Photos: The Shieldsy Chronicles - Telo Islands

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

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.

Comments

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 8:43am

Interesting to see this development after this thread on the Telos resorts and talk of how much it must suck sitting around on small speed boats all day https://www.swellnet.com/forums/wax/388028

Id say if you had the money this combo option now would be much better than other high end places.

Ada gula, ada semut!

Oldschoolkook's picture
Oldschoolkook's picture
Oldschoolkook commented Sunday, 19 Aug 2018 at 11:42am

Good bye Telos. Its been fun surfing here over the years. With the 50/50 split TL and POT are offering, its now a matter of time before Pegasucks lodges opens up for good down south.
Its not what the southern Telos needs. You can surf the place most days with not another soul in sight...….all day. Its not the ments by any means, but it sure is fun if no crowds is what you want.
Another wayyyyyyyy overpriced indo surf experience is on the way ready to over exploit the locals paying them the lowest possible wage for the highest possible hrs of labour. Just ask the workers at any of the surf resorts/camps how much they get payed. Its disgusting and in my opinion needs to change.

Hartono1967's picture
Hartono1967's picture
Hartono1967 commented Monday, 20 Aug 2018 at 11:25pm

Pegasus Lodges pays its workers very well which is why its workers almost never leave. Most of their workers have been working there for many years. Resort Latitude Zero and Surfing Village treats its Indonesian workers very bad. It does not pay well. Resort Latitude Zero had also hidden bad things that Aussies have done to local workers.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Tuesday, 21 Aug 2018 at 8:35am

@Hartono

Interesting post seeing Hartono is an Indonesian name, but no offence your english seems extremely good for an Indonesian (correct use of their and there)

No idea if that info is true or not.

@Old School

On the price paid to workers, its a little bit of a hard one, on one hand it's crazy when places are making HUGE money in Indonesia and paying locals local rates.

But on the flip side most places pay above award wage and you can't expect to pay anywhere near the rates paid in Australia, otherwise a worker would be getting the kind of money that high end society are getting possibly like dentist or doctors etc and much much more than teachers, police, council office workers etc

So im a little bit torn as long as they are getting paid well above award wage and good working conditions i think it's fair.

Ada gula, ada semut!

Chipper's picture
Chipper's picture
Chipper commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 11:15am

Indo, either way, whether it's the Pinnacles resort, RLZ or Telo lodge or any other.... in the Telos it requires lots of moving around to score and you are stuck in small boats all day.... and i mean, when you've had 3 x 2 hour sessions in the water and taken your rest on a small rocking boat in between, it can get a little cabin feverish.... and now having done tons of that, its not my kind of fun.... I prefer under a palm tree to lie under for my siesta...

J

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 3:55pm

Sorry don't agree.

Telo island lodge, Pinnacles and Telo Island surf house (budget place where i stay with my long time friend Andreas) their boats don't stay out all day they go surf then go back for lunch and then they might go somewhere again latter or all have consistent waves on their doorsteps so have less need to go elsewhere.

Both Pinnacles and Telo Island Lodge can get to all the consistent waves in under 15-20 minutes, Telo Island Surf house under about 45-60 minutes (but the price is about ten times cheaper than other places)

Resort Latitude Zero, Telo surf Villa, Telos 101 are all located further south in an area that is less consistent, so most days need to venture north or far south it's a bit of a drive for them (unless a decent swell is running), so they often leave early and don't come home until late arvo as would cost too much in fuel to go home for lunch, hence spend all day on a boat.

Ada gula, ada semut!

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 11:56am

TIL go back to base for lunch each day. Well in 2016 they did.

maddogmorley's picture
maddogmorley's picture
maddogmorley commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 12:19pm

Still do belly

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 12:27pm

If you ever heard the story about the tree, I'm the guy it nearly crushed. Me and the American artist.

maddogmorley's picture
maddogmorley's picture
maddogmorley commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 12:29pm

Lol.....the American artist being Phil the barrel wizard?

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 12:32pm

Yep that's right. Phil and me. Nearest beds in opposite lodgings to where the crown came down.

maddogmorley's picture
maddogmorley's picture
maddogmorley commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 12:38pm

Wow close call! Lucky no-one was killed. I caught up with Phil this year at Telo Surf Villa. He's been shacked up there for a few months now. Still the same old Phil - killing it in the surf in between doing a few paintings for the villa

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 12:43pm

You telling me :-)... Early deposit, get pregnant, 1st kid at 40, still decide to go on trip when boy 4 months old, nearly get killed (and not surfing)... Anyways all good, they were pretty good about it but definitely mixed feelings after the trip.

Yep Phil # can surf and nice fella to-boot.

maddogmorley's picture
maddogmorley's picture
maddogmorley commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 12:48pm

Dodged a bullet there for sure mate....

What do you mean not surfing? Injured? I didn't get the full details of the incident or after effects.

Did you get some good waves on the trip?

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 12:55pm

Sorry, yeah I was just implying that the inherent risk of a surfing trip would be dying from surfing. I've previously travelled a fair bit for snow, always happy to come home without avalanche incident or similar.

Yeah great waves. Two main swells and all the main breaks other than Pinnacles surfed in the immediate area so no complaints there. My only complaint would be the charter boats, went in prime season and wasn't expecting so many. Due to a stick-lid-stick journey and various work commitments I'd consider myself experienced waterman but only upper intermediate so I like more roll-in type take off's. 1 boat in particular were downright dicks during 1 session always going on the inside and not taking turns, it was all the more richer because it was at the house wave.

maddogmorley's picture
maddogmorley's picture
maddogmorley commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 1:00pm

I'm hearing ya about the charter boats....definately a lot more up there than there used to be even in shoulder season. And they seem to love parking themselves at the left out the back (Maxs left/Churches/Myshos) which is a shame as it's a pretty fun wave when it's on. Consistent too. Not so fun however when a couple of triple story death stars are anchored in the channel for days on end tho....

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 1:03pm

Yep!! Thanks for the chat, special place though!!

maddogmorley's picture
maddogmorley's picture
maddogmorley commented Thursday, 16 Aug 2018 at 1:26pm

Cheers belly

Spuddups's picture
Spuddups's picture
Spuddups commented Saturday, 18 Aug 2018 at 7:34am

I farken' hate surfing off boats. It's necessary evil sometimes though aye.

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