Stab Magazine | Australian surfer dies at Scar Reef

Australian surfer dies at Scar Reef

Australian surfer, Peter Luke, 27 died at Scar Reef in West Sumbawa on Tuesday. Police in the region said it was “caused by a wave smashing into him”. Details are still vague and there’s no word on whether he hit his head on his board or reef, but it’s understood after going missing, two friends used […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

peter-luke-670x387Australian surfer, Peter Luke, 27 died at Scar Reef in West Sumbawa on Tuesday. Police in the region said it was “caused by a wave smashing into him”. Details are still vague and there’s no word on whether he hit his head on his board or reef, but it’s understood after going missing, two friends used the boat they’d hired to search for him. They found his body on the reef. There’s no doubting the seriousness of the day: this swell was the biggest to hit Western Australia and Indonesia this year.

Peter grew up in Warrnambool, Victoria before he moved to New South Wales, worked as a teacher and called Byron Bay home. He’d spent a year working in Whistler, Canada prior and was in Sumbawa with several mates to surf, splendour and explore. Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club president Michael Owen told The Standard Peter would be remembered as a happy man who loved surfing.

“I knew him very well,” Mr Owen said. “He was a really strong club member who started as a talented junior and went on to a full-time summer lifeguard. He’ll be remembered as an approachable and happy man who also loved surfing.”

Friends took to Facebook to share their condolences. Lachlan Kerney wrote: “all over the world your smile and moustache were contagious. You had the kindest heart and soul but could still party like a rockstar! You made people live and love everyday to it’s fullest and your the Maddest Mucca i’ve ever met. It hurts too look back through the good times we shared, but i’m lucky to have had that opportunity at all. My thoughts go out to your family and friends. R.I.P Peter Luke.”

The Indonesian archipelago has had consistent swells for the entire season. It’s already considered one of the best in recent memory, but the swell that claimed the life of Peter Luke was another level entirely.

It hit Western Australia last weekend and claimed its first victim – a 37-year-old man at Smiths Beach. The Busselton man was bodyboarding alone and was found unconscious with serious head injuries at 8.30am last Saturday, the West Australian reported. Beachgoers tried to revive him but were unsuccessful. There was no doubting the power of the swell. Another man broke his arm surfing North Point, and Cow Bombie was the biggest and cleanest in over a decade.

The swell continued north to Indonesia and by the time it hit the chain was at a 19-second period. Lacerations is a reef that sits between Shipwrecks and Playgrounds on Nusa Lembongan and it’s not a wave known for wash-throughs. Sure enough, and you’ll remember Stab‘s Volcom Full Frame, the swell lined up a few gents in the channel and ended their post-surf recharge.

The swell continued east.

Supersucks, the famed shallow lefthand barrel roughly 45 minutes south of Scar Reef was eight foot-plus. The word from the channel was it struggled to handle the size. A rare occurrence at the break.

More exposed and further offshore, Scar Reef was easily 15 foot. At that size it’s a basic roll-in on the take-off, as basic as things can be at 15 foot. But as the wave bends on the reef, particularly on smaller waves, the inside section becomes top-to-bottom and means business. Come off there and you’ve got a lot of power rag-dolling you, and a shallow reef to contend with too.


To give you an idea, back in 2008, Rip Curl held an event at Scar Reef, The West Sumbawa Pro. Prior to the waiting period, a swell of similar size hit. Indonesian pro, Rahtu Suargita paddled out and flattened any stigma around Indonesian’s confidence in heavy brine. The swell that took the life of Peter Luke would have be similar in size. Paddling out that day would’ve been a courageous move in itself, let alone taking off.

We send our deepest sympathies to friends and families who have been affected.


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