If it feels like everyone is in Indo right now, it's because they kind of are. Most surfers have spent two years, or more, away from the emerald of the equator, and when the red carpet was finally rolled out, it heralded the beginning of this swell season's great Indo revival.
Some get to Bali and soak in the surrounds. Others, like Portugal's favourite slab destroyer Nic Von Rupp and Morocco's hyper-frothy big wave charger Othmane Choufani, will eyeball long-period swells and then formulate a plan of attack that'll get them to the right place, right time (and tide).
Forecast: Desert Point
“We actually saw this swell last week and started exploring every possible option and with the tides and swells as they were, it was really only Desert Point that looked good, maybe Nias too," said Otho. "But, as goofy footers, we decided to pull the trigger for the dust bowl."
“Yeah, we'd been talking about coming to Indo for a long time,” said Nic. “I don't want to do things last minute out here – but Otho was in the Mentawais, I was in Nihi, looking at the charts every day. He came to Bali and we said, 'hey let's go somewhere'. We started looking at options, Nias, over to the Mentawais, Sumbawa and it ended with Desert Point."
The logistics of getting out of Bali are fairly simple. Otho and Nic rounded up photographer and videographer Margarita Salyak, taxied out of Canguu to a boat harbour close to Semarapura, hopped a ride over to Lombok then skirted round the island's western flank until Desert Point was in sight. "The crossing, we were just having a good time. Some renditions of that Titanic song on the front of the boat, just good vibes," added Otho.
And finally, they were there. For those unfamiliar with this freight train, it's hands down one of the best waves on the planet -- but also, one of the most fickle; during a big swell at high tide it can be dead flat, and on the next low tide it can be double-overhead and absolutely shacking over shallow and razor-sharp coral reef. It commands a giant ground swell to stack up and wrap around then down the point, before it even thinks about unleashing those long, flawless left handers. You could say, it's a goofy-footers dream, suiting NVR and Otho just fine.
“I've known Otho since he was 16-years-old,” said Nic. “We went to Desert Point together in 2019 and we absolutely scored. That was amazing. When you're staying around Bali, it's kind of a safe bet, it's easy to get there. It's always firing whenever there's a swell. But I think 150 people had the same idea this time around, it was so crowded. Hardly got any good waves, super packed. That's how it is. Indo's open and everyone wants to come here. Everyone was ripping and shredding.”
Yet, Nic's 'hardly got any good waves', is almost as stinging a statement as 'you should have been here yesterday,' when you take a look at this one minute joy ride from an eye up high. We're counting three lengthy barrels across 60 seconds...
“Surfing with Nic is awesome,” said Otho. “He always froths so hard, and I do too, but it’s just nice to have someone that will always stay positive and always ready to strike with a big smile no matter what. If I get skunked for a swell he's also the best person to get skunked with cause we keep on laughing and thinking about the next one.” And when's the next one? "No idea yet," said Otho.
"This swell originated from a storm with a lot of different centres to it. It was quite complex," says MSW forecaster Tony Butt. "It intensified southwest of the Kerguelen Islands on Friday July 22. As the system moved east over the next couple of days, a large area of southwest winds developed on its northwest flank, which moved ENE and then grew.
"This generated a pulse of swell that spread out eastwards and northwards, hitting southwest Australia over the weekend and then continuing on towards Indonesia. The first long-period forerunners arrived in Lombok early on Tuesday 26, and the swell peaked the day after, with off-the-coast wave heights of up to eight feet and periods of around 16 secs."