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The Nias Show

It was dur­ing July this year when Indo put on a show for the ages. The South­ern Ocean had just fin­ished throw­ing a mid-win­ter tem­per tantrum in which it screamed it­self black and pur­ple; the re­sult was two mam­moth back-to-back swells fired di­rectly at the In­done­sian ar­chi­pel­ago. Those with a kink for the heavy stuff scur­ried to wran­gle boards and make travel ar­range­ments in or­der to ren­dezvous with the waves. The des­ti­na­tion of choice for those who were game was La­gun­dri Bay, and it didn’t dis­ap­point. A swell of epic pro­por­tions, many say un­prece­dented, slammed the area. Big wave surfers from all over the planet, both pro­fes­sional and un­der­ground, took to the fray. Mean­while reg­u­lar surfers who were al­ready in town and wanted no part of it, sat back with a beer and en­joyed one hell of a show. This shot was taken by Amer­i­can pho­tog Ryan Craig and shows the scene in­side Hash and Fam­ily Surf House at the peak of the swell. “One of the amaz­ing things about Nias is that some homes and home­s­tays have this per­fect view of one of the best waves in the world,” ex­plains Ryan. “It’s sim­i­lar to what it might be like to watch Pipe from the Vol­com House. Dur­ing the three big­gest days, the down­stairs area was stand­ing room only with peo­ple hootin’ and hol­ler­ing at ev­ery set. “It was also a spec­ta­cle watch­ing the surfers deal with the mas­sive sweep be­fore they even made it to the lineup,” con­tin­ues Ryan. “Nor­mally there’s a key­hole but not on this swell. Ev­ery­one, whether your name was Ian Walsh or Matt Brom­ley, had to slowly and care­fully crab­walk across the reef as far as they could be­fore jump­ing into the rapids and un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously get­ting sucked into the bay. In some cases it took guys up­wards of 40 min­utes.”

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