To many surfers the Telo Islands has long been associated with premium surf resorts, the gentleman’s alternative to the Mentawai. The Telos retain all of the features of the more famous islands to the south, but with more user friendly waves, fewer charter boats and land based resorts that are few and far between.
While far from a new discovery, the Telos are starting to gain attention of surfers that know what they are looking for, ie: consistent, world-class surf without the pressure of heavy waves and crowds. In this environment a small number of resorts have been developed, offering longer stays and quality accommodation to match the cost and difficulty of getting there.
Mark Byrne is a Telos veteran, having worked as General Manager for a number of the resorts. Over decades he has had to deal with all of the challenges of operating high-end surf trips in some of Sumatras least accessible Islands. In that time Mark from Torquay kept returning to a wave that became his passion, a long right that reels down the line at just the right pace for a huge range of surfers to enjoy every section. Monkeys is a special wave as turns seem to flow naturally and the sections offer great variety from barrels to open faced carves and lips to hit.
Located at the tip of wide bay fringed by idyllic white sandy beaches, the set up is so picture perfect, it can almost hurt the eyes. Surfing Monkeys Right on the evening glass off is a surreal experience, the sunset glow reflects perfectly off the water and paddling in to a wave is like the ocean is on fire!
Mark purchased a large plot of land on the beach looking out to Monkeys, with the plan to develop a resort that incorporated everything he had learned about what works and what doesn’t work in the Telos. Thankfully Mark had the skills to create his vision, combining his building and carpentry trades with surf resort management experience. Over several years Monkeys Resort was built to the highest standards, with attention to detail and design unexpected in such a remote location.
The air conditioned villas are spacious and stylish, with the little touches that one only finds in the best properties. With wi-fi in every room one could forget the splendid isolation. However with a perfect Right visible from every room living area, surfers appreciate the joys of surfing the morning and evening glass off with no one around. Only the best resorts have a consistent, perfect wave out the front, however when the exposure south and west groundswell ensures there is dozens of other classy waves within a short boat trip, you have something very special. There is the swell magnet beach breaks on the back of the island offering barrels when there is virtually no swell. There is the long left walls on the opposite island that are offshore when Monkeys has poor winds, not to mention some local secret spots that light up in conditions you would not expect to find waves, it’s a complete package.
Being remote is both a challenge and opportunity. Mark has used the best solar and battery technology to deliver power and air conditioning, avoiding the noise, cost and pollution of diesel generators. There is no single use plastic, yet chilled drinking water and even colder Bintangs are always on offer.
But it’s the people that make your stay, surf guides Shaun and JJ are always getting the guests in to the best waves while quietly maintaining relationships with the other resorts and charter boats so sessions remain uncrowded and retain a good vibe in the water. The resort staff are drawn from the local village and present incredible food service that reveals both great hospitality and spirit of community. That community spirit carries over to the surfers at the resort – with just 8 guests and 2 surf guides that small group really makes the difference. With just a handful of surfers in the water for the early morning and late evening glass-off, all the guests at Monkeys feel a sense of privilege and camaraderie as they enjoy the bounty of waves to themselves in one of the worlds most beautiful settings.