The Bermuda Triangle is quite a ways from here, but the girls found a way to get lost of their own accord.
“We’re gunna need another boat...”
“I don’t remember one day that we didn’t have like, a really good laugh or have fun together,” Alana reminisces.
Make peace whenever and wherever you can find it. The ocean is the best place to start.
Nikki builds, Alana approves, Tyler burns…
Tyler practices her “dis-mounts” just in case surfing hits the Olympics.
A sea to themselves.
“40 hours and counting, maybe 50 hours to get here or something for my first boat trip,” said Nikki Van Dijk. “Then I got on the boat and it’s so incredibly beautiful, it’s amazing, but later when I got sea sick I felt ‘Nope, get me off, get me home.’ I didn’t know seasickness could be that bad, would be like it is, but it was completely worth it in the end.”
It’s hard to define everything that makes Alana Blanchard so special, but that’s the thing about charisma.
Action chicks. Never miss a beat. Tyler, who loves motocross, revving it out through the flat spots.
Looking back is something you always find time to do on a boat trip.
What would you do to be here right now?
The way out and the way in always comes back to the “tin boat”.
On their travels the girls visited a local village and were an instant attraction.
“Within three seconds they were all over us and basically took us home...”
“We were on this amazing boat in our own world, complaining about being sunburnt or something and we went: lets go see this village and when I got there it was like ‘Oh my god, how they live,” says Alana. “I woke up next morning thinking of it. I have not experienced something like that - ever.”
Tyler Wright reflects: “Where I grew up we would have locked our doors and gone inside and said, “Hey, mum there’s some weirdos outside, you might want to call the cops. Like ASAP!”
“It’s really beautiful to have had that time and met those people. They are quite simple in how they live and gosh it’s so easy to be happy, isn’t it?” asks Nikki Van Dijk.
“It’s sometimes hard to open up to people because we have the spotlight on us,” says Alana. “But, on trips like this you’re around around people who want you to be who you are. They want me to say the weird stuff that I want to say. And that’s cool because who cares anyway...”
Alana has been doing a lot of free surfing this year without the constraints of the WSL schedule and her timing and flow reflects that freedom.
Whipping one back on the skate park like walls.
All down the line.
Crystal Voyaging at a favourite spot. This righthander is “The one all the natural footers love to surf,” says surf guide Albert Taylor.
Blowing the back to heaven.
She has 1.4m followers on Instagram, but first and foremost Alana Blanchard is a surfer and she came for waves above all else. In the zone and perfectly positioned for what lies ahead.
“It’s fun to just not care. It (no internet connection) almost takes you away from the reality of social media and everyone critiquing you it’s just not having expectations on anything.”
It was Nikki’s first ever boat trip. Can you tell?
The perfect platform for Nikki to perfect her World Tour repertoire.
Life doesn’t get much funner than this. Setting up on one of the waves of the trip.
Developed in the frigid waters of Victoria at the bottom of Australia and buoyed by a competitive streak in the hunt for the world title, Nikki’s surfing has a performance edge that is all about using the wave to the best of her ability.
Nikki’s pocket game is strong and vert.
A tube is a tube is a tube and you never let the chance go by to pull in. Do you? Nikki sets rail.
Logging in on Search GPS and looking right at home.
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Tyler: er, hungry.
Anyone who watches the WSL knows that Tyler sits on the power side of the draw and knows the pocket is the place to find the juice. Makes sense to look there then if you are searching for her.
Whipping the most rippable right in the chain.
Tyler Wright absolutely owns the drop wallet..
“The need (to Search) comes from a want to see something new,” says Tyler.
“That’s the thing about searching you never know what you are in for.”
Busting loose.
“The Search never ends,” says the Culburra Kid. “And it isn’t about what you find, it’s about the experience itself and when you expect nothing you get everything…”
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Over the years, Rip Curl’s flagship Search boat the Quest 1 had been a home away from home to the Rip Curl girls, but alas, she is no more.  Earlier this year she unfortunately sunk – just a week before the girls were due to go on a Search trip.

Locked and loaded we needed to find another boat – pronto. So we called Martin Daly, the man who first showed Curren, Davo, Dooma and Frankie then unknown Search perfection back in the early 90s. If anyone had a vessel, he would. “No problem,” he said from some wind swept perch in Micronesia. “Sorted”.

And so we mobilised. Tyler from Australia, Nikki from El Salvador and Alana from Cyberland converging on the big blue cork that would soon leave port and float them away from it all.

The girls, our girls. Again on The Search.

Images by Dan Warbrick and Trent Mitchell. Video by Mick Wilcomes and Bali Strickland.

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