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    3 Reef Ambassadors, 1 Dream Adventure of a Lifetime

    3 Reef Ambassadors, 1 Dream Adventure of a Lifetime

    Recently our favorite photographer Brooklyn Hawaii rounded up our longboard maven Victoria Vergara and our globe-trotter Anna Ehrgott for a trip of a lifetime. The three headed out to the Mentawaii Islands for surf, yoga, sun, and an experience in the midst of Indonesia.

    We asked them a few of their expectations going into the adventure, and they came back with and some favorite (and not-so-favorite) memories. Check it out.

    Have you been to the Mentawais before? What are your expectations?

    Anna: I've never been to any part of Indonesia! Coming from longboarding roots, I've avoided trips to heaving barrels over dry reef pretty successfully until now. The Mentawais are known for having some of the most perfect waves in the world and a turquoise water color I've lusted over since the first surf movies I watched featuring the island chain. I think we're all imaging those picture-perfect almond-shaped barrels, eating coconuts and papayas for breakfast, napping off the "noodle arms" in hammocks and enjoying all the sea has to offer. The waves there are a little out of my comfort zone, but I'm anticipating a little bit of an adrenaline rush. At least the forecast looks like it'll ease us into the swing of things.. starting off small and working it's way to double overhead towards the second half of the trip.

    Victoria: I've never been; it's going to be my first time and I'm super excited. I picture this place as a dream for a surf trip. Clear blue water, solid waves surrounded by islands. I’m expecting lots of laughs and an overdose on surfing.

    Brooke: I can only imagine it to be just like the photos -- waves for days, sipping on coconuts and basking in crystal clear water...

    What about the girls going? Have you traveled with them before?

    Anna: I couldn't be more excited to travel with a rad group of girls. Victoria and I have been on a few trips together, and I can only expect that we continue our giggle fests, candy feasts and lighthearted surfs. She's a sweetheart and I feel lucky to call her a friend.. Plus she charges, I always enjoy watching her surf. Brooklyn's one of my favorite photographers whom I have yet to meet. Through her images I can feel her love of the water and look forward to connecting with her on that! 


    So was it as dreamy as expected?

    Anna: The Mentawais exceeded my expectations tenfold. The wave diversity is unrivaled. To be able to surf a different wave each session for two weeks of surfing, three times a day surpassed my wildest surf dreams. It's crazy how good of shape you get in spending that much time in the water. We never took more than 10 consecutive steps (the distance from our rooms) to get meals at Alaia and about the same to walk out to the boat, but we'd go to sleep with noodle arms every night.  It's just too easy and too good to be true, yet... it is!


    Victoria: The Mentawais were paradise on Earth, as I imagined it but even better. I’ve been travelling the world all year long and I’ve never seen a place as the Mentawais, untouched by people.

    Any crazy stories?

    Brooke: You can have expectations for a trip, but you can never prepare for what will naturally unfold in your travel story!

    I expected the Mentawai islands to be remote, gorgeous, something you only see in postcards — and I was right! But what no one ever sees is the crazy adventure it takes to get to such remote destinations. Places like these are remote and untouched for a reason — they’re hard to get to! Three full days of traveling; airplanes, layovers, sleeping in airports, ferry rides, speed boat rides … traveling this way is taxing on the mind and body, and lugging around a couple of longboards was no joke! When we finally arrived at Alaia Mentawai, I was relieved to say the least and rested for half a day before I was ready to hit the surf.


    I got injured during my first surf in the Mentawais which threw a wrench in my whole plan for the next nine days … and although it was disheartening and beyond frustrating at some points, I just had to buckle down and try to enjoy the rest of my time there to the fullest.

    Anna: It was pretty remote out there! Our food for our trip came out on the ferry with us, and we didn't make any store runs after that. Brooklyn and I both got some good ole fashioned "Mentawai Tattoos," as they call the scars you get from falling on shallow coral. Scrubbing the cuts with lime is like some kind of twisted initiation to surfing reef breaks, but it kept ourbattle wounds clean. 

    And what was traveling with the other girls like?

    Brooke: Girl time in the surf there was a dream — uncrowded breaks, trading off on waves, shooting photos, laughing, crying, snacking more than usual, talking about life. It was a great experience with these fellow Reef girls, definitely an unforgettable experience!

    Anna: The girls crew was all time. We laughed till we cried a couple times, cried till we laughed, and ultimately got to surf the best waves of our life with nobody else in sight. Women's surfing is my favorite thing to watch, and the girls approach to riding waves was so beautiful and unique it was as much of a pleasure to watch the girls get waves as it was to surf first hand.

    What did you guys pack?

    Victoria: I definitely packed too many clothes… I was just wearing bikinis, sarongs, and my Reef Escape Sandals. And of course my boards.

    Anna: We really didn't need much. Bikinis, boards and Reef Voyage sandals had us covered.

     Brooklyn: Camera gear, bikinis, sarongs, and my Reef Escape sandals :) 

     

    Just Passing Through // Paradox Of The Coral Sea

    Just Passing Through // Paradox Of The Coral Sea

    “It’s not that often that you get to go on a trip with 3 amazing surfers to a place that all of us have never been. It's almost as if we were all taken back to being total groms again… flying in with our faces smashed up against the window looking for any signs of surf... "check this out over here!! wait.. what!! there's waves on both sides of the island!!" Not to mention that it’s probably one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.  

    We couldn't get off the plane fast enough.  We couldn't get in the water fast enough... we were all frothing.

    We surfed every day on the trip and dialed in with local crew on where to be and when.  

    One night we were invited to the shack by the pier for a little hang with the local crew and some sort of radio station take over. I guess once a week, they take over a radio station on the island and spin tunes all night from the shack. I couldn't believe my eyes when i walked in.  It was like going back in time to some 70's radio station. The joint was small and everyone just crammed in there. Psychedelic posters and drawings all over the walls... black lights... an older more experienced gentleman sitting in the corner surrounded by records laying down some tracks.  People jamming on congas's, bongos, djembe's, triangle's... felt like I walked into the a scene from the twilight zone. So we had a couple beers... and hung out for a few hours.

    All in all it was an amazing trip.  2 regular foots, 2 goofy foots, a bunch of shredding going down and never a dull moment.”  

    - Rob Machado

    Just Passing Through Mainland Mexico

    Just Passing Through Mainland Mexico

    The three amigos, Mikala Jones, Mitch Crews and Evan Geiselman, dip down into Mainland Mexico for a quick strike of tacos and tubes.

    Despite not rearing up to its full intimidating form, this black sand stretch of beach didn’t let the crew down, providing a picturesque playground of fun surf and good times. Evan reeled in countless waves and a monster Snook, Mikala quietly bagged his usual quota of tube time and Mitch brought his infectious stoke and showed his capabilities both above and below the lip. 

    - See more at: http://server8.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/soopd/sklm/p1/blog/just-passing-through-mainland-mexico.html#sthash.MSCuTiNA.dpuf

    The three amigos, Mikala Jones, Mitch Crews and Evan Geiselman, dip down into Mainland Mexico for a quick strike of tacos and tubes.

    Despite not rearing up to its full intimidating form, this black sand stretch of beach didn’t let the crew down, providing a picturesque playground of fun surf and good times. Evan reeled in countless waves and a monster Snook, Mikala quietly bagged his usual quota of tube time and Mitch brought his infectious stoke and showed his capabilities both above and below the lip.

    The three amigos, Mikala Jones, Mitch Crews and Evan Geiselman, dip down into Mainland Mexico for a quick strike of tacos and tubes.

    Despite not rearing up to its full intimidating form, this black sand stretch of beach didn’t let the crew down, providing a picturesque playground of fun surf and good times. Evan reeled in countless waves and a monster Snook, Mikala quietly bagged his usual quota of tube time and Mitch brought his infectious stoke and showed his capabilities both above and below the lip. 

    - See more at: http://server8.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/soopd/sklm/p1/blog/just-passing-through-mainland-mexico.html#sthash.MSCuTiNA.dpuf

    The three amigos, Mikala Jones, Mitch Crews and Evan Geiselman, dip down into Mainland Mexico for a quick strike of tacos and tubes.

    Despite not rearing up to its full intimidating form, this black sand stretch of beach didn’t let the crew down, providing a picturesque playground of fun surf and good times. Evan reeled in countless waves and a monster Snook, Mikala quietly bagged his usual quota of tube time and Mitch brought his infectious stoke and showed his capabilities both above and below the lip. 

    - See more at: http://server8.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/soopd/sklm/p1/blog/just-passing-through-mainland-mexico.html#sthash.MSCuTiNA.dpuf

    Spitting off The Cliffs // Mike Lay in Ireland

    Spitting off The Cliffs // Mike Lay in Ireland

    Just Passing Through is by definition a lifestyle that never sits still. It is always moving on, searching for new adventure and new experience. It doesn't suit everyone, a lot of people are happy and content to stay put, plant roots, start families, grow alongside a place. In my travels I enjoy spending as much time as I can in each destination, to understand a place and form an idea of what life might be like if I lived there on a more permanent basis. I wake up in the morning and eat the breakfast that I would eat if I had always lived there, the breakfast that I would eat if I were never to leave. I pretend I know the streets and trust the non-existent memories of my feet. I smile at passers by or ignore them, whatever the feeling is in the air, smiling obviously being preferred. I do all these things to get a taste of what it might be like to be a local and after doing all these things I always look forward to home.

    But my last trip to County Clare in Ireland was different, it is hard to put a finger on it exactly, perhaps I truly felt like a local or perhaps I didn't really want to go home. Though I sit on the ferry now, looking out over the Irish Sea towards Liverpool, and I am excited at the prospect of seeing my family, my friends and familiar frontiers, it is just that the place I am leaving has grown to be just as familiar. It has shot roots down inside me, the feeling of the place has taken seed and it is growing. 

    On paper a lot of the other places I visit while just passing through are more appealing. Their climates are warmer, there winds lighter and more predictable, their waves more easily accessible. But I can never help judging a place on the virtues of Cornwall, my home, and in that regard Clare could have been hewn from the same rock. The air in autumn smells of woodsmoke and coal, the trees, not that there are many, grow in the same eastward tilt, people wave to each other from their cars with the same raised index finger while the rest of the hand grips the steering wheel, in the water I am enveloped in the same neoprene, from head to rubber-clad-toe. In fact there is only one major difference... the waves.

    The waves in Ireland are captivating, rare yes, and even when conditions are right they're not as easy to come by as they may seem. But over the past few weeks they have come to hold a power over me, from the pitching lips of the slabs to the slow trundle of the points and all in-between, I am enamoured. And though the roots are not yet deep enough to put a halt to my travels, there is now another home in my mind up to which other places have to measure, I doubt very much that many places will stand as tall as Cornwall and now Ireland.  

    Words by Reef Ambassador, Mike Lay
    Photos by Jack Johns/ @jackjohns