Party wave with alternative surfing's brain trust. From left to right: Ozzie Wright, Bryce Young, Craig Anderson, Alex Knost and Ryan Burch. All photos: Ellis
Party wave with alternative surfing's brain trust. From left to right: Ozzie Wright, Bryce Young, Craig Anderson, Alex Knost and Ryan Burch. All photos: Ellis

Full Gallery: Adrift with the Vanguard

Ten days at sea with six of surfing's most compelling experimentalists

Last summer, filmmaker Thomas Campbell invited a group of surfers to join him on an Indonesian boat trip to gather footage for his upcoming film. Campbell has always documented surfers who draw idiosyncratic lines and who have an openness to experiment with a wide range of surf craft. For this trip, Campbell called up a freewheeling cadre of characters: Alex Knost, Craig Anderson, Ryan Burch, Jared Mell, Ozzie Wright and Bryce Young. Each of these surfers has carved a unique path through surfing, and some have left indelible imprints on the surf world at large.

Over the span of ten days, the crew bounced between perfect reef breaks, swapping boards (many of them hand-shaped by the surfers themselves) and drawing inspiration from each other’s distinctive approaches to riding waves. For the past week, we featured conversations with each surfer (click here or here if you missed them), offering a glimpse into the minds of an eccentric cast who have gravitated toward obscure lines and modes of thinking, defining surfing’s mode.

In the gallery below (shot entirely by SURFER photo editor Grant Ellis), we’ve compiled some of the best surfing and behind-the-scenes moments of the trip.

When six of surfing’s most creative humans are stuck on a boat together for a week, there’s bound to be some interesting moments and discussions.

“It's always a pleasure traveling with Oz,” says Ryan Burch of Ozzie Wright, pictured here. “It’s an inspiration to surf with someone who has followed their own path in surfing and took their own style and pushed it for so many years. The best I've ever seen him surf was on that trip.”

Just a small sample of the Indonesian board buffet.

Craig Anderson, cruising into an Indonesian drainer with a bunch of knock-kneed style to burn.

The crew’s canvas for the week.

“Jared Mell and Al Knost are senseis in the boards their riding and what they're getting up to,” says Bryce Young, of Mell (right) and Knost (left). “On a daily basis their surfing was amazing. They're a good team to watch.”

Mell, stylish even when assuming a backwards parallel stance.

Knost, cruising between sessions.

Knost.

For this trip, Burch crafted an entire self-shaped quiver, including the flex-tail twin fin he’s riding in this photo.

Burch and Young, friends and shaping buddies, are accustomed to traveling together. “He and I are a lot alike. When you’re surfing with someone you’re on the same page with, you can really push each other. He’s probably my favorite person to surf with besides my dad [surf legend Nat Young].”

Young, with a stylish approach to riding waves that pays homage to the past, present future.

Thomas Campbell in action.

The perfect lineup to test out an array of eclectic shapes.

Knost and Anderson.

A few years ago, these eclectic craft would have been a bizarre sight at your local break. But thanks to filmmakers like Campbell, and trailblazing personalities like those in this photo, the general surfing public now sees surfboards and approaches through a much wider lens.

Al Knost, taking a unique line as always.

After the ten-day trip, Wright went to Bali to host an art show, displaying some of the artwork he created on the boat in between sessions.

Group art sesh.

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