Watch: TC and Otto in the Telos
Photos by Russell Ord, clip by Andre Rerekura.
Kai Otton and Tom Carroll recently undertook a trip to the newly minted Monkeys Resort South Telo. For Tom, the trip marked the welcome end of a fairly testing period of recovery from a succession of surgeries.
“I’d just come off a knee replacement, which had been planned really well. The rehab had all gone smoothly, then I was snowboarding with my daughter late last year – the knee was holding up well – when I caught a toe edge on some sticky snow and rolled onto my right shoulder. It was a five centimetre full thickness tear of my rotator cuff – absolutely toasted. It was a full half year before hitting the ocean.
“The shoulder was a totally different experience to the knee. Where there was all the time in the world to prepare and plan around the knee, the shoulder was out of the blue, and the rehab was a really tricky and long six months in comparison.
“And so coming out the other side of that, I was super happy to get the opportunity to get to the Telos – I hadn’t been there since 2003 on a trip with Martin Daly – and to surf these really fun breaks with few others out was the perfect way back into surfing. The Telos is such a beautiful place to be.
“I’ve always pushed myself hard in the water, but this trip, I was still coming into my knee and shoulder and had to be mindful the whole time about not going beyond my capabilities, so I had to surf at 70 percent.
“My younger self would have really struggled with not going flat out, but I was able to enjoy going at 70 percent, thanks largely to the Vedic Meditation I’ve been practicing for the last three years. (20 minutes, twice a day) It’s allowed me to care coherently for myself. It’s a relief to finally be able to enjoy surfing within my limits, not pushing at the edge of them all the time.
“The break out at Monkeys is a really fun, playful ride, but there’s all these other spots – around the corner and up the reef – that ramp up the scale, lots of options and you can push yourself. The south Telos is a smorgasbord really. I think the break ‘New Schools’ is the funnest right and my favourite.
“It was epic to have a whole lot of surfs with Kai. He’s a brilliant surfer with a loose, relaxed style. I remember what it was like to be relatively fresh off the tour – you still express yourself in your performance – and it was inspiring and great to see him surf so well and be around his great energy.”
Like Tom, Kai had come off a fairly ordinary run injury wise – consecutive surgeries for hernia, knee, and surfer’s ear issues are enough to dampen anyone’s surf stoke, but when the invite came for the Monkeys trip, Kai jumped at it.
“I’d never been to the Telos before and it’s always good to check a new place out. There’s a real range of waves in the area. Monkeys is super fun and perfect for intermediate skill levels and up. It’s a magnet too, there were waves at Monkeys pretty much the whole time we were there. The most consistent break in the area from what I saw.
“We didn’t get a major swell while we were there so it’s hard to say for sure but overall it generally doesn’t feel as challenging as the Ments, but there’s heaps of options. Like on the day Monkeys was onshore we went across the bay and surfed an offshore left to ourselves. One left we surfed actually hadn’t been surfed before.
“As far as the place goes, the resort’s primo. You’ve got these bungalows, palm trees, coming down to the sand. Can’t get better really. There’s a really nice vibe around the place.
“It’s been a bit challenging for me since coming off tour and all my injuries. I’ve been surfing shorter, fishier boards than I used to, and not chasing crazy stuff. It’s still good, but it’s just been different. It was unreal surfing wth Tom, he was kind of cruising but he’s as much of a frother as I am, so we’re both grommets pretty much.
“Monkeys is a good place for a frother.”
Grom squad adds colour to the Monkeys lineup
Kai proves Tom’s theory – that performance instincts don't slip once you leave the tour – correct
Kai steers traffic on a beach-clean blitz
Regulation hit with regulation Indo palms
It ain’t all rights in the South Telos. Kai rips in to Bojo’s
Tom’s stubby little Eye Symmetry fish takes a nap
Dusk atmospherics at Monkeys
Worse places to call home for a week or two
Tom on the inside section bouncy castle
Any more relaxed, Tom’d be napping
Tom pulls his best weathered seaman gaze for the camera
An eye down the line
Now check this moment out in the clip around 1:35