The great Indo revival is upon us! The world's surfers are descending on everyone's favourite archipelago and we'll bring you all the action, interviews and more as it happens. Check it here.
This past week in Indo was kinda nutty. A huge swell washed into everyone's favourite wave-drenched archipelago, setting some posts off for the session of the season so far.
Yeah, this thing had been on our charts for days those big Indian Ocean storms have a predictable track. And our man in the Mentawais had been eagle-eyed observing along with us. Manu Miguelez has been a boat skipper over there, on and off, for the better part of a decade. He can turn nose to air, breathe deep and sniff a reef-slamming, soul-filling, sometime horror pit from thousands of miles away. That means; he'll get you to where you need to be, no hassle.
It also helps he's one of the finest photographers around.
A quick call to Basque barrel bruiser Aritz Aranburu and that tube-wrangling warrior was on a flight, heading straight to Kandui for this thing to play out. And when Aritz's former Quiksilver stable mate Kelly Slater buzzed in, the call was easy. It's Kandui time. Especially when it was looking as if the rest of Indo was going to be a bit... funky to say the least.
Get there they did. A few days that actually turned in to impossible-to-make Kandui. No Kandui. But Kelly, Aritz and a handful of other aficionados took more than a swing at it, some paying with a pound of flesh, some, like Slater, not even grabbing rail as he thunders through a gaping, bright blue, brain-melting behemoth. See here, and here!
And now there's a little down-time between swells, we asked Manu to hunt down a few of his favourite moments from the past week. Here's what he came back with. All captions by MM.
Asep is a Kandui boat driver, they are funny guys, good with the boats and also shooting photos from the canoes, they smoke and when they don’t have a lighter they swim to the others boats to get it. Pure addiction. [laughs]
Slater doing Slater things, you don’t know if he is coming, if he is staying and when he is leaving. It was super fun to watch. He is like a fish, he really is in rhythm with the ocean. But, I am a little pissed with this sequence, I was shooting 24-100 mm the wave showed up from nowhere and I was at 100mm, I got kind of caught inside and he got super close to me, I hadn’t time to frame it. I think it would have been the shot of my life on 24mm... hey, shit happens.
We were really lucky the last day, surfed early bird perfect Bank Baults until a big storm came through, they are called Sumateras (pouring rain and howling winds) and are super common, that was getting close to the Karamajat mangrove entry, such a beautiful mother nature creation.
Aritz is super humble, a true adventurous traveller, you can feel it the way he acts and interacts with locals and guests, he has a special vibe, connects with people.
Aritz's quiver, he knows what to ride, he is one of the best barrel riders in the world.
First day of surf I jumped on land to shoot a special angle of Hideaways. This was happening next to me while I was working, local Mentawaians coconut collectors. It is crazy, while some guys are surfing, the indigenous work hard in super warm conditions and surrounded by a million mosquitos for a few rupias.
We had to leave at midday to get to the harbour and catch a ferry back to Sumatra mainland. So for the second pulse we decided to go really early morning hoping for the long period to already to be there and it was, waves were super good at Bank Vaults.
First swell was big and tides kind of proper too so the shores were washed that’s why Bank Vaults' water colour was unusual, looks murky, like Nias.
Rodrigo is the crazy Peruvian who was sucked over at Teahupoo this season, I have spent a lot of time with him at Kandui, I always get super good pics with him, he loves barrels and charges. This was after the first day of the swell at Kandui bleeding out but smiling, that's the way we like it.
This is the way through the mangrove across Siberut island. Aritz had planned a trip before the swell, the first call was tough, flights were super expensive, he just had five days to stay. Winds were looking super variable, finally he decided to come and I am glad he did. We tried to stay longer but it was impossible. I was a bit stressed, I always want to score it is my passion. I might put a bit of pressure on him, I feel a bit bad about it... and I hope he forgives me. He stayed calm the whole time, super professional, he got the job done.
On the way to the boat, first day of proper swell, Aritz stayed focussed. I was really surprised with a couple of the moves he did like paddle out on that big afternoon by himself, he was analysing the line up, the waves over the dry reef, there is a lot going on this swell chase that amazed me.