Expeditions / Indonesia / Journals /

Day 22 - Lagundri Bay, Nias and a building swell

Day 22 - Lagundri Bay, Nias and a building swell

on: November 6th, 2012


DO NOT mix a long day of surfing, malaria medication, sun and Indonesia with big bottles of cheap beer. Not a healthy combination. Ha. I woke with an intense headache and overall hangover. Dylan was already surfing. I slowly made my way to the balcony which had clearly become everyone’s vantage point for checking out the surf, the girls and exchanging stories of the surf. I ordered the greasiest possible breakfast and quietly watched from the hammock.  After Dylan returned from a less than impressive day I made my way out for the afternoon session.

Nothing special, but a Brazilian who had been at the camp for 1 month informed me of a rise in swells over night. 5-6ft was the prediction.

Dylan as always was keen to surf anything he could get his hands on, and by luck, the predicted swell had slowly arrived later that afternoon. He paddled out into some of the best surf of his life.

We decided it would be wise to get to bed early and prepare for our final day of epic surfing in Lagundri bay.

Day 23 – Keyhole Surf Camp – Monster Waves! OH MY GOD!
I raced out to the balcony in my jocks at the early hour of 6am to find not one person out in the surf. I dashed back to the room to wake Dylan and inform him of the good news. He didn’t seem too interested. Maybe the 3 surf sessions he did yesterday had taken a toll on him and he needed another hour of sleep. A jumped out through the keyhole in the uplifted reef and paddled over to the break. A local then immediately shouted, “Go, go go, paddle!” I was kicking as hard as possible and then looked behind me to find a 2 meter wall of water racing towards me. The reef then did its part and helped the wave break over and create a massive barrel which I just managed to get in. With the wave pushing me along at an incredible speed I needed to slow down and control myself as I was clearly riding the biggest wave in my short surfing life. I soon heard a loud “Yeeha” from an American surfer paddling out. He’d obviously seen me and was excited. My confidence was now up and it was time to play with the wave. Cutting back and forth, carving the water and attempting a 360 degree turn saw me surfing the best wave I have ever surfed. The wave then died off and I pulled out and began the long paddle back to the start.

I wasn’t as lucky for the rest of the session as I soon found myself inside the break. Sure enough a bomb set came through. I just managed to duck dive the first wave. As I popped up further down the line, the second wave hit and I had only half a second to grab a big lung full of air. I went down for about 13seconds. I was pushed down so deep I couldn’t see the top as the white water thrashed me around everywhere. The only way I knew which way was up was to follow the leash on my board. I kicked and kicked before finding the surface. Another quick second to grab a breath and the final wave hit me. I threw the board away and tried to dive as deep as possible in order to not get affected by the powerful body of water. It thrashed me around again and I found it impossible to swim or kick against the heavy water. As I let the wave push me around I once again followed my leash and kicked. However this time with the wave being so powerful, I wasn’t able to hold my breath so long and found myself inhaling water in the final few feet before resurfacing. I made it to the top, grabbed my board and threw up salt water. This was without a doubt the most scarred I have ever been. The power of the wave is incredible and dangerous. I made my way in as I called it a day. I told Dylan of my story and he headed straight out on the canoe to grab some once in a lifetime footage. The photos and video he captured were incredible and really showcase the wave that is Lagundri Bay!

Dylans Diary - ”It was a great session, one of my best. Rian and I were filming on the reef that afternoon and we were really close to the action. The swell was building and the wind was dying off, a classic Indonesian afternoon. I couldn’t wait any longer and at 5pm I jumped in at the Keyhole. After having 3 surfs the previous day my confidence on the wave was getting better, knowing where to sit in the crowd, knowing that the current pushes you deeper into the wave and especially knowing not to take the first wave of a set (learnt the hard way there).

I couldn’t catch enough waves, they just kept on rolling through. The rotation of guys in the water is interesting, at one stage there are 4 or 5 and then the next half an hour its crowded. The keyhole makes it so easy to paddle out.

By about 6pm the waves were perfect, tide dropping and no wind. A huge set came through about 8 waves and co-indecently enough there were 8 guys in the water. The second last wave was mine, I wasn’t at the peak but I knew it would barrel down the line. It picked me up and I was straight into the most perfect barrel of my life. Came out with another section in front of me and straight through that as well. On the paddle back out I got a few compliments, which made my day.”