Stuart Nettle was recently looking through the Swellnet archives and came across this gem, a photojournal and interview with the surfers who took the first trip to the Mentawais in 1980, ” a full ten years before Lance Knight stumbled across Lance’s Left,” Nettle says. Check out an excerpt of the interview and a few of the photos here, and then continue onto Swellnet for the interview and the photo gallery.
By Stu Nettle
This interview was originally published on Swellnet in 2009. To see photos of the first time the Mentawais were surfed click here.
In 1980 Chris Goodnow, Scott Wakefield and Tony Fitzpatrick were all twenty-years-old and up for a bit of adventure. They ended up being the first surfers to set foot in the best surfing region on the planet. And in Macaronis were the first to ride what is one of the world’s great lefthanders.
Swellnet: What part of Sydney were you all from?
Tony Fitzpatrick: I came from Hunters Hill and Chris was from Mosman. Scott was from Curl Curl I think.
How did you all know each other?
Chris is my cousin, and he hooked up with Scott from the beach. The trip was Chris’ idea basically. He had the idea that people had been surfing at Nias and from looking at the map that there had to be waves down there (the Mentawais).
How did you go about getting out to the islands?
We flew from Sydney to Jakarta and on to Padang. From Padang we had to get permission from various authorities to go out there, because tourists just didn’t go out there. That took a while because we were getting sent from department to department and Chris was the only one who spoke some Indonesian.
We got a ferry from Padang and stayed at a village on the lee-side of the islands. We had to try to convince someone to take us to the ocean side. It took several days and we had to go to every department again, the miltary department, the police, because no-one had seen surfing before and they didn’t know what to do with us. They were like: “Where are you going? What are you doing”. Chris had some photos of surfing and he showed them: “This is what we are doing.”
When you first found Macaronis did you know you were onto something special?
The first time we saw it it was a bit blown out so it didn’t look that good. Then we came back and as soon as we pulled up into the bay it was looking really good.