[This photo feature, where we break down our ever-shifting definition of the perfect wave through the last six decades, originally appeared in our April 2017 Issue, “Evolution,” on newsstands and available for download now.]
By the time the '90s rolled around, much of Bali had been overturned and bum-rushed by surfers from all over the world. But Indonesia's outer islands, which were a bit more difficult to access, were still an untapped gold mine of flawless waves. Only the most determined surfers were daring enough to voyage out to uncharted islands like the Mentawai archipelago and track down new, pristine setups. But all that changed when Australian surf explorer and Indies Trader captain Martin Daly ushered in the era of the boat trip. Surfers could now bring their accommodations with them while they explored the farthest corners of Indonesia. Lance's Right, the crown jewel of the Mentawais at the time, became the new paragon of the perfect wave—not solely for its newfound accessibility, but also because of its long and almost unbelievably perfect barrels. When movies like The Search (and photos like this one of Shane Powell) hit the masses, Lance's Right was instantly added to every surfer's bucket list.
[Check back on Saturday to see our selection for the perfect wave of the 2000s]