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, had severe limitations regarding 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, 17years later, at the beginning of 2009 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. “Don’t look back!’