Three days before the start of the 2012 Rip Curl Pro Mentawai, six of Indonesia's best surfers took off for Macaronis ahead of schedule and discovered the benefits of being early. Garut Widiarta, Raditya Rondi, Mega Semadhi, Putra Hermawan, Darmaputra Tonjo and Gobleg Suyadnya boarded the Indies Explorer in Padang, Sumatra and made the overnight crossing to surfing's promised land looking to sneak in a few cracks before the rest of the field of 64 surfers arrived for the comp.
The boys spent their warmup tour dialing in their boards for the comp, fishing, and taking over the lineup wherever they dropped anchor. For Gobleg and Tonjo, it was their first time ever surfing Macaronis. For Gobleg in particular it was a landmark session. A legendary Uluwatu surfer, Gobleg, 38, has been holding it down at Ulus for 26 years. He's surfed every wave from G-Land to Pacitan to Lakeys, but had never done a Mentawais boat trip and never surfed Macaronis.
“It reminds me of perfect Racetrack,” said Gobleg, who scored a bunch of fun barrels and tore apart the playful Macaronis lips. “I want to see it bigger. This is my first boat trip, I'm so happy. I've wanted to come here for a long time. Now that I'm here, the waves are even better than I thought.”
For Mega, it was the best Macaronis he had surfed in a long time.
“The last two times I've been here it was really windy and small,” Mega said. “But the waves today at Macas were so glassy and really fun. We stayed out all day.”
Indeed, the A-Team surfed pretty much from morning to sunset, demolishing every wave in sight, and taking only a brief lunch break in between. No waves went to waste in this surfing feast.
In fact, the boys surfed a little too good, scaring away the guests staying at Macaronis Resort. After their all-day wave massacre at Macaronis, Indonesia's best surfers were kindly asked by Macaronis Resort to leave one of Indo's best waves and come back when the contest window officially started and the guests had left. Apparently customers paying top dollar to stay at a luxury surf resort aren't too keen on a pack of rabid pros dominating the lineup.
“That's normal, buddy,” Gobleg said of dominating out Macaronis. “I'm always gonna go on the good waves.”
The boys decided if they couldn't surf Macaronis, then they wanted to surf Macaronis in reverse. So they motored down the way to the mechanical little righthander known as Roxies, often referred to as “Macaronis in reverse.”
Regularfooters Tonjo and Putra put on a show, popping off air reverses and weaving through countless smoking tubes in swimming-pool-like waters.
“Too bad a the contest not at Roxies,” said Putra. “Then maybe me and Tonjo in the final.”
After two days, the cherry on top was surfing empty Macaronis all morning on Wednesday. The camp had been cleared out, no charter boats were allowed to anchor in the channel, and the rest of the surfers competing in the Rip Curl Pro Mentwai wouldn't be arriving on the ferry from Padang until later that afternoon.
“I can't believe we're surfing empty Macaronis all to ourselves,” said Garut. “This never happens.”
By noon that day, all the boats carrying over 50 surfers competing in the Rip Curl Pro Mentawai began to arrive at Macaronis Bay, and within 45 minutes the lineup was packed with 40 ravenous pro surfers looking to get their cracks in before the event potentially started the next day. Meanwhile, the A-team was all surfed out and relaxing in their suites at world-class Macaronis Resort. It certainly pays to be early.