From a Distantboat
Do you run toward hype, or away? Do you embrace the scene, or does it make you squirm? When a new restaurant opens, will you wait in line to try it out, or do you cross the street for a known, reliable meal?

I’ve almost always sacrificed quality in favor of quiet. Maybe I’m afraid I won’t get a seat at the cool kids table? Maybe I don’t want to be seen as a sheep? I’m not sure. But in nearly all parts of my life, I try to run away from the crowd. Especially while traveling.

The last couple of weeks has made me rethink this approach.

The Mentawais in Indonesia are widely considered surfing’s most wave-rich areas. The island chain is a natural wave park — it picks up plenty of swell, has favorable winds, and the crannies of each island create perfect surf around every corner.

I’d purposefully avoided it for my entire surfing life, but for the past couple of weeks I was in “the Ments” on a boat with seven friends, retracing well-known paths and surfing waves I’ve seen in a hundred of surf films. The hype. Was. Warranted. My resistance was not. Sure, it was less crowded than normal due to Covid, but we surfed a few busy spots and I still had an absolute blast.

Sometimes it’s not worth fighting the trends. Sometimes the restaurant really is that good. Sometimes, it’s OK to be a sheep. Bahhh.