Antony Surfs Benak

First Surf Attempt

Antony was all set to surf the Batang Lupar Tidal Bore or popularly known as Benak in Sarawak. It also goes by the name of Ben in Nadai Nama Nama. It was Antony's first attempt on 16th October 2009. The Benak was expected to come at 3:00 pm and we were already assembled at the Sri Aman Wharf, near the Chinese Temple.

Team set to go, here we are showing the 'Shaka' sign - surfers' greeting gesture

Antony briefs Thomas Kandawang on the operation of the camera to record this surf attempt

One of Antony's worry was the presence of crocodiles which was aplenty on the banks of Batang Lupar River. He came across this one (above in the picture) during his recce along the river on 15th October 2009 at Sekera, Sri Aman. One of the questions he asked me was the statistics of fatal crocodile attacks here so that he can be more careful in identifying which areas have crocs during the recce. Yikes! I was someone who would change my perspective of crocodiles in Batang Lupar. He says if he know a certain area is populated by the creature he would just avoid surfing in the area. To me, just a sight of that creature would make me scurry a hundred miles away from the river.

Another mini camera was also fixed to the surf board - it can take picture shots every two seconds.

Cruising along the river waiting for the Benak along the Batang Lupar River was not as simple as it seems. Reason being some areas are just knee deep and the boat tends to get stuck. The only way to fix this was to get off the boat and push.....that's the fear factor part....where you hope to feel sand underneath and nothing else. Anything that looks like or feels different- say a log, just jump into the boat as quick as you can.


So as the Benak approached Antony waited for a good wave and quickly jumped out of the boat, shouting "YEEHAAA" into the raging waters. It was his first taste of Batang Lupar water and he never looked back as he rose and surfed making it look easy. I was watching history in the making as this is the first time that someone is attempting to surf the Benak on a surf board. Sacre Bleu...the French will say.

In deeper section of the river the Benak sinks and the force of the wave is lost, only to resurface again in shallower areas. So there was Antony, surfing and when the Benak disappear for a while, he would go back on the other boat and chase the Benak again and when it emerges again he would jump in. Our main worry at first was that when he loses the wave and momentum he would fall behind and we would have to quickly pull him out of the water. That's the dicey part as the remnant waves of the actual Benak is risky for our boat. There were times when we almost overturned.

There was a stretch along the Batang Lupar which saw the Benak travelling quite a distance and Antony was there again to conquer that stretch. The people of Sri Aman had gathered along the Batang Lupar Tidal Bore Observation Station and Riverine Park to watch this courageous Frenchman as they clapped their hands and cheered him on.

Below are some clearer photos taken from Antony's camera which shows him surfing the Benak wave. Yeehaa! He wants me to show this in this Blog to show that Benak surfing can be done. Its like Kacang (eating peanuts).

Antony shows how its done and that its also an enjoyable sport

Picture taken from the small camera fixed on Antony's surf board

Who is that next to our boat? Surfing with the locals - most of the longhouse folks usually attempt to surf the benak on their small boat and the presence of a man that resembles Hugh Jackman surfing the Benak excites them more

Its as if a water creature is rising out of the water to chase this two boat surfers

Antony shows the "Shaka" sign.

I guess we must have traveled the whole length of the Batang Lupar, chasing and surfing the Benak. There was occassional an shower and the sun was also very hot but we did not care. This was extreme sports or hobby at its best. So who is up for surfing the Batang Lupar Tidal Bore (Benak) with Antony? He makes it look easy and he says the waves of our Benak are good. That comment coming from an International Tidal Bore surfer, I think the Tidal Bore phenomenon will be made famous as Mr. Antony becomes Batang Lupar's Benak ambassador to the International Tidal Bore surfing community. Hopefully they can come in for the upcoming Pesta Benak 2010.

Additional Photos of Antony's Surfing Benak on 17th Ocrober 2009 (Second Surf by Antony) taken by Abadiphotography (permission granted for posting by Dilah and Tony...Thanks Guys!)


Love the post!
Tia said…
nasib sidak bujang senang nadai ngacau!!! he hehe...
Nimi Momo said…
you thought he was as courageous as the late Steve Irwin right? :D
wow...this is cool. Never thought people want to surf there.Must be an interesting sight for people in Sri aman because we rarely see people surfing live.
Wilson Chin said…
Cool *two thumbs up*
Gette said…
Thanks for a great post! Wish I was there to photograph it myself. :)
Unknown said…
God blessed!
Mr.Briz said…
Greats post
nguongping said…
I missed the chance to witness this event!!!!! I wish I am now in Sri Aman and eating fresh dabai instead of preserve one.
triggeruk said…
nice one will have to try that next year on my body board
just got home off beeing on the seven