The Realm 
Featuring: Matt Meoala, Sheldon Simkus Finn McGill, Davey Cathels, Reef Heazlewood, Nolan Rapoza and Seb Smart         ­

"Again we make a deal to hand the lineup over exclusively to another boat once we've had our fun. Meanwhile our crew conjure a new mission, for which photographer, Simon Williams clearly articulates the agenda. "We're going back to the right to do the biggest airs possible." Matt Meola and Finn McGill need little encouragement. Both are itching to launch off some hefty onshore ramps after two days in the tube.

When we pull up at the right (the same destination as the earlier tube frenzy) it's clear that this is not going to be some kind of playful, aerial frolic. This wave is a brute when it's clean, but with an onshore pockmarking the faces and making chandeliers drop like booby traps from six-foot slabs, it looks positively evil. The surfers can't wait to get amongst it. "This is the sort of set-up that would have John John frothing," comments Reef Heazelwood, sighting the world champ's predilection for big, ugly, dangerous ramps."


Matt Meola whirls into issue 568. Photo: Swilly

Let’s talk about it – A chat with Lyndie Irons by Anthony Pancia.

"It took a few attempts to get in contact with Lyndie Irons and just prior to making the connection, I wondered if I really should.

The image of a heavily pregnant Lyndie sprinkling the ashes of Andy Irons out into the water at Hanalei Bay is not one I’ll forget in a hurry and one can only imagine the burden she must have carried since.

But, prompted along by the creators of Andy’s documentary, Kissed By God, I persisted and so did she.

“I’m so sorry I’ve been hard to get to, it’s not usually like that,” Lyndie began before settling in for a wonderful 30-minute chat."

Lyndie and Andy and a love that was real. Photo: Bielmann

Beneath Sumatran Skies ­– Matt Cruden’s memoir of 25 years as a skipper, surfer and resort operator in the Mentawai Islands

"Obviously there were no readily accessible website surf forecasts either (which make us all forecasting geniuses these days). Instead we'd listen to the HF (SSB) radio and draw our own Indian Ocean synoptic image based on the info we could glean from the reports. If you were really lucky you had a weather fax connected to the radio. Essentially it was a rough science that involved eyeballing the weather and waves right in front of you, cross-referencing it with whatever weather intel' you could get and then making a calculated guess about a four day pattern. For example, we'd surf Thunders when it was small and when it got to around 4-5 foot we'd drive out to sea and look at exactly what direction the swell was coming from using our ships compass and then make the call where we'd sail to from there. In those days there wasn't much point going any further than Macaroni's or Lance's Right, which are now considered two of the best waves in the world. I loved Macaroni's in particular and in those early days I often spent at least four days a week surfing it, usually with just our boat there. When another boat showed up we were stoked, as it meant we had someone to surf alongside and share beer and banter with that night."

 

Dark Fantasy – Nias Roars in the Indo swell of the new millennium ­

"The Aussies were out there first. Central Coast fireman Justin "Jughead" Allport paddled to the keyhole (normally you walk) and launched gamely, followed by Laurie Towner and Marty Paradisis. Most crew paddled the long way from the bay to avoid detonation. Allport rode a 5'9" Gary Loveridge shape specially designed for slabs, but was soon questioning the decision.

"It was like a tidal surge every time a set came," recalls Allport. "There was so much water moving in because it was a 20-second period swell. The whole bay was filling up with water. If you were just sitting in the line-up going over waves you'd get cleaned up. Every time you rolled over a wave you'd get dragged in maybe 20 metres."

The line-up was soon busy but there were plenty of sets. The only issue: did you want one? American photographer Ryan Craig shot the swell from all angles and got a good feel for the swell's heroics."

A Nias black hole. Photo: Grambeau

The Forgotten Tribe – John Barton journey’s upriver on the island of Siberut to photograph an indigenous Mentawai Tribe.

"Aman Ikbuk was his name and with a big smile he led us down a winding path into the dense vegetation. He had kindly offered to take us into his home and give us shelter for the night. His basic wooden home (otherwise known as an Uma) was filled with tools, drums, wooden carvings and the hanging skulls of dozens of monkeys and pigs. At first the dangling bones were an unnerving sight but then again so were we to his young children who weren’t sure of what to make of the hairy guests. After settling in and giving him the customary offering of tobacco and sugar, we sat and talked and he began to explain his way of life to us."

Photo: John Barton

 

Tolak Reklamasi and The Fight To Save Bali – By Jed Smith

"It was bound to happen. You can only push a people so far and damage a place so bad before there’s blowback. The Tolak Rekalamasi movement – a Balinese grass roots environmentalist and anti-development campaign – appears to be it.

“A lot of people think Balinese just sit back, relax and be lazy … but after this it’s actually creating a movement and solidarity ‘cos we love the island and we don’t wanna let it get ruined,” explains Mega Semadhi, the Hindu priest from Bali’s Bukit Peninsula and two-time winner of the Rip Curl Cup Padang.

What began in 2014 in response to plans to develop the sacred Hindu site at Benoa Harbour on the island’s east coast, has today become a catch-all for Balinese angry at the greed, corruption and environmental degradation running roughshod over the island and its people."