Watch: The Last Year (Ever?) of Empty Indo - Stab Mag

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Waves of this nature are typically occupied. Photo: Scotty Hammonds

Watch: The Last Year (Ever?) of Empty Indo

Here’s what you missed in 2020, and what you should be chasing in 2021.

cinema // May 30, 2021
Words by Michael Ciaramella
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Film by Breton Carasso/Onboardstore Bali

We all wanted to be Anthony Fillingim in 2020. 

If you can’t quite place that name but it sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because we talked all about Anthony’s escapades on Stab’s Instagram and website in the past year. Mr. Fillingim is the pro-ish surfer from Costa Rica who found himself “stranded” at Kandui Resort from March through August of 2020. He was one of the only surfers on the island at the time, which gave him unlimited access to a number of the world’s best waves, in peak season, with nobody else around. The dream of dreams. 

Anthony’s was the first success story of many that came from the pandemic-strained, travel-averse year of 2020. And it made us incredibly envious of anyone who found themselves stationed in Indo (and particularly the Ments) during its least-busy busy season in the 21st century. 

Since becoming known as the epicenter of “ideal” conditions for intermediate to advanced surfers, Indonesia has been inundated by travelers from around the globe who wish to experience their self-deluding social feeds IRL.

“Yeah, yeah, you can totally handle pumping HT’s,” various Instagram videos assured Kirk, a dentist from Canberra. “It’s a roll-in, no worries!”

The result has been overcrowded lineups across the archipelago, from Lakey Peak in Sumbawa, to Nias in the north, and of course in the true hub of Inodnesian surfing, Bali. 

The above film covers all of these places and more in 2020, focusing on a small number of  unevenly-skilled surfers who experienced the Indonesian waves in their least-crowded state since September Sessions. It is the epitome of an envy-inducing surf flick, from the quality of conditions to the occasionally relatable performances on them.

Drool inducing. Photo: Macaronis Surf Resort

Based on the current vaccination rates, it’s likely that 2021 will be Indo’s last “empty” year in a very, very long time. And here’s the thing. The real point of this post. You, too, can experience the blissful moments captured above in this calendar year. You just need to want it. 

Technically speaking, Australians still can’t leave their country without some extravagant travel exemption, so unfortunately the following does not apply to you. But Americans, Europeans, et al keep reading. 

Currently, Indonesia has a mandatory 5-day for incoming persons, which might increase to 14 days in the coming months. They’re also not providing traditional “tourist visas” for wannabe travelers, so if you look it up online you’re technically not allowed to visit. However, it’s easier than you might think to get a specialized visa from a surf camp or other similar service. 

I won’t get into too much detail (as I don’t want to blow anyone’s cover or ruin this opportunity for any would-be traveler), but I’d advise anyone who’s interested to send a few DMs out to their favorite Indo-based Instagram accounts and see what they can do to get you in the door. Most of them have insane deals going, and they’ve also been hemorrhaging over the past 16 months, so you can self-justify the trip as an act of service. 

Warren Buffet said to be greedy when others are fearful. So go on. Buy the dip. Book the ticket. Create your own Anothony Fillingim story in 2021. You will truly never regret it.


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