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The Inertia

When the Coronavirus shut down the planet back in March, there were a few different types of travelers: the ones who went home and the ones who decided to chance it. Anthony Fillingham decided to chance it.

“Anthony Fillingim was staying with us in March and basically got stuck in the Mentawais for four months and has been scoring alone,” Justis St. John, who has been posted up in the Mentawaiis since March, told The Inertia.

It’s been a strange time there: one of the longest and best runs of swell in recent memory coupled with a global shutdown means that for those stuck out there at Kandui Resort, things have been a bit of a dream. Locked into paradise. “The Mentawais have been empty the last four months and we just had the best run of surf in years,” St. John continued. “Seven days of surf in a row from one swell.”

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Right after the border shut down, the waves cranked up. April, in particular, was a good month. Storms began rounding the horn of South Africa and Bank Vaults turned on. “April turned on and Anthony got a pretty sick day at nearby Bank Vaults,” St. John explained. “The edit was filmed primarily in one day but also got a second morning session that was pretty insane.”

The film you see above was shot at Bank Vaults, which isn’t the easiest wave in the world to figure out. “Bank Vaults is one of the more consistent waves in the Northern Mentawais and has a love/hate relationship with most people,” St. John said. “It’s a shifty wave that is not like a typical Mentawai reef break where it’s hard to be in the right spot but if you know where to sit and are patient, it’s one of the best barrel ratios in the world.

Fillingim, of course, figured it out pretty quickly. They did the math, and in the course of three sessions, he clocked in a staggering 110 seconds of barrel time. “Been so nuts to see someone of his ability surf these waves empty,” St. John finished. “It will never happen again.”

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