Click through the entire sequence. All Photos: Brent Bielmann
Last week, the swell of the season/year/decade/hyperbole hit Indonesia. It was massive, and a few spots took to it quite kindly. Nias was one such spot. SURFING Senior Photographer and general hellman Brent Bielmann was there, bobbing and weaving on the inside with his camera. Of all the great photos Brent snapped that day, this sequence of Matt Bromley stands out the most. We’d go as far as to say this is the biggest wave ever paddled into in Indo. Whether you agree or think we’re assholes, your opinion is welcome in the comment section below. Now here’s some background on Brom, and his thoughts on the wave as he told ’em to Brent.
Name: Matt “Bromdog” Bromley
Hometown: Cape Town, South Africa
Board size (that day): 6’9″
MATT BROMLEY: You think about that one wave. The one that’s right at the edge of your limits and challenges all of your life’s preparation. That’s what this one felt like. Alex Gray had just caught a quick one and snapped his leash, so I was left hanging way out the back dodging massive sets. I was terrified and suddenly my chunky 6’9″ felt tiny!
Then this set popped up. I missed the first one, but paddling for it positioned me a little bit futher in. The next wave came in and I was faced with one of the craziest chunks of water I’ve ever seen. I thought to myself, This is it. Here we go. So I put my head down and paddled like crazy.
I could feel the wave lifting me up as I went for it. Then I got to my feet, leaned forward and dropped down. The face was so clean, but it felt like it took me an eternity to get to the bottom. I realized that I was way too deep as soon as I bottom turned and I knew that I was in serious trouble. I pulled in and had a moment of glory in one of the biggest barrels of my life. Then the carnage started. My worst nightmare was realized.
The foam ball grabbed me, threw me, and sent me deep. It rattled me really hard. Then I hit the reef and tumbled all over it. Everything I was trying to do to stop it didn’t work.
I came up just as the next one landed on my head. Then another. Then another. I was getting seriously beaten as every wave unloaded on me. There’s a reef wall that juts out on the inside, and I knew I was headed straight for it. Five waves later, chunks of coral heads started popping up outside of me and I knew that I was on top of the ledge. I had so much adrenaline going that I didn’t even care. I ended up getting sucked all the way over the dry reef, through a gully and back into the channel. I’d somehow survived.
I paddled up to the boat tingling in my hands and my feet. I got such a rush from it and the boys were all cheering. It felt so good. For me, that was the ultimate wave. Hopefully next time I can make it.