East of Bali - photos

Swellnet Dispatch

Photos courtesy of Pegasus Lodges / Andrew Shield

The surf travel game is one of the few (relatively) thriving aspects of the surf industry these days, and will most likely remain so until the utopian/dystopian future of a KS wave pool on every block comes to pass.

As opposed to the weird promise of cool-by-association a pair of hundred dollar boardies provides, you’ll generally get decent bang for your buck if you sling your hard-earned at a surf travel agent or operator. 

Lay off the takeaway coffees and smashed avo for a year, and you’ve squirrelled enough away to jump on a few successively smaller planes until it’s just you and a half dozen mates lugging your board bags up the stairs to the guest house, or jockeying for the best bunk as the boat chugs out of Padang harbour and the first Binnie is cracked. 

Ten days later you retrace your steps until you’re back at your local beachie being reintroduced to the concept of the closeout, but with the memory vault stocked with speed runs on oily dusks, that session everything clicked and you surfed how you always thought you might be able to, and assorted hits of fear, fun and feeling really fricken alive.

All of which is a roundabout way of demonstrating that the surf travel industry is healthy because the basic equation of supply and demand is in balance.

But with more players in the game, and a finite number of known spots on the board, operators are becoming increasingly savvy in the quest to fill their bookings schedule. Coaching clinics, celebrity (only-slightly-washed-up-pro) guest-hosting, photo/video packages. All that gear. And it’s good, because we the punters benefit.

Occasionally though, as Ned Flanders would say, a real dilly of a pickle presents itself to a Surf Travel Operator. What if you found a good surf zone that – for reasons such as no anchorage, tricky access, infrastructure etc – was essentially unpopulated? It’s what all operators dream of, right?

So you spend a few years getting tuned in to the area, build a small, low key lodge, and though it’s not a secret spot, still you can count on one hand the largest crowd you’ve seen in the line-up, and that was crew you brought in yourself.

Here’s where the conundrum comes in: what’s the best way forward with this delicately balanced situation? Commercial success (and let’s face it, this is a business) will be defined by the presence of people whose current absence give the place its value. 

This is a question that Tenggara Point Lodge has found itself staring down. We caught up with Gra Murdoch, brand and comms fella at Pegasus Lodges to poke at his existential angst with a stick.

“Yeah, it’s weird. What we’re doing with Tenggara is trying to keep the location on the lowdown for as long as we can” says Murdoch, “but history’s shown us word will get out. It’s actually not a ‘secret spot’, it’s just quiet and tucked away and tricky if you’re not set up.

“We know we’re opening another place up to Western influx, and as much as we’re trying to do things in keeping with the region, from the architecture to the staff and community support, no matter what you do or how good your intentions it’ll change the nature of the area for better and for worse. It’s happened with every surf camp, and to a lesser extent with every charter boat, that’s ever operated. It’s folly to pretend otherwise, and better to go into these things with your eyes open.

“There’s other, probably better, surf zones in the region. We’re doing small groups, and not telling our guests even the general location until they’re signed up and on the trip.

“It’ll be interesting to see how it all works out: we’re confident of delivering a really special surf experience when the Lodge opens in April. Shieldsy went on a recce trip late last year. The photos are pretty telling.”

This wave isn’t a secret, but it’s empty a lot of the time.


Nice mix of power and shape: no place does wave quality better than Indo.


Overview of Tenggara Point Lodge. Looking like a tropical reverse version of Red Bluff or something. 

 

Dylan “Dingo” Russell – a Surf Guide at Telo Island Lodge – was recruited to test pilot the lineup. Tough gig.

 

Dingo into it fairly late.

 

It helps if the joint harmonises with the local style of architecture. The nearly finished bungalows.

 

Highline racetrack. From this angle and with the cunjii covered reef it’s got a Winkipop feel to it, hey?

 

Go on then, head up the reef and see if you can make it.

 

Slow as a wet week on the end bit, but by then you’re tuckered out.

 

Steve - a lucky mate of management, happy he tagged along for the trip.

 

Any self-respecting surf zone’s got to have a Peak as well as a Point.


The smaller day section: another angle that gives us the Winki vibe. 

 

OK, we get it, good surf spot!

Comments

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018 at 2:16pm

What a pisstake.

First truck load of Queensclif gumbies that go there will have geolocated the spot to everyone they’ve ever had the slightest passing acquaintance with.

#Ogrehatesnerds

PS That creek looks good for dengue !

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018 at 2:17pm

Magic island, get it while you can I reckon.

stanfrance's picture
stanfrance's picture
stanfrance commented Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018 at 3:15pm

Nice tactical follow-up from your instagram article guys :)

Stan France

Bungan33's picture
Bungan33's picture
Bungan33 commented Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018 at 3:41pm

Look - I like Swellnet and I use it for free, and I know they need to make money through other streams DUE to freeloading bastards like me - but "articles" that JUST SO happen to conincide with an overt advertising campaign....were not silly. Call it an "advertising segment"or "advertorial" or something.....not some well meaning examination of a serious issue followed up by an advertising plug....makes you question integrity a little....

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018 at 3:53pm

Fair point, but we've run similar content for other travel companies and I don't think we've ever shied from the fact they are ads. Never tried to bung it into editorial and hope no-one would notice. There are links in the copy, ads down the side, it seems pretty damn obvious to me it's from an advertiser.

Sometimes there's nothing to say or show beyond what you'd see in a billboard ad, and sometimes there is. In this case, I reckon it's the latter.

Bungan33's picture
Bungan33's picture
Bungan33 commented Thursday, 1 Feb 2018 at 8:49am

Yep - good point about it being obvious when you get into it. Maybe I am getting overly suspicuous of internet media in my old age. To me the word "Dispatch" conjures up notions of journalistic undercurrents - as in a foreign correspondent dispatch. Most other "Swellnet Dispatches" are however opinion pieces, news or insights - not ads. This one is sandwhiched between news of a Tassie shark, MP's ashes jourbey and the CEO of Quiksilver disappearing.
I think that is what made it appear like a "paid endorsement". Anyway - just some feedback - keep up the great work - its the best start to the day.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018 at 3:58pm

So many good looking spots in that area. Trades won't be your friend, though...

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018 at 4:37pm

"Yeah, it’s weird. What we’re doing with Tenggara is trying to keep the location on the lowdown for as long as we can”

This makes no sense at all, if you want to keep a place quite for as long as possible, you don't build a resort and then advertise the selling point as being uncrowded and then advertise it everywhere.

We have seen with Krui how that worked out we are seeing with Simeulue how that is going, once you focus your selling point on UNCROWDED instead of just the waves or what your resort offers, its done.

IMHO the writing is on the wall for this island, a friend just got back the other month and all the signs are there, in a location i thought there was only one resort, there is now countless Euro owned places (my friend stayed with the local run place)

For further reference and common sense.

General Social issues: Rita Panahi & Lauren Southern
Indigenous issues: Jacinta Price and Anthony Dillion
Gender: Debra Soh.
Islam: Armin Navabi & Brigitte Gabriel
Population: Dick Smith

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018 at 4:44pm

A beautiful place, and with user-friendly waves like the point it was only a matter of time until people starting cashing in on it. Sometimes I don't even think it's about the money but something else entirely. Like you ID, I just don't really get it. There's still scores of wold class waves that old timers have told me about and shown me photos of, that they travel to year in-year out, but aren't interested in turning over to surf tourism. It's a nice thought to hold on to.

I know a few people that will be sad to see the flat-belling Euro learners floating around the lineup there this year. Such is life in Nusa Tenggara I suppose!

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Wednesday, 31 Jan 2018 at 10:40pm

Yeah wtf is it with euros and surfing they just don’t work. They have completely destroyed bali and are now moving further afield. They just don’t get any of it and treat it as a disposable activity.

Stringer2018's picture
Stringer2018's picture
Stringer2018 commented Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018 at 4:50pm

There was a photo of it in Peter Neelys book years ago. Like the guy before said, I hope the guests don't like sleeping in and can find something to do besides drinking beer in the afternoons.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018 at 5:07pm

I don’t get people selling out the thing they love for money.

Would you send your 4 year old kids out to work to pay for your Foxtel subscription? Just goes to show how much they don’t actually value it I guess.

It’d be sad if it was theirs to sell , but it’s not . So it’s infuriating instead.

Should have stuck to magazines , Murdoch.

Thirty years of accumulated respect for you gone.

Fuck your white horses. If you think you’ve got a grasp on what surfing is about then you’re very misled.

mk1's picture
mk1's picture
mk1 commented Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018 at 7:11pm

Funny how many of the commentators here already know where this is. Some secret, now it just gets heaps of publicity and a tonne of new guys trying to unravel the "mystery"

If it's the place I'm thinking of then last I heard some millionaire had bought the whole peninsula to block anyone opening up next door while they built their resort. But I could be mistaken!

Beachbeat1's picture
Beachbeat1's picture
Beachbeat1 commented Saturday, 3 Feb 2018 at 8:29am

He didn't buy this place as far as I know. I surfed here for a week back in 2005. Great spot.

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam commented Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018 at 7:43pm

Its easy to pretend you know where it is mk1 , Because it looks a little bit like another semi secret spot .
Easy to be critical also .
Theres plenty more of those rights to be found in the archipelago

Billyw's picture
Billyw's picture
Billyw commented Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018 at 8:35pm

hahahahah Swellnet - the bastions of what is right or wrong. You run this kind of stuff but slate anyone else who puts locations etc online. You just ran an article bagging people for doing it a few weeks back.

B Dub

eat-your-vegies's picture
eat-your-vegies's picture
eat-your-vegies commented Wednesday, 31 Jan 2018 at 12:44am

I know where it is and it’s no secret. ...just a shame I guess....

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Friday, 2 Feb 2018 at 9:28pm

I just got a quote for a week.......US$6000 a double $8000 single. Maybe not ha ha.

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Saturday, 3 Feb 2018 at 8:20am

Must admit when I read the article I had a wry smile about cutting out the coffees and smashed avo having previously enjoyed TIL. I was thinking I bet that's a lot coffee and smashed avo!!

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Saturday, 3 Feb 2018 at 5:42am

christ, really?

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Saturday, 3 Feb 2018 at 6:26am

Christ.... That's about as bad as I've ever heard. Especially considering there's at least 2 local homestays there for about 200k, and another Euro run place for 650k. There's probably a few more than that too. Not to mention all the boats that swing past. Makes me think these blokes are going to try and stitch up some kind of exclusive access situation to justify charging those prices?

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Saturday, 3 Feb 2018 at 7:51am

Well there is local precedent for that.

Stringer2018's picture
Stringer2018's picture
Stringer2018 commented Saturday, 3 Feb 2018 at 8:09am

Wrong island blindboy.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Saturday, 3 Feb 2018 at 8:07am

Far out B.B. that’s unbelievable.

They are seriously taking the piss.

Over a thousand bucks a day!

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 3 Feb 2018 at 10:44pm

Comment deleted: Too many clues in my last comment, only thing i will say now knowing the location is this wave is not going to stay uncrowded for very long :(

For further reference and common sense.

General Social issues: Rita Panahi & Lauren Southern
Indigenous issues: Jacinta Price and Anthony Dillion
Gender: Debra Soh.
Islam: Armin Navabi & Brigitte Gabriel
Population: Dick Smith

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Saturday, 3 Feb 2018 at 10:34am

Rich boys only club! 10% to the local village they say, I hope it is going through surf aid or some other reputable organisation.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Sunday, 4 Feb 2018 at 12:30pm

Interesting the price is so expensive a price range that high has a very limited market, generally over 40's that 45-60 year old market, those on a very good income and often limited time, most surfers in that 45-60 year old age range are starting to slow down and after a more mellow type of wave. (hence why this high price mellow wave model has worked so well in the Telos)

Judging by the vids I've seen, this aint the wave for that demographic.

Check out this thing, its doing a fair impression of Kirra and is a full on ledge take off, waves like this that are already peeling fast are often hard to get into and then the end section goes totally fat, too fat to even cutback (seen other footage) so even trying to take off on that last section and get some turns through the last bit is not going to be that easy (plenty of blown takeoffs) https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb5ok7thHyv/?taken-by=andrewshield

My guess is knowing how fast this place will blow up, they have built cheap (basic bamboo) and are trying to cash in as fast as possible, knowing it has an expiry date and losmens will be poping up very quickly.

For further reference and common sense.

General Social issues: Rita Panahi & Lauren Southern
Indigenous issues: Jacinta Price and Anthony Dillion
Gender: Debra Soh.
Islam: Armin Navabi & Brigitte Gabriel
Population: Dick Smith

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Sunday, 4 Feb 2018 at 8:48pm

Jeezus...if that is actually their intention...then it is a whole new level of disgraceful. Bloody hell what have we become...

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Sunday, 4 Feb 2018 at 9:03pm

Paging Gra Murdoch

Graham Murdoch !

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Monday, 5 Feb 2018 at 8:40am

I honestly believe it has a very short life until it blows up.

So where is the value in the price charged?

Is it a resort or is it closer to a few basic huts?

Obviously not paying $1k for the accommodation.

So must be the waves, but like i said this area is going to blow up real quick (and is onshore before lunch most of the season)

So if it's not a quick cash in before it blows up because they saw that the writing was on the wall already

Then it's even a bigger worry because long run the only way they could justify a price like that is having exclusive rights to the wave :(

For further reference and common sense.

General Social issues: Rita Panahi & Lauren Southern
Indigenous issues: Jacinta Price and Anthony Dillion
Gender: Debra Soh.
Islam: Armin Navabi & Brigitte Gabriel
Population: Dick Smith

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Monday, 5 Feb 2018 at 9:04am

That's exactly what I thought ID. Given their experience in Indo, it's not too much of a stretch to think they've made some kind of deal.

I'll never get my head around how surfers will sell out the thing the love for a bit of fame or money.

tc_vicco's picture
tc_vicco's picture
tc_vicco commented Wednesday, 28 Feb 2018 at 3:38pm

Totally agree with you Indo.
Yet I'm going in April.
So there's the irony in it all I guess?
Same with the Telos and Simeulue. I Think Dylan's has a WQS comp this year? Banyaks busy now too and Ments is nuts.
It is incredible how thoroughly places are focussed on and marketed now. Not just by the operators but the surf brands too through all the videos, posters and magazine ads and articles. And groups like swellnet too I have to say in fairness who run ads for the place and publish advertorials like this one. I've got young children that want to go surf places I'd never heard of until a few years ago. It's a machine. And it's so fast now. Ironically quite a few of the old salty legends that been sailing through these parts of the world for decades have ended up as guides for the operators - including this particular resort also! The whole thing is a conundrum. I will always dream of surfing perfect uncrowded waves. So what do I do? I just hope a LOT of my money really does go into the local villages for health, education, infrastructure.. the situation will not change, just open up and exploit another place, and another place..

WazzlePop64's picture
WazzlePop64's picture
WazzlePop64 commented Sunday, 4 Feb 2018 at 7:39pm

I agree with you Indo, The whole Instagram, Google search team are already over this "secret" locale. The idea that it will be uncrowded will be short lived. Much like South and North Sumatra, Having surfed Krui, Telos and Simeulue, Uncrowded is the dream that is thrown about, empty lineups, light offshore and just the right size is what keeps us, throwing money at these money pits that are the surfing Dream. The Demographic age that they angle to are, as you you said the 45-60 oldies who are reliving the dream. I'm it, and I'm happy to be part of it. I'm still searching, still trying to find the waves of Pascuales, closer to home, without the Federales to destroy it. Indonesia does that, young and old, we try to relive the dream. That's what this place is selling. They can have it, as we know there are a lot more secret spots, at the other end of the archipelago, that deliver what us old guys need.

Surfing menyebalkan. jangan lakukan itu

mr mick's picture
mr mick's picture
mr mick commented Sunday, 4 Feb 2018 at 8:17pm

Hope they do yoga!!

Mr mick

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Monday, 5 Feb 2018 at 10:43am

Im guessing this is in response to the likelihood that most afternoons will be blown out by the trades. The price point versus this risk is interesting in the overall value for money equation. Personally I'd want 2 surfs a day, guess you'd better be up early.

blindboy's picture
blindboy's picture
blindboy commented Sunday, 4 Feb 2018 at 9:23pm

..........yeh for that price you would expect yoga, a superannuated surf star, a semi-famous musician and two Michelin stars.

kirwoods's picture
kirwoods's picture
kirwoods commented Sunday, 4 Feb 2018 at 9:49pm

Ha! Too far Ringa!

soggydog's picture
soggydog's picture
soggydog commented Monday, 5 Feb 2018 at 9:50pm

White colonialists? By the looks of the company’s spread across the archipelago is there a better description?

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Sunday, 11 Feb 2018 at 8:21pm

West of Bali
1 mill U.S. for beachfront land Java - Beachgrit

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Sunday, 11 Feb 2018 at 9:50pm

That's unbelievable. Makes me feel sick thinking of all the people I know there, lucky to scrape by on less than US$150 a month and some on much less, and a hundred meters away people are selling land for a fucking million dollars. That's obscene inequality. Local wages would have gone up by less than 5-10% in the time that land prices have gone up 1000+ times over.

It's coming up to the 10 year anniversary of Bruce's cover shot there in Surfer... This is probably the kind of growth the crew East of Bali are hoping for. Buy some land for a cheap, blow the place out of the water for a decade, make enormous profits.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Saturday, 7 Jul 2018 at 7:59am

So is it worth those sort of $ Gra Murdoch ?

cj_wilson_indo's picture
cj_wilson_indo's picture
cj_wilson_indo commented Monday, 15 Apr 2019 at 12:02am
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Monday, 15 Apr 2019 at 8:37am

Did Pegasus pull out of this one?
Not on their site anymore.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 15 Apr 2019 at 8:50am

Logo still there but when you click the page doesn't exist anymore, so I assume they have pulled out.

Was always gonna be a tough one with the main wave facing straight into the trades.

Smorto's picture
Smorto's picture
Smorto commented Monday, 15 Apr 2019 at 4:35pm

Exactly, can't believe they thought an east facing break was ever going to cut it as a viable luxury surf resort.

Wasn't too hard to find it on Google maps (based on their marketing images) when they first released the website and my first thought was who would pay this much to stay somewhere that's blown out by 9am everyday in the dry season.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy commented Monday, 15 Apr 2019 at 8:54am

Yeh looks like the first main pic on their site is still this wave but they don't go there.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Monday, 15 Apr 2019 at 3:52pm

Yep the link CJ Wilson posted is 100% related, interesting they have pulled it from their site, has to be related.

And sucks to hear that the resort is/was trying to enforce exclusive rights and trying to kick other surfers out of the water.

For further reference and common sense.

General Social issues: Rita Panahi & Lauren Southern
Indigenous issues: Jacinta Price and Anthony Dillion
Gender: Debra Soh.
Islam: Armin Navabi & Brigitte Gabriel
Population: Dick Smith

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Monday, 15 Apr 2019 at 4:21pm

Sucks indeed. Reading back through the comments to see if anyone gave up the location, I did notice that a few of us predicted it and said "this place only makes sense at that price if they make it exclusive".

Still can't get my head around the fact that some surfers would so quickly sell out surfing for money.

cj_wilson_indo's picture
cj_wilson_indo's picture
cj_wilson_indo commented Tuesday, 16 Apr 2019 at 12:46pm

Indeed. I've been following developments surrounding Tengarra Point as closely as possible lately. Was thinking of going there myself in July and staying in the locality (no way in hell I'd pay US$6-8K for 10 days), but upon reading the above Stab article and recognising the prevalence of trade-winds, I think I've changed my mind about going there by myself (or at all... in the dry season anyway.) I recently inquired as to the resort's security for that matter, and they assured me that they employ 'the Indonesian army and police' for security sake, which shouts 'perhati-hatian!'... I think I'll just go to Sumba instead.

Very interesting re their webpage being taken down from the Pegasus website... I do wonder if it's a lack of business (on account of the trades) or the aforementioned firearm-related event that lead to this. I'll keep an eye and ear out.

CJ

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Monday, 15 Apr 2019 at 4:53pm

C'mon Gra what went down ?

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Tuesday, 16 Apr 2019 at 1:22pm

Good call.

Not nice dragging an innocent bloke through the mud. Not at all.

And if it’s true then there’s plenty of time to give them what they deserve.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 16 Apr 2019 at 1:10pm

Dont name names until you know exactly what has happened.

Be better if this post wasn't here.

cj_wilson_indo's picture
cj_wilson_indo's picture
cj_wilson_indo commented Tuesday, 16 Apr 2019 at 1:55pm

I've contacted Pegasus lodges regarding what's happening with Tenggara... Got this response (edited to protect privacy):

'... Thanks for getting in touch mate. For a number of reasons, sadly Pegasus Lodges and Tenggara Pojnt are parting company. Fundamentally, there's a difference of opinion about the lengths one should go to to optimise the guest experience. Currently Pegasus is still processing bookings and enquiries for Tenggara, so if you're keen send an email to [email protected]. Funny old world really, and not a little bit sad sometimes...'

I don't think people should be making defamatory comments regarding any individuals before knowing all the facts - it seems that Pegasus are completely opposed to the actions of the resort staff.

CJ