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TR: Mentawai Islands, Indonesia

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couple more pics boys... have got a bunch of other great shots from the past week, but they didn't get a run in our surf report

i'll try and upload them elsewhere and link them in here in the next few days





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If I walk halfway down the stairs that lead up the hill I can see how big it is and if there's anyone out. Then I can paddle 3 minutes and be there, or better yet, load Spookette into the boat, get our Mentawaian driver Andi to putt around there, and we can watch it from the channel.

It doesn't break that often, but a good wave there will stay in the memory banks for a while.

I am yet to get a really amazing backhand tube out there, but that's more to do with my inability than the wave itself. It's a corker.

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we close on december 15. i think i'm going to leave before the last group of guests, maybe dec 5 or something like that. got some stuff to sort out in oz before xmas, and might also have to try and find a week or so worth of work in order to afford our month in japan in jan 2010.

waves from now til march will be more wet season sort of waves - fun 2-4 foot most days, the occassional big swell still. we got lots o rain and storms at the moment, but often we get extended sunny periods too. we also get alot of rain during the 'dry' season, so go figure.

i'm aware of time in that we have guests for 12 day packages and i try and maximise the surf they get during their stay. but other than that days don't really mean much out here. there's usually waves, and sometimes it's sunny, sometimes it's not. it's nice like that

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Spook, usually ride 19' wide and snapped my 6'6 so replaced with a 6'5. Tail - squash but this board is pretty wide through the tail and mid section. Will have to see how it goes.. but a tad fishy.

Being in Jp for so long held me back and ended up on bigger boards just for ease of paddling in difficult surf (Typhoons). Slowly I am reversing that but doesn't help when huey comes to town when I am at work (Fin Planning)


Enjoy the rest of the time you have there.. Wet season can rock!

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Offshore again this morning.

Still abit of swell running.

Paddling out and school kid decides to run me over. (7:00am)

As I explain to him his error he advises me that I got in his way.

It was amazing how quickly he changed his thought process when I explained the difference being run over by a booger and being run over by 85kg me.

Heading down south tommorrow morning fingers crossed all the school kids stay in bed>



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Hey Crew


Update from the islands. Basically we are ok, but I'm veering between tears and nausea. From all reports Padang is a mess. People are buried alive and we are being lashed by storms and rain.

we have heard that about half our friends are ok, but are still waiting to hear from many more. some of our friends run a small guesthouse that was reported as collapsed. thankfully we have heard that they are OK. 80 people are still trapped in remains of the ambachang hotel and i'm sure there are hundreds more trapped in the markets and in school, hospitals and other buildings.

there are already food and fuel shortages.

I don't know what else to say.

Obviously any donations to various charities and aid organisations would be gladly recieved.

One organisation is Surf Aid. Some information here:



Not that it's important, but we've cancelled the next group of guests and aren't sure when things will be fully operational. the lack of food and fuel is a concern as we are very isolated, so we will start having to plan around that

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Best of luck there spook. I saw the surfaid boss on the news saying his doc has set up an emergency clinic next to the hospital.

Tracks doods are ok. they were out at sea.

Still not any news about any aussies hurt..


There was another quake near kerinci as well. havent heard from that area yet.

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and now the philippines are set to be smashed by a typhoon...

we have had some good news from friends in padang, but yet to hear from many more.

from the news reports, thousands are still buried under collapsed buildings. there are still 80-200 people trapped in the rubble of the ambacang hotel. many of those will be foreigners.

our crew in padang are alive. fuel shortages at the moment though - 2 hour wait to get petrol and only 6 service stations open. not sure about the food situation. still no water or power. many roads still closed.

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this is from the NY times:


"Some excavating equipment ripped through the ruins of one of the city’s largest hotels, the Hotel Ambacang, looking for survivors on Friday. A large crowd gathered to watch, expectantly but there was no cause to cheer. Nobody in the hotel had been found alive since Thursday afternoon.


The stench of bodies decomposing in the tropical heat could be smelled outside buckled houses and buildings. A Swiss team had brought sniffer dogs to help search for bodies. Several mosques were making preparations for mass burials."



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Woke up this morning and we are still fine on the island. Have heard that some more people are safe, and have been gathering info and sending it out to people. It's a nice feeling telling someone on the other side of the world that their loved ones are ok. Obviously not everyone has been so lucky.

The vibe at the moment is a sort of detached reality - life goes on because it has to, and because we are on the island and aren't stuck in a devastated city. I feel terrible for everyone affected by this tragedy.


SurfAid International just sent through the following update:


SurfAid Padang Earthquake Update. Saturday 3 October 2009:


Two major earthquakes have hit the Padang, West Sumatra, region - the initial 7.6 on Wednesday evening and then a 6.6 quake on Thursday morning. Padang, the gateway to the Mentawai Islands and where most of the surf charter boats are based, has been seriously damaged and the death toll is more than 1,100 but there are fears that thousands more are still trapped beneath the rubble of collapsed buildings.


SurfAid has gone into emergency mode and has staff doing assessments of the needs of the people in the coastal areas south of Padang, which are heavily populated and impoverished. SurfAid had Mentawai health program staff already in Padang and they have been reassigned to emergency work. SurfAid will respond to the immediate urgent needs with medical staff and supplies. SurfAid has eight doctors and three nurses preparing medical supplies.


SurfAid is buying tents, tarpaulins, food, water and sanitation and medical supplies in Medan, North Sumatra, and getting these to Padang.


The SurfAid office in Padang survived, however the internet system is down, along with electricity and phones, so a priority is to get a new internet system in place along with satellite phones and gensets for power, along with fresh water as the mains water supply is cut off.


SurfAid's Program Director, Dr David Lange, who has been with the organisation less than a month, narrowly escaped from the Ambacang Hotel just before it collapsed. The people behind him didn't make it out and last night emergency crews were using heavy lifting equipment to try to locate any survivors. The Ambacang is a well-known stopover hotel for surfers heading out to the Mentawai Islands.


SurfAid is still trying to locate five of its Indonesian staff in Padang. Sixty Australians were still unaccounted for last night.


SurfAid CEO and Founder Dr Dave Jenkins is in Bali and will fly into Padang when we have our communications systems in place. SurfAid Chief Operating Officer Andrew Judge is in Medan, North Sumatra, hoping to get on one of the full flights to Padang today.


The SurfAid speedboat Sibex was dispatched to a village in Siberut yesterday to check on reports that a school and mosque had collapsed.


SurfAid Mentawai Program Manager Tom Plummer is heading to Padang from his base in Tua Pejat, the regional capital of the Mentawais. His house in Padang is completely flattened. Luckily his pregnant wife, Sas, had just left for the USA. "Thankfully she left on Tuesday, the day before the first earthquake," Tom said. "She had finished a contract with an aid organisation in Aceh and had just shipped all her belongings down to our house in Padang. I haven't told her yet that there's nothing left."


SurfAid Program Director Dr David Lange filed the first report to SurfAid staff after his narrow escape on Wednesday evening: "That was a very large earthquake. I don't know the size yet but large chunks of glass and brick walls of the hotel I was in came down all around me. I can't imagine how I got out. It was like the floor was falling away as I ran over it. I lost my passport, communications, all my money. The city is burning, infrastructure appears damaged (water lines, sewer lines, power lines are down). We need medical supplies, food, shelter and transportation. I would guess hundreds are dead and significant infrastructure damage worthy of a significant response.


“I have only scrapes. I’m in a safe place. We are going to set up a field hospital now. I’m using someone else’s computer and won’t be able to communicate.â€


A few hours later, David filed this report: “I just can’t believe I’m alive. The people right behind me didn’t make it out, the blocks from the hotel were falling all around me.


“One hospital, called Silasi, is completely ruined and non-functional. One other private hospital is damaged severely but functioning out of tents. The main public hospital I did not assess. The Ambacang Hotel and Spice Homestay are both collapsed, with lots of westerners in the Ambacang.


“I saw dozens of the biggest buildings collapsed in town, most of the damage is concentrated in the commercial centre markets, the main pasar, which was fully packed. The one-storey homes seem OK but people aren’t staying in them because of fear. Water mains are ruined and power lines are down. No fuel is available right now.


“People are trapped and screaming for help but they are below huge slabs that will take heavy equipment and there is none. I would expect hundreds dead when the final toll is known, but the big issue is that the normal infrastructure is down. We should focus on supporting infrastructure: tents, tent clinics, clean water, food.â€


SurfAid has launched the SurfAid Padang Earthquake Relief Appeal. You can donate via our website at www.surfaidinternational.org


Thank you very much – and many thanks to all who have already donated.

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Hows the situation for you guys in Indo now?


I was reading in some of the latest news reports that entire villages wiped out by mudslides are now being declared mass graves. :( Tragic.

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