Photos: The Shieldsy Chronicles - Telo Islands
When photographer Andrew Shield jumped on Air Asia flight D7 207 out of Coolangatta back on July 5, to shoot guests at Pinnacles on Telo, the long-term forecasts for the Indian Ocean were looking intriguing, but it was far enough out that anything could happen.
All Shieldsy knew back then as he settled into seat 8D - traveller’s tip: if you’re flying Air Asia, drop some coin to get in the ‘quiet zone’, it’s the best $25 you’ll ever spend - was that waves were on the way.
Now, as August rolls on and Andrew scampers home to reset the visa, he’s still faintly traumatised by what he witnessed. “It wasn’t just the biggest Telos I’ve seen, it’s how relentless it was,” he says. “You’d wake up day after day and if it wasn’t falling out of the sky, it was still overhead and pumping. We had four-foot lefthander coming through where normally we’d anchor the boats out the front of the Lodge. It was out of control.”
“Obviously it wasn’t as big as Ulus or further south in the Ments, but it was still mega. A few days were too much for the guests, obviously, but they were happy to go watch the show at the big right."
“We headed down to the South Telos on the tail end of the last swell to check out some spots down there. The crew at Pegasus are firing up some special split trips: five days at Telo Island Lodge or Pinnacles then five days Down South.
“I guess the idea is to give guests access to all the Telos have to offer without having to spend hours on a boat every day. God if you scored at both zones you’d lose count of the joints you’d surf.”
Anyway, here’s some pics from a remarkable run of swell.
All captions by the photographer, pics courtesy Pegasus Lodges.
This bommie’s probably fifteen foot. No takers. Maybe Dan Corbett – an old guide at the lodge – might have given it a shake if he was around.
This is Jacque ‘Wobby' Botha. Head Guide at Pinnacles on Telo. Wobby was on leave back home in Capetown for most of the swells. He managed to get back just in time for the third and final mega swell on the 27th.
We don’t like to name this spot as it’s the same name as the island it breaks off, but needless to say it’s THE big wave spot here in the Telos. Probably ten-to-12 foot in this pic.
This view from the boat gives it some scale. Look how dense that whitewater is - just a rolling Cumulonimbus cloud. This is Dingo, one of the guides at Telo Island Lodge, loving his job.
Hasn’t all been death pits though. Here’s Kiwi fella Dan Russek –a guest at Pinnacles on Telo – slicing through typically clean conditions at a zippy little spot we love.
This is one of our go-to spots on medium swells. It’s nudging six foot in this pic and holding its shape. We had it to ourselves all day.
It’s all about the sprint paddle. Guide Dingo out of the blocks.
Pinnacles guest Joaquin sums up the second half of July in the Telos. Overload.
‘Pinniewatu’ – a solid left coming through where we usually anchor the boats. Guide Shaun making the most of the novelty.
Pinnacles on Telo, resting between mega swells. I hate having to come and live here.
This spot’s in the South Telos. Pegasus are gonna run a few split trips where punters spend five days up north, and five in the south.
Another South Telo lineup that’s hard to take.
Don’t think I’ve ever seen so many waves over a fortnight. Thanks as usual to Pegasus Lodges for putting me up, I’ll be back over ASAP.