SUMMERTIME Team Member and Asbury Park Manager Morgan Stierman recently scored some seriously dreamy waves in Indonesia. He shot us this email about his experience as he was packing his bags for a late night Indo flight back to Bali en-route to sharing his new experiences with everyone back home.
Expand your horizons with his dispatch from the field and enjoy his edit at the end.
Growing up, the entirety of my surfing existence resided only as far as I could ride my bike. Once a month, whenever the newest issue of Transworld Surf would find its way into my mailbox, my mind would become saturated with images from far flung locations- places I could never even fathom surfing. Puerto Rico? Maybe. Central America? Probable. But Indonesia? South Africa? No way, not a chance. It all seemed too grand, too exotic, for it to even be a reality; especially for a mediocre surfer from New Jersey who couldn’t even get a proper barrel.
This all changed one day, on Facebook, of all places. Perusing the countless photos posted by Uncles Gilly and C-Mac, it all suddenly seemed attainable. These were the same guys I saw surfing at 16th Ave 7 days a week, yet here they were spending time at Puerto Escondido, Sunset Beach, and G-land, waves I had previously seen only in the magazines.
It was possible, the only question now was: how did they do it? Years later I would find out that these exotic surf trips weren’t the product of a mystical lottery ticket or a well-played insurance scam, but were actually a direct result of…school? I couldn’t believe it at first, but the evidence was indisputable. They had attended college at Hawai’i Pacific University, allowing them to live on the North Shore, and serving as a launching pad for the rest of their globe-trotting.
Fast forward half a decade later. It’s 2016 and I’m in my 3rd year at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, sitting on the deck of Shaun McGrath’s Sunset Beach house watching yet another WNW swell fill in. We’re talking about our dream waves, places at the top of our surf-related bucket list. “I think the ultimate surf trip would be to go to West Oz, wait for a big swell to hit, then chase it up to Indo and surf the same swell there,” Shaun says.
Instantly, the gears start turning. When do SW swells start to march through the Indian Ocean? How do I get 2-3 months off of work/school? How do I go to West Oz without getting eaten by a shark? My mind was racing a mile a minute. In a fashion very unusual for me, I suddenly found myself setting things in motion for an end result I wouldn’t even see for over a year. I doubled up on my credits at University, and never said no when an extra work shift popped up. There were times I ran on coffee and fumes, cherishing the 3 hours of sleep I could get in between shifts serving drinks and mornings pushing kids into waves.
But blood, sweat, and a Bachelor’s degree later, here I am in Indonesia, nearing the end of the journey I worked so hard to experience. I’ve slept in a car for 3 weeks in West Australia, and I’ve gotten puked on by a carsick old man in Sumatra. I’ve met lifelong friends, and I’ve met people I would prefer not to see again (cue carsick old man). And when it comes to the surf, I’ve scored perfect North Point and Lagundri Bay, along with a plethora of other waves that will remain unnamed, awaiting someone else to stumble upon them.
This first 1/3rd of 2017 seems almost impossible to top, but for me, coming home to NJ to share stories, photos, and a sense of adventure with the surf-stoked campers at SummertimeSurf is a big step in the right direction.
-Morgan Stierman, Lagundri Bay 2017