BEACH PAR­ADISE

Hong Kong Tatler - - Travel -

There’s noth­ing in the world quite like catch­ing a wave at Ni­hi­watu. The rush of adrenalin as you rise on your surf­board with the wind whistling in your ears, the eu­pho­ria as you ride the fa­mous left-hand break with sev­eral tonnes of In­dian Ocean wa­ter crash­ing down be­hind you, all against a back­drop of one of the planet’s most beau­ti­ful—and ex­clu­sive— stretches of coast­line; it’s sim­ply sub­lime.

Or so I’m told by the real surfers at the bar back on land as I re­count the string of awk­ward wipe­outs and dump­ings that was my surf les­son: Waves 6, Paul 0. You were al­most there; you’ll get it next time, they coun­sel as I nod doubt­fully. But for­tu­nately for neo­phytes like me, Ni­hi­watu’s at­trac­tions stretch far be­yond its leg­endary break.

For more than a decade, Ni­hi­watu has pos­sessed a near myth­i­cal sta­tus among surfers. Partly it’s the his­tory of the place—a small and re­mote re­sort on the un­de­vel­oped In­done­sian is­land of Sumba carved out against the odds by US surf­ing mav­er­ick Claude Graves and his wife Petra in the late 1980s and ’90s. Its cult sta­tus also has a lot to do with its ex­clu­sive­ness—ac­cess to the world’s only pri­vate wave, and a cap of just 10 surfers in the wa­ter at any time. But mainly it’s about the wave it­self—an ex­traor­di­nar­ily con­sis­tent, world-class break nick­named “God’s Left” that is spo­ken about in hal­lowed tones by all who come to pay homage at its crash­ing al­tar.

Out­side of the surf com­mu­nity, how­ever, the buzz about Ni­hi­watu has been build­ing faster than an in­bound swell since it was ac­quired by US bil­lion­aire Christo­pher Burch in 2013. Since then, the for­mer hus­band of fash­ion designer Tory Burch and co-founder of her epony­mous la­bel has spent US$30 mil­lion re­de­vel­op­ing Ni­hi­watu into a world­class re­sort that caters to non-surfers ev­ery

CLOCK­WISE FROM LEFT: A TA­BLE SET FOR LUNCH ON PIC­TURESQUE NI­HI­WATU BEACH; IN­TRIGU­ING UN­DER­WA­TER WILDLIFE; SNORKELLING IS JUST ONE OF THE MANY WA­TER­SPORTS AVAIL­ABLE

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