The Prettiest of Poisons

words by tsaqif  · photography by nicholas loo

It is a well-known fact in Canggu that you head to Pretty Poison on Thursdays to skate, party, get shit faced, get a tattoo or all the above. Located right at the heart of the Canggu shortcut, Pretty Poison was built in 2016 to provide a safe space for bowl skaters such as 26 year-old team skater, Ijhonk Rizki (@ijhonkrizki__). We caught up with him over a drink, a Burnside to be precise (a Pretty Poison special) as he shares his experience skating in Bali’s most arduous bowl.

Hailing from Sumatra, Ijhonk picked up skating at the age of 10 after being enthralled by his brother’s sophisticated manoeuvres on a simple wooden board. The general consensus in Indonesia’s bustling skateboarding scene is that you have to be skating in Bali at some point in your career. What was initially just a dinky subculture in Jakarta and Bandung has since spilled over to the sunny island and blossomed even further. It started off with Motion Skatepark changing the skate scene in Bali which was followed by an onslaught of international skate events such as Kuta Karnival. Following in the footsteps of many other Indonesian skaters, Ijhonk made the brave decision to move to Bali in 2017 where he would eventually revamp his whole skate methodology.

“I like street skating but I wish to learn everything, you can’t restrict yourself to just 1 style of skating”

Influenced by the dominant surf culture, bowl skating is BIG in Bali. And it came as a shock to Ijhonk who was only exposed to street skating at that point in time. He landed himself a job at the Pretty Poison merchandise shop while simultaneously learning how to skate the bowl. Designed after the pool bowls in the 80s, the Pretty Poison bowl is deemed a really hard bowl to skate at and has even attracted the likes of Ishod Wair, Pedro Barros and many other astounding skating personalities. Ijhonk describes it as close as you can get to skating on a wall. However, he eventually got the hang of it and has since been the highlight of Pretty Poison’s Thursday nights, always adding bits of street skating when he is pumping around the bowl.

As cliche as it may sound, Ijhonk has never worked a day his entire life, earning a living just from skating – winning skate competitions, getting money from sponsors and of course, skating at Pretty Poison. “It doesn’t even feel like work anymore. I just come here, meet up with my homies from all around the world and we just skate!” When asked what are some of the perks of ‘working’ at Pretty Poison, Ijhonk just laughed and described to us the Pretty Poison bonus – having girls flocking to him at the end of every night. As of now, the Pretty Poison team only consists of three guys including Ijhonk but there are always new faces skating the bowl and no two Thursday nights are ever alike. One thing’s for sure, there is always somebody in the crowd with a drunken bravado who attempts to drop in on the bowl, ends up eating shit and leaving Pretty Poison on a stretcher. Nevertheless, the vibe is always right at Pretty Poison and the brand is constantly growing as Ijhonk teases us with an upcoming Pretty Poison Southeast Asia Skate Tour video.