photo: Alex Laurel

Picture 88

Surf Europe's latest version of the surf magazine is out and proud.

Things contained inside include an article about Nike 6.0's wonderbar boat trip to the Indowais which I wrote, so you know it's average...

Picture 91

It’s a topsy turvy world and these are the strangest of times. On is off and in betweeners are the new set waves and the Dream Tour just had a fabulous floaters event in closing out Rio and Michel Bourez has just bought a Gath helmet. That’s right.

It is night time in Padang, Sumatra which may or may not be the best time. It’s surely a good time to leave on a boat for the islands, only first is a stop at the Padang surf shop for important waxes and leashes. Outside there is a miniramp and a rail and the local skate community is out in force. It seems like a trifle too hot a business, all these skinny jeans and enthusiastic ollies in the sweltering, odourous tropics, but they have cigs and skate chicks are watching with their own cigs too, they seem to be doing OK. But what’s this now, emerging from the shop with a purchase? It looks like Michel Bourez, but he appears to have bought… not leashes or waxes, but a… Gath helmet. I mean, I knew he hurt himself on that Brazilian sandbar, but, really? Did he pick up some reef booties in case the coral is sharp against his skin? Will he wear a longsleeve hooded rashie? Weary from the voyage your mind is fragile and tender and vulnerable to wild irregular notions.

“I think the reef moved during the earthquake…" said a surfer on a surf trip in these islands. He was right, too. It had. Everything moved, which is why they call it an earthquake. But the sudden acute interest in seismology and perhaps the humanitarian toll had a hollow ring to it. The surfer, after all, only cared about the wave really, perhaps the villagers a little bit but not much, and only then because the village was near the place where the wave was. Another surfer said, “Better go Mentawais soon before they disappear", but he wasn’t being insightfully prophetic, he merely forgot these islands were about 2 million years old and long had felt the episodic wrath of countless violent salt water incursions washing over them, and instead thought they were founded sometime in the 90’s between The Search I and II. In these islands, today, along some of the points the jungle had been plucked bare. Tree life devastated for a few hundred metres. Like the point that makes the background at Macaronis when shot from land, buzz sawed in last October’s tsunami. But one suspects it, right now, it is in the very process of vigorously growing back, which it may or may...

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- PeeWee