True Life: My Dad Is A Mentawai Boat Captain - Stab Mag

Live Now: How Surfers Get Paid — The Queens of Ascension

Style beyond his years, Koldo in a moment of bliss.

True Life: My Dad Is A Mentawai Boat Captain

16-year-old Koldo Illumbe portrays an enviable life in ‘Zurdas’

cinema // Aug 22, 2022
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Some people lead extraordinary lives. Whether by the grace of some Balinese god, or just through sheer luck, Koldo Illumbe is one of those people.  

Born into dual citizenship, with an Indonesian mother and a Spanish-born, Mentawai pioneer as a father, Koldo has always had a treasure trove of wave riding opportunities at his fingertips.

And, as the clip above shows, he hasn’t squandered any of it. Filmed during the fabled Coronavirus lockdowns, the edit is a brief depiction of some tube-riding brilliance from Bali’s newest prince.

In a bamboo-thatched cafe, nestled into the cliff above Padang Padang, I had the chance to sit down with Koldo and chat about his journey. Over mango smoothies with mushy paper straws — while his father made phone calls about a lost anchor at Lance’s Right — I asked him about his latest edit, the boards he rides, and where he sees himself in the future.

Meet Koldo.

Stab: Hey Koldo! Congrats on the clip, it’s pretty mental. How old are you?

Koldo Illumbe: Thanks! I’m 16 years old.

And you live in Bali with your parents?

Yeah, my dad is Spanish and my mom is from Java. I was born here in Bali though.

Do you visit Spain much?

Yeah, I usually go every year in the winter, around Christmas, to see my Grandparents. We surf around the Basque country when we’re there.

So, you probably speak a few languages?

I speak Spanish, Bahasa, and English.  

What does Zurdas mean?

In Spanish, Zurdas means “always left” because the clip is all lefts (laughs). We didn’t really go film at Keramas or HT’s or any of those zones. We filmed it with Killian Castells, the Vans filmer.

You must have spent a lot of time in the Ments if your dad runs a surf charter.

Yeah, I’ve been spending a lot of time out there. Usually I go about two times a year, but lately I haven’t been because of school. Last trip was a couple weeks before the clip was put together.

What were you doing at 16 years old? Probably not this.

Lucky duck. Looks like Greenbush was insane.

Yeah, it was the only spot we properly scored on that trip. We surfed Maccas and Roxy’s and some other waves but Greenbush was insane. That was definitely the highlight.

So tell me about the boards you ride. There’s a bunch of different crafts in the clip.

Yeah, basically I ride for two companies. Chilli and Peta Surfboards. Peta makes me more classic boards; single fins, twins fins and longboards, while Chili makes the sick high-performance boards. 

Peta has been really good friends with my dad for a long time, they went to school together, and then came to Indo and the Ments probably 20 years ago. He lives in the Basque country, so he ships boards out here. He’s basically my uncle, and every time I go to Spain he shapes me something new to try. My first surfboard was actually a Peta surfboard.

My first surfboard was a thruster, but then he started making me twin fins and boards with channels, and I was getting into it. And then I’d get bored of those boards and go back to high-performance boards. It’s a nice balance, being able to jump back and forth.


Do you surf competitions?

Not really, I’m not into competitions too much, except for ones like the Padang Cup. It would be a dream to surf in that. I just want to surf good waves. If they did a competition in Desert Point, I’d definitely wanna join (laughs).  

I just don’t like surfing bad waves or hassling with the other surfers.  It’s eggy.

Which surfers really inspire you?

Mason Ho! Fuck dude he’s so sick. My dad met him once surfing here in Bali and said he’s the coolest guy.

Bit of Mason Ho energy on that first wave of the clip huh? Two hands on the deck of the board in the tube at Deserts.

(laughs) In that session I was full-on surfing for 8 hours, and that was my last wave. I was super tired, and I decided to pretty much sit down. I was fucking exhausted.

Where do you want to take your surfing in the next few years?

I’m thinking I wanna just travel around the world and make friends. I really want to go to Morocco, and Hawaii, and around America. I want to keep surfing slabby waves too.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Full Frame: His & Hers Tow Tango Somewhere In Aus

Date night with Imogen and Cortney Brown.

May 27, 2024

Top Two Women Axed Early, Three Join The 9+ Club, Kelly Reveals Reptile-Inspired Baby Name

Hint: it rhymes with Slater and could eat you (or a zebra).

May 26, 2024

The Stab Interview: 5x CT Winner, Budding Entrepreneur, And Stab High Invitee Julian Wilson

If you never retire, you can't call it a comeback.

May 25, 2024

The Best Surfing I’ve Ever Seen: Lachlan Mckinnon

How often does a filmer pay for the surfer's plane ticket?

May 25, 2024

Hurley Can Now Legally Rent A Car

A quarter-century in the surf game is no small feat.

May 24, 2024

Airs On Trees: Bosiny Cracked The High-Performance Wood Surfboard Code 

Feat. Paulownia wood reinforced with Kevlar, these boards are as light as PU and loaded with spring. 

May 23, 2024

What’s In A Wedge?

Enjoyable water movement, explained by an expert.

May 23, 2024

Watch: Tosh Tudor In ‘Tube Therapy’

The 19-year old offers prescriptive insights into Desert Point karma, backside tube poise, and Off-The-Wall…

May 23, 2024

Swell’s En Route, Slater’s Involved, Here Comes Teahupo’o… 

A Tahiti Pro preview.

May 22, 2024

Can Medina Overcome His CT Drought In Tahiti?

Tahurai Henry offers his picks for the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro

May 21, 2024

The 35 Best Song Pairings In Surf Films, As Ranked By Dane Reynolds, Taylor Steele & You

From Noa Deane and Courtney Love, to Andy Irons and Coldplay, to Creed McTaggart and…

May 20, 2024

Is This The Most Cost Efficient Way To Noticeably Improve Your Surfing In A Single Month?

All you can eat for $1500 AUD at URBNSURF Melbourne.

May 20, 2024

Watch And Learn: How To Score A Solo Sesh At 8-Foot Teahupo’o With Leonardo Fioravanti

Skip lunch and gorge.

May 19, 2024

Full Frame: The Story Behind The Photo You’ve Seen 1,000 Times

A viral ménage à trois in Bali.

May 18, 2024

Meet The Man Who Runs Kelly Slater’s Burgeoning Surf Empire

The Stab Interview with Dylan Slater. 

May 18, 2024

How Surfers Get Paid: Season 2, Episode 4

80+ interviews later, it's time to "send out the chicks".

May 17, 2024

How To Get To Stab High Japan

BYO ligaments. 

May 16, 2024

CT Earlybirds, Tahitian Warlords, And Aspirational Teenagers Divide Spoils From “11 out of 10” Teahupo’o Blob

Eimeo Czermak, Balaram Stack, Liam O'Brien, Cannon Carr, and Ryan Miller divulge tales from the…

May 16, 2024