Stab Magazine | How Natxo Gonzalez And Kepa Acero Spent The Last Indo Mega Swell

How Natxo Gonzalez And Kepa Acero Spent The Last Indo Mega Swell

“I’ve heard stories of guys surfing this spot wearing motorcycle leathers because the reef just tears you up.”

cinema // Mar 4, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

“It looked like it could have been as good as Skeleton Bay, but a right.”

That’s what Kepa Acero saw in India on Google Earth a few years ago. So, being the good surf explorer that he is, he sojourned to the subcontinent to see what he could find. When he finally got there, he found himself barred from accessing the long, sand point. Kepa calls it the most arduous trip of his life, which says plenty. 

“It took me like three days to get to this point I wanted to surf. I drove all the way out there. I was right in the bay close to the point, there was a swell coming, and I waited there,” Kepa told Stab. “After two weeks in India, waiting for the spot to come alive, someone told me because it was on a military base, I couldn’t access it. But It was just in front of me: right there. I could see the waves right there in front of me. I went all the way there and it didn’t happen. I tried to pay money, to the police, to anyone, it didn’t work.”

Unable to disregard the potential, the wave has remained in Kepa’s mind ever since. And last summer, when the Indian Ocean turned into a giant purple blob and places like Nias were firing, Kepa decided to return to India. But this time he’d have company.

By a funky twist of fate, Natxo Gonzalez had also noticed the same set-up on Google Earth. Unbeknownst to the two Spaniards, they’d independently been watching and waiting for the opportunity to suss the place out. Eventually, they connected, realized they shared similar visions of Indian perfection, and a plan was hatched. Aritz Aranburu would play the role of the proverbial third wheel.

“It was the hardest trip I ever did,” Natxo said when Stab caught up with him. “It was a historic swell, huge in Indo, it was the biggest one I’ve ever seen in my whole career. So we decided to go try and find this spot rather than go to somewhere we knew would have waves.”

Facing similar hurdles to Kepa’s first experience, they were denied access by police and military officials. Refusing to take no for an answer, they ended up paying off a small fishing boat that was willing to break the law and take them there. 

“We finally did it. We got there! But after all that, the wave was just too fast. It was perfect, but it was too fast,” Kepa admitted. “It looked so good, but there was just no way to make it.”

Undaunted, Kepa and Natxo decided it was time to pull the plug and head somewhere more dependable (Aritz had to split for other career obligations). They beelined it to Indo. It took them a couple of days to zero in on a spot, but again, they commandeered a fishing boat and found themselves staring at a wave they really didn’t want to ride.

Remote, heavy and shallow, Kepa and Natxo decided to paddle out against their better judgment. 

“We should have had helmets. I’ve heard stories of guys surfing this spot wearing motorcycle leathers because the reef just tears you up,” Kepa explained. “Neither of us felt comfortable out there, even wearing fullsuits, but we’d come so far.”

In the end they got their share of barrels. Although it may not have been the score of a lifetime, they both admit that it was a journey neither will ever forget. 

“Adventuring is the most difficult thing to do. You have to keep up your energy and deal with all of the problems that come up,” Natxo said. “But what I learned is that adventure is the best thing I’ve ever done. If you find a wave, it’s all totally worth it. After that trip I want to keep adventuring…I will never stop, I think.”


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