Anzac Day At The Peak

Monday, 29 April 2013

Words: Wade Davis

Matt Wilkinson fins high on Anzac Day.

Wilko at the Peak earlier in the week.

Surfing Life has spent the last week in Indonesia with Matt Wilkinson, Adrian Buchan and Glenn Hall. You can find out more about the trip, here.

I awoke to Nick Pollet banging on my door. It was still dark and I was still dreaming; I jumped up startled and confused. “Yes! What?” I yelled, tripping over the pants I was pulling on as I moved to open the door. “Dawn service dude”, said Nick and I remembered the plan from last night. We were going to have our own little dawn service at Lakey Peak, Sumbawa.

Paying our respects to the Anzacs. Photo: @acebuchan

Paying our respects to the ANZACS. Hope they're laughing with us. Photo: @AceBuchan

Red Bull’s Andy King had downloaded The Last Post, or First Recording as Matt Wilkinson calls it, for the service. As my sunburnt eyes blearily found their way to the beach I saw Andy, Matt and Nick assembled, as well as Mick Fanning, Adrian Buchan, Mikey Wright and Luke Hynd. All were standing in a row on the sand, all were facing the blue glow that signified the soon-to-be-rising sun. I joined them as the bugling began and we stood with heads bowed and arms crossed in respectful silence. When The First Recording was done we stood for a moment’s reflection until an explosion of orchestra shattered the calm. Unaware if being weirded out by this musical barrage was disrespectful we all stood in bewildered silence until Mick had the gall to ask, “what is this, Star Wars?” Turns out it was a particularly bombastic version of the Australian national anthem, part of a playlist, Mikey explained, for all those times the 16 year old participates in nationalist rituals abroad.

Behind the hotel where we breakfasted were mountains riddled with Japanese World War Two bunkers, a reminder of how close the war came to Australia. That morning Mick, Mikey, Luke and Andy surfed the Peak (mid to low tide, bigger swells) and Wilko, Nick and I the Pipe (high to mid, smaller swells). I was affected by the juxtaposition of our ability to come here and get tubed in front of bunkers that were created to try and take those rights away. Everyone has their own reasons for commemorating Anzac Day, I thought of my grandfather and his brothers, one lost, who fought in this part of the world against fascism and imperialism, fought for the freedoms which we often take for granted. In the surf we secured a deal that would land two goats in a bonfire for Anzac dinner, despite my protests that the goats we’d seen on our motorbike rides to surf Cobblestones (very high tides and slightly smaller swells than Pipe, tres picturesque) are cutie pies and thus not fit for consumption.

Following the surf we reconvened in the restaurant where Wilko got his hands on a paddle and some coins so that we may have a few throws of Two-Up. Gambling is illegal in Indonesia, so we didn’t bet money, and at the conclusion of the days throwing I dominated Wilko and he deemed it necessary to give me 300,000 rupiah, which was nice of him and befitting of the Anzac spirit (Ace just about gave away all his rupiah, what nice guys these pro surfers are!). Then the Bintang beers started flowing, and the Australiana started to dominate the iPod speakers. Ace played a comedic skit by Irish comedian Jason Byrne called “Magic Land” which made us cry with laughter as well as fill up with pride of place. Cheers were getting thrown around with every round, the cry being “for the Anzacs!” It wasn’t the same as being in Australia, but we made a day of it all the same.

Nick Pollet's gig.

I'd like to thank everyone for making it to the gig last night and my personal mic holder @mattwilko8. Photo: @NickPollet

By the time the goat came around some of us had had a few, and I’d all but forgotten my previous enamour for the delicious nimble devil sheep. With more Bintangs came conversation, and we discussed everything from pet hates, Wilko: sun, sand and seawater, to alternatives to the Australian national anthem, I think we settled on Thunderstruck. It was with merriment and full bellies we exited the restaurant, Mick and the groms went home, and the rest of us made our way to a place we knew had good acoustics. Nick performed his single, “Old Man, Young Man”, for us, a song about constipation and old guys with small dicks driving Audis, with recent lyrical modifications excluding Ace and Julian Wilson from the stereotype. As happens on nights like these we descended into a sculling contest, well Wilko and I did, which put us in bed by midnight.

The next morning we were up at dawn again, thankful to have the freedom to travel and surf and drink and eat and be merry, freedoms that were ensured through the sacrifices of our fellow Australians in the defence forces.

Lest we forget.



  • Mick Fanning goes on The Project to confirm he will compete at J-Bay

    Mick Fanning goes on The Project to talk beer, surfing in Alaska and (of course) sharks.

    more »
  • Flashback Friday: Matt Wilkinson Was Just As Funny At 18 As He Is Now

    On his first trip to the Telos, with Surfing Life.

    more »
  • The Drug Aware Pro Day Five: Willy’s Out

    And not even because of the Box.

    more »
  • Mick Fanning's 4K Freesurf

    Sharp in all senses of the word.

    more »
  • Margies Moments: Taj And Wilko Talk Sharks

    And yes, TB has a chuckle about it all.

    more »
  • Matty Wilko Won The Bloody Bells Bell

    What could be better.

    more »
  • VIDEO: Matty Wilko And The Secret To Success

    As told by the back-to-back goofy champion.

    more »
  • The Rip Curl Pro Day Seven: Ring My Willy

    The Copacabana cobra takes the bell end.

    more »
  • The Rip Curl Pro Day Three: Wilko Don’t Give A Damn

    The hacks that threaten the hacks.

    more »


  • Aaron Lieber Wins REDirect Surf Film Contest

    For his entry, The Wild.
  • A Petition For St Francis Bay

    Stop cage diving. Sign here.
  • The D'Blanc Perspective

    A new zine on the block. Check it out, here.
  • Barton Lynch Joins Komunity Project

    As ambassador/product developer.
  • Help Chris Abad Go Surfing Again

    A local pro from Oceanside, California, needs your help after a serious surfing injury.
  • Surfer Injured In Northern NSW Shark Attack

    Currently in hospital in stable condition.
  • Makua Rothman's Acceptance Speech

    For the Big Wave Championship Trophy.
  • Shark Attack In South Australia

    Surfer remains in critical condition.
  facebook icon    instagram icon    twitter-btn    rss-btn

Get the latest surfing news and photos, swell forecasts, competitions and hilarious trivia delivered to your inbox.