Insomnia/Jonathan Gubbins

Insomnia/Jonathan Gubbins

Whilst most of the planet is still reeling from travel restrictions, pandemic panic and a plethora of global issues, a lucky few, and I mean a lucky few have been travelling the globe. Recently Indonesia has been off the charts with many of the spots lighting up. Jonathan Gubbins has been making the most of those passport stamps, sit back and drift away with one of the most pitted surfers on the planet, enjoy.

Indonesia last run of swells ridden by Jonathan Gubbins, mostly end of July beginning of August 2021.
Music by @Leonorapostpunk

Uluwatu dreamin’

Uluwatu dreamin’

Uluwatu consistently produces more great rides in Bali than any other location. But for how amazing the waves can be, they’re not necessarily ‘perfect’ and certainly less predictable in shape compared to neighbouring breaks like Padang Padang and Bingin.

On top of being a difficult wave to read, there’s often a healthy crowd to navigate. So choosing a line requires not only predicting how the wave is going to break, but also where you’ll be able to fit a turn without taking someone’s head off – Corox’s wave at 2:17 is a great example of juggling these two elements without missing a beat.

Rather than the wave making a surfer look good because it’s so perfect, it’s the surfer having such a good read of the wave (and the crowd) that makes it such a great ride.

Carve Classic: Islands In The Sky

Carve Classic: Islands In The Sky

Join us as we delve into the Carve Classic archives for some all time trips and interviews. Lucy Campbell, Leonor Fragoso, Markie Lascelles, Conor Maguire and friends voyage through deep Indonesia on the OA3. Originally featured in issue 189.

It all got a bit rocky as we delve in to the mad geology of Indo. Anchors away…

Words and photos by Sharpy

If I told you a tropical island could lift three metres out of the sea in a matter of minutes you’d assume I’d been watching too many CGI drenched Hollywood blockbusters or been chain-smoking the jazz fags. Alas, dear reader, it’s no creation of a malarial fever dream, mind-altering chemicals or an amusing confusion of metres with feet … no sir, this actually happened. At the time of writing Lombok has just been hit by a lethal earthquake and the adjacent island of Bali has been disrupted for months by Mt Agung pooping ash into the flight paths. If you paid any attention in geography at school you’ll know that the whole of Indonesia is part of the ‘ring of fire’. Not the one that inspired the Johnny Cash song; but the red zone of nature-based chaos around the Pacific Ocean. Draw a rough line from Chile in South America up the west coast of the States, across the Bering Strait and down through Japan to SE Asia, dog leg around Oz down to New Zealand and that’s the ring. Well … it’s more of a bear’s head shape than a ring. It seems ‘Bear’s Head on Fire’ didn’t survive the brainstorming stage when it came to naming the whole dealio. It’s a zone full of major cities like Santiago, LA and Tokyo and it’s also the best place on earth to catch an earthquake or see a volcano blow its bloody doors off. – It won’t surprise you to find out that the ring of fire map also correlates rather well with the ‘good surf here!’ map. So every time you venture to California, NZ, Kamchatka, Chile or Indo you’re going somewhere far more geologically exciting than the boring old UK. There’s no danger of the roof falling in, a tsunami washing you out of your lounge midway through Love Island or getting hitfiery on the noggin by a lava bomb here. No sir. It’s been a long time since Cornwall was volcano country. But the moors: Dart, Bodmin, etc and the Scilly isles are the remnants of old magma chambers so it used to be fiery fun here millions of years ago. The strongest British earthquakes, and there have been some here recently, only manage to rattle the crystal glassware in leafy Surrey.
Western Europe, with the exception of Italy and its kickass volcanoes, is geologically speaking a yawnfest. It’s all to do with plate tectonics and in that regard we sit in a stable, dull, backwater part of the world. The vast plate we sit on in has its western boundary down the middle of the Atlantic, where the plates are pulling apart. Sure it can be fun there, Iceland is a wonderland of hot springs, unpronounceable volcanos and tourist friendly geysers. That’s because it’s on the mid-ocean ridge where the plates are pulling apart. Down on the ocean floor is where you get the geothermal vents. The mad ecological niche where bizarro creatures live, precious metals are abundant and life on earth may well have started. Over in Indo it’s a whole different story. Good old Indo, the land of Bintang, Nasi Goreng and the finest waves on the planet. The island chain owes its existence to tectonic plates barging in to one another. No slow drifting apart here, the Indian Ocean tectonic plate dives, grudgingly, angrily under the Indo plate. So the gentle chaos on land is quite fitting considering the large scale madness going on deep underground. The many volcanoes and devastating earthquakes are because of the geology… Heard of Lake Toba? The ruddy great lake in Sumatra is the 100 x 30km hole left by a massive supervolcano blowing its own head off. It’s the largest eruption on the planet in the last 25 million years. In the 1800s Krakatoa and Tambora both killed five figures and buggered up the weather globally. Anyhoose, I digress. Any Indo trip is a pub anecdote generator; stuff just happens there. Like this trip where they wouldn’t let us take our boards on the flight from Medan to Sibolga. Which was where the boat we were meant to be going on was. Which led to the classic Indo impasse.
Eventually we got on the plane. The boards didn’t. They made their way by road. Awesome to lose a whole day of the trip from the get go while fretting that the boards would vanish somewhere in the hills. On the plus side it meant we could sweat, at a profuse level, on the boat for a whole day cursing missing the next day’s waves. Now you might recognise the boat, the OA3, from our Maldive feature last year. The rad cat has had a refit and improvements so there was air-conditioning. Except the guys that rewired the generator for the refit did it wrong. So we didn’t have air-con after all … Or the onboard desalination plant. Still. We were in Indo. Water warm as wee and not far from a bunch of islands that are many sailing days away from the crowds of Bali and the Ments. Seeing as there are 17,504 islands in the Indo archipelago statistically the surf is empty on the lion’s share of them. After losing roughly 20 percent of our weight in sweat we finally got the boardbags and tootled off to the horizon frothing for ten days of adventure.
First mornings on any long-haul tropical trip are tricky. Firstly your body clock is all over the shop. Secondly the many hours of being cooped up in a plane, watching five different sound free films over folk’s shoulders simultaneously, has kind of fritzed your brain synapses. Thirdly it’s hot, oh Jeebus, it’s so hot. Can a human actually sweat this much hot. That’s your thoughts for the first few minutes of the day. Then comes the bold cry of ‘give me coffee or give me death!’ Once caffeinated (thanks to Clifton Coffee Roasters in Bristol for the custom selection for the trip) you ask the vital questions: where the hell are we, are there any waves and can I have another cup of Joe, thanking you please. Normally the answers to these questions are 1) *shrug* 2) nope it’s onshore/shit/small 3) Yes but only if you’re making it. But this blessed day the answers were 1) We’re just arriving at NAME REDACTED 2) It’s small, but pumping and it’s empty 3) Why of course, where’s your mug you cheeky muffin? This is not how photo trips go. You don’t wake up all bleary eyed, itchy and farty with the news that it’s time to bust out the Pelican cases and dig out the camera gear. The first day never pumps. It’s a law. That is the job of the last day. The first day is for bumbling confusion and naps. No one has fins in their boards or any idea where the wax they insist they packed has gone. In short it was a shock to the system. But it was indeed fun AF. But you could tell everyone was two day travel/three flight cranky, it takes a while to recover from long haul. Unless you’re Markie Lascelles who got a bunch of nice barrels that magically eluded everyone else. But then he did sleep most of the trip there. We spent the afternoon getting similarly fun, but bigger, waves on a more exposed reef and life was good. If only all trips could start this way…
Still, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me introduce the cast of characters assembled for this mission: Markie, as already noted, freesurfer, Beachbeat and Cord shaper, can sleep anywhere. Sam White, known as Wiggs, formerly editor of big league TV shows, currently one of the crew making Schooners on the shore in St Agnes a must visit eatery (their double burger in gravy is a thing of wonder). Also the reference connection to the past as he visited these islands pre-event, where he managed to break his neck. So there were demons needing put to rest. Then there was Jonny Marshall, another Aggie boy, traveller, sailor, rogue. A man with an anecdote for any occasion and handy insights in to life on those big-ass, Monaco-style pleasure cruisers. Very useful chap to have around when it came to nautical business and pina colada party starting. Jem Rogers, part-owner of said boat and one of the keenest surfers you ever likely to meet. Lucy Campbell, Brit world tour competitor and all-round frother from Devon. Conor Maguire, yes the wee Irish fellow more normally associated with the kind of mad waves that make you want to curl up in a ball saying ‘No! No! No!’ over and over again. Being the whitest man onboard he put his factor 50 on in the dark each morning to make sure he wouldn’t go up in flames. Leonor Fragoso, Portuguese QS gal, who is jammy enough to be sponsored by OMX travel co, hence nabbing a spot to Mada and this trip. Robbie the captain, Cullen the deckhand, the ship’s cat and I completed the roster.
We spent a glorious few days acclimatising to the heat while sessioning this delightful wedgey left by ourselves then as the swell backed down we headed further out into the blue. Boat travel days mean one thing: fishing. Now in three Ments trips I’ve never seen a fish caught; apart from potentially on the Chinese factory ships that light up the horizon at night. Where we were, which was sparsely populated to uninhabited, not even a mobile signal remote, was a different story. We caught many flavours of fish. Not that I know any apart from tuna. Every guy had a hunter-gatherer gene satisfying moment of catching a fish big enough for dinner. Well, maybe Conor’s was only an aperitif; but the fresh sushi still tasted good. Much as they’ll all deny it: Lucy caught the biggest fish. A technicality renders it controversial. The deckhand brained the thing to put it out of its misery as is standard. He then handed it to Lucy for the triumphal trophy photo. A master of comic timing the ruddy great fish decided, as pics were being taken, it wasn’t its time and came back to life. Jumped out of Lucy’s understandably surprised hands and slid down the stairs back into the sea as everyone’s stomachs yelled ‘Nooooooooo!’ To her credit Lucy jumped off the back of the moving boat to regain her catch and she had it briefly before it went deep. It was effing funny.
Our final destination islands ticked the normal Indo boxes: azure water, palm trees, fun waves and … hang on? What the hell is that terrifying wall of dry coral heads around each island? It was as if the islands had grown teeth hungry for boat flesh. Coral grows until it’s just below the surface, that’s the normal way it rolls. It doesn’t keep going on upwards for a couple of metres. You’ll remember the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, the quake responsible happened offshore from the area. Another less famous quake, technically an aftershock, hit Nias and other less famous islands three months later, killing thousands. It was one of the most powerful quakes ever recorded. It also lifted the islands up, as the terrified locals, who’d taken to their boats fearful of a tsunami, watched in awe. It’s hard to comprehend. Over 400km of the plate lifted by three metres in minutes. The only reason there wasn’t a second massive tsunami was due the uplift being under the islands, so there wasn’t the water to displace. The obvious result of this uplift, and conversely deepening further east, means the surf map needs to redrawn. Which makes the area fascinating. The known isn’t known anymore. Waves that weren’t now are. Waves that were now aren’t. All you need to know, even without much swell, there are corners of reef all over with potential. What was going on there on the recent macking swell beggars belief.
Our crew surfed double overhead long walls, bowly barrels and everything in between. My favourite session has to be at the most dangerous wave, a corner of reef that would’ve once only been any use for snorkelling. You had to take off on the corner, staring at a wall of dry coral stacks, make the drop and get around to the wrapping section, which peeled off down the island. If you fell it was pinball in the coral heads time. A really good place to get barked.Thankfully everyone came away relatively intact. Markie took one for the team so we could get some footage of his wounds being limed. It’s a boat trip standard after all. What happens on boat trips … stays on boat trips. All you need to know is the laughs, the camaraderie, the waves and the fun times are burnt in to our soles. You never forget a good boat trip with your mates. That and we’d be here for a week if I told you all the stories from the sea. Check out the edit from the trip above so that’ll give you a flavour and it’ll feature Markie’s awesome, pioneering ‘jump from boat to handrail leash snag’ bungy attempt. Big thanks to Jem, Robbie, Cullen and all the OA3/OMX crew for making the trip possible.


Little recap of my summer in Indo..Surfing only a Twin fins fish that Ryan Lovelace made me for small waves but i wanted to challenge my self and get some tube with it and surf bigger conditions! there is the result..maybe to fast sometime haha.

From the front line – Indo is going berserk right now!

The best, or maybe the worst, thing about social media is you get all the action direct from the front line via news feeds almost as the action happens. When Indo gets this good it’s debatable whether this is a good or bad thing. Good if you are there, or on your way over, bad if you are STUCK IN A FUCKING OFFICE!

Anyway, I have rounded up see of the better moments so you can either tease or torture yourself as you see fit. Enjoy!

Meanwhile in Mexico…

Dany got a smoker out the front this morning!

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June Flashback. 📷 @stjohnvisual

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Thank you @tajamos for the visit. Came just in time for the big swell! • Captured by: @fox_in_soks

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This place is amazing 😍 📷 @manu_miguelez_photography

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Meanwhile in Mexico…

Cleavage kisses from Mexico @jacquelinemiller_ @vonzipperaustralia

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@jazza_nokia3210 yesterday. Looks like another 4 or 5 days of waves like this

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