A different sort of early Indonesian surf discovery (one for the groms)

A standard tale of an early Indonesian surf discovery goes like this: “as our fishing boat wallowed around the headland to an anchorage out of the miserable wind, we were in a state of despair, wondering if we’d ever find a wave to surf. Certainly not along here, a flat reef-land of dribbling surf. Then one of the boys perked up and squinted ahead. ‘Hey fellas, I think I see some white water,’ says he, soon followed by a bunch of excited swear words that get us to our feet. ‘Look at that right! Look at that right!’ Six-foot cylindrical blue water beauties zippered down the line, each as groomed as Liberace’s hair, and as sparkly as the man himself* …etc etc etc”

* [remember, we’re talking an early discovery here]


And that’s pretty much how this particular discovery was made, many years ago in prehistoric days when the world communicated only by telexes, except the wave was a tad scaled down:

The Hati Murnih wallowed around the Boa (Rote) headland, to get out of the wind that was blowing out all the usual spots, which back then were very definitely underground. Before us spread a beautiful cove of white sand and turquoise water, lightly rippled by the steady wind that here was offshore. It was also way out of the swell window, with tiny waves gurgling onto the reef.

“We can go fishing after lunch,” Robert Wilson said to his son, the young grom.

As we ate lunch – tuna fish sandwiches, out of a can, because that’s how this trip was going, couldn’t find a wave or catch a fish for the life of us, although the ice was holding out for the beers at least – as we ate, the grom kept looking at the last bend of reef.

“I think that’s a wave,” said he.

We took a closer look. Sure enough, it was too, a perfect wrapping righthander that was head-high to a boogie boarder, with the occasional double-overhead rogue monster. Perfect for the grom.

Now, your blog correspondent doesn’t make a habit of announcing surf spots, with x-marks-the-spot clues, even for breaks that are now media-blasted and Youtubed.

But this break – around the Boa (of surf contest fame) headland, which is me x-ing the spot for you – is
a) almost always blown out in the prime surf season
b) almost always tiny, out of ground swell windows
c) a bunch of local surfers are already established in the area, Rotinese (BTW surf wax and spare leashes are always appreciated), other Indonesians (a growing population of Timor surfers), and expats (building boom going on)
c) perfect for groms
d) and blessed are the children. There are few things more grin-inducing than watching groms have a blast. My soul is not troubled.

At any rate, over cold sunset beers, the Old Men on the boat followed time-honored tradition and christened the wave Lee’s Right.

Lee's Right

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