Stevie Maher's All Bodyboard Charters Telo 2019
Legendary Wave Hunter Dave Crouch,
Justin Kirkpatrick aka The Wizard aka Oysters Kirkpatrick aka Doctor Inside, Mark paddock aka Paddy Cakes, Johnathan Brunelle/Johnno, Stevie Maher aka Steven, Rob Fisher aka Meat Missile aka The Scud, Jason Davies aka The Hand and
My good self aka The Drifter.
Day 1 The trip begins.... I was pretty nervous heading for my flight seeing as the last time I tried to fly to Indo the mother fuckers at Qatar refused my boarding due to my passport being haggered and worn, biggest bunch of bullshit ever but I’ve let that little episode of my life go as there’s no room to hang on to the negative in my life.
Out of principle I had not renewed my passport as there was sweet fuck all wrong with it and it was still valid to 2021..... Check in went without a hitch and I even had a whole row on my Garuda flight from Heathrow, was this Karma? I’m going take it .... 15 hour direct flight into Denpasar, which by the way is awesome rather than fucking around in KL, I must of slept 13 hours. I’m always nervous waiting for my board bag as all my shit goes in there, no boards for a Bodyboarding boat trip would be an almighty fuck up! Thankfully it showed and I grabbed a taxi to the holiday inn express Baruna Bali. I’d pre arranged to meet Justin there AKA “ The wizard “ and we sunk a few bintangs chatting about the current state of the contest scene both in Aus and the UK and about hopefully seeing him compete on the APB in Sintra in the DK, I’ve personally seen Juzzo tear it up and know he would smash it over in Europe. At about midnight we went our separate ways knowing we had to get back to the airport for 5 am for phase 2 of our journey to the Mentawais. Day 2 I met Justin in the lobby at 5 am and we jumped into his drivers car. We had two one and half hour flights first to Jakarta where we picked up Jason then on to Padang where everything went as smooth as it could, before we knew it we were sipping bintang with the boys in the Asia Surf Charters homestay. After a couple of hours a tropical storm rolled through reminiscent of last years and the chat turned to how horrific last years journey out was. We boarded the boat by 7 and by 8.30 pm we were cruising up the estuary towards the Indian Ocean.
I did my usual trick of popping 2 travel sick tablets and by 9 pm my eyelids were heavy so I retired downstairs. I woke a couple of time through the night when the boat was rocking but it was relatively smooth in comparison to last year. Poor old Paddy cakes had a rough night spewing his guts several times, he even tried sleeping on a wooden bench on deck. By 7 am everyone was awake and buzzing if we were hitting the Ments we would have been there by now but this year the decision was made to hit the Telo...... It was a good 14 hours this year. At about 10 am a shout came “dolphins on the port side” we all jumped up and sure enough two dolphins were swimming along side us swimming with the boat, pure magic.
Day 3 We rocked up to a spot called Bojos and it was a solid 4-6 ft and offshore, what a nice warm up wave, it was Jason’s turn to spew his guts this time so unfortunately he missed out. I was on the first boat out and I followed Dave to the take off spot, no one else was out so for the first 20 mins it was just Dave, Stevie, Mark and I. You could mark take off by lining up with a trio of dead trees on the beach. A set came through and Dave called me on, as I took off I freaked because this 10 ft wall of water wrapping in front of me looked like it would close out, it didn’t and I just chased the shoulder with the biggest smile on my face for about 30 seconds.... this was the reason for a 32 hour trip from London and I was making the most of every second.
The rest of the boys Justin, Robbo and Johnno soon joined us and we surfed for the next 2 and a half hours, we all had some sick waves including some nice cover ups until a clean up set came through and we had the first beat down of the trip.... thank god it was lunchtime I was bushed..... mmmm salmon and garlic mashed swede. After Lunch the boat headed over to a wave known as Skate Park, we moored up but behind the wave in the bay so you couldn’t see it, we knew it was on though because you could see 6 stand ups Bobbing around occasionally throwing cutbacks with water spraying out the back of the wave with no sign of them, that meant it had to be at least head high. Out of courtesy we let them surf the peak and sure enough within an hour they had signalled their boat to pick them up so it was now game on for us. Stevie and Justin got the first boat and then me, Mark and Jason got the second, Jonhno finally joined us and Robbo sat it out.
The wave was sick, it came out of nowhere and hit a reef shelf which then jacked up forming a wedgey take off straight into a little barrel which then walled down the reef to the inside section, you then pulled off before it got too shallow. The faces on take off where around 8 ft and we just traded waves with just the boys again for the next 2.5 hours, I only got out because I was cramping up, another sick little session had by all.
Once back on the boat we cracked a few bintangs, had a nice chicken dinner and looked through the photos of the day, we pondered what tomorrow might deliver. All of a sudden no word of a lie a fucking fish flew out of the water and hit the top of the sliding door, it was a good 6 ft jump and it freaked the shit out of us, who knows what was chasing it but something lurked around the boat. Day 4 We woke up early to heavy winds, Dave had moored the boat back at skate Parks, you can’t control Mother Nature but the plan was to stay in the south of the Telos for one more day before heading north. By 9.30 am it was too hot to stay on the boat so we got the boat to drop us to the peak, Johno and Robbo stayed behind and the rest of us were happy enough, the swell was still there but the wind was crumbling the peak a bit taking the edge of what had greeted us the night before.
We all still scored nice waves, the English contingent of myself and Mark even had a few on the knee much to Stevie and Justin’s delight. Stevie thou owned this session.......
We traded waves for a good 3 hrs before heading back to the boat to rest and rehydrate, as we got back Dave and Johnno we’re heading for a wave simply called “The left” a super shallow wave 30 mins boat ride away. The rest of us were simply too knackered to join them so chilled on top deck for a couple of hours listening to “The Doors” At about 4 me, Mark and Justin headed back over to Skateparks and traded waves for the next two and half hours when a few stand ups joined the line up, we had had our fill and so left them too it.
Once back on the boat there was another sighting of dolphins, no matter how many times I have seen them they always fascinate me. As we cruised to where we would rest up for the night we watched another beautiful sunset, we cracked open a bintang put on Pink Floyd “Dark side of the moon” and chilled waiting for dinner. A few stories of War and shark attacks were shared that night whilst watching forked lightning illuminate the sky in the distance before one by one we all retired to our bunks to get some much needed rest.
Day 5 We woke up around 7, Dave had already checked skateparks and it was blown out, we were cruising north up the coast as we reached a point we cruised round and the boat started to slow down, in the foreground we could see a boat moving out from it’s anchor so we slipped in, the break was empty....... “Welcome to Jurassics” Dave said Looking at the back drop it didn’t surprise me it was called “Jurassics” it was the first time it wasn’t just palm trees there was lush foliage, big trees with their roots exposed just perched on rocks, it was fucking bizarre.... the jungle was in full flow here, I’m no wildlife expert but I’d say there was a large representation of most species of tropical plants on display. One huge rock supporting the tallest tree of the bunch looked like it was a skull, it had two dark eyes and there was a ridge which formed its nose, again the roots of the tree intertwined and twisted there way down the rock right to the ocean, it honestly felt that any moment Kong could have parted the trees and walked onto the beach. Dave said salt water crocodiles had been sighted in the area, something that Mark “paddy cakes “ Paddock was not happy about.
We wasted no time, we got our kit and all of us headed out in the boat, paddling over, the take off spot was easy to find and as I sat there on my board my flippers dragged across the reef, for that to happen you know it’s going to be super shallow on the inside and you need to show some respect. We traded left handers that rolled in at about 3-4 ft, this is the kind of wave that makes these trips. We were flying off the take off, sitting high getting a nice little barrel before pulling out onto the shoulder.
The whole way you could see the reef magnified in the water knowing there was only probably 2-3 ft of water between you and an accident, it makes the heart race. We were fucked after 3 hours and headed back to the boat for some food and to re-hydrate. We hadn’t even finished eating when someone shouted “Whale” no word of a lie a 30 ft whale had breached the water on the starboard of the boat. So typical my camera was not to hand but it was fascinating, I had only ever seen a whale once before and that was in South Africa and even then it was at least a km away and I only saw the water blow.
Stevie had been considering cutting his dreads, he had them growing for about 8 years so I felt very privileged when he let me cut them off.....
At about 2 pm we all headed back over to surf, the tide had pulled in a bit so we thought there would be more water on the reef, we were wrong the take off was deeper but the inside was even more treacherous. I had taken my go pro in this time, watching the boys go wave for wave was pure Joy.
I watched Robbo have a sick wave he came charging toward me in the barrel almost running me over, then Johnno tucked sweetly into one, Stevie was smashing the back hand drop knee and Justin as always was putting on a DK display worthy of a Sintra final.
Everyone was having a great session, confidence was probably too high and the shallow reef was a distant memory.
I took off on a screamer, I sat nice and high, I was sat right in the sweet spot, got barrelled down the line, all of a sudden the wave pinched and that was me getting sent over the falls. I was super careful last year and didn’t hit the reef once after my experience the year before for which I still have the scars. As I landed I thought ok just a beat down, I was getting rag dolled and my flipper started to come off, as I reached to grab it my left heel jammed into the reef then I got flipped over and just covered my head, I got rolled then my right foot got a reef kiss, thank fuck I had a lucky escape, a little reality check. We were miles from civilisation and the last thing I wanted was to be evacuated..... At about 5 pm we headed back to the boat, I got some lime off the crew to clean my wounds and once done threw the lime into the ocean.
No word of a lie an eagle appeared above the boat and swooped down to pick up the lime, it was the most bizarre thing ever, it was a beautiful brown colour with a white head, my feet were still pissing blood so Paddy cakes kindly ran down and got my camera, by the time he was back an even larger sea eagle had joined in and both circulated the boat taking turns to dive for the lime, it was almost magical to watch.
There wasn’t much wind so it was a good afternoon to take the drone out, no joke as I got it closer to the island the eagle got curious.
Today was by far the best day of the trip and as the sun set on the horizon and we settled into a few Bintangs I couldn’t help but think this is what peace feels like. Day 6 I woke twice in the night as I have every night for a pee, trying to climb down from my top bunk with a piss hard on negotiating the ladders when the bottom rung is at least 750 mm off the floor is quite a challenge, as I stood peeing over the side of the boat half asleep a bright orange fork of lightning lit up the sky. When I re awoke the next morning at 7.30 Dave had moored the boat at Easy Peasey’s a resort boat was checking it out so we all quickly scrambled into the speed boat and flooded the peak.
There’s was big lulls between sets so they must have got bored and fucked off, how sweet another break to ourselves. Being an A-Frame wave we could split the peak, taking off super deep each way as it barrelled down the reef, I was happy it was super deep so no chance of hitting bottom here. Everyone scored today, I watched Johnno have a sick pit as I paddled to the shoulder knowing I was next. I took off super deep and just stalled immediately as the lip through right over me, I could see The Wizard looking into the barrel as I got spat out, probs my best wave so far, I flew past Jason and Mark and there were smiles all round. Waves kept rolling through 4ft on sets lining up perfectly, one minute for the lefts and then for the rights everyone was happy.
Out of the blue the wind completely dropped, looking at the water it was like looking at an oil slick, this was what every wave chaser dreams of, Indo Perfection. You actually couldn’t tell if the lines coming through would break until the last second. I took off on a right and got up on the knee and rode the wave all the way to the end of the reef, as I pulled off I looked up and saw the darkest sky over in the distance, this was clearly the calm before the storm. As I paddled out there was a large clap of thunder, I’d just joined the boys in the line up as there was a fork of lightning in the distance. We were all buzzing with excitement, Paddy cakes decided he was gone and called the speed boat over, Robbo, Jason and Johnno stayed for a bit longer, me and The Wizard wanted to stay and wait for the rain. The Wind was starting to rage, I managed one more wave but the surf had turned super choppy, I could see the speed boat approaching in the distance, the land behind the boat had completely disappeared into darkness, Dave probably wanted us back on the boat and sure enough by the time we were back to “The Asia” the rain was heaving down. I snuggled up downstairs in the best spot on the boat, the corner by the drinks machine, I had many a kip there last year and today was one of those days, all this water time had finally caught up with me, I reckon I had a bit of sunstroke too so was well in need of some sleepy time. By the time I came round we had moored up by one of the main Telo Islands, I had a shower and when I got out dinner was waiting. I needed an early night so slipped down to my bunk and climbed the ladder before I knew it I was a goner. Day 7 I woke to the sound of the boat dropping anchor, this was unusual as I normally woke up when we cruised from mooring to break, I must have been super tired. Dave had parked us up at s spot called Misho’s aka Churches. The break was in front of a church one one island and you could see a church in the distance on a clearing on another island. It was a left hand point break and there was already 6 stand ups on the peak and the sun wasn’t even up. By the time we paddled over half hour later the total bodies on the take off was 19 including us, this was the most we had seen.
It was a game of patience waiting for waves, quite a few stand ups were catching waves then paddling up the inside and snaking the lineup.... this is not good surf etiquette by the way, this is where tensions can rise in the water. I kept my cool and remained respectful but it was only a matter of time before there was an incident. Sure enough an old Californian surfer pulled one of the young surfers and gave him a mouthful. It creates such a bad vibe just have respect for your situation. The afternoon surf was much less crowded and although small was well shaped and there was 3 peaks, it reminded me of scarecrows last year in the Mentawais.
We surfed for a solid 3 hours, I even shared 2 waves with Jason on his stick, I think this was the first time ever I had shared a wave with a stand up, perhaps we had broken some barriers in the water other surfers looked on bemused. We all traded endless waves before getting out of the water just as the sun was going down, we would all sleep well tonight. Day 8 The swell had dropped off considerably but we paddled back out at churches as there was only 2 surfers on the peak. Although small it still had some shape and we patiently waited and took turns on the set waves.
Around lunch we took the boat to another island in search of more waves but it looked like today was destined to be a rest day....... Day 9 I was woken up to the sound of heavy tropical rain beating down around me, I’ve been wearing earplugs the whole trip so the rain really was super heavy. It was dusk so I went on deck to take it all in, large rain drops breaking the otherwise smooth ocean surface. The boat had already cruised past churches, Dave was taking us to a spot with a left and a right. As we moored you could hardly see it was raining that hard, I didn’t want to miss anything today I’d had my rest yesterday so got my kit on, as I was getting ready the talk turned to crocodiles, mainly to wined Paddy Cakes up but also a little bit because it was raining and we were on a river mouth, there was also talk of sea snakes, Robbo had already seen a black and white one the day before. I jumped in the dingy at 6.55 am, Robbo joined me and we sped over to the right hander not knowing what to expect as we were moored behind, to our surprise it was only small but pumping.
I jumped off the dingy, all morning it was super cold as the wind whipped up and the rain beat down, getting in the ocean was a complete contrast, it was like slipping into a nice bath. The rain hit the ocean so hard, it was pretty cool as the droplets sent out ripples and balls of air formed and bounced back up, it was pretty magical, me and Robbo shared the peak for half hour with no one else out before Oysters Kirkpatrick, Paddy Cakes and Johnno joined us. I surfed for 4 hours, I don’t think I’ve ever surfed for 4 hours in one session in my life.
It was such a cool wave, you would take off on a super big shoulder then either cut back or stall ready for a race on the inside chasing the barrel all the way. A set came through and as was the case you would either get called on or you would call someone on if it was your turn but you couldn’t make it, Paddy Cakes called me on but I was too deep and started to get sucked over the falls, I don’t know why but I grabbed my board with my weaker left arm, before I could let go I knew it was a mistake and I felt something pull in my elbow. If I hadn’t hurt myself I probs would have stayed out longer. Dave didn’t know the name of this spot so we coined it “Ponies Rights” I slept the 1 hr boat ride back to churches and I woke up to excitement, the boat was buzzing the left was on!
It was probs 4-6 ft but was barrelling it’s tits off on the sets, we couldn’t get ready quick enough.
The first wave I took off on a bomby and judged it completely wrong, I tried to straighten up, I should have just tried to make the barrel, I was rewarded with a lip on the head and beat down of the trip, I just managed to pop up and get a little breath before getting dragged under again. We all traded some great waves and everyone had some awesome tube time but it seems it was Paddy Cakes day, he had a fucking sick barrel, it was so wide we all whooped in appreciation.
We surfed for another 3 hours, I’ve never surfed 7 hours, my body was fucked.... what a great day, rumour was tomorrow was going to be bigger, hollower and faster, please god, please...... today was why I come to Indo.
We had to whip to port so Dave could check us in and pay the surf tax so we all found a bar and had a bintang...... this was not a bar like you are imagining, the town was very basic.
We opted to take a ride round the island on a motorbike sidecar, I shared with Paddy Cakes, now two 13 stone Englishmen in a sidecar built for two 8 stone Indonesians was never going to end well. At one point we could not get the bike up a hill we had to get up and push, how we laughed.
The next 45 mins we got taken round the whole island it was so humbling, the families have nothing, the kids don’t wear shoes but they make do and they are happy, some of our spoilt children back home could do with spending a month here to bring them back in line.
Day 10 We woke as the sun was coming up Dave was searching out a right for the boys, we were over by the light house that was usually a marker we used to line up when surfing Churches but the wind had fucked it up. We cruised back to churches, the swell was huge but there was too much water on the reef. We had the choice to either wait for the tide or head south to GT’s aka Rangas a super hollow right hander, it was a no brainer so off we went. There was 20 guys on the peak when we arrived, it soon filtered out but we took the boat out for a recon mission. The tide was wrong and the wind was cross shore, the swell was hitting the corner of the reef and chucking a super wide barrel but the reef was sucking completely dry and only 20% were makeable.
We didn’t fancy our chances and took a vote to head further south back to Easy Peasey’s. When we arrived it was anything but easy peasey, it was a solid 6ft with 8ft on sets, today was going to be a bit of a man maker. Not a single person didn’t get worked, Robbos leash snapped and his board washed on the beach.
I got a beat down so hard I wanted to get out but the waves were fucking sick. I remember Dave laughing at me as he made it safely over the shoulder, then fuck me it was the best down of the trip, it was one of those waves that took me right to the edge but luckily I survived the hold down, just seeing stars when I finally made it to the surface.
We surfed for 4 hours, the confidence building with each wave, I saw Oysters on a wave that looked like Backdoor Pipe. Every single one of us got barrelled off our tits, it was so epic, it was like watching one of those Indo surf movies with perfect 6-8ft waves and I’m talking 16 ft faces on sets, that’s triple overhead.
You cannot beat that for a bonding session, when we finally got back to the boat we were fucked, a few bintangs were sunk that night. Day 11 I woke up early today, the boat didn’t take long to get to the break from our mooring so I assumed we had gone back to Jurassics, I was right. We were all fucked from yesterday, there was no one on the break so we took our time getting ready. Oysters and Johnno got out first and you could see they were having some sick waves. When I jumped off the boat and paddled to the peak I thought I was in heaven, it was 3-4ft and barrelling it’s tits off from the take off. We all went wave for wave for the next 3 hours and as before the confidence grew amongst everyone, we were all taking off deeper and later to the whoops and holas of the boys.
I took off on one and bottomed turned and slid into a barrel, Oysters was paddling over the shoulder as I looked to my right the reef was starting to suck almost dry, it completely flattened out and I was gunning as fast as I could, unfortunately not fast enough. I got sucked up and spat out then tumbled about, my flipper was pulling off and my leash was too, somehow my flipper pulled up my shin and I just managed to grab my board as I did though a set was looming, I tried to duck dive but I was only in 2 ft of water and I took a nice big gauge out of my board, thank god it wasn’t my body but I got fully worked as three more waves rolled through, it was time to get out and take a breather. At about 2 pm we were recovered enough for round 2, Andy the photog had cut his feet on the reef when shooting from the beach so I decided to take out my old NMD Ben Player which I had rigged with a Knect mount for the Go Pro.
Once I’ve lost all my drive and I’m ready to settle for the easy care free life then I want to live on a break exactly like Jurassics. Such a sick fucking spot, perfect peeling waves and a left. Paddy Cakes suggested we both try and take off on a wave and get barrelled together, a stupid and dangerous idea but we did it anyway, we both came off unscathed. A set rolled through and I took off, the board I was riding had a bat tail and was super slow, perfect as I didn’t even need to stall to get barrelled, without warning Paddy Cakes dropped in to the shoulder laughing, still wanting the double barrel shot. I was sat super deep getting barrelled off my tits as Paddy Cakes carved on the shoulder the spray completely blinded me, The Hand watched the whole thing he said I was still super deep and this wave kept opening up, I had no idea, I thought the blinding spray from Paddy Cakes cut back was the wave closing out on me, how we fucking laughed, we couldn’t possibly of had more fun than we did today. As we boarded the boat we knew we had a 3 hour journey south and the swell was up. Dave warned us it might be heavy, I didn’t need telling twice I popped a travel sick pill and braced myself.
After an hour it was taking the piss, the boat was all over the place, I needed a piss and staggered my way to the toilet, no shit even Spider Man would have struggled. Day 12 I woke at 5.30 am to the sound of the boat pulling anchor, after about 40 mins I wondered why we hadn’t moored at Skate Parks which was the original plan, news travelled fast that a hectic storm was brewing out in the crossing so the decision had been made to just get back to Padang as quick as possible to miss the worst of it. I nailed two more travel sick tablets as I knew what a bad crossing was like and this turned out to be just that. I woke at 9 am almost being thrown out of my top bunk, the waves were fucking ginormous, I managed to climb out of my bunk just in time to almost be thrown off my feet. I grabbed another travel sick pill and staggered up to the middle deck where I took up “Kris’s Corner “ it had been dubbed this because I had spent a lot of time having afternoon naps there over the last two years. I was able to wedge myself in as the boat went both up and down and sideways and back. I needed a piss so navigated my way round, again I stood there wedged in by locking my knees to the wall and one hand to the ceiling, a wave crashed over the side and the water reached up to my knees, I laughed inside, possibly in nervousness, you might experience a storm on a large ferry but it’s a hell of a man maker experiencing one this rough on a small boat. The crossing was horrendous, it took us 17.5 hours in total and felt never ending, poor old Jason didn’t even make it out of bed and Paddy Cakes spent time upstairs being sick, this is the price you pay I thought to myself as I looked back on another awesome Bodyboard trip in Indonesia, wondering when it might next be possible.
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