Day 3: Pros and Joes

Day 3: Pros and Joes

Today we arose to perfect Thunders again.  I was out shooting in the water before 7am with the boys getting in a session before the 4 other boats woke up.  4 boats usually mean 40 people at times.  Thats a lot for one break.  Once again the groms from Brazil were out throwing down.  I’m here to shoot my crew and not them so you won’t see any photos of them, sorry.  Thunders backed off a little from the day before but was still firing.  I swam out with my 50mm 1.2 and shot for almost 3 hours.  Came in for some brecky ( as Tim the chef would say) and then went back out after lunch to shoot again with the 50mm.  Shooting with the 50mm can yield some great results but is often less consistent than shooting from the boat or jet ski.  Quality in my opinion is more important than quantity!

Towards the end of this session the pack swelled to nearly 25, more than I have ever seen in the Mentawais.  We all bailed the lineup and headed back to the boat.  The consensus was made that we move on and find our own spot.  We headed south and squeaked in a last minute sunset session with the fading swell.  The light was great and the reef was shallow.  Christian found out by getting a tattoo of a reef scar on his buttox!    Ended the day pretty well and finally starting to not feel any jet lag after day 3!


Day 2: Straight into the green room!

Day 2: Straight into the green room.

We all slept like babies last night from the traveling and woke to a little warm up right Martin had taken us to.  I personally was still pretty jet lagged and felt a nap coming sometime today.  Everyone was up before dark and the crew on it by day light.  I headed out in the tin to shoot the first waves of the trip.  It was mellow and a little inconsistent but everyone got waves before another boat pulled up and a shift change preceded.  After everyone came in we went south, checked Macaronis where there were a handful of boats and even more people, so we continued on south to Thunders where we surfed the last day, last year.  Its a left breaking point with a barrel section that decided today it was gonna hand out some barrels.  Nader and the boys paddled out to an empty lineup and traded off on the double overhead sets.  Wes, Christian and finally Doug all lost their boards with snapped leashes.  They had to rock dance to the beach and collect it.  Wes’s board was picked up by a local while Martin made sure I was to take a picture of the kid as sometimes they take the boards.  Upon pulling up to the dry reef beach the boy kindly gave it back and thus we avoided conflict.  Today I shot entirely from the tender boat mostly because conditions didn’t really present a water shootable opportunity.  Another boat had pulled up mid afternoon session and a clinic started with some Brazilian groms tearing the place apart.  They were all very nice and gave respect.  Literally they put on a show.  Barrels, airs and destroying the lip.  My classic moment was sitting in the 17ft tender boat with Martin telling me stories on his life as I shot.  Like spending nearly a year with Slater, being the first to ever come out and explore the Mentawais and many others.  And of being the captain he is, telling it how it is.  “Mate, if the motor dies, put the cameras down and start paddling.”  Will do Martin!  We rounded out the day with myself and Skip going out for a little photo lesson while the sun dipped into the horizon and the brazilian groms kept dipping in and out of barrels.

Day 1: Red Eye’s revenge in Indo

Day 1: Redeye Revenge

We start out the trip meeting Skip and Kane at Octane surfboards in Pompano Beach, FL.  Skip had flown in from the Bahamas the day before.  Kane was still sanding his boards and spraying them….. with our flight taking off to Paris in 3 hours.  We booked it from there and we made it with plenty of time through MIA security.  First leg was Miami to Paris, easy 8+ hour flight.  Then Paris to Kula Lumpor, Malaysia about 13 hours.  Got about 1 hour of sleep.  Both flights were redeye flights.  Once in Kula Lumpor it took about 3 hours of collecting baggage, catching buses, rechecking baggage, two sets of customs, a search of my bags with my housings and then had about 3 more hours before we took our last little flight to Padang, Indonesia.  Nader and Cliff also met us just before boarding and the group swelled to 6.  Eventually there will be a total of 9 of us on this trip.  I went to a vendor in our terminal and asked for the largest empty box they had.  Earlier I had taken a blanket from the last flight in hopes to get some rest somewhere between flights.  My eyes by this time were blood shot.  Sleep was calling my name!  Super loud announcements, tile floors, tons of people walking by and I was still sound asleep.   The time came to board and we were on our way to Padang, Java.  A quick 45 min flight and then met up with Tim the cook on the boat and also were united with the 7th surfer on the boat Christian, and Aussie now living in Bali.  We all crammed into a van and headed to the port to meet the Indies Trader 3 and its crew by about 5 pm.  Wes, the 8th surfer from Oregon was already on board and had been in Padang for a few days.  Once aboard the boat after a small tender boat ride out to the Trader we settle in, unpack and get underway for the 11 hour trip into the night out to the Mentawai Island chain.  Somehow on my carry on, one of my 1d Mark 3 bodies had a cracked screen.  $500 loss to start the trip kinda was a bummer.  We all sat down and had a nice dinner and listened to the stories of our legendary capatain, Martin Daly.  Martin pioneered surfing the Mentawai islands 30 years ago.  Without a doubt a legend in the history books of surfing.  Sleep was long overdue and I settled into my bunk and the rocking of the boat.

Ben Hicks