1. Sheldon Simkus Age: 21 Resides: Snapper Rocks
Sheldon’s approach to surfing (and life) is best likened to his second favourite pastime: golf. He takes his time in teeing up sections, he’s considered in his manoeuvre selection, and he draws clean, fast, and exciting lines. Sheldon’s been taking off behind the rock at Snapper for years; evidenced through his comfort in sitting far behind the peak at the famous Telo’s right barrel, Ranga’s. More recently, he’s emerged as a modern half-WQS upand-comer, half-surf trip gypsy, who is more than comfortable with lengthy stints in Indo. At the conclusion of our trip, as Jackson and Chris were ready to retreat to the comforts of Australia, Sheldon made a last-minute decision to head north-west to Nias, to continue a pursuit of the late-season Indo swells.
2. Jackson Baker Age: 21 Resides: Merewether
Jackson Baker burst onto the QS scene in blistering form last year. After a textbook ascension through the junior ranks, Jackson’s emerged as a larrikin equipped with one of the most wellassembled surfing repertoires on the planet. He’s a stocky young bloke, with an approach to the wave that is a blend of his two Merewether inspirations: Matt Hoy, through his mean on-rail attack, and Craig Anderson, via his considered approach to the tube and his ability to pilot lofty airs.
3. Chris Friend Age: 27 Resides: Bondi Beach
Former pro surfer and junior prodigy, Chris Friend, squeaked onto the trip as a board-tester come Tracks correspondent. The tall, natural footer is less acclimatised to the perfection of Indonesia: he grew up on the grovelling beach breaks of the Sunshine Coast, tackled the life of a young pro-surfer for four or five years on the WQS, before deciding to make the move to Bondi Beach, in search of a career in business and technology. Nowadays, Chris’s powerful turns are only unleashed in his pre-work morning session or perhaps the sporadic weekend surf mission up or down the coast. It took a few days to warm up his office-chair stiffened hips, but once warm, his former glory of hard rail turns and exciting combos were brought to the bear.