Words by Cam Stynes | Photography by Hayden O’Neill
We’re always stoked when random photos from a successful surf trip find their way to our inbox.
But we’d be lying if we said we don’t get a tad envious. Especially when you’re cooped up in an office sweatbox in peak Hossegor summer and you’re staring at images from the most dreamy of places, South Sumatra to be precise.
This is where our good friends from down under, Hayden O’Neil and Cam Stynes recently ventured to after an excruciating wait for borders to reopen. We’ll let the lads take it from here.
“Lockdowns can play on a human’s mind. The what if, the missed waves and lost adventures. When two beers lead to six and the call, ‘you wouldn’t do it’ turns into reality. Accommodation booked, flights on standby, the hustle to find passports, and vaccination certificates, and then the booking of last-minute PCR tests surely make the unthinkable come to fruition and before you know it, those bags are packed.
What we thought was going to be an easy flight and transfer through Bali certainly wasn’t. What should have been the usual 40 min transfer turned into 2 hours, a missed flight, two new booked tickets with different airlines, and more sweat than Schapelle’s forehead looking for her boogie board.
As soon as we dived into a fresh airport Nasi and the island’s finest Bintang, all our worries were distant memories.
Once we arrived in Sumatra the instant humidity and the distinct smell of Indonesian air makes the 6-hour midnight drive exciting yet daunting. Three hours in we were woken by our driver, on a pitch-black night in an unknown location. The language barrier and mostly hand signals had us feeling more like we were getting abducted or possibly worse. But what we were led to was some of the most beautifully hearted people and the best-fried chicken the lads had ever tasted.
To wake up and see what looked like perfect spitting A-frames as far as the eye could see had the boys a little on edge. The sight of what we thought were 3-foot perfect peaks was suddenly shattered as we wore three straight 6-footers on the head…
Those distant 3-foot peaks were now screaming 6 to occasionally 8-foot freight trains. We’re told that this place has a tendency to look perfect from land but humble you as soon as you think you can tame her. Tails between our legs we were forced to venture from the beach towards the points.
Traveling up and down the coast chasing wind and tide windows surely paid in spades, but always on return would have eyes lead out front at yet another piping wedge from either angle. While not perfect the untamed raw power and the sheer isolation of South Sumatra sure does make it perfect in so many ways.”