October ’05 – Surfers Of Fortune: Quiksilver’s Young Guns 2

Kelly Slater and the Young Guns elevate surf charters to a whole new level aboard the Indies Trader IV

Not an angle out of place.
Alain Riou gets caught in the helicopter / fisheye crossfire.

Think, just for a moment, what your dream surf charter might include. Perfect, empty reef passes. Good food. Plenty of beer. Maybe a Jet Ski or two. Sounds like heaven, doesn't it? But realize, that in today's hyperdrive world of high-end surf travel, your dreams don't even come close to reality. Especially when you consider the newest addition to Mentawais ubercaptain Martin Daly's fleet: the Indies Trader IV. Not only is the interior of this 115-foot, floating xx plush enough to rival any five-star hotel, the toys push it into the realm of the surreal: multiple skis, multiple dinghys and — yes, seriously — a chopper on deck. Too good to be true? Not if you're part of Quiksilver's Kelly Slater and the Young Guns crew, the chosen test pilots for the Indies IV's maiden voyage through the Mentawais and beyond. Of course, with a vessel like this, you can't exactly fly under the radar. Nine surfers, including headliners like Slater, Dane Reynolds, Troy Brooks, Fred Patacchia and Ry Craike, seven filmers and a handful of handlers descended upon every spot with promise, leaving no wave unshredded and no angle unfilmed. But behind all the chaos was the man who once pioneered this island chain when a simple outboard motor was considered a luxury. The man who's watched it transform from a well-kept secret to the surf world's favorite movie set. The man who — with the help of his old friends at Quiksilver — just set a new, platinum-card standard in surf travel. To see how it's all sitting with him, we recently visited Martin on the Indies Trader I — the Quiksilver Crossing boat — where he prepped for a few days of promotional duties in the Dana Point Harbor.

There was a rumor going around that we were getting this boat with a helicopter and stuff. But no one knew if it was for certain. That was, until we drove up to the boat and saw this massive ship with a chopper sitting on the roof. That's when I knew when the thing was...a joke. — Top Young Gun Ry Craike, on his first view of the Indies IV

SURFING MAGAZINE: What prompted you to take it to the level of the Indies IV?

MARTIN DALY: A while back I got sick with hepatitis. And as a result I was at home, doing nothing for a while. I stopped drinking, went cold turkey for about six months and started getting lots of energy again. So, my mind started racing and I found this boat. Alan Green, the founder of Quiksilver, had been looking for his own private yacht, but I wasn't particularly interested in managing a yacht for him because I'd just be telling him about his bills all the time. So, I went down to take a look at this boat. It was my last day before I went to Indonesia, and ...I was blown away. I thought, this is a really, really cool thing and it's got lots of potential. And it was for sale. The next thing I know I'm going back to my wife, and I say, "I saw a boat." And she went, "Ohhh nooo!" [laughs] There goes our house.

SURFING: You had to have it.

MARTIN: I rang up Alan and said, "Alan, how about we get this boat together, go halves on it and I'll put it to work because this is the best charter boat I've ever seen." It's nice inside, it's very practical, it's got a heli deck on it...it's got all these cranes and'll handle five dinghys. It's just an assault weapon.

SURFING: What was it originally built for?

MARTIN: It was a 115-foot, high-end charter boat in Australia. Up in the Kimberlys, taking the divers and people sightseeing and stuff. It was called True North.

SURFING: And Alan bit.

MARTIN: Yeah. He was pretty keen. I spent some time modifying it. Spent two or three months in Perth, getting it ready and putting the time in. I was sober and not going out much, so it was time well spent.


It kinda felt like you weren't even in the ocean sometimes. You'd just sort of hang inside, staring at the massive TVs everywhere. And upstairs was just like going to a pub. There was a full-on bar you could go and order drinks at. We got used to it after a while. It was sick. After a full day surfing, you could just go up to the bar and watch everyone catch waves. It was like a floating Tavarua. — Craike, on the Indies IV's "modifications"

SURFING: Was the helicopter one of the perks from the sale?

MARTIN: No, no. It used to have its own helicopter, but we couldn't afford that. We had to rent one for the trip and get a professional to run it. His name's Matt, and he's from the Swedish Air Force. He was so stoked to get a real job, one that he could actually show his skills off. You'd think he was doing gunning runs as he ran along some of these waves.

SURFING: How did the Quiksilver Young Guns crew become the first test pilots?

MARTIN: I initially didn't think we'd be doing any surf charter work with it, cause it's too sorta high-end. I didn't think there'd be a market for it– thought it'd be more for general tourism. But I saw it shaping up and I went to Bruce Raymond and said, "Imagine what we could do with a helicopter." And he's all, "Nah, too expensive." And I say, "C'mon, mate, we gotta go. I mean, you're kidding, aren't you?" And then he said, "Ah, stuff it. Let's just go. Whatever you can do put it together and we'll go mad." And that got it rolling.

SURFING: It was definitely rolling on this trip.

MARTIN: This was the first one we did and everything worked fine. It's ridiculous. You pull up. You have the anchor in the water, the helicopter up, the tinny in the water and three Jet Skis out and running in less than 15 minutes.

It was way overboard, but at the same time, it was pretty cool to have all that stuff. I didn't get to use any of it, except for the helicopter bugging the hell out of me while we were surfing. That was killing me. They brought it up about four times, and I felt so bad if there were any other guys out. The thing just hovered right above us. No one got heated about it, though; they were just kind of tripping. — Top Young Gun Dane Reynolds, on the trip's accessories

SURFING: How does this boat compare to other charter boats in the Mentawais?

MARTIN: By {{{comparison}}}, most charter boats are about 50, 55 feet. So this one's more than twice the size. Plus, the interior is pretty Gucci. Before when I bought it, it was like the inside of a tugboat. Just bare bones. I actually bought one of those fancy boat magazines and I came across Georgio Armani's new yacht and pretty much just plagiarized him. Went in and got all the colors the same. I'm really proud of it, actually. Came out really nice. It's got eight double beds in it, with on-suite bathrooms and seven two-man cabins. The two biggest cabins are like hotel rooms. It's unbelievable.

SURFING: I'm sure the other surfers in the area couldn't believe it.

MARTIN: The funny thing is, we already have a nickname in the Mentawais. We didn't surf with many other people while we were there for the first week. But we arrived the first day at Rifles and we put all the stuff up in the air and had all the stuff in the water and we kinda felt like a bunch of wankers. Like, everyone kind of went, we all kind of felt...we'd been away for a week, and it was all really groovy and great, and then we pulled up and suddenly it hit us. Look at us, we thought. This is kind of a bit over the top, you know?

But everyone was really cool. No one called us out or anything..but I think maybe they were just sort of overwhelmed by it all. Speechless. So, now the boat has a nickname in the island chain. They call it the Death Star. [laughs] Uh oh, here comes the f–kin' Death Star! We gotta get light sabers and start having fights on the roof or something. [laughs]

For the complete interview with Martin Daly, as well as all the photos, and the Young Guns 2 DVD, pick up the October 2005 issue of SURFING – on sale August 23rd