Surfing the Unknown [An India Surf Travelogue] Day 5 – 7/3/10 – Beauty and the Beast.
We slept so well that night that we woke up we feeling fresh and ready to go. A good night’s sleep had escaped us for some time – whatever rest we had on the boat was always plagued by the heat and the muggy, claustrophobic stench of the cabin. Our plan was to start hunting for surf spots right from the word go and we started for a nearby beach close to where we stayed. We expected this beach to be pristine with white sand and crystal clear blue waters. But again, the beach had been wrecked by the monstrous tsunami that had left so many huge tree trunks lying everywhere. Wherever we looked, dead dry trees stood erect as silent reminders of that huge Tsunami. We continued to walk along the beach taking pictures, shooting videos, and of course hoping to find surf breaks. At first, it seemed pretty flat but as we walked for a couple of kilometers we saw some interesting spots with decent waves breaking at times. Maybe, at the right time and with the right swell on this part of the island, these waves could get much bigger and hollower.
Further along, however, the terrain started getting rough. We were forced to walk on coral and coarse rocks but I took advantage of the situation by taking some of the colorful shells and pieces of coral for souvenirs for my friends nod family back home. We reached the end of the bay and were very close to the harbor’s old jetty, Break Water. This was where we saw those perfect waves breaking into lefts and rights. There weren’t any oversize waves but we could easily predict that on certain days there would be some big ones. We had only come to discover some breaks and to mark them on the map, so we were content to have found this area. We hoped we could come back the next day and surf this spot. In the afternoon we planned to go looking for more spots down south with some kind of transportation. We struggled to find a vehicle for an hour – we tried to rent a bike, a car, and even tried catching a bus, but nothing happened. We returned to the guest house where Kunja contacted our friend John Robert who told us that he would send one of his rickshaws.
After an hour pacing the floor, the rickshaw finally arrived at 3.00 and the three of us set off for the south of the island. Before the tsunami, there were many settlements along the coast, but afterward, everybody was moved to the Campbell Bay area and put in a temporary setup. On the way, we could see the reconstruction of the houses going on. We stopped at a place outside Campbell Bay called Joginder Nagar where we saw some awesome breaks, breaking both left and right. From that particular bay, we were again able to see some breaks at a distance which made us all pretty excited. The rickshaw did a pretty good job maneuvering through the tough terrain with all its rubble and potholes. Ironically it looked so accessible from the boat, but in reality, the road was very difficult to travel on. These islands already have huge trees and very thick vegetation but the aftermath of the tsunami makes transportation even more difficult. To make matters worse, the island has got minimal infrastructure. Obviously it will take many years for the island to return to normality and perhaps even longer to get some decent infrastructure. The terrain got worse as we made our way to the next bay and the rickshaw took us as far as it could. From that point we walked, looking for the particular wave that we had seen from the other side of the bay. We could see it nicely breaking both left and right.
So far we had come across 4-5 potential breaks. When they were breaking they looked great, but they all lacked consistency. We basically felt that our main reason for being here was to do research and get a firsthand analysis of this island for surfing. After all, we were starting from scratch here with no leads and no info. As the sun began to set, we marked this on our map and started heading back to Campbell Bay. We all came to the conclusion that it was going to be impossible to do any further expedition by road. We would probably have to hire a small fishing boat and go along the coast looking for surf breaks. A boat would be quicker, easier, and painless (our butts were already sore from bouncing around in the rickshaw on the appalling roads). If we did decide to go by boat we would need permission required for traveling to Indira Point and all the tribal areas. We had to meet the A.C. and the Director of the Forestry Department. We made a plan to go and get all the permits the next morning.