Tony Stanton meets sons Daniel and Rory Suwenda – whose father helped bring Oakley to Bali. Photos: Anthony Dodds.
Guys, in any other country we’d ask which one of you is the older … but this being Bali I guess we can assume Wayan Daniel came first?
D: It’s pretty obvious.
Made Rory, what was it like growing up with Wayan?
R: When we were younger we always argued about everything – even small things like who got the blanket. Remembering that just makes me laugh, how immature we were. Well a lot has happened between my brother and I since then. This year I’ve seen a big change in him, I mean in a positive way. Which makes me very exited to work together for our parents’ businesses and legacy.
Wayan Daniel, was he the annoying younger brother who you couldn’t shake off?
D: No, he wasn’t. I was the big brother who always got him into a lot of trouble, while I was the one how always enjoyed the fruits of his crimes. Like stealing mom’s spare change to play video games … and he copped it all.
We’re assuming your dad taught you guys to surf? At what age was that?
D: I think I was 14. But I didn’t like standing, so I went for the boogie board.
R: Dad taught me to surf at the age of 13, and then I became really serious about it. He tried when I was like eight, but it was too scary at that age.
Tell us about your dad …
D: He was an incredible man. He had his own sense of humour, a party boy, teacher and a really amazing dad. He was really open about life, he taught us how to enjoy ourselves but still be responsible at the same time, especially towards our banjar, temple and family. I miss that crazy guy. We had a great time.
R: Dad wasn’t just a father to me but he was also like my closest friend … we shared jokes, stories and experiences and I try to follow in his footsteps. I still see dad as the best role model. He was close to everyone, not only in the surfing industry but the whole of the Bali community, because he supported and got behind us all. Whenever I go to pray at the temple there are a lot of people who remember how he helped them.
Did you guys ever argue?
D: Yes, but I don’t think “argue” is the correct word. We are living in two different cultures, and dad always taught us to balance our lives.
R: Yes … but only when I was a teenager. Dad always taught us to be disciplined and we tried to follow his instructions. Sometimes I didn’t listen.
What was Kuta like when you were at school?
D: I remember there were more coconut trees. I used to play behind my house and there were always people planting sweet potato and watermelon next to our house. Now all you can see are convenience stores and budget hotels.
R: I miss the old Kuta.
When did you first start working with Oakley?
D. Just after my old man passed away.
R: I became involved with Oakley right after dad died. Before that dad didn’t allow us to visit or get involved with Oakley and I don’t know why he made that decision.
What’s your Oakley day like?
D: Bitchin’ people around, all motivated with spiritual and universal boost. We are here to work as a family, Oakley is what we are.
R: There is always something new to learn and be proud of about Oakley, especially the technology that goes into specific products. It’s a science wrapped in art. I’m proud to be a part of this brand.
What’s the best product Oakley has ever made?
D: Oakley makes the best lenses in the world, but my favorite product is the Oakley watch, Full Metal Jacket. It costs US$10k. I own one, and I will order another for next year.
R: For me it’s the eyewear.
Do you import stuff into Indonesia or is any of it made here?
D: Yep, all imported.
What plans do you guys have for 2014, Oakley – wise?
D: To expand the retail business through branding and brand Identity.
R: We plan to open more retail stores, and spread the story about the brand.
What else is going on in your lives?
D: I’m focusing on making parties and festivals, producing and DJ-ing this year.
R: Just the average stuff, trying to find my future wife, lol … at the moment I’m studying agriculture direct from farmers and people involved. I’d like to make an eco-agricultural tourism site in Bali but before that I have to start from the bottom … and see what will happen.
What do you think is good about the changing face of Kuta? And what’s bad?
D: The bad side is that Kuta is out of control, people are not taking notice of the rapid development and the changing face of the culture, the authenticity and the experience of tourism. The positive thing is that more people are aware of it and that’s just what we need. But we all need a stronger voice.
R: Positive: there are a lot of jobs for local people so they can have a better future. Negative: there are too many vehicles in Kuta; the traffic jams … pollution, that’s going to increase year by year.
Ok here’s one for you. You’re driving along a road far from anywhere – it’s the middle of the night. There’s a large stag injured and thrashing about in the middle of the road, blocking your path. You can’t get past it, and if you turn around you’ll need to drive for five hours to the nearest town. What do you do?
D: I’d find the nearest banjar and tell them to carry it away and make satay!
R: Ok … if I was driving a 4WD I’d try to find shortcut and pass it. Then I’d call a fireman and a vet for the injured stag.
Yin and yang, thanks so much for your time.