josh knowels unleashed surfer 3Penang!  Shit…. I’m still only in Penang, every time I think I’m gona wake up in jungle..

When I was home after getting off the boat last year it was worse I’d wake up and there’d be nothing. When I was here I wanted to be there and when I was there all I could think about was getting back into the jungle.

I’ve been here a few days now, waiting for a mission..getting softer every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, each time I looked around I could feel the walls move in a little bit tighter. In Indo every man gets everything he wants, I wanted a mission..

Whenever I come to indo, I find myself watching Apocalypse Now religiously, like Captain Willard, I usually find myself waking up in a downtown hotel hungover starting to feel detached from the realities of home and ready for a mission. The major difference I suppose is to assassinate waves, not colonel Kurtz!


josh knowels unleashed surfe 5r

I am joined on this mission by privates Leigh Pope and Tom stringer.
I stumbled across where we were heading, a couple of years ago when I was on boat trip,  we explored through the Telos, Hinakos, Nias, Simmulue, Babi and the north Sumatran mainland and ever since then its been itching at me to get back there.josh knowels unleashed surfer
After a short internal flight and a fairly short drive, we reached our destination  where we’d base ourselves for the best part of the next month. There were other traveling surfers staying at the camp, a mix of French, kiwi, ozzy and jersey, which all turned out to be a genuinely cool bunch, which is quite rare these days.
For the first few days, the consensus at the camp was it was flat or so it may have seemed glancing across the long stretch of lagoon side on to the peak. In actual fact the swell size never really dropped below chest height, but everyone wanted to call it flat, that was cool with us. Something i’ve learned in my time of doing surf trips is to go with the flow, there’s so many things that are out of your control so its pointless trying to force the way you want things to happen. Usually on a trip you get a mixed bag of good and not so good stuff that will happen, like for me by the time we’d hit the first M5 service station on the way to the airport I realized i’d left my bank card at home and my credit card had expired.

IMG_0868For Tom the bad was slicing his foot and having to watch what he described as “the best waves he’s ever seen”, from the boat. On the flip side although we were treated to a little bit of seismic activity, luckily it wasn’t anything of any consequence which wasn’t to be taken for granted due to the fact were hanging out in one of the most volatile regions in the world. Evidence of what has become known as one of the most deadliest disasters in modern history was too often clear to see. Although the real prize was scoring consistently fun waves with a good handful of particularly pumping memorable sessions.josh knowels unleashed surfer 2

Words and Photos by Josh Knowles



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