The horseshoe shaped Lagundri Bay on Nias' southern end is a swell magnet, capable of producing one of the best waves in the world, which we all know. What you may not, is there's currently a plan to build a new road in Sorake Beach, which would allow vehicles to cruise from the top of the point all the way to Lagundri, right on top of the reef – which means, we've got a serious threat to one of the greatest waves of all time.
“We have a bit of a crisis going on at the moment in Nias,” said a trusted local source. “The local government has just announced that they are going to build a dam and road all along the living reef at Sorake Beach, raised 80cm tall on the reef, which has the potential to create backwash and ruin one of the best waves in the world. However, they only have the budget approved for a small section, so we still have a chance to stop the rest of the project, but we need more worldwide support. The tourists who are currently here and some locals will be holding a protest as they begin.”
Spot guide: Nias
Remember the devastating 8.6 magnitude earthquake and tsunami of 2005? It destroyed the beachfront and subsequently lifted the reef a metre. Once all the chaos had settled down from that, the reef was steadily reanimated.
“In the years after the tsunami, many families feared another wave would wash through their homes and accommodation, so they started to build dams, or walls along the beach/reef to prevent the high tide water from coming up.
“Over time, the locals were introduced to building with cement, which soon replaced the traditional wooden bungalows. The cement buildings are much stronger and last longer, but the downside is that cement needs to be mixed with sand, and this led to Lagundri Beach (inside the bay) being mined of most of its lovely, fine, soft sand. Sorake Beach is a village run by a local chief. Last year, the chief put all village money into building an extended dam and road along a section of the beach.
“The government plans to continue their dam and road all the way along the beach/reef to Lagundri Beach, a stretch of about 1.5 kilometres of natural reef.
“They plan to bring in a mountain of rocks to cover the reef, and then a cement road on top that will allow people to drive over the reef. Not only would this destroy the natural beauty of Sorake Beach, but it will potentially create backwash and affect the wave. The road would have to be taller than the high tide line, which can come up pretty high during big swells.”
According to the source, construction's already begun on a small section of the reef but there is still time to put a stop on the next phase. We'll bring you updates as it happens.