10 Frames to Remember the Indian Ocean Super Swell

Chris Hunt

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Updated 1656d ago

The swell story that dominated your surf news for several weeks is all wrapped up, but echoes of the Indian Ocean super swell still linger in the back of our minds. We take a reminiscent glance over the shoulder at the best moments of the swell.

1. Jeremy Hocquard, The Right, WA

1. Jeremy Hocquard, The Right, WA

© 2020 - Calum Macaulay

On the ski and out of harms way, photographer Calum Macaulay knew he was onto something when the buzz around the storm began.

"When Mark Mathews said he was coming over, I knew there was a real good chance it would be on," says photographer Calum Macaulay who captured the frame above of Jeremy Hocquard. "Even so, it's pretty rare to be able to surf The Right for three days straight with light winds and sun. Good times for all involved."

2. Jerome Sayhoun, NoKandui, Mentawai

2. Jerome Sayhoun, NoKandui, Mentawai

© 2020 - Bastien Bonnarme

"We were sure that the best place in Indo would be Kandui," says Jerome Sayhoun, the Morrocan charger lining up the tube above. "I'm stoked, this swell was amazing."

Despite its aesthetic perfection, Kandui didn't hesitate to lay down the hammer for those whose foot slipped out of place.

"I took a closeout to get a good shot with Bastien which served me a big gash on my knee and cuts all over my legs. My knee swelled up, but my hard work obliged me to get back in the water," he laughs.

3. Skeet Derham, Nias, Indonesia

3. Skeet Derham, Nias, Indonesia

© 2020 - Brad Masters

A relocation to Bali has ensured WA expat Brad Masters a front row seat for each significant swell event to reach Indonesia.

"I reckon the October one two years ago was bigger and better," he says. "This swell was good, but just didn't have the right tides to really push the swell in like that last real big one did."

But less than ideal tides weren't about to dampen hype surrounding this storm. "The hype was crazy," he continues. "Nowadays that happens a lot. Still, it was up there in the top 5 swells in my last 8 years of living in Indo."

4. Desert Point, Lombok

4. Desert Point, Lombok

© 2020 - SB Photo

The moment the forerunners arrived Indonesia, a buzz of anticipation and adventure made its way round surfing's favourite archipelago.

"Arriving early morning on Monday 29th, I could hear the waves exploding on the reef," tells photographer Seb Beckert who made a beeline for Desert Point. "It was incredibly loud as I was pulling up. Then looking at it in the moonlight I could see three massive foamballs charging all the way from the point to end of Grower."

As the tide dropped, maxing out sets started to show the full power of this fast filling in swell. "The slightly smaller ones were just draining, flawlessly crisp," continues Seb. "I've never seen anything like that. I've been going there almost every swell this season and this swell just blew everything out of the water and my expectations for how good if not perfect a wave can be."

5. Matteo Bettocch, NoKandui, Mentawai

5. Matteo Bettocch, NoKandui, Mentawai

© 2020 - Bastien Bonnarme

Between an all-star lineup of travelling pros, Matteo Bettocch managed to snag centre stage in the most picturesque wave of the day.

"I was at dinner in Bali with my friend Jerome Sahyoun who told me, Matteo, go buy a ticket, we got the King Millennium 2 ready to rock. The next morning I was on a plane," recalls Matteo. "All the hype was focused on NoKandui, so most of the time I surfed the other spots on fire by myself or with one other guy."

Among an avalanche of Kandui coverage during this swell, Bastien Bonnarme's shot of has to be fighting for our favourite from the region.

6. Luke Wylie, Cow Bombie, WA

6. Luke Wylie, Cow Bombie, WA

© 2020 - Jamie Scott

"The hype was ridiculous," tells Jamie Scott. "I had media outlets contacting me before I'd even taken a shot. It was all over the news and the expectations were huge, the most hyped up swell I've ever seen."
Even with the widespread hoo-ha, it seemed that the swell met its expectations, delivering the biggest and cleanest waves Jamie had ever seen as he checked Gracetown Bay.

"But that was because the swell was so west," he explains. "Out at Cow Bombie it was big but not the biggest ever, there was one wave that was huge (the wave that broke Justin Holland's leg) but that was it, the rest were just biggish. I've seen consistently bigger swells here in the past."

7. Good morning Nias

7. Good morning Nias

© 2020 - Paul Terry

Filming UK pro Luke Dillion for an upcoming video, Paul Terry stuck it out in Nias for 30 days. The final day of the whole trip, his reward arrived.

"After a night of listening to the surf thumping the reef, we woke in the twilight to make out what looked like perfect glassy 10-12ft sets," remembers Paul. "There were already guys walking out to the keyhole over the reef and film crews following to get into the boats."

8. Padang Padang, Bali

8. Padang Padang, Bali

© 2020 - Olaka Photography

Stood on the top of the cliff at Padang Padang, Laurent Polaki from France captured the most photographed wave in Bali from an angle less covered.

"It was the end of the big swell that smashed Indonesia," says the Frenchman. "The Bukit was on fire over the three days, some sets were 10ft and Padang was absolutely perfect."

A small tidal range meant that the lefthander pumped pretty much all day, but the vast amount of waves going round did nothing to deter people from staying in from dawn 'til dusk. "The lineup was really, really crowded like 50 to 80 surfers all waiting for a bomb," Laurent continues. "But like people say, when it's on, it's on."

9. Michael Novy, The Right

9. Michael Novy, The Right

© 2020 - Russell Ord

With reports of 12 skis in the channel all shooting the handful of regulars, shots of The Right were aplenty. Among the abundance of lenses in the vicinity, Russell Ord was up to his old tricks, as the only photographer shooting fish-eye, deep in the belly of the beast.

"Ocean awareness is definitely important, but I prepare for the worst," says Russell. "I've had a number of waves on the head out there and that’s where I go back to all my training. Preparation is certainly the key, the photo at the end of the day is just the end result of years and years of preparation."

There are several reasons why this shot of Michael Novy makes it into our favourites. For starters, check out the ray of light making its way from the other side of the tube and how close the lip is to the water without connecting. Add to that the effort that goes into lining a shot like this up and it becomes heroic.

You wouldn't capture those intricate details from a ski in the channel now would you?

10. Bukit Lineup, Bali, Indonesia

10. Bukit Lineup, Bali, Indonesia

© 2020 - Federico Vanno / Liquid Barrel

And how we could we run a gallery of iconic shots without the inclusion of a glance down the most ridiculous peninsular in Indonesia. Ladies and gentlemen, the Bukit.


Chris Hunt

Writer and Content Manager at MSW