On May 28, 2005, an 8.6 magnitude earthquake struck just west of Sumatra. It was the third-most-powerful earthquake in Indonesia since 1965, wreaking havoc throughout the country and killing almost 1,000 people on the island of Nias. In the immediate aftermath, surfing was the last thing on anyone's mind. But when a semblance of normalcy finally returned to the Indonesian isle, along with traveling surfers, it became clear that the earthquake had affected local lineups as well. The reef at Lagundri Bay — a wave that was already considered one of the best barreling right-handers in the world — had been raised nearly 10 feet from the quake, and the right had actually gotten better. The takeoff is now steeper, the barrel is longer and the wave requires much less swell to start breaking. But Nias is likely the exception to the rule when it comes to the fateful 8.6 earthquake, with many waves in Indonesia disappearing completely or becoming much worse after 2005.
[Featured Image: Tyler Reed, Nias. Photo: Losfoto]
[This feature originally appeared in SURFER 58.4, “Life & Death of Waves,” on newsstands and available for download now.]