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Farewell David Wyllie; 1951-2012

The Indonesian surfing community farewells one of its founding members.

Words: Lorca Lueras / Lines Magazine
Photos: Jason Childs

The Indonesian surfing community lost one of its founding members with the passing of Australian David Wyllie last week. David was one of the early surfing pioneers pushing deep into uncharted Indonesia in the 1970s when Bali was still a mystery to the world. David was a man of stories. If you had any interest or question on Indonesia, surfing, fishing, or exploring, David had something amazing to say about one of his journeys and had already been there and done that probably before the place even had a name.

David had moved all over Indonesia from Jakarta to Bali to Sumba where he lived comfortably amongst its prominent citizens. He was very close with the Kings of Eastern Sumba where he lived. His son Hamish would jokingly complain of his father trying to marry him off to local princesses when he was younger.

The island of Sumba was where David found his paradise, particularly on the eastern coast where he built the East Sumba Resort. Known on Sumba as “Mister David”, he was the first expat really living full time in that area since the 1970s. East Sumba was where his biggest passions lay with big game fishing, empty perfect surfing breaks, and primary sources of ikat weaving and production, another great interest of his. East Sumba is not a typical tourist destination and the area still remains very undeveloped and largely unknown for the most part. Mainly those that stayed with Mister David and shared some of his mouthwatering home cooked meals would know more about what he was talking about.

With David Wyllie’s passing we see one of the true early Indonesian pioneers and surf legends disappear from our physical world. All you needed to do was look around at those gathered at his cremation and beach paddle out to know that Mister David was indeed very respected and loved. Although he has moved onto a bigger wave, bigger fish and bigger paradise, David Wyllie’s stories and spirit will live on with us forever.


Dave proudly showing off one of his Outer Island surfboards to photographer Jason Childs in Sumba several weeks ago.