ON a mission south from the Telo Islands to the Mentawai: Adam Ravazzano, aka Greenroom, photographer and gentleman adventurer, takes on the next stage of our Indo Diaries. Using the ancient tradition of 'barter' Adam jumped several rungs up the social-economic scale and hopped aboard the Freedom 3 for an Indo boat trip in style. Above is Lee Clarke, charter captain, reaping the rewards of the job.
I still remember the look on his face after pulling off the back after making this tube, says Adam, he just looked me in the eye and we knew I had something. After looking at the sequence Lee pondered, "I wonder how the pros look so casual when they tube ride..."
I think the look on his face and the position of his board deep on the foamball says it all."
First stop Telo
Situated just above the Equator, sandwiched by Nias and the Mentawai, the Telo Islands are a secret held in plain sight. Not a real secret, it's just that they're not renowned for epic waves and live shaded by the shadow of their more flashy and papped cousins. Oddly enough this what makes them a Mecca for a certain kind of surfer, one seeking solid but uncrowded gems. Degrees of perfection denote the famous from the ugly duckling in a glistening competition where even the runts would be winners almost anywhere else.
Having the luxury of going almost double the speed of most other charter boats in the islands has its benefits - waking up to empty crystal barrels being one. But being a 5-star charter I was not surprised to find middle aged men on board, with the price tag of this luxury trip your average Joe could spend a month or two camping out in Bali and still have change left over.
We dragged ourselves from the Telos and chased down a small set of bumps at a secret island to the south that is a magnet for swell. Apparently it the left-hand sand point can break to over a mile. We arrived just after lunch to a slightly onshore set-up and after exploring with the Seadoo we all headed out, with no one but the locals on the shore oblivious to the large boat that just dropped the anchor with a bunch of hooting surfers on board. The next morning really turned on with just our boat out all day.
Arrival at the Mentawai and Lance's Left - which I think is one of the world's best and 'worst' waves with so many other amazing set-ups within a hours drive of Lance Left it is always the last option when everywhere else fails. A super consistent wave but with plenty of boats hovering around this spot at all times of the day and night. The wave a fun wall with some hollow sections and a steep take off and if you got up early or jumped out at the right time you could still get a few to yourself.
The local grommets where out in force every time we showed up to this spot, they had it wired, surfing on almost dry reef. This kid was a step above the rest surfing his scaled down Mick Fanning signature model, custom shaped with a few minor alterations. Look out for him on the cover of a magazine in the near future.
Hidden in my board bag was this Alaia and I'm glad I brought it, perfect for those smaller days.
Thunders is a super-consistent wave with a steep take off and a massive hollow section on the inside, it can hold a load of swell, deserving and taking respect.
Thunders from behind the barrel. Determined to get this shot I'd wait for a gap in the clouds - the wave would light up for just a few moments and that was all you had - snap and hope
All trip I'd been trying to capture this shot, a perspective of the Freedom III from inside the wave. Getting all the angles to add up was tricky in the extreme and this was as close as I got.
This spot took a lot of effort to get this line-up photo, a very tall rusty solar power tower and a whole lot of vertical salt crusted metal stairs. At the top, creaking and swaying in the wind I thought it would collapse but to shoot a wave that looked like a cross between Sunset beach and Bells beach, was worth it.
I should mention on arrival we found two guys surfing and a tent on the beach at the edge of the jungle. They'd been dropped off by a local fishing boat and had have been living off rice, water and fruit the last few days in the hope that the fishing boat will be back to pick them up in a few days time.
Even in this day and age it was good to see adventures like themselves doing their own thing and it is a crazy contrast to a five-star luxury boat which rocks up to the best day of the week. After long stay, living of rice and water, it would be enough to make any surfer mad but these guys where just happy to surf and buy enough supplies to last them for a few more days.
The highlight of my trip was not a perfect wave or any particular moment, but a rare oppurtunity to surf Maccas a world famous left hander on a full moon. The conditions where perfect only about 2-3ft and no bomb sets. If you have surfed on a full moon before you would know it is easiest to surf a point break because you can see the white water breaking down the point - allowing you to get yourself in the position to make the drop. The water was warm clear and only a handful of our boat out, just hooting at anyone catching a wave no matter how small. The cook and the captain where trading barrel after barrel. It was just a magical experience one I will not forget in a hurry. The next morning Macaroni's was full of boats with 30 people flooding the line-up
One month later
On my arrival home I packed up the 4WD and grabbed a bunch of mates and my girlfriend and scored some great waves up the beach with just us out. So it proves that you can go anywhere in the world but sometimes there is just no place like home.
Adam Ravazzano owns and operates Sunshine Surf Safari a business started he started to share his own experiences as a professional bodyboarder and traveller.
He started Green Room Photographyas a incentive to give clients of his a little something to take home with them. His photography soon turned into a full time passion and his photographs are now being seen and used worldwide in advertising and marketing campaigns.
to view more of Adams work HERE.