words, photos and videos by Andy Potts

We just returned from Mark Occhilupo’s 2016 legends trip at Kandui Villas.

I found myself sitting on the front steps of Uma 9 (Occy’s Villa) overlooking the incredible and infamous No Kandui wave. It was only 2-3 foot and un-surfable at the time and yet Occy saw potential in every wave that rolled through. He shared stories of early boat trips through the Mentawai Islands and of his epic win at the OP pro which was held at the wave right in front of us… conditions were a little bigger that day.

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On this particular trip, we surfed everything available: an epic little right hander over a very shallow reef where Occy and his guests scored some super fun rides for the first 2 days.

The crowds were minimal, the Bintangs were cold, it was the perfect start to the trip.

In the ensuing days the swell built,  solid 4-6+ sets rolled through the Playground’s area, with consistent waves around there were plenty options. Bigger swells often tend to draw crowds to the more well known breaks and sometimes leave the lesser known places to the surfers who are willing to search a little further.

It didn’t take Occ long to find our group a reeling left hander with the perfect looking backdrop of lush green palms to round out the upbeat  mood.

Occy led the way, spending 6 hours in the water each day of the swell, scoring some epic tube rides and plenty of face for the “99” World Champion to do his “thing.”

We all enjoyed the show, surfing with the champ, listening to his tales, taking his advice and having so many laughs.

It does get very hot in the Mentawai so staying hydrated is the key.

The esky full of water and icy cold Bintangs ensured everyone was in a great mood.

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The routine was set.

Epic nights at the bar with daily surf slide shows, Occy on the guitar sharing stories of epic sessions past and an all round sense of brotherhood was the vibe for the entire trip.

Thanks to all involved for making the trip … EPIC!

The great news is that we are doing it all again. This time in a different setting aboard a charter boat in the Maldives.

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The waves will be fun and accessible to all levels. Come alone, bring friends or perhaps your kids who surf.

Mark and The Perfect Wave invite you on the experience of a lifetime. Spend a week in early September 2017 surfing the Maldives with Occy and his teenage son Jay (who is tearing it up on the Aus junior competitive scene.).

Occy will share stories and beer or two, and The Perfect Wave’s photographer Andy Potts will capture the whole trip on video as well as shooting some surfing photos of you.

words, photos and videos by Andy Potts

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