Words & thoughts by Luke Flanders

For the past maybe 15 months I'd been dealing with depression and hectic anxiety. Instead of addressing it i just drank really heavily and partied. Bottling everything upon and just getting worse and worse. Not many people knew how bad i was struggling.
Not even my closest mates. My social life was a bit of an act. Acting like everything was sweet.
Leading up to Christmas, and after, i just went on a tirade and went deeper. Basically losing control and losing sight of the person I am and the things I love.
My partner at the time was the only one that knew what I was going through. She encouraged me to seek help but just brushed it off. She was the one who copped the brunt of it and in the end it caused the relationship to break down.
      Photo: @moritzrichy
Gallery by @gianggawphoto
Everything came to a screeching hold after the Byron Bay surf festival. I basically had a breakdown. I started to get scared of myself and the thoughts I was having. I couldn't live another day like that.
So I finally booked myself into my GP. He suggested a detox center straight up. I didn't want to go because I´d made a promise to myself:
 I wouldn't drink for a month. I at least wanted to try for my self and if I failed I promised him I´d go. I just didn't want to go the medication route because I wanted to feel everything I´d suppressed and feel everything wholly.

We agreed on therapy and as cliche as it sounds I got really into Yoga. And for the first time ever I didn't drink for a month, something I thought I´d probably never be able to do. The party had been such a big part of my life and basically embedded into the person I was. It was so hard to change old habits and thought patterns. I´m lucky to have such a supportive friend base and family.
Honestly, I think if it wasn't for my mum I wouldn't be here.



Photo @gianggaw
In among all this I started to think about Java. I just wanted to surf again. I was hardly surfing and when I did I sucked.
I´d seen all these clips of a left and right bowl exploding over shallow imperfect reef in this horse shoe bay. It looked quiet, beautiful, and far away from any type of party. And if I got tired of hitting the reef i could just cruise further West to take out the log at an infamously mellow Javanese point break.
I booked tickets and this is what we experienced:


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