Kris Puckeridge, Klint Puckeridge, Kai Puckeridge, Adam Best, Gary Cork, Eion Lockard, Jason Lockhard, Andrew Lockhard, Andrew Muir, Joel Stewart.
The long anticipated trip on the BJ with hotly contested seats and the dilemma of more than 10 of us trying to get a Guernsey. A year of boot camps, phone calls, emails, Ebay, virtual surfing, anxiety and psyching. A mix of fledglings and returned servicemen to the beloved BJ!
Our central coast/WA contingency arrived in Padang for what would become the "Whole Lotta Shakin" tour, oblivious to the fact that our world would be rocked by events downstream.
After joining John and B on previous missions and enjoying his Mentawaiin knowledge and infectious grommetism and all things excellent on the BJ, we were a tad sceptical on Hillsy, the new skipper...would he rise to the challenge? Deliver the goods??? We needn't have worried (we kinda thought the replacement skipper on the Bucketjoey would be carefully selected).
Hillsy - you far exceeded our expectations - delivering us to an astounding 16 different (and different they were!) breaks from A frames, to bombs, barrels, beachies and jelly leg long walled beauties!!! We lucked places with little or no crowd, timed it with the wind in what was a very changeable fortnight of weather, getting some plate glass conditions and semi secret spots (what's that skip??) His fluency in Bahasa and Mentawaiin and sense of humour spilled thru into his rapport with the people.
The crew yet again impressed all, with their welcoming and non stop service. The galley churning out endless tasty dishes to fill our surfed out bellies, and the addition of the ever smiling Pim adding some awesome Thai to the BJ's cuisine.
And the lads - the late arvo smiles in the Lizard Lounge spoke volumes as the Bintangs and stories flowed.
Team Noakes - John, your boys stepped up to the plate and showed us they weren't Team Pepe! Dane scored some memorable bombs at Scarecrows, and both got copious amounts of bagus waves, the joys of youth! Bastards! (just kidding.) Boys·big, big thanks to your old man·you wonât forget this in a long time! And the old cripple did good too!
Phil, the quiet achiever - Mr Casual, sitting and taking off deep on the bombs.
Kev "Cavana" happy as the proverbial pin in poo, gliding into some big spot X and Y.
Brian "Last of the Knuckleman" revelling in the big adventure.
Big Tone logged a lot of time in the green, the paddle machine!
The Pirate - testing the force required to remove fcs fins via speed humps @ Lances left!! always a pleasure sharing a wave! Thanks for making it all happen!
The Wave Whisperer - a 4 x BJ vet, cool under pressure and the consummate waterman, always there for the pearlers.
And Rosco, washing off 3 years of Pilbara dust, armed with Ebay treasures, and pulling his best barrel in decades (and no one filmed it!) TWW perfectly positioned for the Hi 5...
A huge Terimah Kasih Banyak to Hillsy, Pim, Selamat, Erik, Yudi and Choma. You guys Rock!!
And John and B, you should be proud - you have a damn fine vessel, crew, THE best tender in the Spice isles and another boatload of happy customers, most of whom will be back!!
Our collective hearts go out to all those affected by the devastation on our return to Padang - our few hours walk around and journey to the partially collapsed airport (and nervous 4 hour wait to depart) only cemented our feelings of anguish and sympathy. May the foreign aid and dollars reach the right hands (TII) and a speedy rebuild of the gateway to THE Surfer's Paradise.