50 Years Ago A Ship Wrecked Itself Here And Created A Perfect Wave. A Few Days Ago, It Happened Again - Stab Mag
Photo by SurfingLens/Jenya Ivkov

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.

Words by stab

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


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Joyride Board Test: The Haydenshapes Hypto Krypto Twin

Critically examining one of the hottest new boards on the market.

Oct 20, 2021

How An American’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Built One The Greatest Surf Accessory Labels Out Of A Workshop In Yallingup, Western Australia

Mick, Steph, & Jake Paterson tell the story of Creatures founder, John Malloy.

Oct 20, 2021

Why We’ll Always Catch One Down The Beach

The Misc: To the left of the stand.

Oct 20, 2021

The Highest & Flyest Performance-Based Challenges From Stab Highway Presented By Monster Energy

Rinse off the hangover and shoot for the sky.

Oct 19, 2021


Lower Trestles From Unusual Angles Ft. Kolohe, Griffin, And Co.

So much for Stagnant Ambition.

Oct 19, 2021

Are Surfboards Made To Fail?

Industry insiders open up about whether or not boards are intentionally fragile, thus driving repeat…

Oct 18, 2021


A 14-Year-Old Ladybird Takes On Solid Nias & Desert Point

Bela Nalu will go.

Oct 18, 2021

Premium Peek: Torrey Meister Tempts Fate In ‘Grit n Water’

What's scarier — bull riding or big wave surfing?

Oct 17, 2021


Someone Sponsor This Kid

Eimeo Czermak is an animal who consistently delivers jaw-dropping clips.

Oct 17, 2021


Palatable Portuguese Wedges With Mason Ho

Washed down with a pink cosmo and Franchesinha.

Oct 16, 2021

Did You Know The WSL Has A Pension Fund?

CT surfers post-2014 have a nice chunk of cash waiting for them after they retire.

Oct 16, 2021

Stab Podcast: Is Huntington Beach A More Exciting Contest Venue Than Ericeira?

Surf sins, a rundown of this week’s surf cinema, and an unpopular opinion from the…

Oct 15, 2021

The WSL’s 2022 Season Wildcards Revealed

Pray for Matthew McGillivray.

Oct 15, 2021


Dylan Graves Explores The Topics Of Race And Inclusivity In Surfing

“If you know it’s wrong, say something.”

Oct 15, 2021

Watch: Episode 2 of Stab Highway Presented By Monster Energy

Broken bones, KFC/meat pie collabs, 'feary' river mouth swims, and incredible kneelo tubes.

Oct 15, 2021


Kolohe Andino Is Doubling Down On Surf Films

"I want to give the world my view of how surfing should be perceived."

Oct 14, 2021


Jordy Smith Was Stuck In Hawaii For The Best Late-Season Run In Memory

"It was 6-8 foot for weeks straight. I surfed Pipe with one other guy out."

Oct 14, 2021

What Happened To All The Surf Gangs?

Times have changed, for good or ill.

Oct 14, 2021