There was no doubt the recession was going to hit the surf industry and in predictable ways. Surfers would be traveling less and opting for less expensive destinations. I’d would expect surf charter bookings to be down significantly. The surf apparel companies like Quicksilver and Volcom have taken big hits, most notably in their stock prices which are down close to 90% from their highs.
Quicksilver owned the luxury surf charter Indies Trader IV. For the past few years, it’s been the stretch limo of choice for pro’s venturing to the Mentawais. Martin Daly and Indies Trader Marine Adventures launched a website for booking charters on the boat in 2005 along with the other three Indies Traders of the fleet.
Now the Indies Trader IV can be yours for a cool $5.5 million. Freedom Marine of Australia has the boat listed on their site. Doesn’t seem there’s as much an appetite for surf charters that book at $2000/night with this economy.
Last week I posted my story on my boat trip to Northern Sumatra. Here’s a sick video by Patagonia and their sponsored surfers (the Malloys, Belinda Baggs, Fletcher Chouinard) of the their trip to the same area.
I recently published my account of a surf trip to Northern Sumatra aboard the Mikumba run by Sumatra Surfariis, a great charter operator for Indonesia, in Everywhere Magazine. Everywhere Magazine is part of 8020 publishing that also publishes the photo-focused magazine JPG Magazine, filled with user submitted and voted on content. They’re both great magazines, check them out. Here’s the full pubished account below (link to story an Everywhere Magazine). Check out my photos at JPG Magazine. Incidently, the photo at the header of this blog is from this boat trip to Northern Sumatra without a doubt one of the last great unexplored areas of surfing. Unlike the Mentawais, there are only a few charters that operate in the area.
Points North – Surf Exploration in Northern Sumatra
We plan for months. My packing list is two pages long. There are of eight of us, surfers traveling from New York, California, and Hong Kong. We are embarking on a two week excursion on a converted Indonesian freight boat to remote tropical islands to explore and surf. We are going to surf waves that most surfers only see in magazines and videos and will have these waves to ourselves.
We start in Sibolga, Northern Sumatra, Indonesia after over 30 hours of flights and an overland trip across Sumatra. Sibolga is the last port before Banda Aceh, the northern most province of Sumatra and the one hit heaviest in the 2004 Tsunami. From the dirty anonymous port, we chart a course west. The islands where we will be searching for surf are so obscure and unexplored that after the 2004 Tsunami the Indonesian government relied on the help of the handful of surf charter operators in the area to chart courses to the isolated villages to bring relief supplies.
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Got $4.3 million burning a hole in your pocket? Tied of cramped quarters on your last boat trip? Well, the Royal Pelagic is for sale and she will get you to Cortes Bank for the next 50 ft. swell in style. In fact, she can get you to Indonesia and back on one tank of fuel. She comes equipped with two 21 ft. tenders, six luxury cabins, three wave-runners, home theater, and enough luxuries to keep your girlfriend from getting bored on a surftrip. The Royal Pelagic may not be the prettiest yacht in the world, but I doubt you’ll be worried about that when you’re scoring empty desert breaks by yourself without worrying about crazed banditos ashore. She’s in need of a new owner and a new name. Unfortunately,the individuals most likely to afford this aren’t the surfers best able to put it to full use. It’s a cruel world.
Here’s the full size photo from the header.
Hint: Northern Sumatra
Check out my friend’s blog focused on travel to Indo, boat trips, land camps, etc. Ian’s been over to Indo 4 times and to Hawaii twice as many times. He a surf forecasting wizard. He can tell you when to go, what you need to know about arranging flights, etc., best areas to score waves, and best travel/charter companies to go with. In general, a great resource for Indo.
Also, Surftherenow.com is now listed on Technorati, which means among other things that we’re official and we’re not going away. Check it: