The Telo Islands is part of the greater Batu Islands, an archipelago of Indonesia, off Sumatra’s west coast, sitting between Nias and Siberut. This archipelago is made up of 51 islands with less than half being inhabited.
The Telo Islands are located in the Southern Indian Ocean, and like its more famous neighbours, has consistent swell hitting its shores. Considered to be less crowded than the rest of Sumatra’s surfing regions, it’s fast becoming a go to destination for surfers that want a once in a lifetime surfing experience.
The few local surf camps and surf boat charters that visit this remote corner keep this top of mind. They cooperate with each other to ensure that they’re taking guests to different surf spots, keeping crowds to an absolute minimum. They work hard to protect this precious part of Sumatra and to provide guests with a unique experience.
There are countless world class surf breaks around the Telo Islands, some having several names with their locations rarely pinpointed on maps; this is key to preserving the experience that so many visitors seek. Local knowledge is essential in the Telo Islands; a surf boat charter is the only way to explore the whole region.
Due to its remote location, accessing the Telo Islands can be challenging. You’ll need to take a domestic flight to Padang, Minangkabau International Airport (PDG), a one-hour drive to downtown Padang and then a surf boat charter.
The Southern Telo islands are home to countless top-class breaks; 15 waves are within about 20 minutes of each other. The most famous wave in the area is Pasti, a 300-metre right hand tube machine. It’s been surfed by the world’s best surfers including the legendary Andy Irons, Joel Parkinson and Shane Dorian.
There are several other islands in the area that are worth visiting like Sibranun island; with only 200 villagers, it’s so small, you could walk around it in 45 minutes. Others include Sipika Island, Duru I, Duru II, Sigata Island, Simuk Island, Sibolo Island as well as many others.
April to October/November (high season) is the best season to surf in the Telo Islands. From April, consistent swell frequents the islands shores producing waves with an average size of 6ft at most surf spots. Dry, warm weather, light winds and large swell draws avid surfers, this part of Sumatra is extremely remote and considered Indonesia’s last frontier.
Low season is from November/December until March; it’s wetter, the swell is smaller and breaks are quieter. Wet conditions can affect travel so keep this in mind if you’re planning to travel during this time.
The Telo Islands are extremely remote but it’s totally worth the journey, it has spots catering to all abilities. Most spots will require intermediate to advanced surf skill with the majority of breaks being reef breaks. Waves are fast, have big drops and large barrels so surfers should feel at ease navigating waves of 6-12ft. For those that are less confident in big swell, it’s best to speak to your local guide, they will know the ins and outs of the area and ensure that you get the most out of your visit to the Telo Islands.