Way back in '04 I had my 50th birthday trip to Northern Sumatra. We shot an embarrassing amount of footage... boy, was it embarrassing, and I've been slowly editing it all.
My poor old (42-50) mates have waited a long time, so here fellas, is a taste.
For those of you who have no clue what you're seeing, this is Bawa, a break in the Hinako Islands, off Nias, which is off the northern coast of Sumatra, not too far from Bandah Aceh. The break was made famous by Tom Curren a few years earlier when he rode it at 12 feet on a tiny little Tommy Peterson Fish style board. After riding the wave all I can say is Tom - respect.
Of the crew on the trip, there were three regular foots, Robbie, Hec and me.
Robbie, just recovering from melanoma, avoided the sun like the plague, always wore a wettie, and while making a comeback after a long time away from the water, surfed in a lovely, relaxed style.
Hec was our doctor, and resident free spirit. The only longboarder on the trip, you can read more about Hec and his amazing exploits in the November archive.
Me, you can tell me because I have a dreadful habit of raising my left arm as I cutback or come off the top.
Of the goofies, we had Neil, Robbie's brother. An expert in artificial intelligence (couldn't I do with a bit of that), he doesn't appear in this sequence. Neil had the habit of 'paddling up the reef' to solo it at any opportunity. Nickname: Charger. I now know why.
Bim (real name Harold) was our best surfer. Usually riding a mid length board, he also ripped on Hec's long board, then kept borrowing our little boards and tore it up on them, too. He went short when he got home.
Marky organised the trip. Mark you'll see sipping a Bintang at the end. A human dynamo, Mark organised the trip, and entertained us every day. A long time top sailor, he's been in two Whitbread Round the World races.
Why'd ya give up surfing for so long, Marky.
... So I could ride 80 foot waves in the Southern Ocean.
And Rich, the guy I surf with more than anyone. You'll hear Rich pay out on me for "claiming" on the last wave in the clip. Top bloke, big smile, not much hair.
Also in the clip is spidery Aki, from the crew of Southern Cross, now one of the guides on Sumatran Surfariis. Knows the Ments and North backwards and a lovely, gentle soul. Plus, two Uruguayan rippers, living feral on the island, hop in to a couple and embarrass us.
That's about it.
Boys, if you read this, we've got to do it again before too long. To everyone else , don't laugh too hard.
It was a blast...perhaps you can join us next time.
PS: The tsunami of 04 struck three months after this footage was taken. The break hasn't been the same since.