April 03 2020 Friday at 08:31 PM

Flies in his eyes.

There ain’t nothing like a three-hour ride pre-dawn without a pair of goggles. At 80km’s an hour the eyes really start to water. Add to that the dim headlight of a rental bike and we were set for a shit of a time. We cursed ourselves for our lack of preparation and yet, who’d have thought we were going to be doing all this? This was supposed to be a surf trip, wasn’t it? Funny how motorbikes and surf trips, more so than anywhere else in the world, often go hand in hand in Indonesia. Back to the ride... of course, it’s pre-dawn, we’re hunting surf. The early bird gets the wave, right? Everything about the morning makes the experience more enjoyable. The morning light, morning offshore wind, and uncrowded line-up... Unfortunately, there are so many bloody early birds in surfing that you now really have to work for it. Hence our watering eyes. The particular ride in question was undertaken in an effort to score the first day of a gigantic south swell that was due to arrive on the coast of South Sumatra. Two and a half hours into it we realised the 3 am wake up wasn’t early enough. With the greying of the skies came the bugs and with the bugs came the consistent whack of them onto our face and eyes. The riding conditions became shitter as we navigated the remnants of a rain squall on badly balding tyres. Andre’s cigarette dampened in Matt’s wake. Never mind, we had a purpose: the swell was here. On approach to our out-of-the-way location, we realised we were on our own, no other surfers had made the effort. And yet, swell and all, the worm refused to show its head. The conditions left us wanting. The surf, much like the ride, though big, was shit. Alas, that’s how it goes on surf trips, you win some - you lose some. The search must go on. We jumped back on the bikes and rode three hours home to surf out the front of our homestay. It was only 9 am when we got in the water and though not of epic proportions, the waves were fun. And that was how, after the disheartening experience of our long ride, we contented ourselves for the rest of the trip. Screw searching, why should we leave fun waves in the hope of epic waves? Ah, and therein lies the question. Images by Giang Gaw and Damea Dorsey