Shawn Briley is back. Again. Riding bombs. Blowing minds. I don’t know where he went or why or even care. Better not to ask. But I just saw him catch an amazing wave and I can’t get it out of my mind.
So I walked down the beach to ask about his comeback, but then he got sick and it definitely wasn’t the right time for an interview. Maybe he ate some bad Indo food. Maybe it was from a few long-absent and well-deserved comeback Bintangs. Maybe it was just leftover adrenaline from yesterday’s waves. If Briley was sick today…he was even sicker the day before.
Seems like Briley has made a career out of showing up out of nowhere and blowing people’s minds with the wave of the day. He’s a big guy. He’s had his share of ups and downs. And when you see him paddling for a bomb…you better believe it’s his wave. Second Reef Pipe. Left at Waimea. You probably didn’t want that one anyway.
So that’s what went down yesterday out at a well-known secret spot in Indonesia. Briley famously charged the super-shallow “Grower” section at this spot years ago (maybe he was even one of the first), but today was a different scene: a dozen A-list pros, and a baker’s dozen of B-list Brazilians were making the lineup quite a zoo. Low tide. Solid swell. Sun setting. Shawn picks one off up the top and ropes his way through three long barrels.
I shot these photos as he barreled past. You’ll probably see better in the days to come — video, too, I suspect; there was quite a media circus on the beach. As he rolled out of one barrel and into the next, Briley raised two fists above his head. Triumph. So stoked. Then the wave heaved over him again, down into The Grower section and Briley dropped his claim (but not his grin) and disappeared back into the tube…maybe for another decade or so.
Sickness. That’s what is was.
Interviews are stupid, anyway. Getting barreled ain’t. Nice one, Shawn. —Nathan Myers