Here's a letter from a concerned surfer regarding surf development Panaitan Island in Java. TransWorld accepts no responsibility for what is said from here on out, we don't know exactly what's happening, but it doesn't sound good. Read on and make a decision for yourself…
Dear TransWorld SURF,
Really hope you can help, really hope you publish this letter.
Location: Panaitan Island, West Java. Site of World Heritage Park, part of Ujung Kulon. Chiefly unoccupied except for occasional feral local fisherman and even more feral surfrats.
Situation: Has fickle, but world class, 5 star waves. Apocalypse, the seriously exposed right-hander is lucky to break on one or two swells a year. However, breaks like Pussies and Napalms break consistently during the season. Island currently in the process of being turned into a surf camp, initially claiming exclusive rights, but now being sold as an eco-friendly tourist venture.
Precedent: Everyone points to Cloudbreak as the success story of exclusive rights camps. If you've got money and don't mind paying bully boys to tell other surfers to F off, and your not concerned with the ground level impact of conflicting tribes arguing rights. Then yep, success! Surely G-land is a better precedent proving that man, and more importantly the environment can sustain surfers in mass. You be the judge on that one. The Mentawais, if you hadn't heard, is in the process of being sold off to separate exclusive operators. Now this could work really well, if in fact money goes back to the local people as vouched.
Reality Check: This is virgin, untouched forest on an uninhabited island. It may contain one or some of the guesstimated 60 left alive in the wilderness Java Rhinoceros, it may not. No one real knows that's how pristine this real estate is. Look I'm no tree hugger; also I have no vested interests. As a surfer who gets out there on an occasional basis I have the most to gain. It will be cheaper, easier and more comfortable for me than feralling on a local fishing boat. Surf charters still stretch my budget too much to be a frequent user. But wake up, this is not about financial gain! Is it always about cash? I just hope some of you out there feel the same way and can help, or know people or organizations who need to know this information. Pass on the word.
And from Captain Martin Daly:
Firstly congratulations on your efforts and to let you know that you have my full support. Panaitan Island has a special place in my heart and this development is tragic , unnecessary and totally wrong.
It was always a comfort to know there was one place left in Indonesia that was untouched by humanity- now what?
Keep up the good work and may sanity prevail
Also check out this story on the Surfers Village: www.surfersvillage.com