Here's one universal rule; you see someone getting shacked, you hoot your head off. Not just a subtle little nod as they paddle back out to the line up. You stop, sit up and throw your hands above your head and make that moment a collective one.
Right here, we've got the digital version of that experience. Peter Laing, a Scottish surfer, found himself at Greenbush, just after the day of the days (yeah, this day of days) got one sick wave and called it a day. And watching the footage made us grin from ear-to-ear.
But first, you're wondering who is Peter Laing? Well, Pete's a 21-year-old, Edinburgh-born, France-sculpted surfer who spent his early life between a sailboat and building sites. When his parents (mother a Stewardess, pops a pilot) weren't working, they were flipping houses so Pete's had a life on the road.
“After graduating from London School of Economics I moved to Indo,” Pete tells MSW. “So far it has been utterly unreal but of course, my savings are running out, so I am having to do online tutoring until I think of something better. Apart from being relatively broke, I do not regret staying in the city like many of my peers.”
And in Pete's words, here's what happened that morning at Greenbush.
I somehow found myself living in the Mentawai Sibon Jaya for the past month. I was told we would try and surf Greenbush in the morning - hoping for the best, I set my alarm to be ready for first light. I woke up an hour before my alarm went off, lots of nerves and excitement, and immediately went to check the wave.
Through the rain, I could see that the wind looked good but not much was coming through. Two of the boys and I decided to jump in and give it a crack. I sat in the water relatively clueless about positioning or how big the set would be. It was very slow, which gave me time to think – something that can be a burden when surfing heavy waves as your mind starts playing games and planting seeds of doubt.
This time I was so thrilled to be surfing the spot of my dreams that the only thing which echoed in my head was the few words of advice given to me by the boat’s co-owner Icaro Ronchi: “just pull in”.
I spotted a white cap on the horizon which signalled a set could be on the way. Still somewhat clueless, I paddled deeper - yes, there were only the three of us in the water.
The first wave came, and my friend Evan, who was furthest on the inside went. I continued to paddle deeper, thinking the second wave would be bigger. Paddling over the first wave it was clear this one was a screamer. I turned and went without any doubt in my mind. The drop was tricky, and it took everything to engage my toe side rail. When it clicked into place the wave had already thrown. It was so flawless I never even had to pump, just hold the line and try not to bottle it in front of all the crew watching from the boat.
After visualising surfing in the Ments and specifically Greenbush for years (inspired by Torren Martyn’s edit there and all the chat since Nic Von Rupp’s strike mission), it was surreal to be inside a wave there. As my questionable claim shows, I was f****** relieved to make it.
Everyone from the boat paddled out after this two-wave set, and I decided to go back to the boat and have a beer. Not another set came through all morning.
TL;DR, I only surfed one wave at Greenbush, and it was the best moment of my life so far.