Chris Goodnow and Scott Wakefield courting Indonesian officials (Photo Fitzpatrick)

    Two years after failing to find "surfer's gold" in Indonesia's outer islands, Chris Goodnow, along with Tony Fitzpatrick and Scott Wakefield, lands in the Mentawai Islands. It's May 1980 and the trio are arguably the first surfers to set foot there.

    May 1980
    Back in Sydney, I was now in the second year of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery at university, but was determined to fulfil the dream by returning to Indonesia, this time much better equipped and organised for the challenge of exploring the Mentawai islands.

    From the middle of 1979, I began developing the plans together with Scott Wakefield, a natural-footer and a bit of a legend in the barrel at Winki who was studying Economics at Sydney Uni. It became our obsession. Weekends digging through the Mitchell Library for anthropological accounts of the Mentawai revealed there was no cash economy and the only currency was bartering slabs of tobacco. Our information proved to be a few decades out of date – in 1980 rupiah were king and the kilos of tobacco we lugged around were only good as paperweights.

    We scouted through ship chandlers for high quality British Admiralty and Dutch East Indies maps of the islands and reefs. Survival handbooks were memorised, and pages of lists assembled detailing essential supplies for surviving weeks in the jungle.

    We knew the Southern Hemisphere autumn and winter was peak swell season for Indonesia, but there was zero information on winds and climate in the Mentawai. This was the era before satellite imagery and computer modelling. 

    As plans developed, my cousin Tony Fitzpatrick joined the team. He had finished two years studying Medicine at UNSW, but was planning to take a year off and travel. With the over-confidence of youth, we reasoned that two years of medical textbook knowledge was almost as good as having an emergency trauma surgeon on the expedition. Nowadays Tony is a fine anaesthetist, but in 1980 it was lucky none of us hit the reef hard enough to put his surgical skills to the test.

    We set off from Sydney Airport on 26 April 1980 with two single-fins each and a mountain of medical and survival supplies jammed into our backpacks. First we overnighted at the Jalan Jaksa youth hostel in Jakarta and then in Padang at the old Tiga Tiga hotel.

    Dressed in our Sunday best, sweltering but trying to stay cool, we went around in circles between the Padang offices of the army, navy and police: they were all very suspicious about why Australians would ever want to go to the Mentawai islands. When we initially tried to describe our plans to ride pieces of fibreglass on large waves over coral reefs, this was viewed as definitely something they couldn’t approve and would need to be referred to Jakarta. The solution turned out to be to say we only wished to “jalan jalan, lihat lihat” – to go sightseeing – which reassured them we weren’t spies but just crazy Westerners.


    The first permit to visit North Pagai Island and map showing key destinations from Goodnow's diary

    Monday 28 April 1980, Padang, Sumatra.
    Staying in Tiga-Tiga Hotel, got up and caught bemo to Teluk Bayur. Find out there’s a boat to Sikakap, Sioban, and Sikabaluan leaving tonight.

    Back in Padang, we change into good clothes and go to Police Headquarters to get a permit to travel around Sipura. They want to know why we’re going to the Mentawais on a business visa. We tell them about surfing. They don’t know what surfing is but they decide that we ought to get permission from Kantor Gub Autorita Mentawai up the road. They in turn also don’t want to risk granting permission, and reckon we’ve got to have written permission from Jakarta – the Institute of Science, Head of Police, and Home Minister.

    We go back to the police, who tell us we only need our passports to go there. Three hours left. A mad dash to change $200 in travellers cheques, post letters and buy a million things. Charter a minibus to Teluk Bayur for 1,500rp, unloading all our stuff onto the dock. The Balam (Prentiss Lines) looks like a refugee boat, overflowing with people and belongings. We rent a room from Indra, a crewmember, but only two beds. Tony cheats in picking straws, and I have to sleep on the floor. Scott cheated too.


    The very first photo of Pasongan/Macaronis (Photo Fitzpatrick)

    Tuesday 29th April, 1980, Sikakap, Pagai Utara.
    Arrive at Sikakap, Pagai Utara. We make a quick decision to get off here if we can charter a boat. We quickly do – from a guy named Asril, for 15,000rp a day. So we spend the day walking from office to office, getting signatures for our form from the Kantor Wali Nagari.

    Wednesday 30th April, 1980, Sikakap to Sabeugukgung.
    ​We head out before dawn in a setting full moon. Asril’s worried that the waves are big. Pick up Rasid, who we find out later was told we were only going for two days, and head off downstream. The day is clear and the wind light northeast. Pass Pulau Siruso, our first perfect left pointbreak looks about 6-to-8 foot and barrelling. The coast to Sabeugukgung is protected by funny reefs with shifting waves.

    Come ashore at the house of Tuan Tambak. The kepala kampung (village head) doesn’t really seem to know what our form is for. After lunch, which Asril and Rasid cook, we go walkabout around the point looking for perfect righthanders, through swamp and across reef, only to be stopped by a razor-sharp reef. Asril takes us around the bay looking at waves. He really seems to be coming to the conclusion that we’re lunatics. So on returning from our fruitless search, Scott and I go surfing on the beachbreak to show them how it’s done.

    Authors note: Ironically, during this 'fruitless search' we spent a little while watching and even photographing a shallow left reefbreak in this bay that was too small on the day. That break is now known to be legendary with a big south swell and goes by the name of 'Greenbush'.


    (Photo Fitzpatrick)

    Thursday 1st May, 1980, Sabeugukgung to Betumonga and Silabu.
    Set off at dawn for Betumonga. Rounding the last point, Tanjung Toitet, we’re looking into an unreal but sectioning 4-to-6 foot lefthander. We jump off and surf the fourth bowl. Scott surfs with typical zongo wave judgement and breaks his legrope. Then we paddle up to the third bowl for a few larger and faster waves.

    Travel up the coast to Teluk Pasongan. The left point looks promising – glassy, spiralling tubes – but we’re not so sure it’s rideable.

    At Pasongan – the break now called Macaronis - we didn’t immediately recognise it as a perfect wave. On this morning it was 6-to-8 foot, thick southwest groundswell and low tide, with the Bommie in Pasongan Bay breaking consistently. As I recall we were worried about the dredging reef being too shallow, and were probably focussed on the outside break that sections off too fast.

    It’s a lesson I’ve learnt again and again in research life: when you’re in uncharted territory the most important findings often don’t look so special the first time you see them.


    The Kasang cubby house with verdant gardens and voracious mosquitoes (Photo Fitzpatrick)

    Friday 2nd May, 1980, Silabu Gedang.
    Head to Betumonga Point at dawn. Surf is 3-to-4 foot and peeling. Everyone gets plenty of waves. Scott uses zongo judgement and takes the first set he sees, breaks his legrope, and has to swim all the way around the reef.

    Afternoon we go to the Betumonga village to show our permit to the kepala kampung and give him a quarter slab of tobacco. Boat trip up the river was straight out of Apocalypse Now.

    Load the boat and head for Kasang, since there’s no way Asril will take the boat out if the swell comes up. Kasang is a cubby house in a swamp!


    High tide Pasongan (Photo Fitzpatrick)

    Saturday 3rd May, 1980, Kasang.
    Arise at dawn and head to the point, Rasid at the helm. Surf’s good but swell inconsistent and more from the west so it’s not lining up so good. Rasid disappears with the boat and we’re left out in the middle of nowhere in the heaviest bloody rainstorm. Start paddling back into the bay.

    Afternoon the wind comes up from the north so we take the boat and Rasid to Pasongan. We see the house there, and how nice the beach is, and how good the left there really is, and how if we stay here we won’t have to go to church tomorrow and can surf instead. So we decide to stay here.

    Sunday 4th May, 1980, Kasang to Pasongan
    Partly cloudy at dawn. We load the boat and head out for Pasongan. Swell seems bigger and stronger and more from the west. Pasongan Point is pumping. We take a few pictures from the boat, unload our stuff to the dilapidated house at Puba Ruwayat, and head out.

    Paddle round the point and into the most perfect 3-to-5 foot waves. Wind blowing into the tube, but no real problem. Reminiscent of Tamarin Bay only shorter, hollower and more bowling. Tony cuts his back on the reef. By midday the wind is too strong from the north and too choppy. Head in and fix up house with plastic tarps for walls, fix the floor, etc. Rain all night.


    Martin and Chris Goodnow with the photos taken in 1980, and reunited in 2013

    In 1980 we stayed in a day-house belonging to a man named Martin. It was a tiny hut in his coconut garden. To the east was the coconut garden and house of Seratubu, a teacher from Silabu, and his son Parmin. Martin still lives in Silabu. His children are now teachers in Silabu village, and Seratubu’s daughter is principal. The adjacent photo of Martin and myself was sent to me by Martin in 1981. I was chuffed to find a framed copy on his living room wall in Silabu when we caught up with him in 2013.


    Chris Goodnow drawing off the bottom of perfect Pasongan...

    Monday 5th May, 1980, Pasongan
    Wake at dawn and paddle out around the point after a cup of coffee. Wind is light offshore, the sky is partly cloudy, and the swell up about 4-to-6 foot. Scott and I the only ones out in perfect, barrelling waves. Unreal.

    Tony walks around the point, followed by Asril. The tide is high and they’re keeping near the swamp. Tony plods along with camera gear, then notices Asril heading out to sea at a rate of knots. Apparently a 6 foot crocodile had come out of the swamp behind Tony!

    Spend the afternoon on the beach writing a letter. Rain and wind heavy at night.

    Tuesday 6th May, 1980, Pasongan.
    Rain stops at dawn, but wind already blowing from northwest. Doesn’t look too promising. But wind soon drops to light northeast and we paddle out. Swell less consistent – still 4-to-6 foot and perfect. Surf till midday, when the wind comes onshore. Go in to a nice bowl of bubur rice porridge.

    Very long and heavy rainstorm hits for about an hour at midday. Afterward the wind is light easterly so we eat a couple of lollies and walk around the point. The waves are classic: 3-to-6 feet, low-tide cylinders. Glowing aquamarine waves and white spray, against a dark grey sky to the south. If only we had a water camera. Stay out till sunset. So many perfect waves...


    ...and setting up the barrel section (Photo Fitzpatrick)

    Wednesday 7th May, 1980, Pasongan.
    Rain in morning and heavy cloud. Go for a surf at 10am, as the wind has now turned south-southeast. The waves are still a bit bumpy, but glassy and bowling around the inside. Surf for a couple hours, 3-to-5 foot, till the south wind gets a bit too strong out at the take-off. 

    Friday 9th May, 1980, Pasongan back to Sikakap. 
    We leave, saying farewell to still perfect waves. Wind comes up light easterly in the straights. 

    Eat that night at Asril’s. His wife has made a bit of a feast, including rendang and a vegetable dish that was a scorcher: “Pedas sekali!” After dinner Asril drives us around to the Catholic school with all our stuff. An eerie night-time drive with the kero lamp hissing at the bow, nocturnal fish glinting in the sheet glass water, and fleeting glimpses of small-town nightlife in Asia.


    (Photo Fitzpatrick)

    ​Wednesday 14th May, 1980, Sioban to Bosua, Island of Sipura.
    Had to do the rounds of reporting to all the officials again. Basril, the guy who owned the boat, was looking impatient by the time we’d finished, and downright restless after we’d gone to a million shops for supplies.

    We passed Katiet at midday, and while there were small crumbly onshore waves breaking on the reef we didn’t see the gold we were passing by: the legendary waves of Lance’s Right would not be discovered until Lance Knight arrived 11 years later. Scott has suggested I did see it, but wasn’t interested as a myopic goofyfooter only looking for lefts.

    We also passed straight by without seeing the excellent lefthander now known as Lance’s Left. Moral of the story: even when you’re looking, discoveries aren’t made when you’re in a hurry.

    Arrived at Bosua just as the afternoon rain hit. Got soaked, carried our stuff to the house, had some tea. Cleared up later in the arvo, wind was light NW and swell about 6-to-7 feet on the crummy reefs at Bosua. Later we walked to Gobi and on to Teluk Pasir in hope of waves, through some beautiful gardens. Unreal place, perfect bays and close villages, but the reefs were all weird: submerged coast or something.

    Had we continued on this path to the other end of the bay we would have seen Lance’s Left, and another kilometre would have brought us to the beach at Lance’s Right where, by now, the wind would have swung offshore. So close, and still we missed it.


    Tony Fitzpatrick and Scott Wakefield (Photo Goodnow)

    Saturday 17th May, 1980, Siberimanua to Sioban.
    Left soon after sunrise, wind was light in the morning when we jumped in the boat. The waves good, 4-to-5 feet, some long walls, fairly powerful, ‘tho a bit inconsistent. Later the wind swings south and freshens, but the end section is still smooth and improves with the dropping tide. Good to be in the surf again!

    This wave is now called '7 Palms Point.'

    Back on board, after two well fought-over cans of Indomilk, we go as far as an island off Tua Pejat. We stop for a surf in crummy waves but aquarium conditions then eat lunch in a classic tropical coconut palm grove. Super-Mi for a main course with kelapa muda (young coconut) and sugar for dessert.

    This surf spot is now called Icelands, and apparently only gets really good when huge. On the way there we also marked up on our maps a reef that had very small waves on the day, but looked like it would have Tamarin Bay-style perfection with a large west swell. That spot is now called Telescopes.

    Tuesday 20th May, 1980, Sikakap.
    Drove Tony to the boat this morning, said farewell including making him promise not to tell a soul about Pasongan. Tony struggled to keep his promise, instead blabbing away in a letter home to his parents and his two surfing brothers:

                          Dear Mum, Dad, Ben and Dan,
                           Well here we are in sunny Sikakap, main port of these islands. We
                           just returned from our visit to the West coast of the island.
                           We spent 10 days there. There is no way I could have spent another
                           day there...Chris and Scott were going surf crazy. Every time
                           we moved the boat was packed with gear and we had to sit in pools
                           of kerosene in the bottom of the boat.
                           Anyway it seems like for the first 5 days we kept moving on. We
                           found a big left hand reef break like Uluwatu (PS this place is
                           full of left handers – no righthanders. PPS – don’t tell anyone
                           where we’ve been)...
                           We found what Chris calls “the best left hander he’s ever seen”
                           – a really mechanical hollow wave wrapping around a coral reef.

    The letter didn’t reach Sydney until after Scott and I were back. When it arrived Tony’s Mum phoned me to see if I’d like to borrow it for a read. Somehow it wasn’t returned but ended up buried in my filing cabinet for thirty years. But back to the diary...

    The third horn sounded, and Tony was off towards the next chapter of his journey.


    (Photo Fitzpatrick)

    Wednesday, 21st May, 1980, Sikakap to Pasongan.
    Woke by alarm at 4am. Sky was dark and clear, wind light. Boat arrived at 4:30 and we were off. Arrived at Pasongan about 7:30. Beautiful morning with blue sky and water clear, wind light south-southeast. Spent the morning organising the house and belongings, getting water, went snorkelling. Plenty of big fish straight out, too bad we don’t have a speargun. We also discovered that badar kering (dried minnows) are shithouse. “Not those little fish again?!”

    With only two people here – Scott and I – the local wildlife was a lot more adventurous: a lot more noises from the jungle at night, and a running battle with the squirrels, which keep stealing food at night.

    Thursday 22nd May, 1980, Pasongan.
    Wind light early, waves 2-to-4 foot and a bit weak and bumpy, but still good. We see four sharks and paddle in. They were swimming in the face of the waves, just near the impact zone. Paddle out after half an hour. Surf til midday, then come in and make lunch.

    Afternoon we just sit around talking, reading, and drawing. Wind freshens from the south later. No rain. Tried fishing after dinner: boring.


    (Photo Fitzpatrick)

    Friday 23rd May, 1980, Pasongan.
    Surf still only 2-to-4 feet, a bit lumpy, but very glassy and good fun. Had more bloody little fish fried with onions and peanuts again, added to Super-Mi and Scott’s keladi balls. Not too bad, at least this one was edible. Washed our hair this afternoon: first time in four weeks. I also squeezed out the pus from the zillion little infected cuts and mozzie bites.

    Saturday 24th May, 1980, Pasongan.
    Glassy at dawn today, and swell very straight with more power. Wind stayed offshore or glassy till noon or so, and we surfed till then. 3-to-4 foot and some perfect and very hollow waves. A good surf. Scott saw the sharks again, but this time the surf was too good to go in. We just didn’t sit up on our boards for a while.

    Later, I get a wave and line up the tube. Scott’s paddling out and it seems as if he’s staring awfully hard at me. I keep going along in the tube and fall off just as I’m coming out. Scott’s right there looking a bit worried. Apparently there was a shark skimming along inside the wave about five feet ahead of me, and when I fell off Scott thought I’d had it.

    Later, Scott sees a shark surface about ten yards out the back, but it’s heading out to sea, and the surf’s still really good, so we stay out.

    Scott is up at the swamp, standing on a log naked and brushing his teeth, when two Mentawai men from Tatiri paddle round the corner in a sampan. Scott sees them and jumps into the bushes. They see Scott, their first view of a white man, and head back out to sea at a rate of knots. God only knows what sort of ghost or spirit from the swamp they thought they’d seen, but judging from the shaky way they paddled that sampan back I’ll bet there were some lively stories in Tatiri tonight.


    (Photo Fitzpatrick)

    Sunday 25th May, 1980, Pasongan.
    Surf was really flat today. We went round the point to fibreglass a memento of our stay here. It read like this:

    Australian expedition to the Mentawais: first surfed here May 1980 by:
    Scott Wakefield: “the surf’s bloody perfect but the regular drop-ins by the sharks worried me a bit ‘tho. It was no pleasure cruise.”
    Tony Fitzpatrick: “I didn’t fancy getting chased by the crocodile from the swamp behind the point – a lot of hassle just for a surf!”
    Chris Goodnow: “I’m complaining to the North Pagai County Council about the shocking living conditions and lack of seating arrangements!”
    All from Sydney, Australia

    Then went for a nice, easy afternoon surf. Came in at sunset and got totally ravaged by clouds of little biting sandflies. Ran across the rocks and home to dinner of fried rice and keladi chips.


    (Photo Fitzpatrick)

    Monday 26th May, 1980, Pasongan to Sikakap.
    Woke to find the surf was even smaller. Didn’t even bother to go surfing. Packed up, leaving wok, pots and pans, plates and cups to Martin along with a note saying thanks. Tiar arrived soon enough with the boat, and we left as the wind began to freshen from the north. Out on the ocean the swell was larger, maybe 3-5ft. Seems it was so much from the west that Tanjung Sinjai was blocking it from Pasongan. Maybe we should have gone and looked at the little point at Silabu. Next time!

    Back in Sikakap we picked up our passports. Got a lift across to K.V. Bella, a huge timber cargo ship in port at the lumber company. The captain was a jolly Israeli who thought our being “tourists in the Mentawais” was the funniest joke he’d heard in years. He gave us cold Californian soft drinks out of the fridge and salted almonds, and offered us a free ride to Padang.

    Ate lunch (another great meal) at Asril’s, gave him jerry cans and left over food, etc. Said goodbyes to all the family, and headed off to the ship. Ate dinner on the ship: steak, tomatoes, onions, peas, bread. Unreal!

    Kept our heads down as all-out war erupted in the ship’s mess hall between a crew of seven foot tall Nigerians who swarmed in on the cook with some complaint about the food. Next thing, the Nigerians are being pursued by the little Chinese cook waving a massive meat cleaver. We just keep eating and hope we survive the trip. Slept that night on the floor of the officer’s mess.

  • Tuesday, 27th May, 1980, Padang to Jakarta.
    Arrived at dawn to a wet Teluk Bayur, wind from the west, fishing boats chugging and rocking to safety. Unloaded ourselves, with the Indonesian crew of stevedores, into a tiny covered boat. Got soaked by the rain.

    Arrived at Tabing airport smelly, wet, dirty, wearing boardshorts and raincoat. Disapproving looks from fellow travellers, but in ten minutes we board the plane. Cloud seems heavy all along the west coast of Sumatra as we fly to Jakarta. 

    Click for Part 1 of Finding Macaronis
    Part 3 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.


tonybarber's picture
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tonybarber Friday, 27 Nov 2015 at 10:39am

Great read... Thanks.

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surfonkeith Friday, 27 Nov 2015 at 11:33am

Looking forward to part 3.
Lets hope there is guys out there write now, discovering uncharted breaks that we read there findings in 30 years time. You never know.
I'll just get back to my work computer and air conditioned office....

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jimbrown Friday, 27 Nov 2015 at 12:54pm


indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming Saturday, 28 Nov 2015 at 9:09am

Its amazing they documented it so well, its cool to read about their journey in such detail as I know a lot of those other odd waves they talk about quite well and those areas and villages etc, i even walked some of that coastline.

Thats quite a journey they undertook, crazy to think they could pass places like HT,s and Lances left though.

dandandan's picture
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dandandan Wednesday, 2 Dec 2015 at 12:54pm

Totally agree. Makes me wish I had kept my journals up. Would be a great thing to read over in the twilight years. I'd pay good $$$'s to get my hand on some of yours too! Maps included please.

It's so easy to walk past waves though. So many of the shorter reefs and spots in Java, for example, look almost completely unsurfable if you turn up on the wrong tide with any hint of wind. One of my favorite waves is almost invisible until the tide hits the right spot. Conversely, I still regularly trek in to look at what I reckon to be one of the best right points I've ever seen. Granted, I have never seen it remotely surfable. But gosh... If you get it on the right day (which I should know by now is never going to happen) it would be unreal.

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indo-dreaming Wednesday, 2 Dec 2015 at 6:59pm

Yeah true you could easily walk past some spots if wrong tide or if the swell was the wrong size but it does help you get an idea of potential, but like the article says sometimes what you think is the wave your looking at the wrong section of the wave.

I just like to walk the coast just to know what there and to make sure, its also cool just for the non surf thing and you always seem to bump into some local in the middle of nowhere they always seem spun out to see you there.

Ive found a few spots and lots of potential spots and you can find/see waves from the shore that are close to impossible to see from the behind the wave or on a boat, but they are mostly kinda spots, reefs that are kinda in-between other reefs and they often have only one or two waves that line up in a set or dry reef end sections, also lots of spots that most likely get okay but when they do the true waves are pumping.

BTW. A long time ago before goggle earth i found what i thought was a good right point in Java on a satellite pic, i got the best maps i could and went looking for it, and i saw what i thought was the spot from afar from a road, i took a few tracks/roads but none came out near it and I had to give up because it was getting dark, i never went back looking but always thought i wonder if it was a true spot and if it was any good…wonder if it could be the same spot as it is down near an area i know you hang.

dandandan's picture
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dandandan Thursday, 3 Dec 2015 at 10:45am

We've undoubtedly walked the same stretches of beaches I imagine. I love searching for waves by boat, but you miss a lot of the action. Walking the coastlines and asking the fishermen is more my style (and budget!). You get skunked all the time time (all. the. time.) but it's the kind of travel/surf that I enjoy most.

And yeah, almost guarantee it is the same spot. It looks very promising on satellite imagery and on maps. But the bathmetry is just not quite right. It would definitely be good, but you'd be sitting out months of nothing for a few hours of gold. The fishermen tell me that a French guy shows up once every few months for 'main ski'... You probably know the bloke too. Suggests to me that it can be good, but like the rest of Java, pretty darn fickle.

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salmon21 Tuesday, 1 Dec 2015 at 8:19pm

Fantastic reading Brings Back the best of memories in 1982 i was only 17 years old in one of the most remote parts of the world living in lugundi bay for 6 weeks with my elder brother being 24 paddling out of the key hole for the first time as the sun came up still sits strongly in the memorey bank watching my brother and dugga warren pull into some of the biggest pits , they both played a game seeing who could go the deepest , wow what a place , im now 51 and must return soon , i think it might be a little easier to get thier now , landed madan airport , bus to silboga via lake toba , boat to top end of nias then , onother boat to tuluktalam , wow id do it all over again .

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maxe Tuesday, 1 Dec 2015 at 9:11pm

Fantastic reading and photos, bring on part 3!

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Ontheroad Wednesday, 2 Dec 2015 at 12:54am

Nice one guys...

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robozurf Thursday, 3 Dec 2015 at 10:28am

Very cool

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jimmyrwilson Thursday, 3 Dec 2015 at 12:48pm

Great story, thanks!

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NickT Sunday, 6 Dec 2015 at 4:49pm

Awesome read, cheers

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stew_asu Saturday, 16 Jan 2016 at 9:05pm

Thanks that was a cool read, takes me back to why i first came to Indonesia, and why I'm still living here in Sumatra 35 years later..

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udo Saturday, 16 Jan 2016 at 9:09pm

Stew would love to hear about your last 35yrs in Indo........care to tell ?

stew_asu's picture
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stew_asu Sunday, 17 Jan 2016 at 12:02am

So far it's been an amazing journey..lived on a beautiful little island called Asu many years ago, and in the early 90's established one of the first surf camps, which was later totally destroyed by a massive earthquake in March 2005. This freak of nature tilted and lifted surrounding reefs effecting our main playgrounds, but a few further away outer reefs lifted just right, and we had the pleasure to surf these for the first time in history. Fast track to the present..i left the islands a long time ago, and now a happy family man living in Medan..where i golf more than surf. I have a cool job which still has me traveling on the ocean to very remote parts of Indonesia & SE Asia. I know quite a few places that still remain off the radar, and most importantly, uncrowded. All going well, these spots are where i plan to spend more time surfing into my finer years ahead..