That's hardcore. And back then there was no internet, so you would come out here and it could be flat for weeks. I've sat here plenty of weeks with nothing! People now, they go one day here with no waves and, oh fuck it's flat, ahhh! Back to Bali! It's like, dude, are you serious? Yeah, that's pretty much what I do. If it doesn't pulse before dark I think we're leaving tonight. So it wasn't easy. But, yeah, it was definitely worth it because when the waves came up there was nobody around. But most crew these days couldn't handle that and wouldn't do that. These days people wanna drive up and have a cold beer, and get their surfs and get their video, and leave. I mean, dude, how easy is it now? You show up in your car and you got cold beers waiting for you on the beach. Is there a longest flat spell that comes to mind? Oh man, as long as a flat spell gets, I've seen it (laughing). But I'll tell you what, I don't really mind a flat spell. For most surfers these days it's all about the surf. And it's not. Back then it was cool, dude. We had a bunch of friends camping and it was fun. Not saying that the flat spells didn't kinda suck, but you'd dive, spearfish, you find other shit to do. We used to work on our huts, make some chairs or tables or something out of wood. Go diving and get some fish. And then you'd get a good fish and you'd have your friends over and have a little fish BBQ party. It was cool, it was fun.
guys showing up sometimes – it wasn't like nobody else was showing up – and guys would show up and be like, yeah, we're gonna stay here for two weeks. And we'd be looking at em like, yeah right. After two days of it being flat they'd be like, dude, we're out of here, you want this stuff? So you basically had guys bringing in food for you (laughing). How did you get your water? We had a well out the back here. So that was a daily ritual, you'd go to the well and boil your water for the day. The water was ok, it was drinkable. But you definitely had to boil it. Every night you would boil your big thing of water so you had water for the next day. There was all kinds of shit to do. It wasn't like you were sitting around twiddling your thumbs. Have you ever been up to the Mentawais? Never been up there. I have some friends who have boats and shit up there, but I've never been. Maybe one day (laughs). This friend of mine was trying to get me on a boat trip. He said, I'll pay the 800 dollars deposit and all you have to do is come up with two grand (laughing). Like I got two grand to spend for 10 days on a boat, I don't think so (more laughter). So I didn't go. Maybe one day I'll go up there, but... nah, when I'm done I'll just pack it and leave. How do you know when you're done? Yeah, I don't know. That's a good question. Because the crowds are getting...
I don't think I've ever spent more than two nights in a row here.
Pablo's friend Darren: Remember Jordan, Pablo. It was all cool 'til he did the comeback.
These days people will come on the day of the swell, show up in the morning, wanna surf, and as soon as it's done they're outta here. You kinda lose your whole feel for the place. It's all about you want your photo, you want your video, and you want everything instantly. I guess it's just different. I'm just not in that school of thought. I'm more like you put in your time and hopefully you get some waves. But now it's tough even getting waves because you're sitting around with 100 other people. Back then you were sitting on the beach waiting for the swell to come up, and when it came up you knew you were gonna get good waves. Now it's tough because you wait and then 50 to 80 heads are showing up and then, you know, you might not get a wave (laughing). It's tough now. But that's how it is.
What're you talking about? Jordan won three more rings! Oh, you mean the second comeback? The Wizards chapter.Yeah, that was a little less graceful.
Do you ever surf any other waves in Indo? Not really. I cruised around. I went up to One Palm and camped out there on the beach for a while, like in '93 or something. But it's so isolated there and a pretty dangerous wave to be camping on. If you get hurt out there you could really get in trouble. I was never one to really run around and chase swells. I'd rather just hang here and wait for a window here and there. What would you guys eat out here back then? You'd bring out your basics, like rice and noodles. You didn't have a real good diet, but you don't need too much to survive. I spearfish, so every day I could always eat fish pretty much. But it was funny because there would be other
It'll be the crowds. It won't be because I want to go or I'm over it or anything. It's more because of the whole atmosphere of being in the water. Guys talking shit and getting dropped in on and shit like that. I don't need to deal with that. I don't need to be stressing about getting waves. Have you seen some ugly fights here in more recent years? There have been some nasty incidents, for sure. It's bound to happen. It's not really a wave that can handle a crowd. G-Land is more spread out and you got more of a playing field, so you get your crowds surfing different parts of the wave. Out here, you got your takeoff and basically that takeoff is one wave all the way. So somebody catches a wave and there are guys on the shoulder trying to shoulder hop and caving it and shit. Because out here you don't even have to take off on somebody – if you paddle for a wave and the guy's coming down the barrel and you pull back, you're gonna snowball the guy in the barrel and you might as well have just dropped in on the guy. Because it's that much of a line on the wave that just paddling for it can screw the guy up and he's not gonna make it. Yeah, usually I just get completely dropped in on. And on a crowded day there's 50 guys paddling for each wave (laughing). And then 50 more out
the back all arguing and talking shit trying to get the next one (more laughter). So when it gets to that point... So far I've been pretty fortunate, I can still manage to get one here and there. And as long as I can do that, you know, I don't need to be catching every wave that comes in. I realize that everybody else has to surf. Is it hard not to snap on people who show up here for the first time and act like they own the place? I think the crew that has hung here for a long time has been pretty respectful, as far as not saying, I've been surfing here so long and I deserve to take off on every set wave that comes in. I wasn't brought up that way and I try to respect people when they show up. I do my best. But it gets to the point where it just turns into chaos and nobody respects nothing. People start frothing, they get a good one, and it gets pretty ugly. It's a shame really because it takes away from the whole experience. It's not the same like it was. You've had that many years with just a few friends out, you know. Like, you go on that one. No, no, I had a good one just now, you go on that one. Shit like that. That don't exist no more (laughing). Now you're just hoping you can catch something. Living out here, do you still get those magical days out here? Windows with waves and no crowd? Man, it don't really happen no more, man. That internet stuff now is so.... so exact. They've just got it down to a science where they're on it. And it's that close to Bali now where any little bump you see, there's 15 to 20 cars showing up. A lot of people say, oh you must get all kinds of days to yourself out here, but nah. You would hope that there would be a lot – every once in a while there's a little window, but mostly they're the small tiny days. Because pretty much all them websites, if they say there's gonna be a good SW-W swell, everybody gets all up in arms, oh Deserts! Everybody wants to come over, and there's gonna be at least 50 heads here, minimum. Do you check the swell forecast? I look at it. But I'm more interested to see when it's flat so I know when I can go to town and do my little food run or whatever. Other than the crowds, what has been the biggest change you've noticed here? Oh, this place was beautiful out here, man. All over these hills it was trees. Years ago I'd never been up here. You literally couldn't walk up this hill, the forest was that thick. That road that you drive in on now was just a little footpath that was actually made by the Japanese. The Japanese had a post out by the lighthouse there where they had cannons pointing out to the straits (dating back to the Japanese occupation of Indonesia during World War II). The cannons are still there, way out past that far lighthouse. So why does this place look like a dust bowl now? When the local people came in that first year – I never understood how they allowed the people to come in (Deserts is located in what is ostensibly a national park) – it looked like complete armageddon. They chopped down everything, every living tree that was here.