April 03 2020 Friday at 09:20 AM

THE HARRISON ROACH CHRONICLES: INDONESIA, PART 7.

~ NORTH FROM HERE ~

Never underestimate the value of local knowledge. It’s the same almost everywhere you go: the locals get the waves, the tourists don’t. For me in Java, knowing Husni Rihwand made all the difference. After surfing perfect waves on the point for days, he suggested that it was time for a change of atmosphere. One of the older surfers said I’d been given the opportunity to visit a wave that very few westerners had seen. We needed a four-wheel drive to get us there (no Becaks this time) and it was leaving at four-thirty in the morning. A few of the local shortboarders decided to join us and we all packed into the car while it was still dark, the next morning.

I had heard whispers of waves further up the coast, but I never could have imagined what we turned up to after our long, bumpy ride. I ripped my board off the roof, in a race against time to paddle out. I was a little confused as to why none of the other guys seemed as excited, but at the time I couldn’t have cared less. The waves were bigger and had a lot more grunt than the ones I’d been surfing. My board was put to the test again in the new conditions, and again its performance startled me. I surfed alone for two hours, wondering why it was that no one else would come out. After a couple of close calls on the bigger sets, I eventually lost my board onto the reef inside. It was thrashed around so much that I had to refrain from taking it back out.

With not much else to do, I went up to the warung where the guys were finally waxing their boards. They said they’d gotten a kick out of watching me swim in and that it was time for them to paddle out. After waiting for the tide to turn, the waves really started pumping. One of the groms, seeing that I didn’t have a board to ride, decided to lend me one of his. Thanks to him I was straight back out there on a 5”4 Coca Cola thruster, for some lip-smacking and tube rides.

I wish I had a secret wave to amaze travelling friends when they’re in my town. Husni will be in Noosa in March, I might not be able to take him to anywhere unheard of, but I’ll do my best to get him a couple of extra set waves.

- Harrison Roach