Come for the first three waves, stay for the last!
Is It Still Possible To Surf The World's Best Waves... With Nobody Out?
This is what good fortune looks like.
Still, to this day, it is possible to score the world's best waves, on stellar days, all by oneself.
It happened to me at Desert Point, 2015.
You'll recall what was then considered Indo's Swell of the Century—Craig at Kandui, etc.—but after the Nias boat-hurling incident of 2018, now seems like another night at the Roxbury?
By mere fortune, I landed in Bali two days before that Indian Ocean blob eclipsed the archipelago, and knowing nothing about Indo other than what I'd seen in surf movies and Youtube clips, I figured Desert Point was the place I wanted to be when it hit.
I was wrong.
By pure face measurements, the point was about 20 feet on daybreak and growing with the dropping tide. Sets of ten, 15, 20 waves would barge their way down the reef and augment on that mythical Grower section. Thirty-foot tubes was my assessment from shore. Bigger than first reef Pipe.
Where was Mark Healey?
This was, as I'm sure you'll understand, totally beyond my physical abilities and fear factor.
This must have been true of everyone else on the point, too, as no matter how hard I squinted, I couldn't find a head bobbing in the brine.
One terrible ferry night, a torturous drive in, and a whole swell gone to waste!
As the tide filled in, the swell magically started to drop and revealed a still terrifying, but much more manageable version of the fabled left-hand reef. By 2 pm, my friend Ambrose convinced me to paddle out, and we braved the lineup, alone, on borrowed 6'4s.
Crew eventually starting paddling out around an hour later, but can you imagine being halfway around the world, surfing an iconic break on one of its most impressive days, with just your longtime pal?
A moment I'll never forget, to be sure, and it seems Costa Rica's Anthony Fillinghim just experienced the same sorta luck in the Ments. Fun-sized Rifles, as clean as any wave gets, and not another surfer in sight.