The idea for Freeline Indonesian Surf Adventures (FISA) was formed during the Australian winter of 1991 and the first FISA tour arrived in Bali, en route to West Java, in early 1992.
FISA was started with nothing much more than a dream and not much money by Kiwi expat Nev Hines, a long time surfboard maker in New Zealand and Australia and 5 year veteran traveler to Indonesia looking for a reason to spend more time surfing the great waves he’d experienced there.
FISA started with a trip, via Bali, to West Java, then relatively unknown, with the first 6 surfers willing to take a gamble on Nev delivering the goods.
Garry ‘Binatang’ Ralph, Geoff ‘Lump’ Roddick, Lachlan ‘Locknuts’ Gunn, Mal ‘Malice’ McNaughton, Cam ‘Dognuts’ ? and Col Hedley. Thanks for believing in me boys, you were major players in the development of FISA.
All went to plan, we got great waves, had a wild old time and FISA was on it’s way.
The second year saw the meeting between Nev and Stuart Horstman during a FISA trip in Cimaja West Java. The friendship grew and over the next few years they remained in contact with Stuart making a few weekend trips to Forster where Nev was making Freeline Surfboards.
Nev carried on with FISA and Stuart was doing his thing and exploring different areas in Indo on his own and sometimes with his brother Richard.
Sometime during the summer of 1996/7 after a few waves at Boomerang Beach, and a few more Bourbons that night, Stuart and Nev got talking about the business and how to grow it.
Nev, a one man band, was stretched covering marketing, booking and organizing tours, as well as being the surf guide, even taking into account the work his then wife Sharon was doing to help get it all on the road.
Stuart basically asked for a job and put forward a proposal for a partnership, which was agreed on. He brought the much needed office, computer, and book keeping skills required to bring FISA into the real world. As both had by then spent considerable time traveling and surfing in Indonesia, they had a good grasp of the Indonesian language and were comfortable traveling to remote areas with very basic facilities. They knew the feeling of hard going and sleeping on bamboo mats on the floor, rough transport and eating plenty of rice.
FISA advertises itself as ‘the Indo specialists’ and with good reason. Between the 2 of them they have over 40 years combined experience surfing and traveling in Indonesia. The focus is and remains only on Indonesia because they both agree it’s better to stick with what we know best so as to be able to offer surfers the best we can provide given the wealth of experience we can call on to see us through.
One of the main things both agree on is that we don’t want to be like everybody else. We’re willing to be as flexible as we can with travel plans to give customers the best surf holiday possible.
Nev and Stuart keep a close ‘hands on’ approach to the business and it’s often that they will turn up in the same area as a tour so as to meet the group face to face. Neither want to be just a voice on the phone or a photo on the net. We enjoy meeting groups on site in Indo and hearing what the customers have to say about the waves, facilities and how they’re enjoying the trip.
We’re never afraid to go that extra yard too ensure that all our customers get the surf holiday the wanted and paid for.
Here we are now 19 years later in 2011 and looking forward to another successful season of great Indo waves, fun times and meeting a bunch of new friends.
We’ve weathered the Asian financial crisis in 1997, the demise of Suharto in 1998, the first Bali bombing on 12th October 2002, and the second on 1st October 2005 as well as several other crises along the way and we’re still going strong and showing surfers from all over the world the fun and excitement of choice Indo waves in remote areas as well as the well known spots.
From a humble beginning offering a single West Java / Bali tour we’ve grown into a competent surf tour business that can take customers to pretty much anywhere in Indo from Aceh to Timor and also to non-surfing areas.
We feel we really are ‘the Indo specialists’ and you can feel secure spending your hard earned cash with Freeline Indonesian Surf Adventures for a surfing holiday you’ll always remember.
THE CREW WHO MAKE YOUR ADVENTURE HAPPEN
These are the main Freeline crew, all of them proven
over the years for their honesty, friendliness and pride in
helping Freeline give the best service we can.
Over the years business dealings have led to some long
term friendships, so you can always expect a friendly welcome
in the areas we visit.
ANDI - Travel Coordinator &
Andi is our Jakarta Manager, coordinating all transport and accommodation for our South Sumatra and West Java
Tours, and transfers to Padang, Medan and Bali. He regularly drives for
us and is usually on hand at the Airport
meeting group arrivals.
His extensive knowledge of Jakarta and friendly attitude
makes sure our customers are at ease.
Andi has been with Freeline almost from the start and his
experience and English skills have made him a valuable member
of the Freeline Team and a great trouble shooter.
While not driving, Andi can be found behind the desk at his office, or at home with his wife and young daughter.
NANA- Surf Guide (South Sumatra)
Nana joined Freeline in 2005 and since then he proven to be a great asset to the business. Nana's happy-go-luck nature, great repore with people and hard work ethic means that our guests at Ombak Indah get the most out of their stay. He was instrumental in developing the 'Nature Trek', a 1/2 day excursion through amazing agricultural areas behind Ombak Indah Losmen.
Nana came to Freeline with considerable travel industry experience, working as a tour guide and in service for large hotels in the Cerita area of West Java.
He is becoming a competent surfer and an expert in the South Sumatra region. He is always up for a game of table-tennis, and claims to be the resident champion!
AGUS - Guide / Liaison (West Java)
Agus is an excellent surfer still learning English
and is an important member of our West Java team. Honest
and reliable, Agus makes sure our surfers get the best waves,
have fun and no hassles.
As a local, Agus has first hand knowledge of most
surf spots in the area and which places work best under different
Agus loves to fish and will often accompany Stuart
on exploration trips to the more remote parts of West Java and
SUE CUSTER - Sales Consultant
Sue first started working with Freeline in 2005 as our in-house ticketing expert. She is now the sales front line answering calls and emails, ensuring you have all the information you need to get on the right trip. She does all our ticketing and booking processing.
Sue has over twenty five years travel industry experience and brings an essential depth of knowledge to the business.
Sue is based in Evans Head, NSW, and is married to long time Freeline customer, Indo surf technical adviser, and good friend Dave 'Messiah' Custer.
STUART HORSTMAN- Business Manager
Stuart is the brains behind the business, so Nev said.
He joined the business in 1997 and manages marketing and administration in Australia, ensuring smooth communications with staff and operators on the ground in Indonesia.
But mainly he's a surfer and gets out on the road as
much as possible and is happiest sampling the Indo juice with
our customers or checking new spots for future tours. He spends a total of about three months a year in Indo.
His other job back in Sydney involves working with
big business, helping them to get more organised.
NEV HINES - Freeline Founder (21.11.1946 - 27.5.2011)
A surfer and shaper for most of his life, Nev fell under the spell
of the Indonesian addiction on his first trip there in 1987.
Since then he spent most of his checking out
plenty of quality uncrowded surf.
The knowledge and friendships gained in that time led
to the formation of Freeline Indonesian Surf Adventures in 1992.
Nev was managing Ombak Indah Losmen up until he passed away on 27th May 2011. He and his wife Ani built the team that now ensures everything runs smoothly, facilities are maintained and improved, and guests looked after. Ani has now taken over managing Ombak Indah Losmen.