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Nias Perfect Wave Lineup

Well worth the wait in Nias. Photo: Kevin Voegtlin


The Inertia

Nias 10/12/2010

Waiting for swell to arrive…. It feels like we are always waiting for swell to arrive. Now we are waiting in Nias, waiting at Lugundry Bay, waiting for something over waist high to wrap into the bay. The ocean is flat, but the village is alive with children shouting, hammers pounding, motorbikes honking. It was a mission getting here: Bali to Jakarta, Jakarta to Medan, Medan to Nias, and then a four-hour drive through flooded rivers and cracked roads. Twenty hours of travel, and still we wait.

Nias 10/13/2010

There is something to be said about waking to the sound of roosters in the morning: the distant crowing pulling you out of sleep in the early dawn hours, the warm, night air inviting you out of bed. The sun creeps above the mountains across the bay. The village below it is already alive and bustling – motorbikes honking and church bells ringing. The sun slowly illuminates the point only to show small waves peeling endlessly down the reef. It looks fun for a longboard. It would be fun on an alaia, but that bag never made it; that bag was supposed to be on the next flight, arriving at our door by morning. We are waiting. Waiting on bags, waiting on waves. The wait, however, is not so hard here; it is quiet, calm, relaxed. The people here are quick to smile, the kids quick to grab any surf sticker in sight. We explore the reef, explore the village and the jungle.

It is a beautiful place, but we are here to surf: to work. There are waves on the way; I saw the report in Jakarta when I last had Internet. The swell is confirmed. Supposedly, someone made went into town and found a computer to check the charts. It was big news for our stretch of Losmens, and word spreads quickly under hushed tones, as if Mother Ocean heard us she would redirect the swell completely.

There is a quiet energy in the wait as tan faces perpetually squint out from shaded balconies to see if anything has arrived. Mother Ocean knows we are waiting. She teases us incessantly, sending a larger than normal set down the point every so often. It is enough to separate a few from their Bintangs and shade and into the harsh tropical sun. They paddle around; they catch dribblers. But mostly they wait, as do we. We wait with our Bintangs, our books, and our ping-pong. Someone comes by and says he heard the swell should surface around three – as if it’s that predictable; but Mother Ocean is a lady; consequently, we will wait.

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