The funny thing about social media is that you just never know who you’re going to randomly stumble upon, or who’s going to stumble upon you. So imagine my surprise when one day I noticed a gorgeous Hungarian Playboy model was following me on Instagram, liking and commenting on my surf photos. What was even more surprising was when I started snooping around on her page, I came across a surfing photo or her.
“Well, whatever. It’s a small wave… maybe she tried surfing once,” I thought to myself. But as I scrolled down, I saw even more surfing pictures; shots of waves that were well overhead–we are not talking beach breaks. This girl had shots of herself at P-Pass, Uluwatu, The Maldives, and even Teahupoo!
“Is this chick for real?” I wondered. “Sylvi Bodi… That has to be some kind of stage name. And I know my geography for that part of the world isn’t exactly spot on, but does Hungary even have an ocean?” I had so many questions. So I reached out and conversations ensued.
After some stimulating talk about surfing, modeling, traveling and comparing notes on all the best surf trips, we decided it would be fun to meet in person and go on a trip together someday. A Hungarian playboy bunny that surfs despite living nowhere near an ocean? I knew I had to see that in person. It would be kind of like seeing a unicorn, I figured.
A few weeks later, Sylvi sent me an article about a recent surf trip she went on to Indonesia with another playmate, Janni Honscheid, who was born and raised in the Canary Islands.
Both girls had the time of their lives; they scored epic waves, partied like rock stars, surfed in their bunny ears, swam in mermaid tails, and Sylvi organized a big surprise celebration in Bali for Janni’s birthday. At the start of the trip, they were complete strangers. By the end of it they were like best friends.
When Sylvi told me she was planning on another journey to Sri Lanka, Sumbawa, the Mentawais, Bali, Nias and the Telos Islands, I expressed my interest in going on a trip like that one day. I’ll think about it, I told them. And think I did.
At the time, I was going through some real struggles in my personal life that had been dominating my thoughts. Soon I found my mind would start to wander to far off places where there was clear blue water, perfect waves, coconut trees, interesting new people, laughter, and sea salt on my skin. I could practically hear the sound of the ocean and feel the sun on my face. I would smile… I liked it there.
As the weeks passed, that place became my escape. I would travel there often in my mind. When my everyday reality would get me down, I would go there, and when I did I would find my smile again. It finally got to the point where I realized I was either going to spend my days dreaming about it or book a flight and make this dream a reality.
Sylvi was nice enough to contact Anthony at Kandui Resort and set me up with a room for their stay on the island. She also mentioned that it was going to be her birthday during that week. It seemed clear that I would DJ what was sure to be a wild party.
So began the stressful process of booking flights and hotels and making secret plans with Janni about themes and decorations for Sylvi’s birthday party.
Janni was on it, and before you knew it she had her bag stuffed full of pink outfits, wigs, Victoria Secret-style angel wings, a life size male blow up doll, party balloons, streamers, inflatable pool toys, mermaid tails and plenty of other tricks and toys for our trip.
The “#SurfBunnies,” as they call themselves, started their journey to Sri Lanka and Sumbawa and started sending me pictures of them sipping on coconuts, enjoying beautiful sunsets and shredding super fun looking waves.
Every day I would look forward to getting a picture from them that would put a smile on my face, until one day I got a picture of Sylvi in a rundown hospital bed in Sumbawa. Apparently she had a bad bout of food poisoning had become so dehydrated that she had to be rushed to the hospital and given six bags of fluid. Thankfully, Janni was there to make sure she got the care she needed.
At this point, I was just beginning my journey from LA. I was starting to be really concerned that Sylvi wasn’t going to be well enough to travel to the Mentawais in her condition, but the next day I got news that Sylvi was feeling a lot better and that they were going to be able to take their flights to Bali. I landed in the Philippines on my first layover and turned on my phone, only to have another horrifying picture from the #SurfBunnies of someone’s bloody, crushed toes (one toe with the nail fully gone).
“We got a little carried away last night having a pillow fight with some Brazilian guys and I jumped up on this manhole and when I came down Sylvi’s toes got caught underneath… but she is ok,” Janni told me. I never considered pillow fights to be a blood sport, but I was starting to realize anything is possible with these girls.
After finally landing in Padang I was feeling a little nervous because I was going to be meeting these girls for the first time. Even though we had been chatting for months, I could tell they had a great sense of humor, and it felt like I knew them, things could be totally different when we met. What if we didn’t vibe on each other’s energy?
Luckily, my decision to surprise them in their hotel room by showing up in a rubber pirate mask had us laughing from the minute we met. After a long seven-hour crossing through some crazy stormy weather we made it to the Island and Kandui Resort. The first few days we had nice weather and fun sized waves at BurgerWorld, Last Resort, Hideaways and Fourbobs.
The weekend rolled around and it was time to start the birthday celebrations. Sylvi’s birthday had arrived, and after making the most of less-than-ideal surfing conditions, it was time to get the party started. Janni had the awesome idea of paddling SUPs over to the other island with a couple bottles of wine to watch the sunset. Two bottles of wine later and the afterglow fading, we knew it was time to head back to Kandui to shower and change into whatever ridiculous pink outfits Janni had dreamed up.
The traditional dinner and cake was over soon, which meant it was time for DJ KK to make an appearance. After blowing the sound system in the games room, we moved the party into the bar/restaurant, where dancing on the tables and drunken debauchery ensued. We rocked it out until the late hours.
Everyone was pretty fatigued and hung-over the next day, so we were grateful for the flat spell that followed. The perfect hangover cure turned out to be a really fun all-girls session at Four Bobs with our new friend Kahaia. It was small, but the conditions were perfect. Janni was still feeling the party spirit from the night before, and gave her pink wig a second act on the longboard.
After a few really small days with less than ideal wind, a new swell finally filled in and we went on the search for waves. It seemed like every spot we would pull up at would look fun and relatively empty, and right as we would be about to hit the water a boat full of hungry surfers would pull up and flood the lineup. Determined to find a wave all to ourselves, we continued past the more well known spots and came around the corner to find a little left hander that was kind of tucked away. It became our own little secret spot with only two guys out.
“What is this place called?” we asked Austin, our guide for the day. “They call this spot Good Times,” he told us. Soon, we had the spot all to ourselves. It was a super fun wave with a lot of punchy sections, and even though it would turn slightly onshore at times it was still super rip-able. We had such a good time, in fact, that we returned to the spot the next day and had it completely to ourselves.
It was so good for my soul to be in this paradise, getting back to the thing I love the most: surfing every day and enjoying life. I am so glad that I met these girls–these mystical creatures that inspired me to throw caution to the wind and answer the call of adventure. I think they might really be unicorns, after all.
If anyone reading this story wants to have their own adventure I hear the #SurfBunnies are going to be organizing surf trips that people can book spots on coming up. The first one is in July in the Maldives.