An Indian wave: almost perfect, but not quite | Photo: Aspuru

This is the story of three Spanish surfers and a filmmaker who embarked on a surf trip to India to ride a mysterious beach break located in the middle of nowhere.

"When I saw the lineup, I couldn't believe it. I just wanted to get in the water," says Natxo Gonzalez.

"It was one after another. It was unreal," adds Aritz Aranburu.

"We were able to see an endless lineup with waves breaking from far out and coming closer as high-speed trains," notes Kepa Acero.

In 2017, Natxo Gonzalez, Aritz Aranburu, and Kepa Acero traveled to India with a very clear goal.

An Indian Dream

"Back in 2012, I found many waves on Google Earth and actually tried to reach that same wave by myself and with my camera."

It was a place in deep India, where nobody speaks English. Acero was all by himself, and nobody could help him.

"When I finally reached the same place and the same city, I was only four kilometers away from that wave, and I realized that neither the police nor the military or the fishermen would me help me get to it," explains the surf explorer.

"I was left there frustrated. I was so close and still couldn't get there."

One day, Natxo called Acero. He had found a wave through Google Earth and thought Kepa would help him find that wave. Acero told him he had been there a few years ago but wasn't allowed to go to the island.

"I told him: I think it's worth the try. This is the biggest swell of the past 25 years," explains Natxo.

India: a perfect right-hand wave breaks in front of cattle | Photo: Aspuru

In the Middle of Nowhere

"We were like Martians. I didn't see any tourists, and I don't think tourists will ever go there because it's a bizarre place," underlines Acero.

"It's noisy everywhere, but four crazy guys are chasing a wave."

The trio found a fisherman's boat to illegally try to reach the island because they needed some papers that were very hard to get.

It was the day of the biggest swell in decades.

The surfers left at 5 am carrying all the surfboards. When they got on board, they had some issues with the tide because there was a small tunnel that they had to pass by, and they almost didn't make it.

"Once we were able to pass through, it seemed that we were finally leaving the harbor behind and could head to the island," says Acero.

Police Says "No"

"But just right when we were all excited to leave, a policeman showed up."

"He looked very angry and asked: 'where are you going?' We said we were going to the island, but he replies: 'no, you can't go there,'" adds Aritz.

The police asked surfers for the permit, and the fishermen got in trouble because it was an illegal trip. Everything went wrong in a second, and suddenly they were in trouble.

The authorities told the Spanish surfers they were not allowed to get to the island on that day, but they could have the permit for the next day.

Aritz, Kepa and Natxo: chasing a one-day swell in India | Photo: Aspuru

"We tried to explain to them that it had to be on that day, but trying to explain it to a group of people that didn't speak English was complicated," notes Aranburu.

The police didn't understand that they were there for the cyclone. The next move was to find a solution by themselves.

"We knew that the fishermen were in trouble, but we were lucky because the police thought we didn't know it was prohibited," adds Acero.

"However, we were aware that if they caught us twice and ended up at the police station again, things, could go wrong. It was a tough decision, but we had to try, right?"

Everything or Nothing

The group got to a nearby river to look for fishermen. It was close to the harbor, but the police didn't watch it.

"Some fishermen arrived with a very unstable and flatboat that had the engine of a weeding machine," reveals Natxo.

Jon Aspuru, the videographer, didn't want to go because he thought they could get in trouble, but he ended up following his friends' decision. They were heading "there.

Aritz Aranburu: getting barreled somewhere in India | Photo: Aspuru

A Dream Right-Hander?

When the surfers arrived at the beach, they had to walk three kilometers from the where the boat left them to hunt the wave.

"We started seeing the first swell lines reaching the sandbar, and they were perfect! While watching the lines, I thought it was the best lineup I'd ever seen in my life. I couldn't believe it. I just wanted to get in the water," explains Natxo.

The boys hit the water.

"We were so happy after all the things we've been through. However, something inside was telling us there was something wrong - the wave was just way too fast," says Natxo.

"All the excitement crumbled down. It was a tough moment for everybody," stresses Acero.

"For the second round, I was watching what the waves were doing. The lineup was still a dream, but if you watched closely you could notice the waves were too fast," adds Aritz.

"The lineup was so close to being one of the best in the world."

A Night with Crabs and Mosquitoes

The group stayed one night with only a few blankets. The fishermen were supposed to pick them up the next day.

"We thought it was going to be the best night of our lives, the most isolated and adventurous, but the truth is that it was the worst night of my life," underlines Natxo.

Aritz, Natxo, Kepa and Jon: a night with crabs and mosquitoes | Photo: Aspuru

There were mosquitoes, biting them all over. And then the storm came, and the surfers tried to sleep under their boards.

"I was trying to sleep, and suddenly felt something similar to a spider on my face. So, I threw it away. There were crabs and mosquitoes all over the place, and we're sleeping on the sand," says Acero.

Good Morning and Goodbye

On the next morning, the swell had disappeared. The group stopped to reflect.

"Waves take us to these places but, to be honest, we often don't remember them. We tend to think of everything that happens along the way. This was a clear example of an incredible failure," reflects Acero.

As the group arrived at the customs, a police officer asked: "Were you the ones that tried to surf Hope Island?" Then, he showed us a newspaper with a photo of Jon and a policeman.

The surfing group was in the news. In the end, they may have not heaven, but they didn't lose hope and returned home with a story to tell their children.

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