•  

    In May 1980 three Sydney surfers - cousins Chris Goodnow and Tony Fitzpatrick, and their friend Scott Wakefield - became arguably the first surfers to visit the Mentawais. Among their discoveries was a wave that's now considered one of the world's best, Macaronis.

    The boys always referred to the wave by its local name, Pasongan, and they were entranced by its mechanical perfection. Chris Goodnow called it "the best left he's ever seen" and twice the mesmerised trio set up camp near the point during that season. In between they ventured by small boat along the Mentawai coast, finding some waves that later became famous and barely missing others.

    At the time they were treated as oddities; largely welcomed by their Mentawai hosts but constantly quizzed about their intentions. In one diary entry Goodnow says their guide, "seems to be coming to the conclusion that we’re lunatics." In 1980 the only outsiders in the Mentawais were a logging company clearfelling the forests and a lone German pastor.

    Goodnow, Fitzpatrick, and Wakefield were in the Mentawais more than ten years before Lance Knight discovered the waves on the southern tip of Sipora that bear his name - Lances Left and Lances Right/HTs. If that gap in time isn't enough to illustrate how isolated this new frontier was, then the following article written by Chris Goodnow may help.

    Comprised of diary entries and contemporary observations it details how hard Goodnow searched for his version of "surfer's gold" - unridden tropical perfection. Twice he attempted to reach Nias and failed, in between was an aborted mission to Panaitan Island, his last resort being a trip into Grajagan. Despite surfing G'Land alone for five days, Goodnow's trip there was tinged with disappointment. G'Land was already "on the map". What he sought could only be found in uncharted territory.

    Two years later he found it wrapping around the southern flank of Teluk Pasongan, and that trip will be documented in Part 2 of Finding Macaronis. Even in 1980 Goodnow realised the value of this wave resource and forewarned the Pasongan locals: "We told our host that his village was sitting on a gold mine and that one day people from around the world would want to come ride its waves, but whether or not that was a good thing would depend upon how it could be managed."

    In Part 3 Chris Goodnow examines how Pasongan has fared in the 35 years since he Scott Wakefield and Tony Fitzpatrick first sailed into the bay, contrasting it against other models of surf tourism: Pasta Point in the Maldives, and Cloudbreak in Fiji, both waves Goodnow has surfed. //STU NETTLE

    The first known photo of Pasongan/Macaronis (Fitzpatrick)
  • Part 1: Searching for gold

    Perfect waves and no-one out except you and maybe a few friends. As surfers, that’s the gold we all dream about. Despite its esoteric value we go to amazing lengths to find it. This is the story of my own trials and tribulations searching for and finding gold in Indonesia, and how it becomes devalued by overuse. Now that there are no new frontiers, should we - and indeed can we - regulate the number of surfers visiting places like Macaronis at any one time?

    “Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” - Joni Mitchell, 1970, reflecting on her first trip to Hawaii.

    Chris Goodnow in 2014
  • ​If you’re not falling off, you’re not getting better, so the saying goes. I did a lot of falling off in my first attempts to find uncharted gold in the islands off North Sumatra and West Java in 1978. Most of it can be attributed to insufficient preparation, as I’ll describe below.

    I’d had one good surf at a word-of-mouth spot called Lhoknga near Banda Aceh in the north, but mostly I’d just found the limits of my personal resilience and a better appreciation of Indonesia’s culture, as described in a letter home on 7th June 1978:

    "I’m in Banda Aceh now, and I’m not feeling too good. Severe case of homesickness and loneliness. The bus trip from Medan was a killer: 20 hours of pot-holed, bone-jarring ordeal, but people were OK, although communication was as limited as my Indonesian."

    "Arrived here yesterday morning. Got a bemo for an agreed 200 Rp to stay at Hotel Norma, an address I picked up out of the Indonesian Guidebook. When I got to Hotel Norma they said they were full. “Go to Hotel Lading,” they suggested. Hotel Lading said they were full too, but suggested another place. That place was also full as were the next several more. Each place was full, or they couldn’t find the manager, or something else, and all the time I was moving up the price ladder. Finally the bemo refused to go further and asked for 1500 Rp. I gave them 1000. I was stuck at some place where the guy was saying something about foreigners causing trouble and immigration and he only had one room with five beds that would cost me 3500 Rp for one night."

    "I felt so bewildered – no-one wanted anything to do with me, I hadn’t slept last night, I hadn’t eaten for 10 hours. I was so tired I could barely shoulder the strain of communicating in a foreign language. I understood how the African Americans must have felt (and still feel) in Southern US. Here, the Sumatrans look down on Europeans with mistrust and dislike because of the Dutch before, and with disgust because of our crude, insensitive behavior."

    "Already I’ve learned much of the Indonesian custom – it’s terribly rigid and oriented towards sensitivity and evaluating whether someone is a good or bad person. If you are angry at someone, you just don’t say anything, just keep it in your heart, and they must be sensitive enough to realise you are angry. There’s lots more to be learned, and I feel it’s essential before I consider wandering too far off the beaten track."

    "I feel so small and alone. When I think of travelling on to India, Afghanistan, and Europe I wonder why. Right now, I really would kind of like to be at home with you all – can’t wait ‘til you get to Jakarta. Maybe I’m still a bit young to do this sort of thing – it’s kind of a big leap out of the nest and I think I’m having a slightly painful crash landing. I think it’s just too difficult to surf in the remote parts of Sumatra – the best waves never seem to coincide with places you can stay."

    I had a wild trip on public, 1930s-era, half-wooden buses along the 'Trans-Sumatran Highway' – then a pot-holed dirt road - down the west coast to Meulaboh. I then slept on boat decks along the island chain, starting at Simeleue and heading south towards Nias. The region was obviously rich with potential for surf, and nowadays that potential has mostly been revealed in all its glory. But to get to those waves in 1978 – on the other side of the islands with jungles and no roads  – you needed more planning and resources than I had come with. 

    Key destinations from Chris Goodnow's first expedition to Indonesia's surfing frontiers
  • I then had an unsuccessful attempt to search unexplored surfing territory on the peninsula of Ujung Kulon and the adjacent island of Panaitan, at the western end of Java. Panaitan looked good on the maps, and it was, many years later other explorers found its perfect left, One Palm Point. But the closest I got to Panaitan in 1978 was the nearby port in western Java where my $5-a-day budget wasn't remotely close to covering the quotes for a boat charter.

    As a back-up plan I ended up at G'Land, then a semi-known wave, surfing perfect four-to-six foot barrels on my own for five days. In the end, it was a pretty good outcome and gave me my first insight into the question of regulating access to perfect, out-of-the-way surf locations.

    The G'Land adventure is described in a letter I sent to my father from Jakarta, 12 July 1978, which reads in part:

    "Arriving at Grajagan I really felt as though I’d found the gold at the end of the rainbow, every detail was as beautiful as in those surf stories I used to write at school. We sailed along off the point while I stood, watching 4-6 foot, powerful and hollow waves as good as any anywhere, just barreling off down over half a mile of reef. And, of course, I was the only surfer there."

    "Only a few Indonesians live here...and have built the tree-houses in which we lived. The illustration that accompanies this shows the 3-story tree-house in which we slept. There was also a hut for surfboards, where previous surfers had left several excellent boards (several of Gerry Lopez’ Lightning Bolt boards), and there was the “mess hall”, which was a long, low, and cool hut with a banquet-style bamboo table and benches."

    "The surf was unreal a lot of the time, the weather mostly great, the atmosphere majestically relaxing, and the locals gave us coconuts and crabs, brought us water, and sold us huge fish for very reasonable prices."

    Grajagan 1978 where Chris was the only surfer for five days (Goodnow)
  • With the recognition that my preparation to find uncharted surfer’s gold in Indonesia was not up to the task, and after having had much better luck at the known quantity of G’Land, I made one final attempt in early August to get to the only other place in Indonesia where there were rumours of good waves in 1978 - Lagundri Bay on Nias. The discovery of waves in Nias back in 1974 had spread in a low-key way by word of mouth in the cliff-top warungs at Uluwatu. Surfing at Lagundri was even mentioned in the Lonely Planet guide in 1978, but no photographic evidence had leaked out. Based on what I’d heard my impression was it had a good right-hander, maybe not perfect, in a nice village. My Nias plans failed a second time, as explained in a letter to my father sent from Bangkok in August 1978:

    "Having decided to go to Nias, I paid out the 13,000 Rp fee for a two week visa extension – the biggest waste of money in my life! From the outset things already were going wrong. I’ve decided Nias is a region of extreme bad luck for me – sort of like a Devil’s Triangle. First the bus was stopped in pouring rain for three hours because of a bridge collapse. During this three hours all of the Indonesian men had a contest, it seemed, as to who could smoke the most cigarettes! Meanwhile, because of the mortal risk of coming into contact with rainwater, everyone closed all their windows. The result? Well, no-one need have smoked cigarettes: breathing the air gave greater intake of smoke!"

    "Arrived early down in Sibolga, went and slept in a hotel ‘til 10:30 am. About noon I went down to the harbour. If I’d gone down at 9:00 I would have gotten a boat straight to south Nias, but it had already left. There was a boat to north Nias leaving “sebentar lagi” – in a very short while. A short while turned out to be later and later – we finally left at 2 am."

    "We were about three hours out of port when we hit a tropical storm – strong wind, sheets of rain, the boat was heaving. I had no place to sleep, everywhere was wet, and we finally turned back."

    "But instead of returning to port, we anchored in the outer bay 20 minutes away. Here we sat in the cold, pouring rain all day. The captain didn’t want to return to port – the plan was to wait here until the weather came good, which might be the next day...or the day after, or god knows when."

    "Having had very little sleep the nights before, and lousy food, and being cold and wet, I didn’t feel too good anyway. But by afternoon I had a fairly high fever and rising – it looked as though maybe I did have malaria. I appealed in my best Indonesian to the captain, asking could we go back to port? At first he suggested I might catch a prahu (an uncovered sailboat) but finally he agreed. Arriving in port I decided to pack it all in – giving Nias a miss (for the second time)."

    What I’d missed only became clear the following year, 1979, when Surfer magazine published on its cover Erik Aeder’s classic shot of the emerald perfect, then-empty Lagundri right-hander, complete with palm-ringed bay. That started a gold rush, and Nias by all reports didn’t take long to become as crowded as Cronulla Point or Malibu.

    If there were good waves in Nias, I’d reasoned, there had to be good waves in the Mentawai Island chain to the south. On the way back from Padang to Jakarta I had taken a steamer past the Mentawai Islands, the ship rolling in a 10-foot Indian Ocean groundswell. Out on the horizon, those islands beckoned as we steamed on by. Out there lay gold for sure.

    Part 2 of Finding Macaronis will be published on Swellnet next week.

    Chris Goodnow is The Bill and Patricia Ritchie Foundation Chair and Deputy Director of The Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia, and NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, Fellow of the Royal Society, and Member of the US National Academy of Sciences. Outside of professional life Chris enjoys spending time together with his family surfing at Manly and around Bawley Point on the NSW South Coast.

    (Opening photo of Chris Goodnow at Uluwatu, 1978, by Art Brewer)

Comments

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 11:02am

Is this story original or could it have been published in a book before ?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 11:06am

The second part appeared in Alex Dick-Read's Stormrider Indonesian Surf Stories.

davetherave's picture
davetherave's picture
davetherave commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 11:09am

hey caml, saw your article in mag at library recently, good stuff mate, stay true to you and thanks for showing us a wonderful display of unison between man and ocean, surfboard riding that is awe inspiring- good health, tasty beers, good waves and loving wenches to you. some beautiful drops mate, heart in mouth stuff.

davetherave

derra83's picture
derra83's picture
derra83 commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 11:12am

It sounds like a great series Swellnet. I'm hoping for a ..."pioneers get the barrels, setllers get the land" outcome.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 11:22am

Barrels and malaria. Don't think I'm a spoiler by mentioning that.

50young's picture
50young's picture
50young commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 11:14am

Great read can't wait for more

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 11:16am

Stu I have the storm rider surf stories .by alex dick read , so if I read this article I will be on fresh material ?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 11:20am

I think so Camel, though I havent read the book myself.

carpetman's picture
carpetman's picture
carpetman commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 11:20am

Shame it's only 3 parts. Great read.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 11:22am

Was the Erik Aeder pic/article mentioned called Sian ?

rhys1983's picture
rhys1983's picture
rhys1983 commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 11:36am

I always find claims by people that they were definitely the first to surf a wave or area pretty hard to back up. My old man was in Nias surfing in the early 70s. There were five or six surfers names in the chief log book before him. The two immediately before him were the Aussie guys who claim to have found Nias. Three years before them (think it was '69 or 70') there were three French surfers who had visited Nias on a yacht. Interestingly they had written in the log book that there were good waves around southern siberut in the Mentawaiis. So these French guys possibly may have been the first to surf both Nias and the Mentawaiis but who knows.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 12:55pm

rhys1983 wrote: I always find claims by people that they were definitely the first to surf a wave or area pretty hard to back up. My old man was in Nias surfing in the early 70s. There were five or six surfers names in the chief log book before him. The two immediately before him were the Aussie guys who claim to have found Nias. Three years before them (think it was '69 or 70') there were three French surfers who had visited Nias on a yacht. Interestingly they had written in the log book that there were good waves around southern siberut in the Mentawaiis. So these French guys possibly may have been the first to surf both Nias and the Mentawaiis but who knows.

I agree 1000%

I think chances are very high they were the first to surf maccas unless others surfed it via boat as its far from any port and not an obvious first spot to look for waves, unlike ends of islands even ht,s (of which I've been told by la local who works in the surf industry was surfed before lance) but I think it's extremely unlikely they were the first to surf mentawais, we know surfers were exploring all over Indo in the 70,s, and after the discovery of nias any surfer that looked at a map would have thought those islands below nias, telos and mentawais would have waves and even with it being a lot harder to access there was still fishing boats floating about and where there is a will there is a way, just because there is no evidence of someone before you means nothing, or just because no one comes foward and claims to be the first means nothing, even word from locals that they were the first means nothing, Years ago before these guys story surfaced I actually heard first hand from a very old local in the village silabu near maccas that some other guys were the first to surf here around late 80,s, but the fact is he was wrong because these guys have proof, locals often tell you what you want to hear.

btw. We often think of places like the mentawais as being untouched by westerners, but the Dutch and German were active from nias to mentawais as missonaries and there is even old graves on remote islands, then when the Dutch had control of Indonesia they had a presence in places like mentawais (think they were logging) out the back of maccas you can even see were an old road from that period went through that is now jungle you can only make it out because of the difference in soil levels...there is also suppose to be a Dutch ship wreck sitting in the mud of the bay behind maccas.

Please Stunet just give me that ignore button for Crypto (Herc, uplift or whatever other names he has used)

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 1:58pm

Well said Indo.

It doesn't matter how far out in the middle of nowhere I think I am in Indonesia, there is always mention of another foreigner nearby who has lived there for decades. I was on a trip in Sumba not long ago and was chatting to a couple who lived in a long-forgotten village with no electricity, water or Bibles (they barely spoke Indonesian) when low and freaking behold, a Kiwi woman who spoke fluent Sumbanese strolls in with her horse. She'd been living down the hill for twenty years. That kind of thing happens all the damn time, right across the archipelago.

P.S If you are interested in Nias, a great book just out is highly recommended: After the Ancestors by Andrew Beatty. Some of his writing is here: http://aotcpress.com/articles/return-field/

He tells a story of how some surfers had been in the bay, and word spread up into the mountains towards the tribes that had not yet been converted, and that they had deliberated for a day and a night before deciding that, of course, their heads must come off. By the time they made it down the hill the surfers had thankfully gone.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 2:08pm

dandandan wrote: If you are interested in Nias, a great book just out is highly recommended: After the Ancestors by Andrew Beatty. Some of his writing is here: http://aotcpress.com/articles/return-field/ He tells a story of how some surfers had been in the bay, and word spread up into the mountains towards the tribes that had not yet been converted, and that they had deliberated for a day and a night before deciding that, of course, their heads must come off. By the time they made it down the hill the surfers had thankfully gone.

Kevin Lovett - he of the 'first person claim' or whatever you want to call it - was one of those surfers. He talks about that in his article published in the Australian Surfers Journal, which was a truly epic piece. It was something like 12,000 words and felt like half an issue with a lot of history, local affairs, and cultural context mixed in.

rhys1983's picture
rhys1983's picture
rhys1983 commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 2:25pm

You have to wonder how much artistic licence was used in that story given that westerners had been on Nias for a long time (hence the reason they are all Christian).

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 2:35pm

Yeah I don't think Portuguese traders and missionaries would have to much influence on surfing history.

rhys1983's picture
rhys1983's picture
rhys1983 commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 2:46pm

Have you read the book "An unconventional history of surfing" - I think that's its name? Not a bad read but it does actually discuss how missionaries in Hawaii tried to (and nearly succceeded) stamp out surfing.

Furthermore, one of the first recordings of surfing was from a trader of sorts, Captain Cook.

My point though was in relation to the head hunter story.

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 3:38pm

Who knows? Maybe Tome Pires was threading mad tubes in Sumatra in the early 16th Century and was just writing about all this apothecary rubbish to throw us off the scent... Cheeky bastard.

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 3:42pm

They are all Christian now. But in the 70's there were still many villages untouched by it - some coincidentally, most of them however chose to shun Christianity for as long as they could. As it is in most places, a mixture of government policy (i.e. if you do not become Christian, we will not let you come to school) and the passing on of key elders and the subsequent loss of knowledge usually means this resistance only lasts for a few decades. In any case, anthropologists (including Beatty) were working with 'traditional' villages in Nias at the time the first surfers were turning up.

carpetman's picture
carpetman's picture
carpetman commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 2:12pm

All true but does it really matter who surfed it first? Goodnow doesn't specifically lay claim in the above article. If someone went there a year before Goodnow, I don't care, it's probably equally as interesting a story with the exact same hardships endured. Let's hear them all.

rhys1983's picture
rhys1983's picture
rhys1983 commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 2:26pm

I agree but the "discoverers" get a lot of publicity which may not be deserved. if it was me and I knew I wasn't the first I wouldn't feel comfortable claiming it.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 4:21pm

I agree no matter who was first these stories are still a great read and the pics are gold.

Please Stunet just give me that ignore button for Crypto (Herc, uplift or whatever other names he has used)

derra83's picture
derra83's picture
derra83 commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 1:07pm

rhys1983 wrote: I always find claims by people that they were definitely the first to surf a wave or area pretty hard to back up. My old man was in Nias surfing in the early 70s. There were five or six surfers names in the chief log book before him. The two immediately before him were the Aussie guys who claim to have found Nias. Three years before them (think it was '69 or 70') there were three French surfers who had visited Nias on a yacht. Interestingly they had written in the log book that there were good waves around southern siberut in the Mentawaiis. So these French guys possibly may have been the first to surf both Nias and the Mentawaiis but who knows.

The Nias example isn't hard to back up at all - if your Dad is right then it's written in the log book. That's pretty rock solid proof. Though I'm dubious of it as it's not like the Nias story is obscure, it's been covered in magazine, book and film. In all that research by many different people no-one read the log book???

rhys1983's picture
rhys1983's picture
rhys1983 commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 2:17pm

Yeh true although who knows what happened to the book given no one probably would have been interested in doing any research on Nias until probably the 90's at the earliest. Apparently it was a government requirement to record details of all foreigners.

Also us Aussies (as with pretty much everyone) like to claim stuff so there probably isn't much interest in discovering that a bunch of frenchies discovered Nias (which they of course they may not have even been the first surfers there).

I was actually back in Nias with my old man in 2010 and we went in to the village (the one at the bottom of the bay) and took a look at the chief's house but didn't make any enquiries as the old boy isn't one to claim his early exploits in indo.

I've got some old super 8 footage from when he went back the second time in '78 which I got put onto DVD. should whack it on youtube at some point as it was an absolutely bombing swell. looked 4 to 5 times overhead with two guys on it.

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 3:44pm

Probably would be of interest to French surfers though! I wouldn't be surprised if there is as much printed about the first French surfers in Nias than there is about the first Australians. Key difference:L it would be in French and I wouldn't understand any of it!

jimbrown's picture
jimbrown's picture
jimbrown commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 11:35am

Wonder how many other Fellows of the Royal Society surf

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 11:45am

I'm pretty sure I was first to surf P Pass.

Lieutenant Dan, Bubba and myself got sent there for a bit of R and R during the war.

I still recall seeing those spitting rights for the first time and saying to Bubba that it was pumping.

He told me I was tripping and that they were close outs .

I told Bubba - " I'm not a smart man, but I know what sickness is."

Then Lieutenant Dan kicked over the engine and we bailed.

If we hadn't gotten caught up in the shrimping business then who knows, maybe we would have started a surf camp.

Life's funny that way.

Gary G's picture
Gary G's picture
Gary G commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 11:54am

Like Lieutenant Dan, I'm rollin'

Cool story Blowin, although you should have named it B-Pass. Maybe once I've been there they'll name it G-Pass

You and me, Gary, ain’t nothing but mammals so let’s do it* like they do it on the aerobics channel

*faceys

wellymon's picture
wellymon's picture
wellymon commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 9:02pm

"If we hadn't gotten caught up in the shrimping business then who knows, maybe we would have started a surf camp.

Life's funny that way."

Run Blowin Gump Run.

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 12:01pm

I needed to pee at the time, so P pass it was .

tonybarber's picture
tonybarber's picture
tonybarber commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 12:54pm

Being the first to crack a spot is a special feeling.
If your lucky cherish it.
'You should have been here yesterday or yesteryear'

eel's picture
eel's picture
eel commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 3:56pm

There has got to be more decent waves on the southern coast of java (besides g-land, red island and that wave palace joint and the know spots of west java). The coast is totally exposed open to swell and winds but there has to be some more protected south/west facing bays , or even south east facing for the wet season....Any pioneers had any luck there?

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 5:42pm

I'm hearing ya

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 4:05pm

Yes

eel's picture
eel's picture
eel commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 4:17pm

Thought so. I won't mention any names but google earth presents some interesting lineups

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 6:32pm

Not much to the east between central & g.land

tworules's picture
tworules's picture
tworules commented Saturday, 21 Nov 2015 at 9:46am

wouldn't mind reading caml's journal on the funny and serious sides of g-land life.

Meris's picture
Meris's picture
Meris commented Saturday, 21 Nov 2015 at 10:13am

Lots of very straight beaches along south Coast of Java , predominate swell angle does not do it any favours. One or two obvious headlands however waves are of average at best quality. Wet season winds are cross shore and can be very strong.

rusty-moran's picture
rusty-moran's picture
rusty-moran commented Saturday, 21 Nov 2015 at 4:20pm

"...as crowded as Cronulla Point..." Ha! Even in 1978!

grover's picture
grover's picture
grover commented Saturday, 21 Nov 2015 at 10:37pm

I saw some nice looking waves out the front of the gland village out from the river mouth while waiting to go across to the camp once. Fast hollow rights peeling across the river mouth . Was thinking of giving it a go but the boat was about to leave .

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Saturday, 21 Nov 2015 at 11:39pm

Funny you say that grover

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Saturday, 21 Nov 2015 at 11:44pm

Off topic . Start new thread . From finding macaroni to finding b-grade garajagan rivermouth ! Honestly forget east jawa . Look elsewhere

tworules's picture
tworules's picture
tworules commented Sunday, 22 Nov 2015 at 8:45am

crossing that bar in swell is part of any natural footers odyssey, lost in a sea fog with an indo captain listening for breaking waves, well we're almost there.

mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner commented Sunday, 22 Nov 2015 at 9:14am

I love reading this shit. Makes you wanna charter a boat in some uncharted territory. Guaranteed there's still plenty of gems hidden in the Indian and pacific chains.

Mibs

maxe's picture
maxe's picture
maxe commented Sunday, 22 Nov 2015 at 2:13pm

I spent time in Aceh in the early nineties, around several areas mentioned in the article, waves a plenty, still would be many spots hardly ever surfed, we stayed with locals and in tree houses on the beach front, dodging the Indonesian military and the local Aceh Merdeka, which today would be regarded as a Muslim extremist terrorist group, spent time in the Gunung Leuser national park walking through large plantations of Marijuana! Unfortunately most of the places and people we visited and stayed with were wiped off the map by the Tsunami.

Ontheroad's picture
Ontheroad's picture
Ontheroad commented Monday, 23 Nov 2015 at 10:42am

Cool article - looking forward to Part 2.

Oh to have been born a couple of decades earlier! Funny thing is, even today there are still waves being surfed for the first time in the ments - they're just usually the ones with an end section from hell..

db's picture
db's picture
db commented Friday, 15 Dec 2017 at 9:38pm

Not sure if it works to come back to old threads like this. But re Macaronis history, the missing link in Goodnow's account is the naming of the wave. That was done by Jakarta-based geologist Dan Madre on an epic exploration through the Ments in 1990. (It was nothing to do with Peter Reeves (whoever he is) or anyone's bowl of pasta.) Madre also named Telescopes, Thunders, Rags and a bunch of other now well-known breaks, and was very likely the first to surf them, together with his brother Martin. I surfed Maccas and those other places with Dan in 1991 and 92, when trips by a handful of Jakarta and West Java-based expats took place, including of course Martin Daly's famous visit with Tom Carroll, Martin Potter et al.

There was a hint of Goodnow's visit when Dan was first at Macaronis - a local in a canoe paddled out and said, 'Tim and Scott from New South Wales', then paddled away. In those first couple of years, before the deluge in the 90s, I don't think any of us ever heard mention of other visiting surfers, either from villagers around the breaks or in towns like Sikakap and Tuapejat. But impossible to be sure of course.

db

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Saturday, 16 Dec 2017 at 3:10pm

A great read, looking forward to the next instalment. I visited Macas for the 1st time this year and had a ball, great surf and beautiful locals. I can only imagine the fun of having it to yourself and a couple of mates. It's a long journey to get there and the crowds of the visiting boats were a bit of a disappointment. When we we got out real early for a wave before the boats arrived the policy at the resort is to pretty much take your turn and queue for a wave, this worked really well. When the boats arrived that all went out with the tide and it felt a bit like Torquay Point in summer. Being in my mid fifties now it is almost impossible to compete with the young blokes, takes a lot of the fun out of it. Be great if the boats got on board with the queue system, it felt like the spirit of surfing was alive and well, cheering the next in line on to an epic 4-6ft left hander. I hope to get back there again before too long, maybe in the low season they tell me the crowds are smaller but the surf is too I guess. If not I'll have to put in some serious time on the weights at the gym and breathe some extra life into my tired 'old man' arms!

Toppa