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Photos: Solitaires in Southeast Asia

Staff photographer Ryan "Chachi" Craig captures the beauty of empty waves in a tropical locale

Last year, senior staff photographer Ryan Craig was based in Thailand when he saw a typhoon spiraling towards an unsung stretch of Southeast Asia. A handful of reef breaks looked promising, so he called up a crew of surfers to see if they could jet over for a last-minute strike. Unfortunately, none could join him in time for the swell, but instead of giving the trip a pass and wondering what could have been, Craig boarded a plane solo and went on a recon mission of sorts. What he found resulted in the gallery above, a photographic look at some of the empty, sapphire-blue drainers scattered throughout the area.

“There are probably a ton of waves in this zone that can be discovered that don't work unless you get swell,” Craig told us after he returned. “So unless you live in the region or are down to hang out in the area for a while, then you might not score. Places like this don’t get nearly the amount of swell that places like Hawaii do. If it got swell all the time, it'd probably be crowded. But in reality, there might be a 3-month window of good winds for that coastline, and out of that you have to get swell, and out of those swells they need to be the perfect direction. There are so many variables are at play.”

If the photos above are any indication, those variables came together and then some during Craig’s stay.