Sumba: Premier Surf, Ancient Cultures
April 28 - May 9, 2016
Located in eastern Indonesia facing the wide Indian Ocean, Sumba is a photographer’s delight. Little known to all but the most intrepid surfer and adventure traveler, this island, a 55 minute flight from Bali, in addition to having exceptional surf, is home to a people who still adhere to the ancient belief of Marapu or ancestor worship. The Sumba people worship rocks, trees, animals rain, wind and fire. The rugged savannah, extensive grassy plateaus and low limestone hills are home to hilltop villages with thatched clan houses clustered around megalithic tombs. It is here where pigs, goats, water buffalo, Brahman cattle and wild horses roam freely. The women create intricate ikat weavings, while the men tend to cashew plantations, raise animals, and grow rice, corn and cassava. One of the last megalithic cultures on earth, the people of Sumba read signs in the eviscerated entrails of chickens and butcher pigs; the dead reside among the living in giants tombs etched with exotic symbols. This obscure island is untouched by tourism due to its remoteness and lack of tourist infrastructure. Sumba is said to be the "anti Bali" and Hawaii of the 1950's. In late April 2016, world renowned surf and lifestyle photographer, Art Brewer, will be leading an exclusive twelve day photography intensive trip to this fascinating location, with a group size limited to ten participants.
Art Brewer is the dean of surf photographers. Long before surfing became what it is today, and surf photography a genre, Art was there with his camera. He is known for his versatility and innovation in conveying the elusive essence of surfing to the masses. A master photographer and skilled teacher, Art instructors in the water, on a boat as well as on land. On this bespoke trip, participants will be instructed on all aspects of action surf photography, regardless of skill level.
Sumba a surfer's paradise is considered one of Asia's most consistent surf breaks, with large rolling Sumba barrels appearing in April when this trip will take place. The waves can range from huge outer reefs, to perfect peelers and everything in between as the breaks are directly exposed to corduroy Indian ocean swells. Premier rights and large double overhead surf will allow the group to photograph the world class surfers whom we will be bringing in as our models. This photography trip will include morning surf photography opportunities from land, as well as in water via boat assistance. Art will be assisted by two experienced watermen so that optimum photography instruction and positioning can take place.
Once the winds kick up in the afternoon and we can't compose surfing images, the group will be afforded the opportunity to photograph the Sumba people in their remote clan-like villages. We will venture out in small groups so as to not overwhelm or disrespect the people that we will be documenting. Being culturally sensitive will be our mantra and a donation will be made to each clan. Our local guide who speaks Bahasa Indonesia will assist with gaining us admittance to the villages. The possibility of attending a pig roast, a wedding or funeral, a gong ceremony, or even an animal sacrifice, performed to gain favor with the spirits, all are within reach. The trip will include a hike to a local waterfall, an early morning jungle walk, and numerous landscape photography opportunities. We will travel by car to villages that are more than an hour away and walk to nearby villages. Sumba is a mosaic of natural and exotic wonder and there will be ample opportunities to photograph it all.
Afternoons will also be the time for post production work and photo critique sessions led by Art, while Art's longtime studio manager Joanna Miriam who is a professional photographer will be offering both individual and group lightroom tutorials. You will have the opportunity to have your work critiqued by Art. This is not a classroom based photography workshop but an intensive photography tour that will cover lighting, composition and and all things photographic.
Optional opportunities which are being offered but not included in the trip fee are; two hour surf lessons, scooter rental and ninety minute massages.
The group will be lodged in the eco friendly Ngalung Kalla Retreat. Couples will have a private room and all others will be in shared accommodations. The rooms are simple style, open air bungalows with shades for privacy on a cliff overlooking the Sumba coastline. The bungalows are spacious and built out of bamboo and thatched grass and have king size and twin beds. Shared composting toilets and hot and cold showers are located nearby.
Fresh water is trucked in, reverse osmosis and uv filtered. Generators provide power from 7 am until 5 pm with additional solar power in the evening. Temperatures range from 85 in the day to 70 at night. April is after the rainy season so mosquitos are limited, but mosquito nets are over every bed. Taking anti-malarial medication is suggested.
The group will eat family style at picnic tables with the menu consisting of fresh vegetables, chicken and fish daily (vegetarian options available). Cold beer is readily available, alcohol is not available. Internet is not available. This is not a resort with a/c, a swimming pool or a gift store. This is a basic surf retreat with a super relaxed vibe. If you want to know what quiet sounds like, you will experience it here.
Our group will have the entire Ngalung Kalla Retreat (Big Wave Village) to ourselves. Joining us will be three professional surfers, two watermen and a local fixer/interpreter.
Is this trip for me?
Group dynamics are really important and each person is responsible for their own happiness. If you love the surf life, photography, adventure travel, meeting new people, learning how to do surf photography, getting out of your comfort zone, and being peaceful, you will love this trip. If you need to have control over everything, are addicted to your iPhone and Facebook, are negative, need creature comforts and don't like sand on your feet, this trip is not for you.
If you have never done surf photography, this trip will be a truly remarkable life experience. To spend 12 days shooting with Art Brewer will be a game changer. As long as you are a swimmer, you will be safe as we are providing a full support team to help you. If you are already a surf photographer, Art Brewer will take you to a new level. Due to the nature of this trip, if you want to take a break from the water and concentrate on cultural photography you will also have the flexibility to do so.
April 28 - May 9, 2016
1 night Bali, 11 nights Sumba
Bali - Sumba - Bali Flight included
Couples / Friends discount: $400
Airport transfers, all meals, all local guides and photography fees, donation to local community. You are responsible for your flight to and from Bali and obtaining your Indonesia visa. Trip insurance which includes health and evacuation is mandatory.