On the 27th of August 1883, an Indonesian island was  vaporised in an explosion that reverberated around the world. Krakatoa, located  in the Sundra Straits between Java and Sumatra,  decided to sign off with a blast that flattened the 23 square km island and  then some; in fact it took off another 250 metres of land below sea level. The  bang, equivalent to 21,000 decent atom bombs, could be heard 4500 km away, and  sent so much ejecta into the atmosphere that the entire planet enjoyed  spectacular sunrises and sunsets for several years afterwards – the trade off  for copping a global drop in temperatures of a couple of degrees.

The beautiful Lagundri Bay  and one lucky soul enjoy its spoils.  Photo: Dave Sparks The beautiful Lagundri Bay and one lucky soul enjoy its spoils. Photo: Dave Sparkes

Not unexpectedly, the explosion also generated ferocious  tsunami waves, some of which measured over 100 feet high. They slammed into  west Java and Sumatra, including one straight shot, thousands of kms up through  the Indian Ocean into south facing Lagundri  Bay, on the island of Nias.  In those days Lagundri   Bay was the main port of  south Nias, and the massive tsunami killed thousands of people in the bustling  harbour and surrounding villages. The port was never rebuilt at Lagundri,  eventually being re-established a few kilometres to the north-east in Teluk  Dalam, leaving Lagundri a quiet backwater.

That wasn’t the first tsunami to hit Nias, and wouldn’t be  the last. The island sits in prime tsunami territory, 125 km off the West  Sumatran coast in the vicinity of the Sumatran Subduction Zone, the 5500 km long  boundary between the Indian-Australian and Eurasian tectonic plates. This  boundary runs along virtually the whole of the west coast of Sumatra, the  plates meeting at a fault about 5 kms under the ocean in the Sumatra Trench, a  couple of hundred kms off the coast. Here the Indian-Australian plate is  forcing its way under the Eurasian plate. It is one of the most seismically  active places on earth, and it has plenty up its sleeve.

The Nias Eye is a mind-blowing view, let alone after a special mushroom tea. Photo: Dave Sparkes The Nias Eye is a mind-blowing view, let alone after a special mushroom tea. Photo: Dave Sparkes

Although I’d been to Nias a few times before, it had sure  been a while. And a good long while before the creation of the ‘new’ reef. The  talk of the altered state of play at Lagundri had been driving me insane. I  knew there was a change in the wave due to uplift from the March 28th  earthquake, and the consensus was that it was for the better. Better? Better  than the most airbrushed and flawless big tube you could imagine? What would be  the odds? I couldn’t help but think there was more tall tale than truth to the  rumours, a real possibility since Indonesia is gossip central of the surfing  world. The intrigue was just too much. I had to know, and I managed to convince  a couple of mates, Joe Haddon and Ben Godwin, to come along and find out with  me. Both from Forster, Joe is a stylish natural footer with a perpetual grin, a  great traveller who is a genuinely happy person. Ben is a tall goofyfoot, a  lanky larrikin aerial type maniac, who has really hit a new level in his  surfing over the past year or so. He’s a classic old soul, busting out a string  of hilarious narrative, punctuated by a durry, when you least expect it, and  regularly bringing the house down at dinner.

Twenty two years after I first went to Nias, it’s no easier,  or quicker, to get to from Oz, especially if you miss out on a seat for the Medan to Gunung Sitoli [Sumatra  to Nias] flight like we did. Our only other option was a flight to Sibolga to  grab the overnight ferry to Teluk Dalam, in the south of the island. This led  to our first pressure situation when some Medan  airport urchins assured us, despite the fact that we knew it was booked out for  three days ahead, that they could get us tickets for the “full” flight to  Gunung Sitoli. I should have known better, but we were just off our third  flight in 24 hours. We were hassled and harried, and melting in the equatorial heat,  and had to make a quick decision via my retarded Bahasa; we said: “ok, get the  tickets.” It was corrupt Indonesia  after all, and full didn’t always mean full. After much hustling and running  around, and with the clock ticking, the urchins came back and said: “no, we  can’t get on today’s flight, but tomorrow can, can!” After more sweating, we  finally pulled the pin on it, we couldn’t risk missing out again tomorrow. The  boys looked as if they’d had a gut full of Medan already, but we had to get our shit  together; with only 15 minutes to buy tickets and get on that flight to  Sibolga. We were going old school.

After landing at Sibolga, as low key a shearing shed of an  airport as you could imagine, we went with the flow of the local grifters. It  felt right, sometimes it just does. Nearly everyone is on the grift in Indonesia, at  least when it comes to western tourists. It’s done in the mellowest and  friendliest way though, and they rarely rip you off, not really, it’s usually  just a small commission style earn. Minor, unless you are in the weird thrall  of the rupiah syndrome, forgetting that the thousands you haggle over are  actually mere cents, and the thought of paying a little more than some other  hard case bargainer is painful to you. These ultra tight arsed travellers do  turn up, and it is bizarre how much time and energy they will devote to saving  what often amounts to 20 cents. In Indonesia, everything costs  something but nothing costs much, and sometimes I think time is more valuable  than a handful of rupiah. Its best to just shed a steady rain of bank notes and  coast along — most Indonesians earn peanuts and it doesn’t really hurt your  wallet much — and things seem to flow smoothly. We moseyed on to a bemo and  eventually found ourselves at an old hotel bar, with new mate, Peter of  Sibolga, immediately on the case. Icy Bintangs, arrangements for tickets on the  overnight ferry to Nias, and even a hook up for accommodation with his mate  Raffiel at Lagundri, were ours in an instant.

The Bemo ride to freedom after the torturous journey to Lagundri. The Bemo ride to freedom after the torturous journey to Lagundri.

“He’ll even pick you up from Gunung Sitoli!”, Peter said  triumphantly, but I was shocked. “Hang on . . . What? The ferry doesn’t go to  Teluk Dalam?”, I pleaded. Teluk was in the south, a half hour drive to  Lagundri. Landing at Gunung Sitoli in the north meant a three to four hour  drive down the island, on top of the 12 hour ferry trip. He laughed and shook  his head. I just laughed too, and started looking for my Valium. Ben and Joe  were thriving on it, this was real Indonesia,  way beyond Bali, and it even looked like there  was a bit of swell coming. I put the old horror stories of ferries being  cancelled due to large swells — surely the ultimate surfer nightmare — out of  my mind, as we headed for

Sibolga   Harbour late that  afternoon. We’d be in Nias in the morning.

Joey Haddon in the hole, not at Nias,  but another of the quality, secret waves in the area. Photo: Dave Sparkes Joey Haddon in the hole, not at Nias, but another of the quality, secret waves in the area. Photo: Dave Sparkes

In 1987, my first sight of Lagundri Bay  was almost straight out of some spacey ‘70s surf flick. I was travelling solo,  planning to meet my brother Hazy, who had arrived a week before. As the bemo  sped along the coast road towards the Bay, fleeting gaps in the coconut groves  revealed flickering, on/off movie reel vignettes of the sea. Suddenly we went  past a clear patch, and there across the bay, presenting as a still frame, was  the almond eye of a beautiful, big right hand tube. The blinding white foam  around it looked bleached and overexposed from my perspective in the shady  jungle. The wave looked at least double overhead, and it stayed around that  size for three weeks straight. There was an eclectic crew of 20 odd travellers  there. Most of them had got to Nias via drug crops or smuggling scams or other  shady goings on. There were a couple of professional Asian circuit types: score  hash up in Thailand or India, bring it down through Indonesia, selling it on  the way, finish in Bali for some party time, head back up and go again. Some of  these guys never went home, hadn’t for years, and some of ‘em are probably  still lurking around Indo pulling the latest scams. There was a crew of mad  Kiwis, one of them was a freaked out industrial chemist who was making liquid  speed on the point. Mushies were going down like hotcakes, and the waves just  didn’t stop. Most of the crew were good surfers, full tube junkies on missions,  and the lineup was always competitive. Except for one windless five foot  afternoon, when Hazy and me surfed alone after a very a mild cup of mushroom  tea each. You reckon the Lagundri lineup looks trippy at the best of times? We  thought we were on Saturn, man.

Everyone was having weird dreams, and often a few guys would  have the same dreams as each other! The buzz was that the Krakatoa tsunami had  killed thousands of locals, and few of the proper burial rites had been  performed, leaving the place haunted. Years of Indo experience later, I realise  it was probably malaria prophylactics causing the dreams, but don’t get me  wrong, the vibes can get strange on Nias. There weren’t many locals surfing  then, Peruba and Sonali were about it. Even then, Sonali was the master of the  inside runner, and got the longest tubes of anyone. It seems like those  slightly smaller- than-set waves are always the hollowest, wherever you go.

Another memorable trip went down in 1994, when underground  Indo veteran, Zeegs and me turned up wobbling after a horrendous cargo ship  ride out from Sibolga during a massive swell. We showed up at the Bay next day  with rubber sea legs and goggle eyes, watching eight to ten foot walls reel  unclaimed down the point. For the first week, there were only four guys on it,  and didn’t that 7’6” Pang do the trick! A few more locals surfing too this  time, with a bunch of groms ready to step up.

The signature deep, green water colour, long ramping wall and palm-fringed background of Nias blowing the back out of it. Photo: Dave Sparkes The signature deep, green water colour, long ramping wall and palm-fringed background of Nias blowing the back out of it. Photo: Dave Sparkes

“How will this Raffiel guy know who we are?”, Joe wondered  as we pulled into Gunung Sitoli harbour around five next morning. We were  completely fried from a sleepless, hideous all night grovel on the ferry. It  was packed out with humans, and in eventual desperation I had taken more valium  and just flaked on the floor. I woke an hour later lying in a puddle of Indo  Mie slops and soggy Gudang Garam butts, and looked up to see Joe and Ben in  foetal positions, huddled in plastic chairs and preying desperately for dawn to  come, and with it release. Don’t let anyone say you don’t earn Lagundri.

“He’ll know, don’t worry. When there’s an earn involved,  they don’t miss a trick, just kick back and let them come,” I said with all the  airs and graces of a know-it-all arsehole Indo legend. But sure enough, we  weren’t even off the ship when a guy came up, patting us on the back: “Peter of  Sibolga is my friend. I am Raffiel! Mr Dabid Sparkez? We go!”

The main road down the 120 km long island is much improved,  but Raffiel drove like a maniac, and that’s on Indonesian ratings. He is  definitely the most hardcore I’ve ever seen, going through narrow village roads  at a velocity that rendered the stunned passers by, from our point of view in the  van, as flashing blurs of colour. The trip down the east coast is a scenic one,  even in fast motion, with lots of little coves and headlands, bays, escarpments  and rivers, and actual bridges, not like the MacGyvered, improvised logs and  girders of the past. I was losing it at the thought of seeing the point again,  and when we finally turned to drive into the Bay, I could see Joe and Ben  straining for a glimpse of it. I thought back to that mental still frame of my  first view, and hoped they’d see something like it, and maybe they did. There  were definitely waves, and as we pulled into Raffy’s losmens, a clean five foot  wall reeled across the reef and spat out way down the end, leaving a cloud of  mist that temporarily obscured the impossibly exotic, surreal Lagundri  backdrop. Well, that wasn’t bad for a first look.

While we were marking out territory, chucking gear into  rooms and boards into piles, I heard an unmistakable Seppo voice:

“Hey Sparrrrkes, what’s up you fuckerrrr?!” I looked out and  saw Jamie O’Brien and his hilarious sidekick, Ruben, lounging around amidst  piles of food, looking like lords of muck.

Joey stands tall while a football field-sized wall awaits. Photo: Dave Sparkes Joey stands tall while a football field-sized wall awaits. Photo: Dave Sparkes

“Jimmie! Oh no, Ruben you freak, yeah boys!”, I said, still  surprised.

I’d shot Jamie a lot back in his grom days and had seen what  he can get up to with a hollow wave. It was a little bonus for me  photographically, but Joe and Ben were even more stoked after intros were made  and it emerged that we’d be rolling with Jamie for a while. He would be around  for a week or so and had already invited the boys to go and surf another spot  with him right now, grab ya stuff and let’s go! So with barely another look at  Lagundri we drove for quite a while before checking some short but very  surfable reef options, finally stopping at the funnest looking three-to-four  foot right wedge to wall I’ve ever seen. I realised I’d surfed it years before  from a boat, but had never seen it from the land. Maybe it had changed; it  seemed like a much better wave now. There was no one out. The boys were in a  fever, I don’t know if it was first surf froth or the thought of surfing with  Jamie, but I couldn’t blame ‘em, it looked pretty inviting. The wave stands up  in a peak and then bends and slingshots down the line, throwing up tubes and  ramps in varied combos, and occasionally growing as it runs through the inside.  It immediately becomes everyone’s favourite.

Ben and Joe get on well with Jamie. They get on well with  every traveller we run across, and even tolerate my Steely Dan obsession and  old fart “shoulda been ‘ere fifty years ago” tales. Ruben is on fire. He is  about 5’2” and is basically a mouth on legs. It never stops, and regularly gets  him into trouble; he just has to have the last word. When not in the tube or  the air, Jamie spends most of his time kicked back laughing at Ruben’s  escapades. He looks like a mini Buttons, and basically travels around with  Jamie, filming him and writing him off and generally mucking up. The guy is a  classic, he’s like a little one man party. The Indonesians love him, constantly  in hysterics at his endless monologue. He rips right into me, being tall makes  me a prime target, and we are often at it tooth and nail; the full Foghorn  Leghorn and Chicken Little act.

The waves stayed a steady four to five foot for the next  week, and the boys were pigs in shit, feasting on the fun walls, and getting  inspired by Jamie’s futuristic attack. At Lagundri, the change in the reef was  quite obvious. Previously at this size, the wave did break but it was a tease,  a brief gorgeous face that left you wanting more as the wall rapidly dissipated  after your first turn. Any smaller than head high and it didn’t break on the  outside at all. Now it was at least twice as long, and even offered barrels,  although they are very tide dependent. The lineup seems more complex than it  used to be, with a bit more variability from wave to wave. It is definitely an  improvement at this size, and I wondered how it would be at six-to-eight foot?  Time was limited and I just prayed we’d see it like that. It is hard to imagine  it any better at six-foot-plus than the old reef was, the odds would be  millions to one, and why would you roll on a risk like that? Huey did, and with  the reef now over a metre higher than before, so far it seems to have paid off.  The same sadly can’t be said for the best waves in the Hinakos, the outer  islands off west Nias. Ex-classic left, Asu is severely compromised, and Bawa,  formerly an epic and perfect mimic of small Sunset, as well as a swell magnet,  is wrecked. Lagundri could never be good enough for that to be worth it.

[I’d like to make it clear that all of the above conjecture  is written specifically in regard to the surf, and is not intended to compare  in any way with the losses and hardships endured by locals. It is written with  greatest respect to those Indonesians who lost homes, loved ones and lives in  the earthquakes of 2004-2005. That being said, through tourism the surf  provides a decent livelihood for a lot of locals, and any compromise of surf  breaks is bad news for them too.]


When the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami unleashed its might on Asia, Nias got off fairly lightly. There was some  punishment on the west coast, but the tsunami was relatively minor, as was the  damage caused by the earthquake. At Lagundri, the tsunami manifest as a slow  moving swell of water, like a big tide, and damage was minimal. Meanwhile, the  top half of Sumatra had been flattened, and awesome tsunami waves had destroyed  whole coastlines around Asia and killed almost  300,000 people. Unfortunately, the Boxing Day earthquake directly influenced  the impending earthquake of March 28th. The Boxing Day quake resulted in an  alteration of the dynamic stress loading in the subduction zone, transferring  it farther south to an area closer to Nias, and increasing the already  tremendous geological strain of two immense tectonic plates fighting for  supremacy.

Benny Goldwin locked inside a chandelier-lit room. Benny Goldwin locked inside a chandelier-lit room. Photo: Dave Sparkes

The truth about Lagundri is that the place is onshore in the  winter south-east trade winds, and it is only the fact that Nias is so far  north, about one and a half degrees north of the equator, that saves it. The  influence of the wind is less pronounced at this latitude, and you rely on the  early surf and pray for the afternoon glass off. You are thankful for days of  good winds when you get them, and when they come on tiny or flat days, you  snigger jokingly at Huey and his wicked sense of humour. Even onshore though,  the set up demands your attention, and has you constantly checking it, wherever  you are in the bay. The wave looks seductive from anywhere on the point, or in  the water for that matter. You don’t see them, but at any given time there are  dozens of eyes glued to the wave, probing, scanning for weaknesses, and  especially for gaps in the crowd. Unfortunately this creates the “hourglass  effect”. It is a steady rotation, and as soon as the pack has thinned a bit,  the eyes are on to it and get out there, saturating the lineup in one hit. The  crowd eventually tapers off again, until boom! The hourglass turns once more,  as the latest sets of All Knowing Eyes invade the formerly quiet lineup.

The crowd increased steadily after the first week, but the  fellas seemed to have no trouble getting waves, and going to town on them.  Between missions to Jamie’s spot and another series of reef peaks [we felt like  we found ‘em but no doubt they’ve been surfed before; It’s fun to fantasise  though] there was plenty of surf, but we couldn’t seem to get that Big Day.  There are a lot of hot local surfers nowadays, I honestly lost track of ‘em,  they’d be out there then gone, out there again on different, borrowed boards,  it was mayhem. Guys like Anton Dakhi, Justin and Alex Buulolo and Rahiel Wau  are attacking with an intensity born of having a perfect wave totally wired, as  well as being constantly inspired by travelling shredders.

The locals have added a very interesting dynamic to the  lineup. When the crowd is not too thick, the time honoured Indo system of  taking it in turns works pretty well at Lagundri, especially if a couple of  people sit wide and a couple way outside. However, when it gets past a critical  point, and a crew of locals are also out there, the system falls apart. The  locals enforce a fairly strict Hawaiian style pecking order, and are totally  exempt from the tourist order. Tourists settle on either crumbs or use their  nous for being in the right spot for sets. The result is a fair amount of  friction and frustration in the small take off zone, and the wildcard is  consistency. Consistent sets enable any break to handle a lot more people, but  unfortunately Lagundri can serve up notorious lulls. If the crowd increases  much more than the 30 plus I counted one two foot day, it will be close to  farce.

We had almost a two week run of four foot plus days, with a  lot of five foot days and a six foot set or two. It eventually backed off  again, and when I peered out one morning to see it two-to-three foot and still  breaking on the outside, it was more obvious than ever that the reef was  different. We were in neap tides now, a part of the tide cycle featuring little  variation in high and low tides. Previously at this part of the cycle the reef  was covered, but now it was well clear of the water through the full range of  high and low tide. Prior to this uplift, on small days the inside would run  like a soft Aussie point break, but this section is history. There is still a  fair small day option, a series of reforms from the outside break through to  the inside. Not what you’d go to Indonesia for but Ok if you’ve run  out of books.

Jamie O, up for the early and reaping the rewards. Jamie O, up for the early and reaping the rewards.
Photo: Dave Sparkes

It looked like more swell was coming [it always does in  Indonesia], so in the meantime we cruised up to the huge bluffs surrounding  Lagundri to see a couple of villages. We strolled through remnants of one of Indonesia’s oldest cultures, a megalithic  civilisation using stone and bronze a long way back; current theory has the  original settlers arriving from the Yunan area in south China around  3500 years ago. From these beginnings arose dozens of different ethnic groups  and dialects, a result no doubt of the rugged topography of Nias, mountain and  valley forming natural barriers between different villages in the north,  central and southern Nias areas. The villages feature big paved squares, with  the unique houses lined up on mall like, wide thoroughfares. The houses are  built in an original style of Nias architecture, raised, vaulted and barricaded  from the ground for military protection, and featuring a v-shaped design of  massive 45 degree timber beams at the front, almost like diagonal bracing but  made from two foot thick, smooth teak logs. These tie in with other massive  vertical and horizontal beams to create a very pleasing, chunky looking gable  wall.

At one point, the locals at the unpronounceable village of Bawomataluo started jeering us:  “Touriss! Touriss! Touriss!” Hundreds of them were chanting at us with a  vaguely menacing air. It was a bit unnerving, and I imagined I was back in the  pre-Christian days on this island, when mangani binu [ritual decapitation]  ruled and status was measured in enemy skull counts. Marriage required the  prospective husband to present the family of his bride-to-be with as many enemy  heads as possible, assuming she had enemies. The more the merrier, and a guy  who turned in a massive cranial haul was considered the man and got the spoils.

We picked up the pace a bit, and kept going deeper into the  mountains to a waterfall we’d heard about. It was a bit of work up hill and  down dale to get there, most of it via very rustic but obviously man made  steps, embedded along the length of the trail, some of them in some pretty  vertical terrain. In the end, the waterfall was more of a swimming hole, but it  was a very cosy little swimming hole, surrounded by huge acacias and palms,  with good jump rocks and stationary tubes. The little stationary tubes were  pretty much the “waterfall” part of proceedings, but all the same it was a  nice, cool interlude from the hot and humid trek. Only trouble was, by the time  we’d staggered back up through Bawomataluo to get a bemo, we were ready for  another swim. Such are the crosses to bear of the hardy adventurer.

The Raised Reef. Photo: Dave Sparkes The Raised Reef. Photo: Dave Sparkes

Going back through Teluk Dalam on the road to Lagundri, the  vehicle horns were blowing in earnest. Sometimes it is almost like mechanical  conversation, different tones and intensities of horn passing news or the time  of day, blended with the traffic chatter of bemos and trucks and bikes, like a  bunch of old metallic moles at a scrap metal yard shin dig... some are  sustained, some short, some squeaky, some staccato. All insist they are right.  If I lived in Indonesia,  I’d just rig my horn up to a two second timer, and let it rip.

The waves had picked up a little, and we had some good  sessions at another spot we called Shifty Point. The crowd had grown at  Lagundri, and for our last surfs we sought solace with more side trips. It  seems like the Indonesia  we all took for granted for so long doesn’t much exist any more. The crowds now  can get pretty intense, from Timor to Aceh,  and the days of just turning up to uncrowded perfection are numbered. There are  still empty lineups, no doubt about it, but more than ever you have to work for  them. Really work. But don’t despair, just get it while you can. With our  recent novel experience of the changeability of Indonesian reefs, what we used  to think of as solid and stable isn’t always so, and your favourite reef break  may end up only as long lived as a sandbar.

In the middle of the night of March 28th, 2005, an  earthquake measuring magnitude 8.7 hit just north of Nias. The redistribution  of dynamic stress loading caused by the Boxing Day earthquake was finally  manifest via this latest quake. In essence, it was a very belated and  complicated aftershock. Hundreds of buildings were destroyed in Gunung Sitoli  and Teluk Dalam, with around 1800 people losing their lives. Our friend, Tao,  was up at his village, Botohilitano, hanging on for dear life. While the ground  shook around him, he had one arm through his window frame and the other wrapped  around his young son and daughter, watching his walls shake.

How's the serenity. Photo: Dave Sparkes How's the serenity. Photo: Dave Sparkes

Down at Lagundri, the locals had only just become at ease  with being near the ocean again at night. Despite being spared the full  devastation of the Boxing Day tsunami, they were aware of what happened in the  rest of Asia, and it had taken months of  sleeping on high ground at night before they began to feel safe again. When the  rumbling started that night, Raffiel, who was one of the original local surfers  from Nias, was up in a flash, pulling his kids and pregnant wife out of his  losmen and heading up the road to nearby high ground, thankful now for this  feature of Nias terrain. But Raffy just had to go back: “All my money in there,  fuck brah, I had to get it!”

He bolted back to try and get his cash. It was in a huge  strongbox in the front room and he couldn’t get it open. In the moonlight  across the bay, Raffy could see the tsunami coming: “Perfect wave brah, about  20 foot face and just coming strong into the point. I trying again to open that  thing, but wave is coming, I go ‘Fuck! I gotta get out of here’ I leave the  money, run across the grass, the water is already coming, I climbed up on my  mandi roof, stayed there all night. Water is up to here — [points to roof line  about three metres above the ground] — half my place is gone, my brother’s  place gone. When he saw his land later he said: ‘Who stole my losmen?’ But our  family were all OK.”

At least a dozen buildings were wrecked in the bay as a  result of the earthquake and tsunami, but Lagundri still got off lightly  compared to nearby Teluk Dalam, where collapsed buildings killed many people.  Tens of thousands of locals were left homeless throughout Nias. Somewhat  ominously, there is still a very large, suspect section of the Sumatran  Subduction Zone, south of the previous two large quakes, that extends down past  the Mentawaiis. The plates here are also straining against each other in a huge  build up of pressure and will sooner or later slip to create a megathrust  event, the perfect kind of earthquake to produce tsunamis due to the extensive  deformation occurring on the ocean floor. For surfers, once again the aftermath  will also almost certainly include changes in bottom topography, unfortunately  in the world’s most perfect surf zone. Looks like we’ll be trying to beat a  Royal Flush this time.

Jamie, Ruben and the boys doing it tough. Photo: Dave Sparkes Jamie, Ruben and the boys doing it tough. Photo: Dave Sparkes