Ghost’s Island

Northern Sumatra reefs have been re-shaped after the different earthquakes of the past years: some waves are gone, some new waves appeared, some known breaks improved or got worse but an island, lost in time, still sits out there with the best righthander in Indo like a ghost from the past.

Behind the tree line of the jungle, you feel a presence. On the water edge even the monkeys feeding on the dry reef are cautious, attentive of what could lie beyond the thick green barrier of the jungle.

There are no tigers on that island or big predators but our Indo crew would not set a foot on it for another reason. it is sacred ground, ancient tribes used to bury there deads here. they also buried their enemies alive underneath piles of dead coral. Only one poacher comes here to steal the turtles eggs and he even doesn’t stay on land at night, he sleeps in the bay aboard his little boat next to ours. There is an usual haze of low clouds covering the hilltops of the island moving slowy from north to south every day. the living proof that some unknown forces are at work on this island for the local people.

The righthander, is picture perfect: wraping around the reef at the entrance of the bay and offering four distinct barrel sections. it is a half a minute ride easy today but the captain swears that on the best day he saw guys going way beyond the minute mark. Knowing that a natural footer can spend 80% of the ride inside the green room, I’ll let you do your math on the time spend under the lip.

Before paddling out, the cook grabs me by the arm and tells me to be careful, and he is not mentionning the thick inside section, he stares at the jungle. I smiled back to him before diving in the crystal clear water. Two days later, the ocean is nearly flat and we decide to go for a fresh water mission on the island. We embarked a few empty water tanks in the diggy and head to the shore. There is a tiny little stream but with enough flow to carry our task. My mate and I are walking a little bit upstream to get clearer fresh water and suddenly the wind stops completely. no bird noises or the usual jungle concert. everything has come to a stand still. we are not alone around the little water patch, and despite the hot air and the moisture, we both get the shivers. Someone calls us from the boat and we are out of here in no time with our tank half filled. The captain is standing straight in the diggy pointing at the reef: the swell is building rapidly, coming out of nowhere, the weather charts didn’t look good at all for the remaining days of the trip. A ghost swell. We are not wanted on land and that’s probably another sign and surfing the righthander is a frontier we are well happy not to cross…


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