50 Years Ago A Ship Wrecked Itself Here And Created A Perfect Wave. A Few Days Ago, It Happened Again - Stab Mag

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50 Years Ago A Ship Wrecked Itself Here And Created A Perfect Wave. A Few Days Ago, It Happened Again

A ship’s curse is a surfer’s blessing.

elsewhere // Sep 22, 2021
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

History repeats itself.

In the late ’60s, a barge ran ashore on a patch of Nusa Lembongan’s reef in Indonesia’s Bandung Strait. It made an already good wave even better and coined the name for the break now known as ‘Shipwrecks’.

The original ship was eaten by the sea, and until last week, folks younger than 40 may have wondered what the wave’s name was referring to. It is now, again, strikingly obvious.

Living up to its namesake. Photo by SurfingLens/Jenya Ivkov

According to for Surfer Mag editor turned Indonesian ex-pat writer, Matt George, via Magicseaweed:

Although first surfed by Bob Brown in 1974 and featured in a few Aussie magazines, Shipwrecks was first made internationally famous in the 1982 surf film Band On the Run starring Rabbit Bartholomew. Watching Rabbit thread his way through idyllic tube after tube on a groovy little island far removed from the crowds of Bali created not only a new fantasy destination, but also inspired surfers worldwide to explore Indonesia’s 17,500 other islands for their own slice of paradise. And we all know what has become of that.”

Artificial wedges are wedges all the same. Photo by SurfingLens/Jenya Ivkov

Given the stringent covid protocols limiting entry to Indonesia, there are very few non-resident surfers currently stationed in the 18,000-island archipelago. As a result, locals of Nusa Lembongan are enjoying their new barge-made artificial wedge with similar crowds to those who surfed its first iteration in the ’70s and ’80s.

“It’s like our own wave pool right now,” said Nusa Lembongan Boardriders club competition director, Komo Wilson in an interview with Matt.

“Us young guys have only heard from the old guys what the wave was like when the first ship ran up on the reef. And we were always envious because the wave was supposedly so much better. But now we believe them, because even the old guys are saying the wedge is back!”

Enjoy it while it lasts. Photo by SurfingLens/Jenya Ivkov

Based on current removal efforts, it appears this new/old wave feature won’t last forever. You can get the full story from Mr. George’s article and interview here.

Want to help? Project Nasi works closely with the Nusa Lembongan Boardriders club. Visit here for more.

All images courtesy of Jenya Ivkov – SurfingLens.

One last wedge for posterity. Photo by SurfingLens/Jenya Ivkov


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