The right Line
You know it’s a good day when you have had your fill of waves by 3PM. After a late lunch, Asher and Chippa decide to take on the funnelling left in a dual sea kayak. It seems like a mission fraught with disaster in the shallow waters, however, much to the amusement of everyone else, they manage to steer the cumbersome kayak along the faces of several rolling lefts. The mastery of a new craft brings a genuine sense of satisfaction and after one successful ride they celebrate with both oars raised overhead like gold-medalwinning Olympians.
Later, the skipper, Louis, takes the helm position with Chipper in front. Miraculously they manoeuvre the kayak into the curling pocket and get covered up simultaneously. Louie throws a layback and only a pinching lip prevents them from exiting the tube of the trip.
The day already has a special feel about it when we board the tender boat on dark; assured by one of our Maldivian guides that we are close to a prime fishing spot. Soon we are in position with hand-lines and rods hung expectantly over the side by all members of the party. Matt, as per usual, is the most focused; fussing over the right combination of bait, tackle, line and reel as he claims the best spot, on the back of the boat. When not fishing or surfing at home,
Matt is hunting for wild boar or deer (he eats everything he catches). On his phone he shows us graphic footage of a deer he and a friend shot. Upon discovering the deer is pregnant he and the hunting buddy cut the fawn out of the womb and revive it. In a bizarre twist, the fawn is now Matt’s pet.
Asher is also an experienced angler but most of us are content to let the skilled Maldivian crew set us up with lines. Fishing is a way of life for the Maldivians and they seem to know every combination of tackle and lure, and when each one is most appropriate. One of the guides explains how an epic, fishing adventure on a Maldivian boat resulted in an escorted exit at the hands of choppers and a battleship when they ventured south into the Chagos islands, which are occupied by the US and British military.
Chippa hauls in the fish of his life after fighting for a solid 10 minutes on a hand line and looks like he’s just landed the elusive 720 rotation. It’s a solid Job fish or Uku as Matt calls it – good eating and perfect for fresh ceviche insists Asher. There’s barely time to celebrate Chippa’s catch before the lines are getting smashed on all sides. One by one everyone lands a decent fish. Meanwhile, Matt Meola is down the back of the boat quietly taking his tally to six in
an hour. Asher matches his efforts when he pulls in a sparkling red sea bass that’s big enough to feed the boat. Before all the lines are up we need a wheelie-bin-sized bucket to hold all the fish. Seeing an obvious metaphorical link between the excitement over our bumper haul and the craft we’ve been riding, Tyler Warren turns to me in his typically animated fashion. “Hey, I know what we should call the story and the movie we’re making ‘Fresh Fish’. Like all the boards are a fresh take on the fish design.” Staring down at a bucket filled with our still-wriggling catch, after a marathon day on twin fins, the name seems like the perfect fit.
Back on the main boat we stretch a white sheet across a wall and project the day’s surfing action onto a makeshift linen screen. The banter flows thick and fast, good-natured ribbing mixed with genuine appreciation for the best rides.
At Tyler’s insistence Matt’s air reverse to the flats is on replay multiple times. It’s cool to see the guy who embodies the historical aspects of the twin fin design digging the surfer who is taking it to a completely different space. “Twin fin revolution,” states Tyler with a chuckle at his pun and then poaches the cool-looking footage from the big-screen sheet and post it straight on his Instagram feed.
Top: Chippa Wilson committing to the heaviest paddle-in wave of his life.
Left: Fishing fanatic, Matt Meola, trawling the lip on two fins.