The search for waves is a special kind of rush. Indonesia with over 17'500 island is a paradise for surfers. Countless surfspot are yet to be discovered or are only known to locals. In the surfing town of Panganderan, in Central Java, we encountered a flat spell. On very short notice we decided to go on an expedition to one of those secret surf spots in the west of the island.
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Our mission starts early in the morning. Before dawn we start on a five hour journey over bumpy roads and trough palm tree forests. In a small village we park the cars and load our surfboards as well as the rest of the luggage on to a boat. The ferryman pulls the boat with his bare hands on a cable over the river. Part of the freight are also a couple of motorcycles that will bring us to our final destination. On foot it would have taken us over an hour, but those buckets on two wheels speed things up. The supersonic ride with bag and baggage over small path and wet sand is nothing for the faint at heart. We are relived when we arrive and immediately see that the stress was worth it: A wave just for us.
We unload our belongings and check out the camp, a small simple fishing village in front of the beach and surrounded by jungle. There are a few wooden huts and some shade-giving shelters. One of the shelters is our place for the night. Merely our surfboard bags serve us as a mattress on the hard wooden floor. Showers and toilets are non existent. Only a draw well supplys us with groundwater, so we can at least wash the salt off our body - we just have to ignore the fish stench.
Adventure for us - daily life for the fishermen
For us its an adventure, for the fishermen this is just daily routine. Some of them even spend the entire night in their hand-made mini boats on the water. Plastic plates are used as oars. Very few fishermen can actually swim. Nevertheless the people seem to be happy and welcome us with open arms. Thanks to them we have fresh fish, with which our Indonesian companies make us breakfast, lunch and dinner.
However culinary and comfort are not of importance - its all about the wave. In this case a reef break. A wave that break over a corral reef and in picture perfect regularity generates waves - always in the same direction always at the same place. From the beach the wave looks rather small but we are not deceived by that. We grab our surfboards and paddle to the break. To get there we have to cross the lagune with the anchored fishing boats. The water is crystal clear and we are fascinated by the corral reef, which is beautiful but also dangerous for us surfers. As soon as the tide drops we have to cross this part by foot. Barefoot we would cut ourselves on the sharp corrals or get injured by the sea urchins, that's why we wear reef-boots. Always when we surf a new surf spot we have this nervous sensation. What are we up against and can we tackle those waves? There is only one way to find out: paddle, take off and surf!
Our expectations were met. We surfed on that day and the two following days all the time till our arms felt like spaghetti and we longed for the rest on our wooden beds. The wave is nothing for beginners but you don't have to be named Kelly Slater either to surf it. There are great waves all over the world and the search for them is a special kind of rush - we will always cherish this one of a kind surf adventure.