Indo Mission: 'When the Waves Were This Good, We had To Roll the Dice'

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 275d ago

If you didn't know already, Nic Von Rupp doesn't hang around. Imagine, three days of pumping Kandui, probably the best it's been this season so far, and then you notice a south swell will be filling in soon – hitting the likes of Greenbush, a mission to the south east. You know it's going to be empty, you know it's going to be firing. Do you stay, or roll the dice?

We think you know the answer. Wrangling a crew, that included Floridian regular foot Nate Behl, the counter to Nic's goofy, these legends got to it. Right here, we checked in with the duo to talk Indo, the mission and scoring empty waves in one of the best locales on earth. Also, stay tuned because Nic is going to soon drop the edit from this mission...

NVR. On it. From Kandui resort to the next island over called Sipura where the legends from HT resort scooped them up and took them around to Greenbush and Maca's.

NVR. On it. From Kandui resort to the next island over called Sipura where the legends from HT resort scooped them up and took them around to Greenbush and Maca's.

© 2022 - Manu Miguelez

How is it over there in Indo?
NVR: It's crazy man, it's nuts. We were thinking about going somewhere else because the swell is pretty south. We didn't want to leave because Rifles could be good, Kandui. And then we woke up in the morning and the wind was north and north means offshore at Greenbush, so we thought, fuck it, let's pack our bags and get a canoe, then the legends at Hts Resort picked us up.

How easy was it to make that decision to go from pumping Kandui to Greenbush, way to the south east?
NVR: We surfed Bank Vaults in the morning and then we got back, got sent a photo from Greenbush and we were all like...'ok, we need to go'. Made a decision in five minutes, packed our bags in five minutes and we were gone.100 per cent worth it.

Imagine, this is the destination.

Imagine, this is the destination.

© 2022 - Margarita Salyak

So, let's go from the start – you got to Kandui at the end of July for that first swell, right?
NVR: Yeah, nailed it. We went and surfed Deserts and it was ok, you know. But I was going back and forth with Justis [St John] at Kandui Resort, he always gives me the heads up when it's good and I was kind of eyeing out that past swell – you know we got there for the July 25 swell, but I had been bummed we missed the one before that. But the one we got there for hit Kandui super west, and we had three days of it. 6-8 foot and just...firing. That was insane, Kandui's one of the best waves in the world, it really is and also, when it's six foot, it's one of the heaviest waves in the world at that size. It was so good to surf that again.

remember you going there in, 2018? 2017? Wearing that orange shirt, the Magic Numbers swell for MSW!
NVR: [laughs] yeah that was 2017 but last time I was here was 2018. There was a huge swell then. 2017 we scored, 2018 was ok.

Cosy crew?

Cosy crew?

© 2022 - Margarita Salyak

This time around though, at Kandui, how did that compare?
NVR: This time was gnarlier, it was more west. 2017 was super clean, perfect direction and groomed. 2018 was kinda gnarly it was stormy, and this one, those three days from July 25-28 was fucking insane. Really good to surf with Nate [Behl], he's an insane barrel rider. Surfing Kandui on his backhand. It's actually super hard to compare, it feels like the wave has different moods, depending on how west the swell is, it gets gnarlier and gnarlier. It's just an insane wave.

Nate, try etching that grin off.

Nate, try etching that grin off.

© 2022 - Manu Miguelez

What was the ride down like?
NB: We were on the fence for a few days trying to figure out what we were going to do, really for a week we didn't know,” says Nate. “Then on that day, we were like 'we're going to Greenbush and if we're going, we gotta leave in the next 30 minutes', Nic was making calls to get us picked up from Tuapeijat, which is halfway between Kandui and Hts Resort, were we would stay to go on and surf Greenbush and Macaroni's.

We talked to Ray Wilcoxen [owner, Kandui Resort], All Day Ray, and he was like 'alright...uhhh...I guess I'll set up a boat for ya, it's pretty rough out there' and it was kinda funny because we were all full on winging it. Honestly, it was not a reasonable request to ask of him [laughs]. Imagine, we were like, 'can you send us a boat to Tuapeijat', and there's those big old storm clouds out there and he's like 'let me just talk to the driver and see if he wants to do it'.

Basically, our view from Kandui south east on a good day, you can see the next island. It's all nice and sunny looking. The day we were asking them, it was a dark purple storm and blowing 25-30mph winds. Ray had the driver come up [laughs] and the driver was like, 'it's not a good idea', looking around at us smiling and thinking, 'are these guys joking?'

Then was like, 'alright sure, I guess so.' And Ray said 'well if he's alright with it'. [laughs]. It was ridiculous to even ask him. But boom. All went to our rooms, packed, got on the boat, just charged into the storm. It ended up not being too bad of a ride. Then we got picked up and taken around the back side of Sipura Island towards Hts and that was fine.

NVR, Greenbush.

NVR, Greenbush.

© 2022 - Manu Miguelez

And when you got to Greenbush, what was it like?
NB: Yeah, I mean, it actually kind of started firing up here too at Kandui [laughs] and we were going to Greenbush! All the waves around Kandui Resort were epic. We came back from Greenbush and saw the vids and stuff and it was epic. But we shot down there – well, it was really Nic who was the motivator for that trip, he was frothing to get it.

We wanted to surf that wave too but there was epic waves at Kandui, it was hard to leave. But we did and got down there and it empty. We showed up with five of us. And that was it. Five of us jumped out and surfed, not a boat in sight.

Empty, perfect, Greenbush. We got that the full first half of the day and then the wind switched, got back on the boat, came around the corner and Macaroni's was pumping, not a single person out. We surfed that until we couldn't paddle anymore. We left, went back, passed out and the next day, we did the exact same things. Except we spent the whole day at Macaroni's. There was like, three or four people out who were staying there and that was it. Ridiculous.

NVR: It was perfect. One of the most perfect days and no one around, once-in-a-lifetime, for sure. Perfect wind, perfect size and it was my birthday too. Like the most perfect birthday present.

And to have it just us, man, it was just insane. 6 foot plus, perfect, everything. It was really cool, I've scored all over Indo but haven't really scored there in a while. It was on my wish list and the wave is absolutely crazy. Just the most perfect session.

NVR.

NVR.

© 2022 - Margarita Salyak

I think that's a weird experience, in a good way. You know, every surf trip you have questions of logistics – what's the drawbacks of travelling somewhere? This time, everything is ok to get to – so then it's just on you. And if you don't make the right call, it's not because it was too busy or the waves were rubbish, it's because someone in your small crew made the wrong choice.
NVR: For. Sure. Exactly that. There was no stress of anything else other than, let's get this right. But it just kind of clicked in. It sounded like a mission to go from Kandui to Tuapeijat is two hours, Tuapeijat to Greenbush another two hours, basically three boat rides to go for one session.

And money also, it's not cheap. But it's crazy, man, there's no one around. There's no one here. A lot of people in Bali but no pro surfers are in the Ments. There's a load of hoops to jump through. Flights are getting changed, it's really not easy here right now.

Nate.

Nate.

© 2022 - Margarita Salyak

How are the locals doing? Lockdown must be hitting tourism hard.
NVR: I got a load of grieft when I put out my video about being here and quarantining, promoting travel to Indonesia while this COVID pandemic crisis is happening. There's 80k cases per day here. But the truth is, I bet there's people starving and dying.

It's saddening to go through Kuta-Lombok and see everything empty, abandoned and that's considered the second travel destination next to Bali. It felt like it was out of a zombie movie. It was pretty scary. The message though is for sure, when it's safe, get over here. You're not doing it for yourself, you're doing it for the community. I feel for everyone with those businesses.

Then, from Greenbush to just a stone's throw over to Macaroni's, empty. Was that because the wind swung?
NB: Yeah, yeah, that's it. The swell got a bit smaller and the wind was better for Macaroni's. We pulled up and it was insane looking, just those few people out. We did that all day. Same thing, stayed there until we couldn't paddle. Too tired, too hungry [laughs]. Once we were too shot from surfing, we made it back to the boat and then all of a sudden the wind went even better and it started firing again but we were just too tired. That was it. We were done.

Again, empty.

Again, empty.

© 2022 - Manu Miguelez

Must have been odd surfing those waves alone?
NVR: What blew my mind the most was surfing Macaroni's on our own. Kandui, first day there might be 20 guys out, then 10 in the evening, it filters out in the day. But yeah, Macaroni's, might just be one of the busiest waves in the world.

And surfing that by our own, it was like 'what the hell is going on'. You dream about that. It's the thing you think about your whole life. Usually when you rock up, there's three boats, 50 people in the water. There was five of us out. Five. Then Greenbush alone.

Nate, Greenbush.

Nate, Greenbush.

© 2022 - Manu Miguelez

How would you describe the whole experience of the mission? Because no one's been in this scenario before, Macaroni's alone, Greenbush alone, the trip down...
NB: Yeah that's super hard to explain. It started off like, Nic was super fired up to do this, we were all stoked. But we got to the point where we like 'alright dude, we got good waves here let's chill here' – and then we pulled the trigger and we went for it. Nic was saying we'd thank him later and he was right. As for the mission, we just had to say yes. Nic did all the co-ordinating. Everything. Pretty stress free. The only thing we were stressing on is, did we make the right choice? [laughs]. This little trip of going for a couple of days felt like it was two weeks long because we scored so many waves and surfed our brains out. It was easy.

The ride back though, I know Nic's still there but we're back in Kandui now. The ride back... some more weather rolled through and usually it's an hour and a half crossing from Kandui to Sipura Island and this took us two and a half hours, going 5mph into the wind. The boat driver has the compass, he can't see 10ft in front of him and you can't tack into the chop. Just went straight into it with a compass the whole time so we didn't get lost [laughs]. That was a fun ride. But the actual mission down there, wasn't too bad guess we paid for it on the way back to even us out.

Mission accomplished.

Mission accomplished.

© 2022 - Margarita Salyak

I remember in 2018 you had an MCL injury right? At Deserts?
NB: Yeah! Yeah, man, it took me out for months. I remember getting back from that trip and I was crawling across the floor of the airport in Jakarta.

Oh man, so last year, this year, feels like the redemption trip?
NB: Yeah definitely. You know, I'm looking to get home now, the credit card bill's not looking great [laughs] but I've got caprentry jobs lined up at home and that's good. But you know, I proposed to my girl out here this trip [ed's note – she said yes], scored waves that are never empty, that session at the start of a Kandui, so it was just a lot of things happening and I'm still smiling now, so it must have been once-in-a-lifetime for all those reasons.