“They said it couldn’t be done. But then again, who are they?”

    -Kelly Norris, WQS surfer

    The plan was more audacious than feasible. To transport an entire WQS contest to a tiny island precisely 100 nautical miles off the coast of West Sumatra and plop it down onto the finest right breaking wave in the world. And then, from this remote jungle setting, attempt to webcast it… live.

    The fact that this had never been done before from such an outlying location was the main draw. Although the fabled Mentawai islands have had their fair share of exposure over the years in film and photos, it was the idea of bringing these waves to the world in real time that appealed to the more adventurous among professional surfing’s establishment. Lances Rights, the very wave that, over 25 years ago, changed the face of surfing forever. Even more than Nias, a wave that redefined our sports idea of perfection. A wave so dreamy, so razor-lipped and inviting that an entire multi-million dollar surf charter industry was built around it. To say nothing of the collective global imaginations it ignited.

    And now, as an experiment if nothing else, the powers of the Mentawai Government, the WSL and Rip Curl were going to create the next step in the evolution of Lances Rights iconic life.

    And even more remarkably, they were going to hand this noteworthy opportunity to a group of young WQS scrappers who were more used to the leftovers left in the wake of the WCT big dogs.

    What happened next was to become the most unique professional surfing contest of the WSL era.

    Words: Matt George
    Photos: Tim Ridenour

    “And then that first set rolled through. And by the third wave, every single surfer on that island was tearing into their board bags like a pack of hyenas”.

    Dawn comes hot and gummy to the pirate wharves of the Muara River in Padang, West Sumatra. The time-honoured embarkation point for the Mentawai adventure that lies across one of the most dangerous channel crossings in the world. And it was here that a pro surfing entourage numbering almost one hundred souls was being bundled aboard a local fast ferry after a hurried breakfast of bread and local green fish soup. Already groggy from myriad travel demands and countless flights, this group of surfers, sponsors, government agents, photographers, filmers, web techs, coaches, managers, fathers, girlfriends, and even a medical team, scrambled to find seating amongst the locals returning to their offshore islands from the markets of Padang. Most of this entourage, having never been to this place before, only had movies and magazine images to fuel their hopes, trusting that the goal of their long journey, their end of the rainbow, was only four sea hours away.

    Actually, with calm seas and a captain who put the coals to her, it was only three and a half.

    Upon arrival, exhausted from travel, some seasick, the group disgorged themselves from the ferry into local longboats to be dropped on shore like expedition castaways in front of the makeshift Olympic Village that was to be their home for the next week.

    Four people to a room.

    “Where is the wave?” said disoriented Desert Point topcat Usman Trioko. Sumbawa’s Andre Anwar spun him around and pointed him to sea where everyone else was looking.

    And then that first set rolled through.

    And by the third wave, every single surfer on that island was tearing into their board bags like a pack of hyenas.  


    “We’ve already won and the contest hasn’t even started yet.”
    - Jacob Wilcox, WQS surfer

    In 1991, a heartbroken Aussie surfer named Lance Knight lies awake and dreams of a perfect wave all to himself to drown his romantic catastrophe. He wakes up determined to move forward. He finds some marine charts of the Indian Ocean and starts mapping out rumours he’s heard. He decides on a tiny island called Sipora, off West Sumatra. Having travelled most of the way from Australia overland, he arrives in the capital of Padang by bus. For fifty bucks he hitches a ride to the island with an Iranian doctor/pilot in a small bush plane using only dead reckoning navigation. They are lucky to make it. Lance Knight steps out of the plane onto a small, dusty jungle airstrip with one board, a backpack, and a bag of rice. He then hitches a ride with a small fishing boat, attempting to make his way to the other, swell-exposed side of the island. After a few days of unimaginable discomfort, the small fishing boat is caught by a terrible storm. The captain heads for shore to a place he knows where they might find safety. It is the small village of Katiet on Sipora island. A village where WWII Japanese soldiers, attempting to establish a strategic waypoint for the invasion of Singapore, once blew a massive hole in the reef close to shore so that they could drop munitions with ease. Lance and the Fisherman barely make it through the reef pass and drop anchor into this Japanese deep spot that is now known as “the Keyhole”. Lance notices an absolutely perfect wave grinding along a perfectly shaped reef not fifty yards from the safety of the keyhole. Lance suits up and, storm or no, paddles out. Having never seen a surfboard before, over 100 villagers climb the trees on shore to watch him die.

    He lives. And returns to shore to be a celebrity among his new tribe for weeks while surfing what eventually became to be known as Lance’s Rights.

    Lance Knight had found what he was looking for.

    It is now 2016. And with the small village of Katiet left mostly unchanged, with the footsteps of Lance Knight still leading to an experience that most can only dream of, it seems the surfers of the Mentawai Pro and the technicians who were here to webcast it to the world…had found exactly what they were looking for too.   


    “If these guys keep surfing like this we are going to have to start giving out 15 point scores.”
    - Glen Elliot, Head Judge

    One heat had so many perfect waves and so many perfect rides that deputy head judge Om Arya Subyakto complained of dizziness and had to take an hour break. With only four guys in the water and in later heats, only two, the number of perfect waves that went unridden was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that it was mesmerizing to see these magnificent waves peeling off with no one on them. But a curse in that the surfers on the beach had to sit by and watch in agony, mindsurfing with watering mouths as they furiously waxed their boards for the fifth time that day.

    “This is a no excuses contest” said competitor Fraser Dovell, checking his leash again, “If you can’t win in this surf, you might want to take a good look in the mirror”.

    With a veritable wave pool of symmetrical waves, the performances took on a whole new vibe. These were not waves you struggled to perform in, these were waves that you had to live up to. And the result was that the witnesses of this event were able to see just how good these WQS surfers are. “I had no idea Kelly Norris was so good,” said Jacob Wilcox. “That guy rips!”

    In the end, the surfing that was done, win or lose, was the best a WQS contest had ever seen. Committed, gutsy and in a strange way, free. With waves so uniform in power and shape, that most competitors not only discovered design and equipment revelations, but also talents within themselves that they never knew they possessed.

    The Field of Dreams was delivering more than waves, it was delivering truths.


    “Pain is temporary, quitting is forever.”

    Great things were expected of Rip Curl Team Captain Garut Widiarta. And it seemed as if he knew it. A Mentawai veteran, Widiarta, a Rip Curl Cup Champion, for years the hottest surfer in Indonesia, clearly one of the finest surfers in the event, a man whose electrifying performances at Lances Rights were well respected, a surfer picked to win the event…despite all this, Garut seemed uncharacteristically reserved. With an aura of power around him, this native son seemed to be casting his own shadow on shore, keeping to himself, meditating and eating quietly while the energy of the impromptu Olympic village swirled around him. Even his closest friends were wondering what Garut was up to. That is until he hit the water with his trademark electricity, zapping impossible off the lip stall-into-the-tube combos and low, skateboard bottom turns. In the warm-ups, to most of the international surfers, it was downright intimidating. The dark skinned man with the glowering looks and all the moves, the strong and silent type.

    That is…until the wheels fell off Garut’s campaign in heat 16 of Round One.

    An out of form Widiarta returned to the beach in third place and out of the running.

    This was when, for the first time, Widiarta, slump shouldered, reported to the medical team for the first time. He showed them his right hand. A night before traveling for the event, he had “hurt his hand” in an “incident” back in Bali. Closer examination revealed he had cracked his hamate bone, fractured the triquetral, chipped the pisiform bone, broken his gnavicular, and had a hairline fracture of the ulna.

    When asked how he had coped with what must have been excruciating pain, Widiarta simply replied, “I had a job to do”.  


    “I made sure everything came together for me. I’m tired of luck. I did my best to make sure my win was no accident.”
    - Chris Zaffis, 19, Mentawai Pro 2016 Champion

    Chris Zaffis, all 6’4” of him, sits in the back of a giant, rattling bus on his way to the Susilo Yudhoyono International Airport in Padang on his way home. It’s a rough ride, and there is absolutely no room for his long legs, his backpack on his lap, shoulder to shoulder with the other guys, but he doesn’t care. He had won. Fair and square. Against an onslaught of the best the WQS could throw at him. Against Dede Suryana in the final, the greatest Indonesian competitor ever, who had scored two perfect 10s in the semi final. Zaffis had done it. He had persevered. He had put in six hour marathon warm-up sessions before the event on his favorite 5’11 and he had done it.

    And now here he sat. Quiet. In the back of the bus on his way home with the rest of the crew and he was on top of the heap. He smiled to himself when he saw his reflection in the window. He was sporting a new, crude mullet hairdo thanks to the tradition of a former Rip Curl Contest held three years ago at Lances Rights. The tradition that the winner, at the after party, had to have his haircut by the other competitors in any fashion they chose. Oney Anwar, the past winner, had had his head shaved into a dramatic mohawk. Zaffis got the classic Aussie mullet, drunkenly administered by his mates with a pair of shears designed to cut bandages off. But no matter, Zaffis thought. He had done it. No excuses. He had won the whole shebang. And all he was thinking about was how he hoped at least two people were able to watch his win on the Webcast.

    His mother and his local shaper.

    In that order.  


    “It’s like a skateboard park out there. If you miss one trick you can try it again on the next wave in exactly the same spot. It’s that good”.
    - Oney Anwar, Defending Champion, semi-finalist.

    Hairil Anwar Hamzah comes from a family of 12 children. That’s why it was easier to just call him Oney, after his habit of spending a lot of time alone with his thoughts. Right now, he sat under the broiling noon sun on the inside of the line-up of Lances Rights. He was tired, but happy. He was always happy. He was going to paddle in and join the crew at the 'Olympic village' for lunch. He was starving. He was looking forward to the next day of competition too. He was ripping and believed he could win it again. Just like he did three years previous at this very spot.

    But this time, he’d do it on a live webcast. That should give his 11 siblings a thrill.

    Oney watched his cousin Andre and his brother Gazali take off on back to back waves from amongst the pack and rip to hell. Oney thought he might sit here for a bit on the inside and watch more. He thought about just how far they had all come, his family and he. Oney was a world record holder. The only Indonesian to ever win an ASP event. He’d won $3,000 dollars that day in 2010. He sent the money back to his family and they bought a sorely needed bigger house with it.

    Oney made first tracks on the historic Rip Curl expedition to the 'Seven Ghosts' tidal bore in 2011, rode the biggest, hollowest tidal bore in history.

    He’d been born in Hu'u, Sumbawa, Indonesia on 17 August 1993 to Bimanese parents. Oney still spoke the forgotten language with them. Oney had learned to surf at the age of 7 at Lakey Peak. He’d grown up with fellow Sumbawan professional surfers, Dede Gun, Andre, and Gazali. Oney first joined the Rip Curl team in 2003, already looking to become a world class surfer at the age of 10. By the age of 16 Oney had a team of independent film makers documenting his life. In 2002 Oney became the Junior Champion of Indonesia with brother Gazali Hamzah a close second. Oney held that position for three years.

    In 2007 Anwar was sent to live in Queensland, Australia as part of Rip Curl's International Grommet Development program, living with a host family, surfing and competing in the Palm Beach Boardriding Club. In 2013 Anwar graduated as the first Indonesian from Palm Beach Currumbin State High. Later that year Oney was invited to two ASP World Championship Tour events in Australia and Bali. He was then awarded the men's wildcard for the April 2013 Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach. On 17 June 2013, Oney won the Oakley Pro Bali Trials and the coveted Indonesian wildcard spot in the main event. And then in April of 2013 he’d traveled to Lances Rights for the Rip Curl Pro and won it just ahead of his brother Gazali.

    And now here he was. Back again. Watching his family rip and feeling like the luckiest young man in the world. Outside, cousin Andre had hooked into another beauty. The boats in the channel had sent up a hooting roar as Andre pulled in backside and began driving for the light.

    After a long time in the barrel, Andre was obliterated. But he came up laughing right next to Oney. And Oney started laughing too. Both of them not believing their luck.

    What the hell, Oney thought, just one more.

    And he paddled back out into the line-up shoulder to shoulder with his cousin.

    Lunch could wait.


    “It leaves you breathless.”
    - Jonni Deaker, Marine Coordinator, surfer.

    The ride at Lances Right starts long before you take off. It starts after you have had your first wave when you find yourself back out in the line-up for more. Because at this point, both you and the wave know who each other are. Before your second wave you have learned some things. Like the fact that despite the perfection, this wave is dangerous as hell. Sit deep and when a set approaches, if you are not paying attention, you will find your feet dragging along the live reef. Get greedy and do one too many cutbacks and you will be eaten alive by the 'Surgeons Table' on the inside. A wipeout there, over exposed scalpel sharp cockleshells and staghorn coral, causes deep lacerating injuries that have been compared to shotgun wounds.

    And things like the fact that the wave is so perfect, all it takes is for someone to even think about dropping in on you to cause a disastrous chandelier. And the fact that every take-off demands absolute commitment over a kaleidoscope reef just waiting to chew you up. But, despite all this, you wait for your second wave. Smarter, ready. 

    It comes, it’s yours, you paddle, hard, it lifts you, begins to draw, bending and tapering away into the channel in perfect harmony. This is your entire world now, your board releases, you huck to your feet and floor it. And in what feels like slow motion, you can feel the wave lunging and pitching. You keep your eyes on the exit, now living your favorite GoPro clip. You drive and drive, and the wave drives back, grinding around you, giving you everything it’s got. You match it for impossibly long moments until you feel something else. You feel it in your balls, in your scalp, in your quivering legs and your pounding heart. You feel that you are actually going to come out of this thing. 

    And then you do. With speed to burn and a heart rate to match. You don’t know whether to laugh, scream or cry. 

    So you just eject, rocketing into the lip, leaping off your board into the sky, suspended for an instant, defying gravity, flying. 

    Feeling like you are going stay that way forever.


    “Testing, Testing…is this thing on? Testing…OK! Sh*t! We’re actually live. Right…uh… Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the final day of the WQS 1000 Mentawai Pro 2016 presented by Rip Curl…”
    - Will Hayden-Smith, WSL 

    Below the judges tower, in a small, plywood room of about three square metres tipped on the edge of a primordial jungle, a mountain of wires and computers and gizmos, all whirred to life at exactly 9:40am on Sunday, April 24th, 2016. This plywood box held five grown men, all very busy, and would serve as the mission control of a historic live webcast that would attempt to bring all the action of a WQS surfing event to the world from one of the most remote locations on earth. The thermometer inside this plywood box would top out at 39 Celsius. And because the room had not been able to be soundproofed, the blaring announcer overhead, the blasting heat horns and the thundering of judges changing seats only six feet overhead would have to be part of the webcast like it or not.

    Yet, despite all this, the webcast team was ecstatic. Over the week, their challenges had amounted to about the same as trying to land men on the moon. Aside from humping over a tonne of equipment from the ends of the earth to the small bay of Katiet, this, the final day of the competition, was the first time they actually had obtained enough internet signal to make it happen. Competitors, who had been out of touch for a week, rushed down to the judging tower to try and check in with loved ones, only to be met with a stern order that all cell phones were banned in the area along with any device that might steal some of the precious internet signal that the webcast was walking its tightrope on.

    A backdrop was clumsily pinned to the ceiling and a surprised Will Hayden-Smith was plopped into the hosting chair, handed a mic and given the signal to start announcing. The thing was, Will had never done any live commentary in his life. But, being an Aussie, he charged the gun nest anyway and held on until relief appeared in the form of Rip Curl CEO Jeff Anderson. Anderson took the mic and together, they gave a smooth calm voice to an event that was to feature some of the greatest surfing to ever take place in a WSL event.

    And so, with the ragged edge of an internet signal on the ragged edge of a wild island jungle off the ragged edge of West Sumatra, a historic live webcast that would change the face of the Mentawai Islands forever, was underway. 

    Meanwhile, back in Angourie, Australia, Chris Zaffis’ mum, handkerchief in her wringing hand, sat on the edge of the family couch, transfixed before the family computer, as her little boy paddled out into a quarter final heat exactly 6,503km away from home.


    “This ain’t a place for selfies, man.”
    - Skip McCullough, WQS surfer

    It is boggling to consider how many photographs exist in the world today. 

    Once the realm of specialised photographers, now with the advent of cell phones, billions of photos are taken everyday. The vast majority never seeing the light of day. Some people take so many selfies that they have to go home to see where they’ve been. It’s as if we now need them to prove our existence - if it has not been Instagrammed, it never happened.

    But despite all this over exposure, the pro surfing lifestyle is one of the few that affords such an overload of stimuli that photos are rarely the point. It’s the memories. The impressions. Contact with the world. Especially here in Sumatra on a small island offshore at a WQS surfing contest. An event tailor made for the imagination. Sights and smells and light and skies and stars and waters. An old man, a leaking boat, a jumping fish, a cold potato for breakfast, a creaking wharf, the smell of Kretek cigs, warm beer, the buzzing heat, blinding white sand, rainbow reefs, hot sea water, melting wax, sunburn, brown eyes, brown skin and a kind of love for it all. 

    Captured in mind shots. Photos our brain takes. Burned into our memories like tattoos. The ones you really remember late at night. Or when a smell triggers a thought. Those private surfing thoughts that cannot be described to anyone. Those thoughts you don’t want to describe to anyone. Those surfing thoughts that are all yours. 

    The pro surfing life gives us these. 

    Hands them to us. 


    And if we are smart enough, and deep enough, and loving of our lives enough…then whatever it is we are searching for, will always be there.

    Because in order to discover new worlds, one must have the courage to lose the sight of shore.


    “Where in the world are we?”
    - Kei Kobayashi, WQS surfer

    Usually, for a surfer, the Mentawai is a world afloat.  Particularly for pro surfers like the WQS boys that found themselves here at Lances rights for the Mentawai Pro. Usually it’s a world of boat trips and jumping off decks and approaching the surf from the outside in. 

    It’s a completely different world once on land, firm earth beneath your feet. No rocking back and forth with each set. No magic carpet roaring from one spot to the next. An island looks a lot different from shore. 

    Yes, the surf boats have pried this place open like a can of sardines. But it wasn’t always that way. 

    The Mentawai Islands and its people were totally isolated until the 19th century. The reckless trade winds, wild 'Badai storms', incomprehensible currents, boat eating reefs, bizarre jungle diseases, crocodiles and sea monsters and rumors of an animistic people who preferred you stay at home made sure of that. Today a UNESCO biosphere reserve, this seventy island archipelago broke away from Sumatra about 500,000 years ago resulting in a totally unique environment. It’s ranked alongside Madagascar in terms of rare primates like the black and yellow monkey, the kloss gibbon, the crab eating macaque and of course the pig-tailed langur.

    The Islands also lie directly on top of the Sunda megathrust, a veritable waterbed of earthquakes, forming the battlefield between the Eurasian Plate and the Indo-Australian Plate that grind so relentlessly against each other that the Mentawai people believe they can hear it. 

    And hear it they did that dark day in December of 2004 when these plates kicked off, creating three waves that changed the destiny of over 250,000 people.

    Maybe that’s another thing so unforgettable about this place; surfers, professional pilgrims, here at Lances Rights, looking for the rides of their life, were on an island as restless as they were.


    “It’s like being in a glass factory…but you are inside the glass.”
    - Marlon Gerber, WQS surfer

    At Lances Rights, something very peculiar happens to every surfer that comes to this place. Like Ulysses sirens, the crystal clear waters and the perfectly shaped waves of tiny Katiet Bay inevitably call them out into the line-up…without their surfboards. A pair of fins, some borrowed goggles, a worn out dive mask, that’s all it takes to send even the most jaded, defeated competitor out onto the reef for a meditative swim. It’s the same pull that makes you want to stand behind a waterfall. A moving picture of moving water moving utterly right before your very eyes.

    From water level the waves at Lances Rights come at you like a running cheetah, handling the storm-given energy, efficient, perfect in their economy of movement, sure of their result. The spinning cylinder filling you with elation and envy and desire. You find yourself teasing its perfection, ducking under the guillotine at the last possible moment, avoiding the blade by millimeters, feeling the drag and pull of each wave, you slip into a suspended, miraculous union with the sea.

    Despite the power and the chaos, you are safe here. Like standing next to a stampede and watching the animals thunder by. And the view, aside from being astounding, is downright snobbish.

    Only surfers can get to this place and see this and play with it and most importantly, understand it. And what photos and films of surfing from underwater will never capture are the sounds and sensations that come to you when seeing it live. The tug of the power, the muffled roar of the impact, the wind chime of reef creatures running for their lives, the hiss of surfboard fins as they streak by, the contrails left on the face and the beat of your heart in your ears. 

    And then it comes to you…you are swimming on the other side of the mirror, swimming in the molten blood of our planet.

    One surfer actually sat and explained this phenomenon to the webcast crew on the beach. And the webcast crew became so animated that they swore that next year they were going to bring this point of view to the live webcast. “It would be like that Nat Geo footage those guys get,” said the webmaster, “You know, when they sit in those blinds and the tiger comes up and licks the lens?”.

    And in this moment, on a remote island in the Indian Ocean, the future had arrived.


    “This is the ultimate camping trip.”
    - Shane Holmes, WQS Surfer 

    By the third day of competition, perfection had become the norm. 

    And a rhythm was established. Dawn patrol, hot, backlit and brightly glared, squinting into the sets with puffy eyes, the shadows of the incoming blue sets a relief. Then in for a very simple breakfast, cage a Coca Cola before the ice melted, quick rinse in the room temp shower, a brush of the teeth, check equipment, check the comp, check if the live webcast was up, forget checking your phone, watch some heats, surf yours, win, lose, lunch, play some cards, check your bandages, watch more heats, quick nap under a slow fan, stretch, check the equipment, wax up in the shade, paddle out one by one after the last horn was blown, evening session in dream light as the sun into melted into the shadows of the Jungle and the boats in the keyhole pulled anchor and ran for safe anchorage, blood sky sunset, supper, a room temp beer, check bandages, moonrise, under the mosquito net, hear a few hoots out in the dark line-up from the early round losers on a night session. Visualise tomorrow’s win. Think back on the waves. All those traveling, silent blue walls out there. 

    Blue. Blue. Blue water all around you.



    Jacob Wilcox, where most would be running for their lives, seen here surfing the foamball with the ease and imagination that comes from living with a wave for a week. Although Wilcox’s results were personally disappointing, he was still the leader of the deep field of talent. By late in the week so comfortable with the wave that his freesurfing sessions were like watching a lead singer with a great band backing him up. With a songlist of greatest hits at full volume blasting out into the jungle stadium of Lances Rights, with the drummers and the bassists and the guitarists all screaming there solo’s too. 

    With the rumblings of the performance fall-offs of WCT older lions like Kelly and Joel and with the retirement of the grinning Taj Burrow, WQS guys like Jacob Wilcox can see a light at the end of the barrel.  

    A gap that needs to be filled.

    A new modern age. 

    A time that has come. 


    “And from all of us at the WQS 1000 Mentawai Pro 2016 presented by Rip Curl, thanks for watching. We’ll see you all next time…”
    - Jeff Anderson, CEO Rip curl Asia

    By the sheer numbers Lances Rights had never been surfed better in history. The WQS 1000 Mentawai Pro 2016 presented by Rip Curl, with 64 world class surfers living on-site, made sure of that. And the fact that a live webcast had arrived on the edge of this jungle was perhaps even more profound than the surfing itself. That this type of professional surfing has the potential to be broadcast into millions of personal computers around the world, from places like this, opens up possibilities that have never been dreamed.

    But what exactly are those possibilities? Are they financial? Are they philosophical? Are they…spiritual? That surfing can now be live entertainment to fans and broadcast from places as remote as the Mentawai Islands may pose more questions than it answers. Live sports broadcasts, be it football, rugby, or surfing, as orgasmic as they can be to fans, are still quite simply, marketing devices. Promoting a sport and all the products and cottage industries that come with it. And is that such a bad thing? Live broadcast sports, beyond the obvious benefits to advertisers, still depict the most inspirational acts on earth. Think of the Olympics. Human beings striving for excellence, for survival, seeking perfection, beyond the empty words of politics or explanations or excuses. Beyond our skins, a connection with a primal belonging on this earth to succeed. To win. To strive, to not relent. To be as alive as one can be.

    Right before our very eyes, happening to us at exactly the same time as it is happening to the competitor.

    Mankind at his best.

    Surfers at their best.

    And us, with them, watching on, sharing the same dream at the same time.

    The same dream that is every surfer’s birthright.

    Sure, go ahead and take this any way you want. But remember this...

    Sometimes the only thing people see is what someone did. When in fact they should be looking at why they did it.


zenagain's picture
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zenagain Wednesday, 15 Jun 2016 at 6:21pm

Interesting article and good writing but that just went on and on and on....

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Wednesday, 15 Jun 2016 at 6:50pm

I sped read it and couldn't make it half way.

mugofsunshine's picture
mugofsunshine's picture
mugofsunshine Wednesday, 15 Jun 2016 at 7:08pm

I just skimmed for the link to the highlights package.

freerider.'s picture
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freerider. Wednesday, 15 Jun 2016 at 7:40pm

Matt George is still still here? I thought he retired. Hey --surf contests come and go--so called surf pros--winners losers--(and surf writers)--come and go--its just a fantasy--but the waves--they are still around...

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg Wednesday, 15 Jun 2016 at 7:23pm

Not the first time Mr. George has gotten carried away with the sound of his own typewriter...

boxright's picture
boxright's picture
boxright Wednesday, 15 Jun 2016 at 7:30pm

Too repetitive but there were a couple of passages I enjoyed.

freerider.'s picture
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freerider. Wednesday, 15 Jun 2016 at 7:44pm

"Mankind at his best"? Hardly--since surfing is basically a self absorbed somewhat selfish experience. Mankind at his best--helping others in need--feeding the hungry--clothing the naked--giving them shelter....

freerider.'s picture
freerider.'s picture
freerider. Wednesday, 15 Jun 2016 at 8:06pm

Didn't watch it--and didn't want to--I have more fun catching and riding my own waves....

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freerider. Thursday, 16 Jun 2016 at 7:13pm

What is every surfer's birhtright? Umm--To be able to ride some 'free waves'--whatever your skill level--the gremmie doesn't feel any less stoke than a seasoned so called pro. And for sharing the same dream at the same time? --I don't think so.--A quote--"Contests don't generally attract us as fans"-- surf journalist sam george noted a few years ago. “We don't want to watch. We want to get out there and "ride". --And that may be their downfall--real surfers want "to ride" (not watch). It's always better to catch and ride your own waves...

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freerider. Thursday, 16 Jun 2016 at 7:26pm

"Sometimes the only thing people see is what someone did. When in fact they should be looking at why they did it." OK--Why did they do it? Right from the very beginning, the WSL said they are in this to sell surfing to the masses to make a profit--for whom? Paul Speaker, Terry Harder (the owners of the WSL)and the so called pro boys. Which will probably translate into more crowded line-ups for you.-- It seems a quote from the past comes o mind--"These few Wall Street Flesh Merchants seek to unify surfing--only to extract the wealth". Another quote also comes to mind--"Thank God for a few 'free' waves". MSD

freerider.'s picture
freerider.'s picture
freerider. Thursday, 16 Jun 2016 at 9:04pm

"Those thoughts you don’t want to describe to anyone. Those surfing thoughts that are all yours. The "pro" (?) surfing life gives us these. Hands them to us. Forever." ---OK guys--sorry to ramble on--but this Matt George guy is all over the place. Is he now saying that the "pro" surfing life gives "them"--(the so called pros)-- something others surfer "don't get".
.Matt's quote--"The "pro" surfing life gives us these". -- Is Matt saying that the pros get something we don't? --I don't think so--my first surf trip to Baja as a young grom is still 'vividly' etched in my memory-- along with many--many other classic surf trips and moments. I think Matt needs to get off the whole kiss the pro's and the WSL's butt thing--and that he needs to wake up--smell the salt air--and maybe actually get out and ride some waves of 'his own'....