SCENE: A lone beachbreak mid-way along the Mentawai Island chain in Sumatra. The Indonesian sun blazes down on eight surfers, split between four peaks. The wind is desultory. Sets appear hither and yon, allowing anyone with even the most basic of games to easily put themselves inside the wave’s curve. Paradise? Yeah, it’s close.
The surfers are temporary residents aboard the breathtaking Ratu Motu (Polynesian for Island Queen, since y’ask), all 115-feet and 275 tons of her. If it looks familiar, it’s ’cause it’s the former Indies Trader IV, home to every surf star of the last 10 years.
The Rotu Matu floats above the water as an icon of the best of western civilisation. A joyous experiment whereupon the notion of hard-core, with all its anarchy and crisis, is abolished for the undisputed finest experience in all of surfing.
Let me paint the briefest of pictures. These keystrokes are being punched in an air-conditioned saloon, its writer fueled by a quinoa-egg-avocado-and-salsa breakfast, created by MasterChef contestant Pip Sumbak (she surfs too!), and all after a three-hour dawn patrol in the aforementioned sand-bottom cabanas.
Cabin beds are dressed in striped Frette linen, a basket of Rotu Matu toiletries greets each guest and, when shoulders or back aches, a Brazilian masseur and chiropractor eases out the kinks.
I know people who are big stars in my town and they make tons of cash but they’re miserable because they don’t know their own requirements for happiness. Riding in the Ratu Motu may not be the definition of success but it’s one helluva start.
: : Derek Reilly (filling in for Uge as he’s surfing)
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