It is no secret that the area around Resort Latitude Zero is blessed with an amazing selection of quality right handers, some of these breaks are mellow and super fun to suit all levels of surfing and some, when the swell is up can only be considered world class and requiring a “balls to the wall” attitude to score amazing tube rides and life changing time warp moments deep in the green room.
When these highly respected and sort after breaks turn on with a large clean ground swell it is safe to say that they are the domain of experienced natural footers, some who have devoted much of their lives to being at the right spot at the right time and some who are just lucky enough to be in “the right spot at the right time” to score these flawlessly perfect barrel machines on. Either way it is rare to see a goofy footer come within cooee of being the standout surfer on these magic Telo surfing days we all live for. Over the past dozen years and countless epic swells there has been only very few exceptions to this norm.
To see a goofy footer not only equal the natural footer’s performances but absolutely blow them out of the water on these epic days on some of the world’s best and most challenging right handers is special and two performances are burned in our minds as stand outs and will never be forgotten by the lucky surf guides and guests who were a part of these awesome surfing days.
Sam & Lennox Chell are the ultimate father / son surfing team. It is hard to know who froths harder when on surfing “surfari” in Sumatra each year, dad Sam or son Lennox. Lennox a budding young sponsored grom and Sam once considered a potential candidate of the Aussie avant-garde to combat the rising American firestorm of Robert Kelly Slater and his Momentum Generation buddies taking over the competitive surfing world in the 90’s. Against the will of the Quiksilver hierarchy at the time, Sam instead chose a career path as an ocean going ship master or a ‘Master class one’ skipper, in which he has been very successful and one of the youngest ocean masters in the country at the time.
Sam remains super fit, totally dedicated to surfing and still rips. Which regularly reminds us of what could have been, had he chosen the pro surfing path over the long and arduous apprenticeship journey to becoming ship’s master all those years ago.
After all Sam’s visits to Resort Latitude Zero over the years and all the epic sessions he had shared with his son at so many amazing surf breaks there was still one freight train world class right hander he was yet to score and was fast become his voodoo curse. “I just want one session at it”.
On the last day of his trip in 2013 the stars aligned, and a small window of opportunity opened for the voodoo to be put to bed. Being a goofy footer on his backhand Sam elected to wear a helmet for the chance to score the backhand barrel of a lifetime over deathly shallow coral reef but he need not have been concerned. Sam paddled out and surfed 3 perfect beasts from start to finish before calling it a day having slam dunked the voodoo well and truly. All 3 waves were tubes from start to finish and on one particularly epic wave demonstrated technical backhand tube riding at it’s very finest across the almost impossible inside ledge. Remaining in the tube for 60 to 70m is difficult on your forehand, doing it on your backhand through 4 heaving long and technical sections and at times behind the foam ball is a skill few surfers in the world can claim.
The interview was shot in person by Matt Cruden.
Thanks to Swilly for the awesome images, check out the lens master here: https://swilly.com.au