Good Waves With A Crowd, Or Bad Waves Alone? - Stab Mag

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An empty reef pass and a glowing sunset. Paradise may yet exist. (Photo: @ryzphoto)

Good Waves With A Crowd, Or Bad Waves Alone?

Rio Waida and friends drop an edit from a “shit week” in North Sumatra.

cinema // Oct 30, 2022
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Modern surfers have two options to deal with COVID-inflamed lineups. Either you surf the marquee waves in your zone and stomach the increased presence of adult learners, weekend warriors, and trustafarians; or you sacrifice a bit of wave quality in exchange for a bit of peace. 

As once-sacred lineups enter their days of reckoning, surfers who crave more meditative experiences are being pushed to the wobbly fringes of their local surf cultures. You might find these people warily checking that novelty rock wedge by your house, or surfing a beach that produces exclusively straighthanders.

Bless these people. Their existence is a silent middle finger to the rat race of lineup hierarchies, and we appreciate them immensely. 

The surf trip featured in the edit above is a nod to these people…except the waves are better than that rock wedge by your house.

*entire CT trembles in their booties*

Jump back to March 2022.

With the Indonesian borders opening soon, and time ticking down on empty COVID lineups, Onboard Store’s Bali team made a call to chase the last fleeting moments of solitude in the Mentawai Islands. 

The catch? There was no swell on the forecast. 

The boys figured that even if the waves were bad, they could at least bathe in the euphoria of an empty lineup one last time. “The report looked pretty shit,” laughs Charlie, Onboard Store manager. “We didn’t care, we brought step-downs and grovelers, and didn’t see another boat the entire time.”

Groveling! (Photo: @ryzphoto)

Now, when Charlie told us this, we were expecting to watch actual groveling. Then we remembered that even the worst swell in Kandui is a firing swell everywhere else.

Must be nice.

Click to watch Rio Waida, Ketut Agus, Ryuki Waida, and Kian Martin on a surf trip skewed toward the crowd-averse.

Sign us up for the next shit week. (Photo: @ryzphoto)

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