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Strike Mission: Sumbawa

Posted by Steven Wilcox on
Strike Mission: Sumbawa



“What’s the plan? Where are we going?” Do we ever really know? Our journey through this physical experience is something of continuous growth. Lesson after lesson. Fall after fall. And hopefully, barrel after barrel.  Some are more stagnant, crazy, risky or structured than others, but to us, it’s expeditions like this one that'll teach you a whole lot more than what wind patterns and tides favor a specific wave. It’s a quiver of ups and downs, a juggle of opposites and it always makes for a great story when you get home. 

Surfing offers a unique opportunity to travel to places of the world that would otherwise, never be seen. You get to explore landscapes,  meet people and enjoy cultures that are untold. This specific journey started with news of a developing swell near Indonesia. Luckily, we were already camped out in Bali.

Considering all the options at hand across the region, we decide to chase this swell to Sumbawa. Steven has experience there and will show the group the ropes. Lakey Peak is the goal, a dreamy A-frame. Enough said. Flights booked. Time to pack.



Immediately we felt a culture shift between Bali and Sumbawa. IF BALI IS PARADISE, WELCOMING, FRIENDLY, SMILES, ALL THAT JAZZ, SUMBAWA AND SPECIFICALLY BIMA (where the airport is) IS A SHOCK. It’s rugged and in your face. Eventually, the place grows on you, or maybe it’s the waves, but by the end you’ll be in love with this isolated island.

2 hours, a box Ritz crackers, a roadkill chicken, no AC, and we’ve arrived in the little beach town of Lakey. Fellow homestayers were quick to say hi. There’s Kevin, the host who came over from Australia, found the wave and a local woman and never looked back. There’s “Aussie Bravo” he’s Johnnie Bravo’s cooler, Australian accented cousin who surfs, skulls Bintangs and yells at the television when his rugby teams got a match. And there’s the Supreme Leader, Hung Jong-Un. Kidding. His names just Hung, but he’s Vietnamese and was a good sport about the endless supply of North Korea jokes. 

Throughout the evening Bintangs empty, vibes get friendly, the rotten floorboards in the homestay buckle (with no injuries) and nicknames get thrown around like the pack of Indo darts rapidly vanishing on the table. Like Aussies do they assign us CA boys nicknames, Jacob’s new name is Orlando (Bloom), Andrew becomes Kings of Leon (the whole band, not just one guy) and Steven is just… Steven. Typical. After too many beers, some footy (rugby), plenty of laughs and a bottle of Jim Beam we’re wiped and honestly, pretty drunk. Beers are gone, we can’t find a lighter. This seems to be the sign, it’s time for bed.


 

Lakey is a sick little town, it's home to 6 proper waves and you can check 'em all in a matter of 15 minutes. WE’RE HERE FOR THE PEAK. A BEAUTIFUL RIPPING A-FRAME WITH A LONGER, RACIER LEFT THAT TUBES ON TAKEOFF AND REALLY THROWS ON THE INSIDE SECTION IF YOU LUCK INTO THE RIGHT ONE.

Then there’s the right, a shorter, backdooring barrel that’ll let you crank a turn or two on the open face before closing out on dry reef. Jacob’s keen on the left. Andrew fired up on the right. Steven’s just fired up.

Fast forward a day. Swells arrived. This is why we’re here.

THE FUN MELLOW A-FRAME WE SURFED YESTERDAY HAS MUTATED INTO A DREDGING, BOARD SNAPPING, REEF DRAGGING, BOMB.

It’s 3-4 ft bigger than the day before and the biggest sets of the day are easily double overhead. The swell peaks and the wave takes over. Only surfers with balls large enough to try and tame her take of and either survive or go down in flames. Honestly, a few guys looked like they might have drowned. In a span of 40 minutes, 4 boards are broken. One bloke takes off on a 10-foot set, he digs his nose mid-drop, summersaults down the face, gets sucked back up the face into the throwing lip and dragged over the falls. His board is broken in two. One piece is tombstoning, showing us where he’ll eventually pop up, and the other has been washed to the inside tower. He surfaces with a couple of reef lacerations to his face, blood spilling out just above his left eye. He’ll need stitches. Cheers to you mate. 

When you see one of these sets roll in, all those big life questions you were hoping these islands would answer for you are out the window. You’ve got to bury your hands in the water and get past the approaching set or you’ll end up on the reef, swimming back to shore with your tail between your legs. 

We hit the bottom a few times, went over the falls on a few too, but no time for pity, the next set is coming. We grab our share of solid 6-8ft walls peeling perfectly across the razor sharp reef. It sure isn’t the forgiving beach breaks we know back home. Jacob snags the wave of his life. Against the odds, he kicks out, both fists in the air, a loud hoot and upon returning to the lineup let everyone know, “I JUST CONQUERED SOME FEARS ON THAT ONE”

 

Andrew's caught right after right, taking off on some of the most lined up waves he’d ever seen in his life. Steven has two insane barrels, sitting in the tube from take off till finish and scores one of the bombs of the day. And unlike our buddy before, he makes the drop, but it all goes south mid-turn. He gets hung up, pitched a good 10 ft, dragged underwater and surfaces with his board shorts ripped clean off. FULL MOON! Hell of a drop though. The lineup conversations were one of two things. One, “Holy shit that was the wave of my life” or “Oh shit man… not sure if I was gonna make it back up.” The session ends and we head in to refuel for another session. That never happens. We've been wasted by the peak.  

What’s to be taken from a trip like this. Sure, the waves in Lakey are insane but 1, we already knew that and 2, that’s really the main reason people come to this region of the world anyway. It more so has to do with the fact that we’re in it. We’re taking that risk. To live life outside of a comfort zone. We’re bending life to what we envision it to be.  Why not? WHY NOT FILL YOUR LIFE WITH SUBSTANCE, ADVENTURE, AND MEMORIES THAT MOST ON THIS PLANET WILL ONLY PERCEIVE AS DREAMS OR “SOMEDAYS?” WE DON’T BELIEVE IN “SOMEDAYS,” AND THAT’S WHY WE’RE HERE. WE BELIEVE IN TODAY, TOMORROW, THE NEXT DAY AND CREATING YOUR DREAM.

For us, that means adventure, friends, family and finding ways to make a positive impact on the people and world around us. Conquered fears, pushed limits and took a risk, we did that. We’ll continue to do that. Time is the only commodity you can’t make more of. Take advantage of what you have. 
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WRITE UP/CONTENT: JACOB BRIGHTON/STEVEN WILCOX
SURFERS: STEVEN WILCOX/JACOB BRIGHTON/ANDREW WILCOX

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