In the late 1990s, a small band of surf explorers including Timmy Turner, Mikala Jones, and photographer Dustin Humphrey were scouring the islands of Indonesia in search of new surf spots. They were spending months at a time on boats, in fishing villages, and on empty beaches of myriad tiny palm-fringed islands looking for Indo’s next Padang.
While exploring the island of Java by car in 1999, Timmy and Dustin happened on a remote beach where they met an Australian who told them about a secret spot that could potentially be huge on the right swell. The catch? A seven-hour motorcycle ride through the jungle to reach it. Youth isn’t easily dissuaded, and the two hired locals who drove them in. The Australian was right. When they arrived, Timmy and Dustin were greeting by solid twenty-foot faces and not a soul in sight.
Timmy paddled out into the unknown. Currents? Tides? Rips? Reef depth? With the do-or-die attitude he’s become famous for, shortly after making it into the line up, Timmy swung around, paddled into a monster set wave, went over the falls, fell two stories, and landed on his side, breaking two ribs on impact. End of session, beginning of quest.
Over the next five years, they found their way back to the monster once, but didn’t score conditions like they had on their maiden voyage. Then, in September of 2004, Timmy, Dustin, Travis Potter, Dede Suryana, and Brandon Tipton returned with a boat, WaveRunners, tow ropes, and the desire to surf Indo’s biggest wave.
Despite the fact that no one in the crew had much experience with towing in, Dede whipped Timmy into the wave of the session (pictured here), and on Benji Weatherly’s 6’4″ shortboard, Huntington Beach’s resident wild man rode what might be the largest wave ever surfed in Indonesia.
“That board did not want to make that bottom turn,” Timmy laughs. “I wanted to fade it and get barreled, because we didn’t really know how to tow in behind the peak and backdoor the barrel, so I just faded as long as a I could. In the end, I barely made it under the lip, but I got inside it.”
After the photo was taken, the wave caught Timmy and punished him for trying. He took a set on the head, which broke his board and sent him swimming back to the boat. Shaken but not dissuaded, Timmy was just about to head back out when Dede accidentally ran over the tow rope on the Waverunner, ending the session. “Everybody caught a couple waves that day, but Timmy’s was the wave,” Dustin remembers.
Timmy and Dustin are already planning their next attempt to scale Indo’s version of Everest. “There’s potential to get bigger ones out there,” says Dustin. The quest continues.-Joel Patterson
Timmy Turner charges a huge wave in Java on Benji’s 6’4″ shortboard. Photo: D.Hump