When International Director of Deus Surf, award winning photographer and hobbyist filmmaker Dustin Humphrey brought a hair-brained scheme to childhood mates, surf and bike enthusiasts Harrison Roach and Zye Norris, there were two things that they couldn’t comprehend: first, the good fortune that had graced them with such a life-changing opportunity and second, the sheer magnitude of the modern-day odyssey they were about to undertake. But without so much as a second thought, they offered their resounding assent. The idea was to journey by land and sea, bike, boat and board up almost the entire length of the Indonesian archipelago and, with a stable of boards, a pair of bikes and other bare essentials loaded into a decrepit Land Rover, their quest South to Sian began…

Harrison Roach presents a weekly ten-part blog series taking us behind the scenes of Deus ex Machina’s South To Sian, directed by Dustin Humphrey.

South to Sian: The Movie

At the beginning of 2015 and coming off the unexpected success of his recently released film “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night,” Co-Founder and Director Deus ex Machina Indonesia, Dustin Humphrey sat scratching his head wondering what the hell was next. After weeks of deliberation he landed on the idea of the great, Indonesian road trip. Mind set alight with ideas, he laid out a plan – South to Sian.

I still remember how contagious his excitement was when he first told me about the idea. It was the stuff of my childhood dreams: a road trip that covered the distance between West Nusa Tengerra and North Sumatra. It’s only once you’ve spent time travelling here that you realise the gravity of a journey like that. The possibilities for surf are quite literally endless. I mean jeez, even if we didn’t surf it still reads as the adventure of a lifetime.

Dustin originally put it to me like this: “I’m going to send you and Zye Norris off with a big old four-wheel-drive, two motorbikes, new surfboards, a couple of tents and my media team to create a new travel film.” With his family and business there was no chance that Dustin could come along, but after travelling the archipelago for the past 15 years he had a good idea of what we’d come across. I was bewildered. It was one hell of an opportunity.

And so began the preparations…

Zye’s carpentry work in Australia came to an abrupt halt as he booked tickets and flew out to meet us. The hammer and nails would be there when he returned, he said.

The guys in the Temple’s bengkel stripped back a couple of Yamaha Bysons and turned them into dual-purpose machines that’d get us anywhere. They’d be our plan B’s when the surf went flat because, as Dustin told me, mountain trails are always offshore.

Around the time that was happening, the Temple shapers were going hard in the bay to create our eclectic quiver. Imagining the ridiculously diverse setups we were sure to encounter, we ended up with close to twenty boards that ranged in size from 4’11 to 10’0. A little over the top we admit, but when you can, why not?

The last piece of the puzzle was the car. We settled on an old brute of a Land Rover. No one could tell us what year it was, but it didn’t matter much, as long as it ran, which it did… most of the time. To carry the bikes, the boys welded a big old tray onto the back, and voila… the car that would take us 4,000km across Indonesia’s winding, pot holed roads and deep ocean channels.

We set off with little idea of what we’d gotten ourselves into. After four long days and two breakdowns we finally arrived at the first destination on Dustin’s itinerary: Sumbawa.

The waves were epic and the dream was alive and well. Our journey South to Sian had found its true beginnings. 

All photos: Woody Gooch / @woodygphoto