Nias At Its Heaviest Is A Fear Factory
“We’re all really lucky nobody got seriously hurt because there’s no real hospital, skis or water patrol or anything like that – your out in the depths of Indonesia.” – Tyler Newton
If Tyler Newton does one thing well, it’s the tube.
The mid-20-year-old from Kauai supports his surf endeavors by picking up work where he can and maxing out the travel budget provided by his main sponsor RVCA.
Typically, we don’t hear or see much of him until the winter months come around on the North Shore and he makes a few highlight reels and the occasional wave of the Winter Submission at Pipe, Backdoor and Off the Wall. Last year during the Backdoor Shootout, Tyler was in full swing – he was looking to place until he swung too late under a Backdoor lip that popped his shoulder out of its socket.
Mr. Newton took his first trip to Nias recently, and the resulting edit is that of a surfer bred by Hawaiian power. Here the well-versed tubehound breaks down his first time at the break.
Stab: How did you end up in Nias?
Tyler: Well, I had been in Indo for about a month when the swell popped up. I was in Bali, then went to the Mentawais on a boat trip, then to Desert Point once. We were leaving that night to go back to Deserts when I saw the maps and pulled the trigger. It’s a mission even from Bali to get there. Three flights and an eight-hour layover in Medan. So worth it though!
How was it surfing that wave for the first time at essentially the heaviest it can hold?
Surfing a new wave is always an experience… especially if it’s big and gnarly. For me, I’m a bit uncomfortable at first. Everything about big Nias was scary. Getting out through the keyhole (I called it the death dance) surfing the wave, the current basically pulling you into the impact zone, then even trying to come in was a nightmare. The reef there is really similar to Sharks Cove or Turtle Bay Point on Oahu. So fucking sharp dude I basically kissed the bottom and got pretty raked. Luckily, I had got there the swell before the big one and got to warm up and feel it out before the huge day.
Anything heavy that went down?
Man, that boat going through the lineup and getting pitched was crazy. I remember thinking to myself, “Holy shit it’s out of control out here!” My friend Keale Chung charged bombs all day and ended up face planting the reef coming in. Eli Olson’s leash got hung up in the keyhole and he was underwater for about 15 seconds. A handful of guys got smashed in the keyhole and never even surfed. So scary. We’re all really lucky nobody got seriously hurt because there’s no real hospital, skis or water patrol or anything like that – you’re out in the depths of Indonesia.
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