 1980 Mark Richards twin fin in Canteen Cafe Canggu. I love the art work of the old school surf movie posters, in Canteen you will also see great examples but I do love “The forgotten Island of Santosha” poster. For a memorabilia item that I treasure, I have MP’s (Michael Peterson) 1972 Queensland Australia 1st place trophy. All treasured but if someone wants it more than me and offers more than I value Im happy to pass on!!
Most memorable story attached to collecting?
So many of the item’s that I own have a story of how I ended up with them. I have been to places I would never have been and meet people I would have never meet. One story that comes to mind was of a guy that was visiting Bali that loved Canteen. Not only did he love the burgers and coconut milk shakes (he still sends people in just for the coconut milk shake) but he loves all the surf memorabilia fit out. He told me he had a board under his house that I might like, Ive heard this a lot and is usually something I don’t care for and is over priced. This guy said I could have it and next time he comes over he will bring it for me. I shouted him lunch and thought I would not see him again. Then one day about a year later I got a call from the Canteen staff as some one was asking for me, I met a totally different guy to coconut milk shake boy. He was a mate of his that had carried a very heavy old 60’s longboard with him from central NSW AUST. I was blown away that this guy had done that, I was even more blown away when I released what the board was, a 1966, stringerless, stepdeck, Migdet Ferrerly…a very rare board that rides well and is a special shape from a special shaper.
Words to live by?
Family. Love. Friends. Travel. Experience
What can’t you leave home without?
What’s your Desert Island hit?
My funeral play list! lol
If you had to choose one ?
“Wild Horses” The Rolling Stones
Gelato. I live by the 80%, 20% rule! That’s for everything!
Are you ever to old to surf?
Favorite dish at Canteen?
The veggie burger with bacon on top! (yum)
Don’t forget the hash browns!
No regrets. I might have one, but i’m not going to tell you.
You learn from your mistakes.