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Boat bound in the Mentawais.....

Day 1

I Landed in Jakarta after 15 and a half hrs in the air and headed to the JHotel for a few hours kip, the surrounding area was a bit sketchy and I thought, oh man kris you have fucked up ;0 best £18 ever spent thou, air con and a soft bed.

In the morning the hotel sorted my ride back to the airport, it's funny as soon as the taxi driver finds out your English they assume you love football and real off all the teams they know, usually starting with Man U, I was like dude I hate football, rugby and body boarding only, ha needless to say the rest of the ride was silent.

I'm a great believer in Karma so I gave the guy a good tip and headed back in to Jakarta airport.

I Tried to look for some burban for stevie but as it was only a domestic flight there was no duty free.

I got on the bus to the plane and I saw a wisely guy coming out the sliding doors, the only non-Balinese person actually and as he squeezed his way on to the bus he looked up and said “Kris ?” , hey I replied.

That’s the thing I love about these trips, you can be on the other side of the world on your own and suddenly a friend, ok only from a group chat of similarly like minded Bodyboarders but non the less, it’s cool.

As we both waited anxiously for our boards we chatted about shit both nervous because without boards the trip would be fucked, but they arrived and we both set off to the exit.

As we walked out into the humidity a girls voice said Stevie Maher?

As easy as that we were slinging our kit into a little air conditioned combo van and heading off into Padang.

The van pulled up into some back alley and we both looked at each other, we gingerly got our stuff out and headed to a metal sliding door, it was like being at some dodgy back street garage in the arches at Vauxhall, London apart from it was 40 deg and humid with a backdrop of jungle and the dirtiest polluted river running adjacent.

Inside thou we met Dave our guide and the walls were covered in massive pictures of some of the best waves you have seen in your life. There were air conditioned bedrooms, a big TV room and the friendliest staff and stock of the coldest bintangs on the top floor with cool timber seating and a pool table. It was the perfect spot to rest and get to know each other before the adventures began.

I recognised one of the surfers in a pic as we walked upstairs, it was Manu Granu our photographer from the trip last year.

As we got to the top floor there he was, Stevie Maher propping up the bar, something was different thou, instead of a mug of Jim Beam and coke he was sipping coffee.

Stevie introduced me and Justin to the other boys, Mark and Kieron the other English,

then Rob the Kiwi, Damien and Scott the other Aussies then Gus the Brazilian and finally Grattan the Saffa as he arrived a little later.

We shot some pool, Grattan was a total hustler, watched some Bodyboarding vids and drank Bintang’s, Scotty more than most and just waited patiently until we could board the boat.

We were due to board at 6 pm, at around 4 pm the heavens opened, the rain and the wind were horrific, I’d seen tropical rain in various countries but it usually only lasts half hour or so, this just kept going.

Dave made an announcement, he said “ boys it’s real stormy out at sea and we are going to delay our set off time to give chance for this storm to pass” we were disappointed and cracked on with the bintangs.

At about 8.30 pm Dave appeared again and told us we should board the boat and we would leave the dock at midnight, so that’s what we did.

Day 2

At about 2 am I was woken up by a loud crack, I thought what the fuck is that.

I tried to get out of my bed but couldn’t, the boat was getting thrown around, the swell was playing havoc, this went on for a couple of hours, I managed to find my travel sick pills and quickly took two of them, I looked at my clock at 4 and the boat seemed calmer, I went upstairs to top deck and was confused, I could see the main land.

I was pretty tired and the crew were buzzing around so I went back downstairs and climbed back into bed.

At around 8 am the same noise woke me, crack, I thought the boat was going to split into two, I’m not joking my first thoughts were of that movie perfect storm.

It was fucking horrendous, the travel tablets were just about working.

The rocking got worse coupled with the waves we were going up and over, I started to get clammy and then full on sick.

I tentatively made my way up to the middle deck, I was getting thrown from side to side and things were falling off shelves, I had never experienced anything like it in my life.

This wasn’t fun but I kept telling myself at the end of it there would be the sickest waves waiting for me.

I just made it to the toilet and I chucked up everywhere, I was having to hold on for dear life.

After 10 mins of throwing up I managed to get back downstairs, somehow got into my top bunk and I shut my eyes.

I lasted an hour then the clammyness turned into full on sweats and I had to make that same journey, the boat was moving so much I wished a big hole would just open and swallow me up.

I puked this time all over my feet and my hands, what a state I was.

I cleaned up got back to bed popped 2 travel tablets and thankfully passed out.

I woke again at around 4 pm and things were much calmer, I went upstairs and could hear the boys sharing stories of the night before.

The lads in the room up on the top deck had it the worst, the two boys in the top bunks couldn’t even get in bed the boat was rocking so much, Justin had been holding on to the fire extinguisher at one point because it was secured to the floor and Scotty had wedged himself in the doorway just watching shit getting flung around the deck.

I asked Dave “What the fuck happened man”

Apparently we left dock at midnight but two hours in the storm was that bad at sea that we had to head back to Padang for safety, he said it was the worst conditions he had seen in the last five years.

We had set back off again with the high tide at 6 am and the conditions were just about bearable, for Dave anyway, I never want to experience that again.

All ended well, at about 5.45pm however I could see a familiar looking island approaching, I had so many great memories from last year and finally I could see A Frames approaching.

Without any hesitation even though the sun was rapidly setting and we only had half hour of light, we got out the boards, got them waxed and jumped in the speed boat.

Within minutes the 30 or so hours of travelling evaporated and I was paddling my new Milk board into it’s first wave, fuck it felt good, this is what it’s all about.

The boys traded waves until after dark when we then reluctantly paddled back to the boat for dinner and a few bintangs.

Day 3

We were up at first light and Dave had parked us half way between Bank Vaults and Nepussi, I remember last year watching Bank vaults maxing at 8ft plus and this year no one was on it so we figured it was too shallow on the reef so opted to paddle for Nepussi.

From the boat you can’t see the wave you have to gauge the size and shape from how much it blows at the rear, there was quite a few guys out so we paddled over.

We were greeted with 4 ft plus wedges with some 6ft faces and about 20 stand ups, the reef was deep so it was game on.

It took about 15 mins before someone got a wave I think it was Gus, he had the biggest smile on his face, he smacked the lip and had a nice roll.

Mark, Rob and Kieren sat on the inside, I paddled over to where Gus had taken off and I waited patiently, it paid off, I had two or three nice ones no airs but some tasty deep barrels.

Justin joined the line up shortly afterward and stole the show, on one wave he was covered up for a good 6-8 seconds and made it out, the camera was only pointed in one direction, down the barrel.

Rob and Kieron were snagging some nice ones then Mark came and joined us on the outside and got rewarded with a nice little cover up for his troubles.

After about two hours we were surfed out and headed back to the boat to chill, we waited for the speed boat to pick Andy the photographer up from the beach and then pulled up anchor and headed up the coast to find Burger World.

After about an hour on the horizon we could see a sick little right hander breaking off the end of an island and we had reached our destination. There’s was only a few others out so we basically had the spot to ourselves and traded waves until the cramps kicked it.