PNG: Surfing's new frontier
Photo: Kuni Takanami - Below me awaits deep, turquoise water. The ebb of the tide pushes the small motorised fishing boat I'm standing on to rise and fall with oceanic rhythm.
I throw my green, twin-fin 'fish' surfboard into the inviting 29 degrees Celsius water and dive in.
The lukewarm water is still a welcoming relief to my terribly sunburnt skin.
Jeberdi - the local surf guru at Mereman village that fronts the left-hand break I’m paddling towards – follows closely; we stroke our way over to the bumpy two-to-three foot waves breaking over a shallow limestone reef.
I take my time familiarising with the take-off point while Jeberdi doesn’t waste a heartbeat. Showing off his local knowledge and love for surfing he takes off deep, executes a smooth bottom turn thrusts his entire body – arms and all – toward the wave’s sucky face. His tattered green board shorts stand out as he propels his banged-up ‘Strapper’ surfboard into a fast top turn, throwing spray high into the sultry air.