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Rip Curl’s Quest 1 sinks in the Mentawais

Words by Lucas Townsend


Eight surfers and five boat crew have spent the early hours of this morning in a six-person tin boat, trying to find land off the west coast of the Mentawais. Why? Because the Rip Curl Quest 1 sank overnight. Thankfully, they’ve just been rescued by two other surf charters in the region. Thankfully, they’ve just been rescued by Martin Daly and his Indies Trader 3.


Former chef, Andre Sickinger, made contact with his business partner Jay Lewis earlier today, who was on board with the group of mates from the Gold Coast and Newport (Costa Mesa), and while no one’s injured their exact whereabouts were unknown for some time.


“The boys are safe,” Andre told Stab, “and I’ve been talking to them since they were bucketing out the engine room… but they’ve watched the Quest 1 go down to the bottom of the ocean. It’s fucking tragic. It’s a sad day. The boat has amazing history.


Quest1-Lineup_INset


“They had to get in the tin boat, the one that ferries surfers from the Quest to the lineup. By law, it’s a six-man boat but they’d fit more. There’s eight guests, a captain, engineer, a tin boat driver, cook and cook’s hand.”


The 21-metre Quest 1 was formerly known as the Indies Trader II and was purchased by Rip Curl in 2011. It’s the vessel made iconic during The Search and Tip 2 Tip marketing campaigns and leveraged that for its own private charters at roughly $5k per person.


Andre only had a brief conversation with Jay, enough to prepare them and get their coordinates. They’re unsure how it sunk but Andrew offered two scenarios:


“Either the main seal went, it could’ve popped and leaked through the night,” he said. “Or they hit something through the night, like a reef. The engine room was flooded and once that goes it’s done. the bilge pump couldn’t keep up because the electricity got shut off because the generator blew the fuses out and died so they were helpless.”


Ten boats - including legendary Ments captain Martin Daly on MV Indies Trader III, and Tony “Doris” Eltherington on the MV Raja Elang - instantly began a search for the stranded party, and word’s just arrived to Stab that they’ve been found; the guests with Daly, and the crew are aboard Ratu Motu.


While one Rip Curl investment thankfully didn’t sink this week, the Quest 1 hasn’t been so lucky and the Wilson Fisk’s of the company are in damage control.


“I couldn’t tell you an exact price, but some say over a million,” said Andre. “But you know what, it’s priceless actually. The amount of work that boat has done for Rip Curl Search, and prior to that the Indies Trader for Martin Daly, you can’t get that back. All the Rip Curl Search, the Tip 2 Tip, all those memories, the people; Tom Curren to Mick Fanning to Damien Hardman to Steph Gilmore. It goes on and on and on.”


The Quest leaves behind a ton of perfect waves, amazing memories and a legacy of being the gateway to some of the best surf adventure films ever made.


Sleep easy, Quest 1.

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