Eu­gene hosts a stag load of Devon boys as they get loose in the trop­ics.

Acar goes by. A car goes by. A car pulls in. “You sit down and say feck all!”, barked John ‘The Duke’ Ol­roy. Nes­tled be­tween two gi­ants of the Paign­ton Surf Cul­ture – Kevin Gre­gory and Joe Ol­roy – was a shaken, hum­mus-churn­ing Eu­gene Tollemache.

Nei­ther did those four mem­bers know the re­la­tion­ships they were to form from that day for­ward.

Grom abuse. Blind­fold­ing was a reg­u­lar and favourite of Joe. The grom would en­ter a cur­tain of dark­ness at al­most any given time to any given spot, even if that spot is one known by ev­ery man and his dog. Zip­ping said grom in a board bag at low and let­ting him out once the tide had come in for the Pier … the list goes on and on.

But af­ter all the tor­ture, all the abuse, this Grom looked at Joe as a role model, as a le­gend, as a hero. Joe would en­sure Euge went wher­ever he went and deep down above any­one else, he al­ways had the grom’s back. For years Joe took Euge to the waves. Now, it was Euge tak­ing Joe, and 10 slaves, to the waves.

Au­gust 2017. ‘’Brahs. I asked the ques­tion… she said yes!’’ said a frothy Farth (Olli Rogers).

This left Farth with the al­most im­pos­si­ble job of mus­ter­ing up ten wor­thy sol­diers to tame the slabs of North­ern Su­ma­tra. It didn’t take him long till he found the per­fect men.

Empty per­fect waves, warm trop­i­cal wa­ter, you and your best mates for 10 days, a sick boat with a sick crew and a sick guide. The build-up of froth for those 12 months was some­thing I couldn’t put into words. We’re from Paign­ton. It’s ge­o­graph­i­cally shite for waves. We’re go­ing to surf ac­tual per­fect pump­ing waves.

So with a weekly curry in the En­gine Room backed by a ton of beers through­out the year, it was time for FARTH’S DUSTY BOAT.

Si­bolga, North­ern Su­ma­tra. It’s just gone lunchtime, and 11 jet-lagged, red-eyed Paign­ton surfers are laid out in a ho­tel lobby with a Binny in one hand and a Sam­po­erna in the other.

‘’Is he here yet? Is he here?” He’s here. The cel­ery-eat­ing-grom has walked in and clocked The En­forcer from a mile off. Let’s say it was emo­tional. Sur­prise.

The sail that first night was loose. USD 2000 worth of Bin­tangs, 70 slabs – this was Farth’s Dusty Boat trip, a stag for our best mate Olli af­ter all. That too we wanted to set the Bin­tang record – so we all had a lot of work to do. And we worked bloody hard that night. Very hard.

We held our first Kan­ga­roo Court that night to award Milky (Shaun El­lis) for ‘Dick of the Day’. ‘’BREAK­FAST. VOUCHER.” He rolled the die to find his at­tire and im­prac­ti­cal craft to surf the fol­low­ing morn­ing. He did look good in a dress. Maybe it was the wig. Could also have been the Bin­tang and the sea breeze.

Morn­ing rose. Aro­mas of cof­fee and sun­cream, Ed­die cook­ing up scram­bled eggs, boards be­ing leashed and the sound of wax rub­bing across fresh fi­bre­glass. Af­ter an 18 hour sail, we came to our first spot. There’s a boat al­ready there. “Maybe we should give it half an hour and let…’’ says Euge. Be­fore he could even fin­ish his sen­tence, we’ve al­ready jumped off the boat pad­dling our way fran­ti­cally to­wards the 4ft glassy right.

‘We’re from Paign­ton Euge! THE FROTH IS REAL CUZZY!’

The first three days we spent surf­ing that area of North­ern Su­ma­tra - where ex­actly … you’ll never know. Surf­ing a play­ful right which grew through­out the pe­riod and a gnarly drain­ing bar­relling left with a good bunch of the boys say­ing it’s one of the best waves of their lives. Ceej (Clive Price) got the best wave of his life

– an im­pos­si­ble long pig-dog, which he was in for what felt like for­ever – and Grealm (Gary Wells) counted 10 le­git bar­rels in his first hour. Al (Alex Libby) was charg­ing, sit­ting deeper than any­one else and Milky was throw­ing him­self into some hol­low cav­erns. Joe (Ol­roy) found peace on the right. One time surf­ing with just him and his grom. I took a de­cent wipe­out too al­most knock­ing my­self out. Luck­ily Pe­dro was able to throw me a cold Binny from the dingy.

Oh and did I men­tion, we spent these three days with no one out. Just Euge, the crew and all our best mates. That was cer­tainly liv­ing!

We did have one scare. An­other char­ter boat could be seen in the dis­tance. Gary spot­ted it. On the boat, Euge was rais­ing the alarm, and in the wa­ter, Grealm had one sim­ple rule; “EV­ERY­ONE! DON’T DO TURNS. JUST GET BAR­RELLED.’’ The boat sailed on.

A few of us dropped some lines one of these ar­vos. An esky full of beers, the sun beam­ing down, a solid eight hours in the wa­ter on per­fect waves. Life doesn’t get any bet­ter. ‘’What’s that! A squid jig in my foot?’’ Farth caught him­self. The only thing any of us did catch.

By day four the swell had picked up, and it was time to move. We sailed fur­ther into the ar­chi­pel­ago mak­ing our way to a pinchy right. Al snapped his first board here, and Ol’s took one hell of a beat­ing, “I al­most broke my neck”. The next morn­ing we woke to a long, wind­ing, pic­ture-per­fect left.

Dr Ceej, or Mr Pig Dog, by now – took pro­tec­tion from the sun’s harm­ful rays on the end sec­tion and Dayno (Dayne English) was charg­ing. His or­ange-high­lighter rashy ab­seil­ing down some big faces with Milky hug­ging the reef, rac­ing some shal­low drain­ers.

Al lost a sec­ond weapon this day. Euge was killing it - a man who’s very com­fort­able ei­ther with his fins above the lip or hid­ing away in a keg and Grealm was re­leas­ing those fins like he was back on the UK PRO Tour of 2007. Alas.

That evening there were whis­pers of a mys­te­ri­ous right break­ing at the end of an es­tu­ary, far out to sea. We set sail and played a dis­gust­ing amount of beer pong. A dis­gust­ing amount.

I was down in my scratcher when I heard all this bang­ing and scream­ing com­ing from the

kitchen. I ran up in a sea mo­tion zig-zag path to see all the boys gaz­ing at what was the long­est, most per­fect, tip-to-toe bar­rel I think we’ve ever seen. Shit went ev­ery­where, and within a blink, we were in there.

And as un­for­giv­ing as Indo can be, within that small win­dow of manic the winds came up. Still, what we saw we’ll never for­get. Per­fec­tion.

We stayed around. Most of us had a good one go­ing rail-to-rail and rac­ing a wind­ing right. I got ex­cited with my board lead­ing to Ceej and Scoops (Adam Searle) stitch­ing my face back to­gether. Grealm and The En­forcer were party-wav­ing, and Farth was go­ing all ‘John John’ throw­ing grab rails and lay­backs.

We set for a big sail that arvo to cover ground and head south. Af­ter lunchtime Bin­nys and a bar­racuda on the line via Dayno, we turned up to a solid right. The step ups made an ap­pear­ance. Hobbo (Rob Hob­son) wet his Bush­man. The boys scaled some raw oceanic moun­tains, and the boys got the party go­ing on the boat.

Trav­el­ling through the night was some­thing on the JIWA. The sooth­ing rock of the pass­ing swells, the warm glow leav­ing your sun caught skin, the nat­u­ral ache of a day in the wa­ter, and the ag­gres­sive deaf­en­ing sound of a lum­ber­jack tak­ing his chain­saw to a for­est ev­ery twenty sec­onds – Hans’ (Cart­mell) beau­ti­ful snores – is a nos­tal­gic thought we’ll long have.

It was Day seven. We had surfed nine per­fect waves with just us out. We had hit the half­way point in our Bin­tang chest, and the thin skin on our lower ribs had now turned to leather.

We awoke that morn­ing to a well-known, pic­turesque right, mak­ing its way down a trop­i­cal back­drop; cliff-hang­ing palm trees, co­conuts bob­bing in the line-up, a rum­ble of thun­der in the dis­tance and clean, crys­tal clear wa­ter. All the boys were rip­ping; the goofys, the reg­u­lars, in par­tic­u­lar, Scoops was hav­ing the time of his life.

A storm passed. We surfed on through un­til the thought of Ed­die’s eggs and ba­con, and the 3-in1s couldn’t es­cape.

We had been cir­cling the far north of Su­ma­tra now and had to make up lost time to reach our port of de­par­ture. There was a short sail and a pit-stop on a mi­cro left. The boat split into grov­el­ling and drink­ing. The lat­ter was more ap­peal­ing. Milky did a macro stint on his twinny soak­ing in the rays and hav­ing a hell of a time with one other dude.

Lo­cal kids were pad­dling up in their rafts from the neigh­bour­ing is­lands up to the boat, sell­ing us bracelets, shells, wooden or­na­ments, Po­caris, and what­ever else they could scram­ble on. Farth man­aged to flog a slab of Bin­tangs to them for a spe­cial price – they were stoked. We also had a back­flip com­pe­ti­tion of the bow. Hard to say who won, so we set­tled on a joint Hobbo and Al first place.

As we had ground to cover we set for a de­cent sail, which in other words: “Any­one wants a Bin­tang?” Kan­ga­roo court was held ear­lier than, and a cer­tain Mr Ol­roy found him­self drink­ing in a beau­ti­ful dress for some false ac­cu­sa­tions from a pre­vi­ous surf. Scoops was also hon­oured with a ‘Dick’ around his neck for try­ing to pro­tect the En­forcer. He went down as his lit­tle bitch. Curry. Beers. Fags. Reg­gae. Yarn­ing. Bliss. There were rules in place to main­tain we stuck to a healthy stag diet; 10 Binny ring-pulls for din­ner, 15 for Luke (Palmer)’s show-reel, 20 for bed. Safe to say it was the Farth who held the torch one night … 32.

Most nights we had a few early ca­su­al­ties. How­ever, one night was an ex­cep­tion from the rest. This was Farth’s Dusty Boat af­ter all and those that night who fan­cied back­door-ing were deeply pun­ished with bed­time Sam­bal; Dayno and Hans get­ting hit hard.

We were in the fi­nal days of the trip, and Euge

had some tricks still up his sleeve. At first light, we an­chored to a swell mag­net of a shifty, hol­low left. This thing was un­load­ing on a shal­low slab. You had to roll the dice and go to see whether the thing would stay open. The goofys were lead­ing the charge; Euge get­ting the big­gest keg of the trip here.

We sailed on again with a fish­ing break in the dingy – noth­ing - and a few of the guys try­ing them­selves on some un-surfed spots. I was in the dingy sip­ping on a cold one and could see a flurry of lo­cal vil­lagers gather on the shore to watch Al, Grealm and Milky surf in their back gar­den. Maybe this was the first time they’ve ever seen surfers?

By night time we were at our fi­nal surf des­ti­na­tion. We’d cheer and drink to Luke’s showreel and froth off each other’s waves.

The last left was a steep, peel­ing, four-foot wall - per­fect for turns. Ev­ery­one was go­ing ham. Par­tic­u­larly Grealm, Al, Milks and the En­forcer. Us reg­u­lars were sav­ing it for the right. The goofys made the most of it. Surf­ing un­til the cream dis­solved and their arms turned to noo­dles. We had a big lunch and made our way to a pow­er­ful bend­ing right – the fi­nal wave, num­ber 21.

The reg­u­lars were all over it like a rash Farth, Ceej, Scoops, Ol­roy, Hobbo and my­self, we were all go­ing bal­lis­tic – pad­dling for our lives to get back out there and grab an­other. Dayno, Grealm and Milks were on a strong back­hand at­tack throw­ing buck­ets and punt­ing airs. But one per­son was go­ing deeper, later, heav­ier than the rest – Mr Hans Cart­mell. This was his time. This is what he came for. He just saved it for the last day. We salute you, Sir.

Try­ing to get 11 Paign­ton surfers out of the wa­ter was never easy but be­ing our last day on a last per­fect, empty wave, that took some do­ing.

The wave count that day was ridicu­lous. Ev­ery­one was surf­ing the best I’ve ever seen them. The smiles were so wide you could see them from the boat, and the scream­ing was so loud you could hear it from the is­lands. The froth was at an all-time high.

We even­tu­ally did get out. One fi­nal trop­i­cal storm passed through for ‘backys-of-the-bow’, and the beers were fly­ing. We saluted to the last surf and best days of our lives.

That evening and the next day we spent sail­ing to port. The drinks were fly­ing, the sto­ries were non-stop, and the froth was burn­ing;

We had just surfed 21 per­fect waves, with just us and our best mates for 10 days.

If there’s one thing the Grom has taught us all, that’s THE FROTH IS REAL!!! Shoutouts...

Mas­sive thank you to Euge, Luke and the rest of the crew on board the Jiwa, Tradewinds Ad­ven­tures.

For all those years you spent track­ing and hunt­ing down those waves, you have made mem­o­ries for 11 Paign­ton boys that we will never for­get and given us the best waves of our lives. Thank you.

Big thank you to Derek at Vissla for kit­ting us out with the lat­est Vissla gear and Chris at Green Over­head for stock­ing the boys with boards and hard­ware.

Thank you to the Farth for drop­ping his knee and mak­ing this all hap­pen.

And fi­nally, con­grat­u­la­tions to Gemma and Olli Rogers on their re­cent wed­ding! All the love from all the boys.

Stag team as­sem­ble!

The groom. Some­how sober enough to throw some tail.

The Jiwa, one of the finest boats in Indo.

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