Before they left for home, Chris Goodnow, Tony Fitzpatrick, and Scott Wakefield made a pact not to tell anyone about the waves at Macaronis/Pasongan Bay. Unlike other surfers who made similar decisions for their own benefit - to prolong their version of "surfers gold" - theirs was an arrangement driven by altruism. They'd seen what had happened to other places in Indonesia when photos were printed in the media and surfers came in droves. Invariably, those surfers didn't understand the local culture and thrust foreign values onto unprepared people.
No-one knows who surfed Pasongan after them, however it would be over ten years till the wave was exposed to the world via video. Immediately following its exposure the surfers came, just as the trio knew they would, and the Mentawais quickly became the most talked about surf region in the world. Photos filled the magazines and an ever-growing fleet of charter boats plied its waters.
Did the trio of surfers help the Pasongan locals by staying quiet about the wave? Or should they have devised a plan to prepare them for the onslaught of Western surfers? As he watched the Mentawai Islands assume a familiar economic trajectory, Chris Goodnow mulled these questions over in his head.
Over the last two decades surf tourism has flourished, not just in Indonesia but elsewhere around the world. Amongst the many places he's surfed, Chris Goodnow has travelled to Hollister Ranch in California, Cloudbreak in Fiji, and Pasta Point in the Maldives. At those waves he saw models of surf tourism that contrasted against the laissez-faire approach at Pasongan.
When waves are privatised they are inevitability serviced by the wealthy; they become exclusive play areas to those who can afford it. This concept bristles against our innate sense of a fair go for all. And yet when waves are opened to everyone their value is diminished due to overcrowding.
With these various models of surf tourism in mind, Chris Goodnow ponders the future of Pasongan Bay.