Saturday, August 27, 2011

Nusa Tenggara

The region of Indonesia that lies east of the Wallace Line, the boundary dividing the Asian and Wallacean ecozones, is referred to as Nusa Tenggara. This region of Indonesia is quite different than the western islands of Bali, Java, and Sumatra; lush tropical forests are not the norm here, replaced by desert-like terrain and a rather arid climate.One thing they still have in common is volcanoes, and Lombok's Gunung Rinjani (pictured below) is Indonesia's second tallest volcano and one of its most active (there was a major eruption here in 1995).
After watching the maps for a few days, my friend Chad and I made the call to head eastward from Bali to chase swell last week; a few ferry rides and hours on motorbikes later, we finally arrived at our destination, exhausted and ready to go straight to sleep. Still, we paddled out for a fun evening session to prepare for the swell's peak the following day. The next morning, the swell had well and truly filled in, and we waxed up the big boards for the long paddle out. It was hard to tell how big the surf truly was as we made our way across the dry, low-tide reef and made the 15-minute paddle out the channel into the empty lineup.
We quickly discovered it was rather solid. Chad got a good idea after his first wave; it sectioned too fast, broke on his head, provided a solid hold down, and ripped his wetsuit jacket clear off before stranding him in knee-deep water on the reef (below, pre-impact)!
Nevertheless, he re-joined the lineup after gathering himself and we surfed for a few hours, sharing well overhead waves with only four other surfers. After hearing a lot of stories about how heavy this break is, I can say that it lives up to its namesake though I gladly didn't get to experience it firsthand (notice the boils in front of me on the wave below; the inside section sucks dry and exposes a rather scary looking corral reef).
After surviving our morning session, we had lunch before motoring forty minutes south to another break, where we had another pumping, overhead session shared with a solid handful of surfers including Dane Reynolds and a few other professional surfers. All in a day's swell chasing I guess.

Continue on to Part II.

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