Indonesian Secret Spots
Slowly but surely, Indonesia is unveiling another significant realm of wave territory on its Pacific side. Depending on who you are and where you come from, it’s called Maluku, Moluccas or Moluques.
My love story with Maluku started in 2004 when US photographer John Callahan planned a media discovery trip there. Originally, Rip Curl actually wanted to host the trip and hire John as the lead photographer, but John declined the job and decided to send his own team of fellow discovers.
Over the course of 10 days sailing the Maluku Sea, we found a solid array of surfbreaks, and let me tell you, we scored. On our last day we bumped into the Rip Curl Team who were on a competitor boat, with surfers such as Jamie O’Brien, Kekoa Bacalso and Simon Marchand. Due to engine problems, they had been floating in idle at sea for 5 days, and only managed to get one surf session in.
We had to wait a good few months following that trip to see evidence of this session (back then, slides were developed and then surf mags would publish the story). Of course, imagery from their singular session graced the covers of mags like Surfer, compared to John’s endless supply from our 10-day expedition.
Since our first trip in 2004, I had the opportunity to come back 4 times, each time on a different boat: Sama Sama in 2012, Sola Gracia in 2018, Big Kanu in 2019, and Lambo in 2020. This time (January 2023), we decided to go feral by land.
As usual, we started the trip in Ternate, a 3.5 flight from Jakarta (around 450 USD return). Ok, it’s a mission to get there, but it’s well worth it. We scored for days and days on end in the region, until I decided to free fall on a late take-off and hit my board with my head. Straight to the nearest hospital I went, and six stitches later. We definitely paid the price of surfing shallow waters. One of the crew broke a rib there, but only really knew about it when he got home.
Despite some minor setbacks, every day was a keeper. It was just us, the ocean and the jungle, and time would stop: walk, surf, walk, eat, surf, hitchhike, eat. The most simple form of a surfer’s life.
Antony “Yep” Colas