The Arrival - Kai Satu XI (Mentawai Part.I)
Updated: Oct 24, 2018
How else do you start a long overdue boy’s trip then breakfast beers departing the airport? Flying from Queenstown after a powder day at Coronet Peak into the hot & humid layover in Jakarta was definitely a shock to the body but nothing a few Bintang’s and being back with the crew wouldn’t fix!
Arriving and waking up with a full day in Padang seemed like a good idea but to be honest, there was literally NOTHING to do! We strolled around town getting our bearings like standard tourists and it became quite clear that we were the only westerners here. Munro constantly getting bailed up for photos with locals on the street left right and centre, “Ah big, big white boy”. In their, defence he's not a small human!
Noticing that the local bay was horrendously littered with waste, in and out of the water was so disappointing! In contrast I was very surprised and impressed to see one elder local there with a big mesh bag collecting rubbish trying to do his part following the ethos of @take3forthesea.
Back in the air-conditioning the hype from the grom was sky rocketing, deciding to use his hotel room as a board preparation shop. Out with the cold water and in with warm water surf wax!
Fortunately for the afternoon we did find out about one of the only bars in town and made the most of it! The Bat N Arrow down by the river, epic, epic venue, surf shop and skate house!! Highly recommended on any trip to Padang. It was never intended to be just one or two beers that night and we made the most of it.
Round two with the band back together, and remaining boys getting in late last night. We met up for 12:00 hotel transfer to the boat to kick-start the water leg! Cramming 42 cases of bintangs, boards, bags, all of the boys in a van, it was game day. We were taken to a half way house to take care of all the paperwork where we met out Surf Coach & Guide Daniel Benedet (Coach to former tour competitor Barton Lynch) as well as yoga instructor and ambassador for Rock City Boardroom. The man could do it all, absolute frother!! Along side Dan we were stoked to have RipCurl photo/videographer Margarita Salyak along side shooting and editing all trip from the boat, the air and the water. Her work is unreal so make sure to check it out here @margarita_salyak
What's a first leg road trip without listening to stories from our holy father Miles talk absolute rubbish but still getting the banter level high early on! Loading the boat that afternoon (Kai Satu) up and off into the distance she rode.
We knew the sea was predicted to be rough and our novice bodies weren’t well prepared for the storm that would barrage our boat that night. A 10hr boat ride from Padang toward Playgrounds overnight through heavy seas had a few worse for wear to leave it lightly. Truth be told, only a few could stomach multiple welcome beers that night, but those who did made up for the whole team. Big thanks to Cam Finn for helping the boys out!
First alarms for 04:30 pre sunrise was a touch ambitious in my opinion (Mitchel Coe) but it was game day so we take what we get. Pulling up to our first break (Nipussies) just after dawn, three of us went out in the dispatch boat with Rusty for a patrol of the break from a closer angle. Not too much happening with short, inconsistent rights and a swell direction not favorable, Dan decided to relocate us to Burger World. Still out early enough for an 08:00am jump into a high tide right hander, fortunately quite deep point break. The boys getting straight into it, finding their bearings and getting rid of their sea legs.
The water acclimatisation was much tougher than we expected, so hot in the water especially once moving around, staying hydrated was a big key. For me personally it was reaching a fucking long awaited milestone, 18months out of the water due to injury and work relocation it felt so good to be back on a board with whistles from the lads upon pulling into that first wave! Dropping into low tide it became wind stricken and blown out, this was a perfect call for lunch and power naptime after a solid 3hr opener!
By the time the tide was back on the rise the crowds had vanished completely leaving us right-handers all to ourselves, exactly what we needed.
I decided to the afternoon session on full frame at 35mm with my aquatech elite housing. It was a new distance to get use to (I had usually shot 50mm for this style but sold and re bought before the trip). Some unreal day one waves for everyone to warm up including wave of the day (Lachlan Finn) with multiple, delicate, precision carves on a big open face from a set wave right down the line all the way down the point!
First thoughts back on the boat, food! An appetite was well and truly worked up and the crew on the Kai Satu had done this before! Spread ready and waiting and weren’t we in the beginnings of a culinary week of absolute gold from Chef Juli.
Stay tuned for part II and III coming soon!
Big thanks to The Perfect Wave Surf Travel for being the organisation train on this journey!!