It could be said that the waves were perfect on a recent morning at a remote location in Java, in southern Indonesia.
Photo credit: Zak Noyle/A-Frame
Perfect, except for the appalling amount of trash and other debris, which transformed the typically amazing experience of getting barreled into one that left both surfer and photographer feeling nauseated.
“It was crazy. I kept seeing noodle packets floating next to me,” said Zak Noyle, the photographer. “It was very disgusting to be in there; I kept thinking I would see a dead body of some sort for sure.”
As unpleasant as the experience might have been, however, Noyle’s remarkable photos showing local surfer Dede Suriyana inside a garbage-strewn wave beautifully illustrate the sometimes overwhelming pollution problem in Indonesia.
“The trash had never been seen like this before in Indonesia; all of us were baffled,” said Noyle, a staff photographer for Surfer magazine. “The trash in Dede’s photo was the worst. No others came close to that type of disaster.”
The republic is a mecca for surfers who stay on its many islands and travel via boat to remote spots that they often enjoy by themselves. The atmosphere is idyllic and some spots remain pristine but, depending on currents, some end up strewn with garbage and debris.
“The populated areas just dump their trash in the rivers or straight onto the sand to be washed away,” explained Jeff Hall, Noyle’s agent. “Unfortunately the tides and currents do a great job of carrying it away and depositing it on some of the most isolated (previously pristine) beaches in the world.”
The location of Noyle’s photo shoot with Suryana was a small bay far from civilization, with no buildings in view. Just a beach lined with trees.
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This post is also available in: Indonesian