Tracks - - Rapture -

Pulse was cus­tom de­signed and built af­ter 16 years of surf char­ter oper­a­tions around the Banyak Is­lands and North Su­ma­tra, In­done­sia.

“It was a long way out of our Kuta com­fort zone. To ven­ture out into the un­known, into Mus­lim ter­ri­tory, some­where up near Banda Aceh to dis­cover par­adise. No one was re­ally draw­ing a map for us to tell us how to get there.” Tim­ing their run to co­in­cide with a full moon and a ris­ing swell, the duo flew to Medan and then bussed over­land to south Su­ma­tra, re­ly­ing heav­ily on Thorn­ton’s lan­guage skills to nav­i­gate through a new world. “Thorn­ton was re­ally the driv­ing force and his In­done­sian was even bet­ter than mine,” re­mem­bers Dick.

De­spite han­dling the first part of the jour­ney well when it came time to make the fi­nal cross­ing by boat they ran into trou­ble with the cap­tain they’d com­mis­sioned to ferry them to par­adise. Faced with big tides and ris­ing swell he re­fused to con­tinue the mis­sion shortly af­ter leav­ing port and made his feel­ings clear in blunt fash­ion.

“The cap­tain of the boat got vi­o­lent and pro­duced a gun be­cause we were de­mand­ing that he keep go­ing, but he was say­ing ‘no it’s too rough’. We even­tu­ally had to sit be­hind this lit­tle is­land and sat out the swell that we’d gone all that way to get.”

Fi­nally ar­riv­ing at the port near Nias, it was soon ap­par­ent to Dick that they were not the only surfers who’d snuffed out the lo­ca­tion of La­gun­dri.

“We even­tu­ally got to Teluk Dalam. We ob­vi­ously weren’t the first ones be­cause even the beamo driv­ers know who you are and find some way of bleed­ing some money out of you and tak­ing you to the holy-grail.”

When they even­tu­ally made it to La­gun­dri, the set­ting lived up to the ex­pec­ta­tions. “It was pretty unique. There are very few places on the planet like Nias,” of­fers Dick. “It was the nat­u­ral footer’s trop­i­cal par­adise. It is one of those rare jewels in the surf­ing uni­verse that sparkles ex­tremely brightly.”

How­ever, not sur­pris­ingly, the half a dozen guys al­ready there, who were con­vinced they’d found heaven, weren’t ex­actly ec­static to see Dick Hoole roll up, lug­ging his heavy­weight cam­era gear.

"To the few hard-core surfers that were there when I ar­rived with the cam­era I was known as ‘Dick Hole, the big­gest cunt in the uni­verse’ be­cause I’m the guy that fucked Nias for ev­ery­one,” ad­mits Dick.

De­spite the coarse re­cep­tion, Fal­lan­der tore the point apart and Dick ducked and weaved around the can­tan­ker­ous surfers to cap­ture the ac­tion. On film Nias was a knock­out – all those sheer blue faces shim­mer­ing against a palm tree back­drop were ir­re­sistibly se­duc­tive. Once Hoole checked the footage and showed it to his part­ners he knew they had some­thing spe­cial in the can, and he re­turned with Thorn­ton and Joe En­gel in 1981 to fin­ish shoot­ing Storm Rid­ers.

The rap­tur­ous footage of the two nat­u­ral foot­ers thread­ing the sparkling al­mond bar­rels would ul­ti­mately be­come the most cel­e­brated sec­tion to Stor­mRiders. The film pre­miered at the Opera House in 1982 and although both the movie and the Nias sec­tion fea­tured sev­eral in­cred­i­ble mo­ments, it was one wave of Thorn­ton Fal­lan­der’s that had the crowd scream­ing the loud­est.

“That was pretty iconic,” re­calls Dick. “Par­tic­u­larly that shot of Thorn­ton, that one wave where he does the com­plete ma­noeu­vres and the cut­back… When we went back there later they had named it the Thorn­ton Fal­lan­der me­mo­rial cut-back sec­tion in hon­our of him.”

Af­ter the Opera House premiere, Storm Rid­ers toured the cin­e­mas around the globe and went on to be­come an in­stant clas­sic. The Nias sec­tion es­tab­lished a new bench­mark for the ul­ti­mate fan­tasy wave. Af­ter see­ing the film, many fell un­der the spell of La­gun­dri, aban­don­ing ev­ery­thing to travel to the shim­mer­ing, Su­ma­tran right.

As for the dis­grun­tled jour­ney­man who had en­joyed a fleet­ing and in­no­cent ro­mance with the wave mi­nus the crowds, Dick Hoole ac­cepts his role in de­stroy­ing their dream.

“I’m guilty. No one had blown the lid it on be­fore me and that was the code of con­duct back then. But we had a com­mer­cial agenda and a lot on the line so it seemed like a jus­ti­fi­able idea at the time.”

Un­der pres­sure to lever­age the com­mer­cial ap­peal of the film, Hoole and McCoy had even con­vinced the film’s Aus­tralian nar­ra­tor, Mar­cus Hale, to use an Amer­i­can ac­cent to make it more pop­u­lar with the big­ger US au­di­ences.

How­ever, while Dick wears the flack he re­ceived from a sorry few, he takes so­lace in the fact that there are many oth­ers who are gen­er­ous with their gratitude.

“There’s prob­a­bly a few peo­ple that would still like to whack me if the op­por­tu­nity came up but when the movie came out it was so suc­cess­ful that for ev­ery one of the guys that wants to whack me I found out I’ve got 100 new friends I didn’t know that I had that saw the movie, went to Nias; it changed their life and they fell for a dusty maiden and they think I’m great and they want to buy me a beer.”

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