As a grom I would browse magazines and become mesmerised by these far off places and the perfect waves that were printed in those glossy pages, but while the initial hook you could say were those waves, I was also infatuated by the journeys these surfers went through and their experiences along the way through foreign lands, the hardships and risks they endured and the cultures they encountered all in search of a wave.
Stories of tigers, tidal waves, pirates, shipwrecks, they all seemed like imaginative tales, but for many of these surf travel pioneers these encounters were real and I really gravitated toward that. In my late teens I took my first overseas surf trip to Bali, and while Bali had been exposed to the world 20 years prior, back then it was much different to what it has become now. That was my first taste of tropical waves, a completely different culture and religious way of life. Access to the cave at Ulu’s was still down a bamboo ladder and you still had to walk in down rugged dirt tracks. I loved this feeling of surf exploration and even in those first few years of my Indo love affair I got to surf waves that had never been surfed before.
Mates of mine began to join me on these trips, and while all loved to score pumping waves, some loved to party all night, some loved to spend their entire trip trying to score, others simply felt best heading down to the beach at the end of the day with a Bintang in hand to watch that golden ball of flames dip beyond the horizon waiting for the green flash. I got it early on, everyone travels for different reasons within that common goal of perfect surf. Yet I had a yearning to look beyond what was the already known, I was addicted to wanting to find out what lay across that bay, or beyond that next headland, or even on that island off in the distance, so I’d trek, paddle or hire fishing boats and sacrifice a day of guaranteed surf in search of my own slice of discovery.
I spent years camping out in isolated areas, island hopping and sleeping in places that you’d never believe if I told ya. Indo was my base camp where I learnt how to survive in foreign lands. I made a tonne of lifelong friends, found out a lot about myself, and learnt to appreciate what I had back home more than ever. I scored the most perfect waves you’ve ever dreamt of, had moments where my life flashed before my eyes and was scared more times than I can remember, I was taken out of my comfort zone time and time again, and while some of these statements may make you wonder why the hell anyone would travel to such places, I fricken loved it! I loved every second of my time as a travelling surfer and I will cherish these days forever.
For many just getting away from the chills of winter is enough, others if they catch a few waves in between lying on the sun chair and sipping cocktails by the pool unwinding the stresses of life, they feel free. So, whatever your reason for picking up that phone or tapping that keyboard and locking in your surf holiday, take my advice; open your eyes, your minds and even your heart to the bigger picture surrounding that incoming wave and ask yourself, does it get much better than this?
Take a look inside this issue where we feature a few key destinations that have changed my life for the better.