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The Inertia

Wait a whole 13 seconds and hit pause. Now count the bodies. All 10 of them floating in the ocean are enjoying what appears to be no more than a playful day at Nias from this bird’s eye vantage point.

This, we’ve been told, is the dream — surfing one of the best waves in the world, trading tropical barrels with a crowd small enough that the lineup’s inhabitants won’t transform into wave-starved, angry surf zombies.

Occasionally we see the same wave from a different perspective. The one that counts, really, because nobody actually navigates a lineup from the safety enjoyed by a drone. This looks entirely different. These takeoffs are the epitome of steep and deep. Taking off and fading into these barrels, when viewed from sea level, looks equal parts dream-like and scary as hell if you’re a normal human being with a reasonable understanding of the typical surfer’s abilities. Sure, it might be the session of your life but at least half of that fun is consumed by the energy of navigating bubble guts every time a set shows on the horizon.

Funny enough, both perspectives show the same day at Nias, a September 12 session local filmmaker and The Inertia contributor, Balint Hambalko, calls the “heaviest waves of 2020.”

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