West Oz, Indo, and Home Again With One Of The Underground’s Best
Rolo Montes’ summer highlights, and how Laurie Towner salvaged his West Oz mission.
Over the last thirty years, Puerto Rico has produced long line of top-shelf, slightly underground surfers, all more than comfortable in the broad range of conditions the so-called Hawaii of the Atlantic throws at them.
Ale Moreda, Carlos Cabrero, Brian Toth, Dylan Graves, and now Rolo Montes, a handsome, highly capable, low profile international playboy.
Rolo’s most recent salvo was shot in Indo, West Oz, and at home in Puerto Rico, and we caught up with Rolo to hear about his productive last six months, and what he has planned for the next.
Stab: So you’ve been on a good one this year. What was your itinerary filming for this new edit?
Rolo: This year I wanted to spend as much time in Indonesia and WA as possible. I feel like in between those two places you can get a lot of stuff done in a short period of time.
You’re spending a lot of time in Bali these days, dating a girl there, etc. Is that place the most productive or distracting spot to get work done filming?
It’s the perfect place to have as a base camp if you’re gonna be spending that much time in Indonesia. There are so many people to work with over there and it makes it that much easier and cheaper to film. They’re already there so you don’t have to fly anyone over and that’s money you can use to get more stuff done.
I teamed up with filmmaker Carlo Coral and photographer Mick Andrews for the most part of my time in Indo. They’re definitely a stepping stone to this project.
Spending too much time in Bali in between strike missions to chase swells can be kind of dangerous, though. It can be pretty easy to get caught up in the party. If you manage to balance partying and surfing, then the place can be very productive. There’s waves around every corner.
How was that West Oz trip? First time? We won’t name names, but that session at the wave Andy Irons surfs in Still Filthy has always been a Bucket List wave. Tell us about that session.
The West Oz trip was incredible. It’s my second year in a row to that place and seems like it never disappoints.
My friend Colin Moran and I both had to do a Visa run so we figured we’d go to WA and try to get some waves. We stayed at my friend Myles Carroll’s, who happens to be a really good filmmaker and a legend of a human, and he drove us around.
We saw a swell that was gonna hit up north so we drove about 16 hours to the desert, made it to the wave we wanted to surf and it was small. Frustrated, we drove around checking other waves and we ended up surfing this little right slab in front of a cliff. It was slow and small, but we were the only ones out so we were having fun.
After four days in the desert surfing the same wave everyday things were getting pretty old. The swell forecast had dropped and looked very windy for the next few days, plus we had run out of beers. It was time to head back to Bali.
We had planned on waking up at four in the morning to start driving back to Perth to catch our flight the next day.
We woke up at four, saw that there was no wind and we could hear the waves had picked up so we decided to give it a few hours until the sun rose and give it one last try. We show up at the spot and there was a rental car parked checking the waves. It happened to be Laurie Towner and his water filmer, Nathan Henshaw. The waves were absolutely cooking so we unpacked everything as quick as possible and paddled out. Laurie, Colin and I surfed by ourselves for a few hours.
By the end of the session we all went to where Laurie had set up his camp, which was about 20 minutes from the spot we surfed, and traded off the footage. We got our water footage, he got his land footage and he generously blessed us with a few beers for the road on our way back to Perth.
That day saved our trip, footage wise.
What are your plans going into winter? Staying in PR and keeping your fingers crossed or are you chasing waves or going to Hawaii?
My plans going into winter are definitely staying home for the start of the season and then head over to Hawaii for the late-season juice.
It’s been an incredible start to the season here in Puerto Rico and seems like swells just keep coming. Waves in Puerto Rico are some of the best in the world; with the right mindset and team one can get very productive here.
My plan is to stay active, filming as much as possible at home and consistently getting clips there before it’s time to head over to Hawaii. In Hawaii I just surf my brains out and try to impress my sponsors (and of course sweep the floor of the Quik house for breakfast, lunch and dinner).
I want to give a special thanks to Carlo Coral, Mick Andrews and Myles Carroll. Without these folks, this project wouldn’t have been possible. I also want to thank Quiksilver, Channel Islands Surfboards and Tres Palmas surf shop for the consistent support.
And last but not least I want to thank you guys at Stab for always having my back. I love and miss you guys!
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