The end of our second week in Indo. More waves, and plenty more rain. A tropical system settled in for the week so there was a fair bit of wind and some pretty serious squalls. It is the wet season after all. Inclement weather isn’t an issue as you’re getting wet all day anyway!
Luckily the island chain we’re in has plenty of nooks and crannies were you can find an offshore wave no matter what the winds doing. It does however entail a bit of travelling, and when the wind chop is hectic the ride down can be a bit bumpy. Always worth the effort though.
Christmas came early, with a decent swell hitting on the 23rd and turning on one of the regions premier waves. A small corner of reef in front of a local village that is a real barrel machine. Super hollow, which means super shallow. So you pay to play.
Total crowd on this day? Four. Coulda been 5, but I opted to stay in the boat and take some shots. Cos it was big and barrelling – neither of which are my preferred surf options. Decided I’d get far more pic’s than waves! It’s a really shallow reef, so as you’re looking over the ledge all you’re seeing are gnarly looking coral heads which appear to be no more than 2ft under water.
A bit of skin was donated to reef, but nothing too serious, and the crew were frothing over how good the surf was and that there was no-one around.
On the 24th we were on our way back to the resort from a surf and had to stop at a local village to fetch one of the staff members. Each day we get a big bag full of chips, oreo's and chocolates as snacks for the boat trip, so Garth decided to swim over to the village to give it to the local kids. They were super stoked, and said "thank you Santa!" (the majority of people are Christians in these islands)
Christmas day dawned with a howling wind and enough rain to fill PE’s dam’s in about 30 minutes. Sanity prevailed and we opted to give the morning surf a miss in favour of a lie-in and a big fry-up brekkie. Thankfully the weather cleared and the Christmas Olympics could take place. Introduced the Aussies to the Indo version of Jukskei – who can throw the Bintang bottle closest to the coconut!
Christmas lunch included a massive tray of prawns, which had a classic lil coconut tree garnish as its centrepiece. Complete with olive cocounuts!
Injury count so far not too bad. A few brushes with the reef here and there, a fin to the inner thigh (bruised not sliced thankfully), plenty of mossie bites, but otherwise unscathed.
The weather looks to be clearing up for this week, which should open up a bunch of new surf options with the winds switching round. Gotto admit it’s actually quite nice surfing in overcast conditions as you don’t get quite as fried, plus been a good excuse to wear my Billabong Surf Capsule. Been a life saver on the slightly nippy days and saving my ribs big time. All the fresh rain water pouring into the sea from the creeks and rivers tends to drop the temp a few degrees.
The sun’s hectic on the equator, but 8h30 you’re already feeling it starting to fry, and on the windless days by midday it’s like sitting in the oven with the grill element turned on. Sticking to long sleeve rashies and caps to keep protected. Already have a bunch of new converts to our cap leash idea. Everyone hates the traditional surf caps with the chin straps, so the option to wear your normal cap is a win. Two clip swivels, a piece of string and a lil ribbon loop sewn onto your rashies and ya good to go. Guess if I actually spent some time in the barrel I wouldn't need a hat.....like this lightie!
Found some amazing sunscreen here at the resort. Actually made by some mates of the owners in Bali. Called Surf Yogi. All natural ingredients, that include coconut oil, cocoa, honey and zinc. Works like a treat. Pop it on in the morning and it stays stuck to your face the entire day til you wipe it off. Love the stuff. No smell, no fuss, works like a bomb.
Charts looking like we’ll have a coupla small days at the start of the week then some seriously solid swell pulling in later. A 20 second period swell is pretty solid for these parts. Holding thumbs the winds stay light, which looks like will be the case.
Could see some big barrels…and me safely on the boat taking pics of them!
It’s actually nice to get a few small days, as then you don’t feel to guilty to spend a morning or arvo on the island just chilling out – most days are full-on surf missions, so to have a lie in followed by a swim in the pool and parking off under the coconut tree reading a book is a welcome change occasionally.
Trying to keep a bit of fitness up by hitting the jungle track a few times a week. It’s a kilometre out and back, and entails dodging hermit crabs, iguana's and tree roots – the turnaround point being a gazebo at the end of the track that overlooks one of the area’s primo waves. A super scary big right that sucks up below sea-level before rifling off down the line. You fall, you bleed, guaranteed. They only let the really good surfers out there, else they’d spend too much time picking bits and pieces of the average Joe off the reef.
When it’s on it’s one of Indo’s better waves, and has been featured in many surf movies over the years. Nice from far. Far from nice.
Might just do its thing later this week…..
And on the seventh day it stormed. And we rested. Finally!
Yip, it’s safe to say summer in Indo beats summer back home. Just locked in 6 straight days in the surf, and been having some super fun waves. Bit of a mission to get here but well worth the effort. Stayed overnight in Padang as our flight out to the islands was an early one.
One night in Padang teaches you that lots of things are optional in Indo. Wearing a helmet when riding your scooter. Optional. Driving on the right side of the road. Optional. Using lights on your bike at night. Optional. Stopping at red robots. Very optional. Smoking your ciggie whilst on your bike. Definite. Carrying at least 3 other people with you. Definite. Add a dog. Definite. And yet it all seems to work. In a chaotic kinda way.
The teeny charter plane that brings you over to the resort is just that, teeny. One seat either side of the “aisle” and they take out all the seats on the one side so the boards can stack in. The breakfast snack box consisted of a coke and a chocolate bar. Guessing Tim Noakes diet ain’t big over here.
It’s hard not to spend the entire flight with your nose pressed against the window, cos as you fly over the myriad of lil islands you can’t help but spot wave after potential wave. A guy on a motorbike buzzes up n down the runway a coupla times before you land – to chase off meandering goats and cows and the kids playing soccer on the tarmac.
A short walk from the “airport” (hut with a fence around it) and down to the jetty where the resort boat is waiting to whisk you over to the island. The resort is on its own island, with a beautiful calm white sand beach fringed by swaying palm trees. Welcome to paradise.
Latitude Larry, the resident Labrador, gets his froth on when new guests arrive and swims out to greet you.
Days at the resort follow much the same pattern. Wake up early to get on the boats by 7, and head out for the day hunting the surf. The closest wave is about 10 minutes away, the furthest about 1h20. What’s cool is that outta season the resort guests are the only surfers in the entire island chain, so the only peeps you’re gonna see in the water are those on the boat with you.
Weather can be a bit inclement this time of year, as it’s the rainy season in Indo. They get more rain in 30 minutes than we probably get a whole year! But the squalls tend to be over as quickly as they start, and the sun’s back out in no time.
The resort consists of 2 big houses with a central restaurant area. Each house has its own surf guide and boat, accommodating 8 surfers a piece. We lucked into a quiet week to start with, as there’s just us and 2 other guests in our house – meaning maximum crowd in the water is four! It means a super chilled vibe in the surf and plenty of waves for everyone.
Also had my Brazilian surfer stereotype turned on its head. Generally the travelling Brazzo’s we’ve encountered on our trips have been pretty hectic out in the water – snaking each other, let alone anyone else in the water. So it was with trepidation we learned one of our crew was a Brazzo. Turns out he’s a lekker ou. He explained to us it’s the Brazzo’s from Rio you have to watch out for, as they’re the aggro ju-jitsu hustle, drop-in and snake eejits you associate the Brazilian surfer stereotype with. The guys from down south, Sao Paulo area, are way more chilled in the water. Was funny to hear him go on about how the southern guys hate the northern guys cos of the bad rap they give travelling Brazilians.
He went banana's when Medina won the world title. He said Brazil was like a morgue after the disastrous World Cup and everyone's hopes were riding on Gabe. We had random shouts of celebration from him all day, and then had to blow the boats horn when we got back to the camp. The Brazzo's are passionate as hell about surfing, so no doubt celebrations would have gone on long into the night in every coastal town in Brazil.
Surfs been super fun, we’ve already had 6 full days in the water. Waves were pretty average the first 2 days, but the last 4 have been awesome. Nothing big, but just a selection of chest to slightly overhead perfect peelers. A smorgasbord of lefts and rights, points and sucky lil reefs. And with only 4 peeps in the water, it’s hard not to catch bunch of waves. A lot of the time there’d just be 2 of us whilst the others took a break. Reckon have already had more waves in these few days than in the past 2 months at home.
Had my first session with my Billabong Surf Capsule, and was stoked it saved my ass. Literally. Bounced on my butt on the reef after ending up in a really shallow section and the neoprene did a good job of softening the blow. Beats picking bits of coral outta my bum. Plus it’s such a bonus to have a bit of padding on your ribs after a few days.
Went left for the first time in about 10 years. Bit like driving a car without a steering wheel as have absolutely no idea what I'm doing, but such a perfect lil peeling left to practice on reckon I might even be able to do a turn backside by the end of the trip.
Coming back after a full days surfing is usually followed by a jump in the pool, a coupla beers and then some epic chow. By 9pm everyone’s shattered and hits the sack. Just to repeat it all again the next day. Tough holiday to beat!
Hopefully week 2 will be more of the same!
Yoh, another shocker of a week surf-wise. Nothing much happening in the bay at all. Thankfully a bit of swell picked up for the annual Sunset Night Surfing Classic, which was a lekker event. Check out the Comps Blog for a full wrap, results and pics here.
Seemed like if you made the trek out the bay to the Wildside you might not only luck into surf, you might also get accosted by a bunch of chicks - like this smiley surfer who Luc Hosten coerced into posing with a group of ladies he was out there shooting.
Seems to be more surf in China than PE at the moment. Grant Beck is over there surfing for the SA team in the GoPro World Longboard Champs. Unfortunately all the EC locals in the team are out of the comp, but no doubt still having an amazing time in Ching-chong land.
Epic fail by this Volvo Round the World team who managed to park there very expensive yacht on the reef in the middle of the night whilst screaming through the Indian Ocean. Someone obviously didn't enter waypoints in all that well that they tried to make a shortcut across the Chagos Islands. Ooooops.
John John Florence pipped perennial favorite Kelly Slater to take the win in the annual Surfer Poll awards this week. Changing of the guard? Saffa's got represented by Jordy who took a 5th possie in the poll, and Grant Twiggy Baker who won the Heavy Water award - legend!
Surfs looking good for the last event of the year- the Billabong Pipe Masters. The waiting period has begun and looks like some heats will hit the water soon enough. Only thing is that there's lank sand on the reef at the moment, which is making things pretty treacherous out there. Need some swell to clean it all off. Who's it gonna be for the win?
Speaking of Billabong- look who's opened a store in Walmer Park. Spotted it this week on one of my very infrequent visits to the mall. Allergic to all forms of shopping unless it's a surf, sports or fishing store! Sure this will be a welcome diversion for those ou's getting dragged around the mall on Saturday mornings....
Spotted these classic T's too. Should make a good Christmas stocking filler for the surfer in your life.
Popped in to the sports shop to grab a soccer ball for our trip to Indo - cos best exercise is a game of footy with the boaties after a day out surfing. Spotted this ad for one of those fitness bangle thingy's. Gonna have to say that ou doesn't look too well balanced on that board! Why is it that when marketing peeps try use surfing in their ad's they make such a hash of it??
Stoked to get this kiff Motion drypack backpack from Oakley to make sure I get my camera safely from boat to shore when swimming in to go shoot from the island. Usually have to swim chucking my drypack in front of me like a waterpolo ball which is such a mission, and then also end up getting pounded in the shorey whilst trying to hang on to it. So this will be a welcome change - just chuck it on my back and swim in - too easy.
Full-on packing mission at the moment as leave to Indo this week. Making some lil hat-strings to keep hat on head whilst surfing cos having to swim in to fetch it when it gets washed off is such a hack. Paranoid about the sun so always in a hat in the tropics. Kiff excuse to fire up the blow-torch. Never seen a creme brulee in it's life, but burnt plenty of bits and pieces of my DIY surf kit efforts.
Always a challenge to make the baggage limit requirements, but found a neat trick to keep my case a bit better sorted. Can get things called Case Tidy's, which are lightweight cloth zipper bags you pack your kit into. So instead of arriving the other side and everything is a skommel, now it's all vas in it's lil baggie. Reckon it's gonna work a treat.
Nothing smells better than a fresh stick. Nothing. Picked up hubby's new 6ft3 Gobbler by Greg Smith. More of a bigger wave version, with a pulled in tail, slight hip and sharper rails. For those overhead days when you don't want the tail sliding out on you. Stephen van der Watt did an epic spray job on her under some serious time constraints. Hopefully it'll see some good waves in the next 2 months....