Lyrics by Tom Vaughan
“Two seconds…Just gotta grab those guys some Bintangs,” laughs Torren Martyn, as he interrupts our conversation in the middle of winch repairs.
If you didn’t know, a Bintang is what Budweiser is to Americans, or Carling is to Brits – except, you know, it tastes really good.
A muffled back and forth of the Indonesian language can be heard over hammering and rocking boat creaks, followed by laughter.
“Sorry about that.”
Aussie mate and mid-length maestro Torren Martyn is currently sailing towards the unknown somewhere in the Indian Ocean. He’s a man with an unquenchable thirst for adventure, and his new quest has taken him from Bangkok, all the way to a distant and “perfect” three-foot right-hander. With no one else around to surf him except him and his partner, Aiyana Powell.
“It was magic, I was sitting there pinching myself, I couldn’t believe it,” Torren said. “The plan is to surf as much as possible. I hope that’s all we do.
TO KNOW BEFORE LEAVING: Surf forecast for the Mentawais region
With Torren’s ongoing Lost Track series, he has already directed and documented a wealth of adventures, spanning multiple countries and modes of transportation – from van life through Europe and Morocco, to motorcycling across the New Zealand. The evolution of that premise has now shifted to sailing, something Torren describes as a unique challenge compared to previous ventures.
“We’re super green,” he said. “I started on a friend’s boat, Ryan. He showed me the basics but it wasn’t until the beginning of this journey that I learned everything I know now. What intrigued me the most was the challenge and exposure to the elements. It’s hard work, but it’s super rewarding.
The boat, calyptwhich means “hummingbird,” and which Torren says isn’t exactly equipped to live more than a few weeks, has a whole story of its own.
“He actually survived the 2004 tsunami in Thailand,” Torren said. “There’s a logbook I was flipping through and it tells the story of when the guy was on board when the tsunami hit, which is kind of crazy.
“It’s really well laid out, a nice little boat but not very livable. I have to sleep with my knees bent. [laughs]. It’s a good size and it’s set up for cruising. We’ve had a few pretty wild storms, woke up at two or three in the morning and things are flying everywhere.
Torren wasn’t joking either: “The waves were rolling over the bow and I had forgotten to secure the hatches. Everything inside was soaked and a stray watermelon was ready to kill!
“The other day we also got beached, but luckily it was one of those ‘worst case scenarios’ that could have happened.
“Sailing has been the biggest challenge and it changes me as a person. It’s wild and you kind of have to sleep with one eye open.
“You kind of feel it when you go camping and sleep under the stars. Being in the middle of the ocean makes you feel vulnerable and alone and it’s such a deep feeling. Not being able to see the earth or anything. You have time to yourself just to think and then all of a sudden things hit the fan and it’s all very raw and real.
So what’s on the surf route for this introspective journey through Southeast Asia?
“I grew up spending a lot of time in Indo, so it’s always been a place close to home,” Torren said. “The quality of the waves here is exceptional. And for me, I love to travel and sailing was a natural progression from that. Aiyana grew up on a sailboat with her family so we both had this desire to learn and get into it.
EXPLORE: Map of surf spots in Indonesia
As for the waves…
“There are a handful of waves in the Ments that have always been on my radar,” he said. “Indo is renowned for the quality and regularity of the waves, but with this trip, I preferred to leave with the idea of not “chasing” certain waves.
“Last week there was the opportunity to ride heavier and more consistent waves, but I decided it wasn’t worth the risk of injury as I had more responsibilities on this trip. Especially in the middle of nowhere, far from any hospital.
And the plan of the film of this trip?
“It would be nice to do a feature film rather than episodes, but we’re going to be on the water for so long and we’ll have so much footage that we’ll see what happens.
TO KNOW BEFORE LEAVING: Surf forecast for the Bali area
“ishka [Folkwell] is going to be out for a few weeks, so we’re going to be filming together in addition to what I’ve already documented. It will go back and forth with hard drives. I like the idea of making a beautiful cinematic film, but with episodes you can tell more than one story.
This latest entry in the Lost Track series could be a long way off, considering how long the couple will be out on the water, off the grid and with almost no phone reception. But it’s a classic Lost Track situation – Torren’s favorite genre.
“We had no phone signal for weeks,” Torren said. “It allowed me to relax. I would love to know more about the tribal and indigenous (peoples) of the area, but we don’t think too far ahead.
“There is so much more than surfing that I want to learn. I can speak a little Indonesian so it’s nice to connect with these people. I go there all the time so it’s good to sit down for a minute and chat to digest. It’s beautiful here. We have traveled a few thousand kilometers but being here in Indonesia with all these smells is wild. I am so happy.
“I can’t even describe the feeling when we came around the corner and there wasn’t a breath of fresh air, crystal clear water and it was so picturesque, not a soul around. And this perfect right-hander just took off. Just Aiyana and me.