Fears for iconic G-Land coral reef as fishing boat runs aground in fog, killing one crew member

Photos and drone video reveal the doomed Sumber Blessing high and dry near the famous surf spot.

A photographer from Joyo’s Surf Camp at Grajagan, that long lefthander in Indonesia made famous by the movie Storm Riders in 1982, as an intermittent tour event as well as the various mysteries surrounding its position in the drug trafficking trade, has captured wild drone footage of a fishing boat after it ran aground near G-Land last Saturday. 

Harry Pieters, who has been shooting in the camp since 2010, writes 

“The fishing boat Sumber Blessing ran aground in Alas Purwo waters on Saturday at one am. It is suspected that the ship hit a reef because it was swept away by big waves in thick fog. The ship departs from Pekalongan after finishing fishing for tuna weighing a total of 80 tons, the ship will head to Tanjung Wangi Port, Banyuwangi for loading and unloading. In this incident one crew member died and 29 other crew members survived.”


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Photos and video from Petiers, and other G-Land camp photographers, reveal the Sumber Blessing high and dry on the famous reef.


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If you’re into the G-Land legend you may have already bought the drug-soaked tell-all book released last October, Grajagan –Surfing in the Tiger’s Lair: 1972-1984.

It takes the reader back into the magical world of secret waves, the smuggling of drugs to generate the money to chase these waves, and the spectre of death and madness that seemed to lurk around every corner.

“I hoped Grajagan would remain pristine. I thought visitors should come in by boat and leave no trace, like we did loading and offloading marijuana,” was one instructive quote.

G-Land is a mysterious place that brings out equally mysterious behaviour in even the most placid surfer. Isolation, boredom, the usual drivers.

You’ll remember, one year ago almost to the day, when the G-Land Pro, dogged by a poor swell forecast, descended into a wild bacchanal.

I found the vision that appeared on social media accounts of the good times heartening, Stephanie Gilmore and Gabriel Medina moving with precise and vigorous grace, Filipe Toledo weightless with joy at the spectre of a finals day in small waves and Kolohe Andino looking as worn as a well-thumbed volume filled with illustrated examples of human sex organ deformities.


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Good times, although not quite on the level as the night in the 1990’s when Rob Bain, Barton Lynch and Gary Elkerton disappeared into the jungle, reappearing in the morning naked and carrying bamboo spears.


Surf fans pull hair from heads, engage in acts of self-harm as Major League Baseball officially “cooler” than World Surf League!

"What did we do to deserve?"

This iteration of professional surfing, known as the World Surf League, has been on an amazing slide to absurd irrelevance since its founding in 2015 circa 1976. Each Chief Executive made to look competent by the preceding CEO. Paul Speaker to Sophie Goldschmidt to Erik Logan to Jessi Miley-Dyer?

Wild times with the whole show, once bastions of rebels and Ritchie Collins now a silly circus wherein Logan openly courts his surfers whilst Joe Turpel and cast jibber-jabber such happy mush as if they were assistants in a classroom of mentally challenged preschoolers.

We, of course, the mentally challenged preschoolers.

And I suppose, if we choose to be myopic and dull, we’d imagine all professional sporting leagues do the same sorts of things. Treat their fans with open disdain, force a company line that bolsters “the product” while ignoring the truth but ho, turn your eyes to baseball and the ultra-staid Major Leagues and witness team-hired announcers calling their own manager “horrific.”

The New York Mets, if you follow, have been having a tough season. A new owner poured millions upon millions into the team at the beginning of the season leading to soaring expectations. Those have not been met, excuse the pun, the fans are revolting and the announcers are talking real talk.

After a recent loss, Gary Cohn, salary paid by Mets, declared, “The Mets 42nd loss of the year is their most horrific. Buck Showalter tried to stay away from his best relievers and the Mets paid the price.”

Baseball fans were overjoyed with the truth painted as truth.

“One of the reasons why the Mets broadcast crew is so fantastic is their aversion to sugar-coating what they see,” one wrote, adding, “Too many crews avoid the faults of the team they cover, usually with silence. Gary, Keith and Ron don’t insult their audience’s intelligence.”

“Painful to hear but true,” another wrote.

“Excellent announcing,” yet another.

Back to Turpel and pals, though.


What did we do to deserve?

New lineup terror emerges as flying fish impales surfer’s nose!

Wild times in the Mentawais.

How many ways can a surfer get hurt in the lineup? Let us count the ways. Shark, stingray, stray longboard, Erik Logan, aggressive local, adult learner paddling toward shoulder, adult learner going over the falls, Brazilians, angry seals, angry seagulls, surfboard fins, surfboard noses, jellyfish, aging, saltwater crocodiles, people from Florida, riptides, undertows, urchins, surf school students, sexism and now we can, officially, add flying fish.

But let us hustle to the beautiful Mentawi Islands where our hero, Australian Steve Kezic, was minding his own business, sitting on his board, when he felt a heavy slap.

Eddie Rothman?

But no.

“At first, I thought it was the boys throwing some seaweed around, as we tend to do that for a laugh,” the salt and pepper topped man told Perth Now. “But a moment later I realised there was a fish in my face.”

A flying fish who had wedged its beak in Zezic’s nose, busted it off and left it behind. A surf coach was the first to notice and sat looking dumbfounded as the ugly weapon had pierced all the way through. It took 15 minutes to get back to the resort and blood was pouring everywhere. No one knew where the nearest hospital was but, thankfully, one in the group was an emergency room doctor. He removed the weapon, stitched it up and told Zezic that 1/2 inch further north and he would have lost his eye.

“I was incredibly lucky. It felt like one of those up-to-the-gods chance events,” he said.

Now, the question for you. Would you rather get speared in the nose by a flying fish or sit around and wait for the World Surf League to get underway in Brazil for the Vivo Rio Pro in knee-high waves?

I’d take the former.

World Cursed League.

Deathbed-bound Kelly Slater miraculously recovers from fatal illness!

Fellow CT surfers who made the trip to Rio de Janeiro must certainly be buoyed seeing their GOAT the picture of health and wellness.

Days ago, surf fans had all but lost faith in a higher power after Kelly Slater had stunningly revealed that he had come down with a likely fatal illness right ahead of the Vivo Rio Pro surf contest in beautiful Brazil. 

“When my sickness started the other day,” the 11x champion wrote on his Instagram page, sharing a photo of oura ring data. “On day 5 of being sick now. Fevers, sinus, chills, headache, stomach flu, etc. Glad I made it home amidst the onslaught.”

Amateur virologists were certain Slater had been stricken with deadly spinal meningitis and encouraged surf fans to immediately light candles for his recovery. 

Alas, the Rio Pro kicked-off, World Surf League CEO Erik Logan there, inching closer to multiple restraining orders, but no world’s greatest competitive surfer. 

Was no one listening?

But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the west and Kelly Slater has been spotted on the beach in Hawaii looking typically robust and dressed in a tight white “Pipeline Bodysurfing Contest” t-shirt from 2017, long shorts and with feet wrapped in his new turtle and moon inspired Klly sandals. 

“For the design of the sandal, Kelly was particularly moved by the mysterious and special relationship between the moon and sea turtle. Turtles have 13 large scales that represent the 13 lunar cycles in each year and 28 smaller scales that represent the days in each cycle. As a tribute to these coexisting forces, Kelly designed the top of the sandal to mirror the moon’s surface while the bottom sole represents the turtle’s scales. Additional styles and sizing are set to release later this year.”

And I would have to think those fellow Championship Tour surfers who made the trip to Rio de Janeiro then Saquarema must certainly be buoyed seeing their GOAT the picture of health and wellness. They all had, of course, survived the dreaded mid-season cut and earned the requirement to appear. Slater had been gifted a never-before-encountered season-long wildcard and was even allowed to keep his points, unlike any before him. 

Spinal meningitis certainly a bitch. 

But all better now and just in time for J-Bay. 

Who could have scripted this?



In bombshell twist surrounding Kirra longboarding Klassic imbroglio, contest director and surf feminist appear to agree “The girls are not particularly good”

“It’s a bummer women’s surfing is so disappointing to people…”

Four days ago, battle lines were drawn when the surf feminist hero Lucy Small mounted a January 6-style insurrection against the organisers of a longboard competition after it was announced there would be one pro division, open to both men and women, instead of separate divs.

The organiser’s decision was, I think, reasonable enough given the recent evaporation of gender, men can have babies and periods, there being no appreciable differences between sexes anyway so let the transwomen twirl daddy. 

“The chances of a man winning the money is a lot higher so it’s not really fair,” argued Small who said she asked the organisers of the Kirra Longboard Klassic to split the five gees prizemoney into two divs.


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After the organisers said no, Small marshalled other female surfers, organised a women’s surf label to cover the $250 entry fee and secured fifteen of the sixteen slots in the open division, one man grabbing the final spot.

(He later withdrew in solidarity with the gals.)

Now, in an interview with the government-owned broadcaster ABC, the contest’s director Sean McKeown has dared to mention the elephant stalking the room.

“The object of this particular division is high-performance surfing. The girls are not particularly good. There’s only a few of them in Australia that are really good at high performance.”

Which is Small’s argument, too, “the chances of a man winning the money is a lot higher” etc. 

McKeown added that he thought women’s surfing was “far more stylish… the girls tend to be more like ballet dancers on a surfboard and they look really good doing what they do” and “We had made this an open division so that men and women could compete equally on the same waves against each other… If I turned around and made it a man’s division, what would the reaction be?”

At the other end of the spectrum, @surfequity describes open divisions as a “form of discrimination against women”.

As the story gathered momentum, Australia’ national youth broadcaster Triple J ran a lengthy news piece on the story, director Sean McKeown saying the contest sponsor has been made uncomfortable by the contretemps and that there may not be a pro div next year. 

In the same piece, and comparing Gabriel Medina to Stephanie Gilmore Small described aerials as a “strength” manoeuvre, something which might be news to the ten-year-old kids hucking 540s everywhere. Are not women capable of astonishing feats of strength? Watch a little gymnastics.

As an aside, I watched my little girl shred alongside the boys until came the inevitable segregation, girl’s only surf club, girls divisions. And with the diminished competition her progression plateaued while the boys soared.

I believe Stephanie Gilmore’s great skills were honed alongside men at Snapper not from being told to surf only alongside gals.

But, maybe I’m wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time.