Surf and Quake

This story and photo appear on Australia’s www.news.com.au. You can read the whole thing by clicking the link at the end of this excerpt.

FOR a man whose home and office has just been torn apart by an earthquake, Australian surf photographer Josh Symon is pretty relaxed.

“Oh well, an earthquake is an earthquake,” he says with a shrug, standing outside what was once the office of shipping company Sumatran Surfariis (Surfariis), for which he’s worked for almost six months.

“This was a fairly big one, but it’s not the big one they’re expecting.”

Chaos as earthquake toll mounts

Sumatran Surfariis is owned by an Australian, Chris Sturrah, and his American partner. They’ve run the business, which employs up to 40 Australians at any given time, for 12 years.

Symon, originally from Sydney, was on one of the company’s surf charter boats out near the Mentawai Islands when the quake struck.

“It was pretty hectic,” he says, but with another shrug, as if he wasn’t all that awed.

He and his crew returned to find the office – where he and a number of other staff also lived – in complete ruins.

“All our gear is still buried in the rubble,” he says. “Except our passports – we managed to retrieve those.”

Another Sydney man who works for the company, Andrew Bevan, says he lost all his possessions when the building collapsed.

“I lost everything, my clothes, everything,” he says.

`My room has no floor,” he adds, with a laugh.

Both men say they don’t know of any Aussies injured or killed in the quake.

“All the surfers are safe, and why would you come to Padang if you’re not surfing?” Symon says, as if the idea was unheard of.

The pair plan to leave Indonesia at the end of the month, but for now they will sleep on one of their boats, anchored in a nearby river.

“And we have to clean up,” Symon says with a nod towards the shattered building.

Read of the complete story at:http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,21598,26157072-948,00.html
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