The dramatic story of the surfers who were caught in the1994, G-land Tsunami
When a Tsunami hit G-land in 1994 the surfing community was rattled. The thought of being trapped underwater by a surging wave in the middle of the night seemed liked everyone’s worst nightmare. The presence of pro surfers, Rob Bain, Simon Law, Dog Marsh, Shane Herring and Richie Lovett in the camp drew further attention to the episode, which was heavily documented in the pages of Tracks. Photographer, Peter Boskovic, filmer, Monty Webber and actor John Philbin (aka Turtle from the movie ‘The North Shore’) were also staying at Bobby’s Camp when the tidal wave rolled across the reef and tore through the jungle.
Twenty-five years on several of the survivors returned to G-land to reflect on the haunting experience. Most of them had never really talked at length about the traumatic episode in their lives. Monty Webber went back for the Reunion and decided to make this compelling documentary about how the Tsunami still impacts the lives of all those involved…
The Full Story Behind the Tsunami and the Reunion is told in Tracks #575, on stands this Monday, 25 November. Excerpt Below by Monty Webber
... At 1:17am on June 3, 1994, an earthquake registering 7.2 on the Richter scale fractured the Indian Ocean floor, 15 kms deep in the Java Trench, Indonesia. It took about 40 minutes for the vibration of energy from this massive displacement of land and water to radiate out and cross 130 kilometres of open sea and reach shore. This means the waves were travelling at about 300 kilometres per hour when they hit the coast…
So, at 2 that night I was fast asleep on a foam mattress, under a mozzie-net, on the timber floor of a bamboo hut, perched about 10 meters up and back from a sandy beach, at the edge of the jungle in G’land, East Java; where I had arrived that very day to shoot a surf film with pro-surfers Rob Bain, Simon Law, Dog Marsh, Shane Herring and Richie Lovett.
At around 2:05 am I was awakened by a loud sound, which I imagined to be monsoonal rain. I sat up and saw what appeared to be a splash of water at the door of my hut. I jumped up, grabbed my torch and looked out onto the moonlit beach. I was confused to see that it was full tide when I knew it should have been low. What should have been an expanse of dry reef was under a metre of water.
I stared in disbelief as that entire inexplicable body of water lunged inland as one huge mass. It came in and up at an incredible speed. There was water rushing everywhere, around trees and rocky outcrops, like a flash flood. It wasn’t a frothy, bubbly wave like I was used to, it was solid water like a fast-flowing river. It seemed like the whole ocean was behind it, surging inland. The equivalent of six hours of tidal rise in six seconds. I realised it was a tsunami.
The sound of the water moving in and across the land was terrifying; cracking and breaking wood and a crunching mass movement of coarse sand. I had never seen nature unleash such power. I felt minuscule, insignificant, potentially at the very end of my life. A big old dead, up-rooted tree down on the beach - which must have weighed twenty tonnes - was lifted like a matchstick and flicked past the side of my hut. I was at the mercy of whatever was going to happen and felt completely powerless as I watched three more consecutive surges lift the sea level to about 14 meters above and 200 meters inland from where it should have been. All in a matter of around 30 seconds ...
Read the rest of the story in Tracks Issue 575. On stands Monday