Rain is one of my most favourite words in English. Not only do I like the sound of it, I also just like rain itself: Tears fall from skies and cool everything down including me :-)

My previous visit to this island in May last year required me to take three flights, but this time taking four different flights from Nagoya via Taipei. I was super exhausted by the time I landed at the airport of my final destination, but was delighted with the heat, humidity and this tropical rain. Welcoming-rain!

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What was even more welcoming than the rain was the waves. These photos below were taken on my very first day right after my taxi-driver dropped me off.
Even though I knew that a good-size swell was reaching here, I still couldn't believe my eyes! The waves were FIRING!

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You might think: "Oh, a nice 5-foot plus wave!" Yes, height-wise. But photos can never tell you the energy and power of waves.
For the first few days during my time in this island the swell was super consistent. It was at least 5 to 8ft with the period between 15 and 18 seconds: Once you paddle out there, you would feel it; heavy and unforgiving, especially if you fail your take-off.
Furthermore, when a set came through, each wave was coming in squarish and almost looking tidal. It even made me think that this could have been what surfing would be like in big Cloudbreak or Teahupo'o. Neither of them I haven't surfed. Yet...

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In fact, rain kept bucketing down for quite a few days in a row with power-cuts to follow and some murky water flushing out from rivers into the bay, so even this rain-lover became fed up with it.
Evidently enough, a couple of my sessions were where the water wasn't only brown, but was also stinky and tasty. Yuck! No wonder we saw quite a few big fish swimming around.

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Time and tide wait for no man. Fortunately, the brown water didn't stay long in the bay. Yet, as the weather gradually improved, the swell dropped in size quite dramatically too, and no more huge swells came afterwards. Ahh...

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Nonetheless, it never ever became flat and I had a few days with only waves breaking on the inside as shown in the photo below. Still, it was heaps of fun riding these kiddie waves, going both left and right, plus the wave-quality was at least 10 times better than an average day in Irago. So I never took it for granted and it was great to surf with those cheeky local grommets.

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Despite spending four weeks in total on this island this time, unlike my previous trip to this island last year, no photos of me riding waves for this trip; I just couldn't be bothered to ask photographers to take some by always negotiating how much each photo was, you know what I mean?

My routine was super simple: surf at sunrise, have breakfast, surf again or swing in a hammock to read, have very light lunch (or only fruit and thick Indo-coffee), surf again before sunset, go out for dinner with my new surf-buddies who I met on this island and go to bed by 10PM. I never felt this much healthier than ever before!

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I caught sooooo many waves and was able to practice with my forehand surfing a lot, which was my top priority for this trip. No injury, no Indo-belly, no surf-rage, no arak but just tons of rain.

Another happy trip :-)

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Oh by the way, lots of people asked me what kind of food that I had while I was on the island. So here is my answer:
Apart from all usual Indo meals such as Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) and Mie Goreng (Fried Noodles), I've had lots of half Thai-style half Indian-style curry. Or else I had this delicious noodle soup called Misop. This was mind-blowing!

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Moreover, tons of fruits to be had every single day such as bananas, pineapples and papayas.
Papayas are the best after I come in from my surf-session under the blazing sun.
How come a decent-size papaya could cost more than 10 dollars in Japan?!

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Well, this article is so boring, right?

Don't you worry! Because I didn't finish my trip only in Indonesia this time. Out of my itinerary I dropped in on another island by cancelling my last connecting flight back to Nagoya three weeks ago due to Typhoon No 18 hovering around in the Pacific then. And that's when an incident occurred to me and I've been partially deaf now....

More stories to come. So stay tuned!


It's been soooo long!‎ And how much I've been longing for this opportunity?!
I'm taking at least two months off from work now and am finally able to write a proper article for Air Esky.
Yeah, there has been a lot of water under the bridge in the past several months; mostly flooding caused by my recent contract-work with a notorious Japanese‎ IT company. Huh... Anyway, it's all good now and I'm also good :-)

Apart from my chaotic work, not much has changed in my life for a while except the fact that two new funky ladies have joined me recently. The photo below shows my history in romance for the past few years and I'm reintroducing all my gals to you in chronological order as follows:

Air Esky - My Quiver of 2017

* The wooden one (5'8) is the oldest I have been with‎ since 2013. Shaped by me and glassed by Patrick in Cape Town, and aptly named "The Egg". She is quite chunky (and quite heavy too)‎ and will probably be with me for the rest of my life.

* The yellowish BOA‎ (5'6) is the second oldest. Shaped by BOA's owner Juan‎ in Panama in 2014. She is my favourite without a doubt as she is light, agile, tough (EPS-made) and can handle waves up to double overhead. Amongst all these boards I've been spending time with her the most. No wonder the lamination has gone yellow, and she probably needs Botox sooner than later.

* The most conventional-looking one (5'8), placed center in the pic, was bought second-hand in 2015 in Japan. Only small dents sustained on the top and bottom decks at first, but I crashed her with a stupid long-boarder only on our second date in Irago... Not as light or agile as the BOA, but it does its job when she feels like it.

* The shortest Tomo Vader (5'3) was bought brand-new two months ago through an online shop in the USA. She was meant to be the replacement for the BOA as the latter is aging, but this Vader has completely different characteristics: super-responsive, fast and light, but not as easy for take-off as the BOA. Plus, nothing was learned from my expensive lesson before with Firewire. Instead, I unwisely give this one another try. Regardless, I need to spend more time with this lady from now on. And hopefully, I will not snap her.

* The Santa Cruz (6'1), placed far right and the longest one in the pic, was bought second-hand just this week‎ in Japan. Haven't surfed her yet‎. Her Epoxy-skin makes herself the toughest amongst all these boards and she is meant to be my semi-gun when the surf is big, though it'll be very rare for me to ask her for a date as long as I surf around Irago‎. But "just in case", you know what I mean?

So so so, I'm actually not in Japan now. I'm sitting in the terminal of Medan airport and waiting for my last connecting flight to the island (offshore of Sumatra, Indonesia). This time I've accompanied two of my ladies, the BOA and the newcomer - Santa Cruz (6'1). And let's see what the tallest lady can really do with me on those world-class waves!

I'll give you more reports of our dates when I come back from the island.
Hope you are all happy and catching good waves :-)

A hazy mind and a hazy sky.

Although it is my 9th or 10th visit to this island, I have never been to the north eastern part of it before. I am finally making it now together with my friend from Durban by a rented TOYOTA Yaris.

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Not expecting what is ahead of us and also not knowing what sort of crap / trouble we might get along the way. My friend Jem and I are here for one thing: Off the beaten track. And ideally, nobody is in the water except us.

Then out of the blue, on this very particular day (December 30th), we came across this little river-mouth just outside a tiny village; not that major river-mouth on the east coast. We were at the North East coast.

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The water was pristine and the wind was so gentle. We jumped out of our car and paddled out with no hesitation but with a few scratches on our feet from those rough-surface boulders....
The waves were so punchy and breaking so close to the shore. Every time we fell off our boards, we touched the bottom instantly and the next set-wave sucked us in and dragged us away mercilessly. But whatever happened to us on each wave, we emerged from the foamie, smiling and laughing: We were having fun with our mother nature.

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One single session.
It has already made this trip worthwhile and all is clear now :-)

The best present for my 40th birthday.

It was almost seven years ago when I last scored decent waves at this spot.

One of my surfie friends from New Zealand and I were just cruising around and hoping to find an uncrowded spot, ideally less than 10 guys in the water; Please note that a fairly well-known spot here in Japan could attract more than 100 guys! Then we happened to bump into it so unexpectedly with absolutely no guys in the water.
It was really by accident and by luck too as it could only be good when certain conditions were met such as wind directions, swell-size, tides and, of course, the bank; a mass of sand under the water. It was all coincident for us and felt like we won a small lotto then.

We kept going back to it whenever "the certain conditions" were going to be met for this spot. Yeah, there were occasionally two or three other guys paddling out too, but it was never like the crossing of Shibuya Hachikou-mae in Tokyo.
We were always stoked to drive past all the zoos and ridicule those who had no clue of this spot if they had ever made an effort to look beyond their too-familiar waters.
By summer in the following year, however, the bank was gone and I left Japan for my RTW trip indefinitely.

So this was all seven years ago and I eventually came back from my vagabonding journey two years ago.
As I mentioned earlier in this article, this is Japan, you know?! Sooooo densely populated and fad-oriented in everything and everywhere. Moreover, this year's super unusual weather pattern with ZERO typhoons until early July only seemed to fuel Japan’s surf scene; Everybody was dying for a wave. Any wave.
Very fortunately, our Pacific typhoon generator suddenly came back on from mid-July and the shortage of any ridable waves became a good nightmare of the past.

I had forgotten about this spot. But thanks to the crowds in every single spot now, while I was being surrounded by all grumpy J-surfers one day, all the good fun sessions that I had seven years ago re-surfaced in my memory. I impulsively paddled back in, got into my car with my board in the back and dashed to the spot which I aptly named “No Name” seven years ago.

And my intuition was right.

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The bank has come back alive.
The waves are fun and often pretty hollow and powerful.
And above all, I have had them ALL to myself so far this summer.

Can't stop grinning :-)

This year so far there has only been one Typhoon, so-called Nepartak. But this No.1 didn't even give us any tiny pulse here in Aichi, it went straight to my beloved T instead.... I truly believe that this is the after-effect of El Niño, causing an astronomical number of flat-days or days with only knee-high waves here while there appear to be two intense hurricanes emerging and heading to Hawaii at the time of writing this article. Bizarre!

Thanks to the lovely El Niño. I have nothing to report this month.
And I just bore you even further with some of the captured images during my time in the island off Sumatra this May as below (Keep scrolling down! You will see my SUPER manoeuvre.)

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Into A Baaaarrrrreeeeel !

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And Here Comes A Nice Shoulder !

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Slaaaaaaaaaaaashhh !

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And My Super Manoeuvreeeeeee !

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"Every time you go surfing.
That's what you were born for.
That's the peak of your life."
by Bruce Gold

Thanks for watching :-)