Bodyboarding Indonesia – An interview with photographer Thom Berry

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Thom Berry joined us on our recent Indonesia Bodyboard-Holiday. Thom is travelling through south East Asia on a winter trip away from his base in Portugal. He delivered bodyboard coaching and shot video footage and photo’s of the crew to help them to improve and did an excellent job. We caught up with him for a look through the images that he shot during our epic Bodyboard-holiday and a chat about his travels.

Age? 

I am 22 years old

Where do you live?

Last 3 years in Leeds as I was studying, but I’m based in Lisbon, Portugal most of the time now

What is your travelling agenda this winter?

I have been travelling through South East Asia since the beginning of February, starting in Thailand then, Malaysia and Indonesia.

It’s your first trip to Indo. What were your preconceived images of the place before you arrived?

My preconceived thoughts of Indonesia were perfect but potentially busy line-ups that didn’t involve a lot of exploration and tons of young backpackers. I have been really surprised though as if you know where to look there are stacks of empty, amazing spots available – even in Bali.

What has been your travel schedule since you’ve been here? 

We decided to head to Sumatra first, more specifically Simeulue, a small island off the north west coast of Sumatra. It was an incredible introduction to Indonesia as it is far from a touristic place, very few local people spoke English so that forced us to learn a bit of the language and meet the locals.

You’ve just worked on the Indo Bodyboard-Holiday as the head filmer. What were the highlights of the trip for you?

For me the highlight was definitely Nusa Lembongan, it was an incredible place with lots of things to do, the place we ran the trip was really nice, an infinity pool, a beautiful beach, good food, easy access to super fun waves, some of the best waves I have seen over my 2 months in Indonesia so far!

Of the three locations, Canggu, Nusa Lembongan and the Bukit Peninsular, which was your favourite? 

Nusa Lembongan and also the Single Fin bar at Uluwatu – I love that place haha!

Which was your favourite location to shoot and why? 

I would have to say a perfect right hander that we surfed in Nusa Lembongan, it’s a really good right hander. The boys scored big time one day –  it looked super fun, it was quite difficult resisting the urge to jump off the boat and join them! I was frothing!

Now that you’re coming to the end of your Indo trip, what are your thoughts about the place?

I was surprised by the amount of times we actually had great waves all to ourselves both on the Bodyboard-holidays trip and our surf adventure in Simeulue, 2 weeks without seeing another surfer was something special. I’m really enjoying my time here in Indonesia, in a few days I will have to leave to renew my visa, but I am strongly considering going to Java before heading back to Portugal for the May Bodyboard-Holidays trip, I can’t wait!  

Sumatra was by far the best adventure, we explored the north of Sumatra and Simeulue for a month. It was an incredible experience, we got to see Orangutans in the wild, that are unfortunately really threatened by the shocking extent of Palm Oil plantations in Sumatra. Local overnight ferries in a storm, extremely long bumpy rides through the countryside, volcanoes, waterfalls, snakes, reefs, scratches and bruises, we had it all, it really kept us on our toes.

What is your favourite shot that you took on the trip and why?

Possibly a big set that rolled in at a sick left in Nusa Lembongan, the inside section was throwing so hard it was a pleasure to witness.

It looked like fun shooting this clip of Essex bodyboarder Joe Cameron Wallace who was on the Bodyboard-Holidays trip. Can you tell us a little about his antics?

Ahh yes the legend of JCW, what a character, it was a pleasure having him and his antics on this trip and I thoroughly enjoyed putting his edit together, it was the first time we offered such a video package on a trip and I think it is a perfect way to remember the holiday, top notch comedy in this case.