Latitude Zero, Attitude Way Above.

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February 1st 2015
Published: February 5th 2015
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Your humble author's little slice of self indulgence
As the name suggests, Resort Latitude Zero sits within spitting distance of the equator. A hedonistic oasis, the resort is snuggled cosily amongst the Telo Island chain. The what chain? If you are not a surfer, it's an archipelago incognito. Even the good people of Sumatra, a couple of hundred kilometres to the west, would struggle to point it out on a map. That resonated of a decent enough reason to call in for a fortnight.

This was my second visit to the ballpark but Telo Island Lodge, while upscale in a surfer kind of way, isn't the genre of place to drag the blushing bride. Not so RLZ.

The brainchild of a group of Oz surfers, what they have created from the foundations up in this off the grid locale is a cocktail of vision, perseverance, attention to detail, a heavy hit of panache and, I imagine, some good old fashioned palm greasing. It's unlikely a hotel star rating system exists in this realm but every pore of this resort reeks of multi-stars. All the more impressive given such global isolation.

Choosing a location was probably the simple part of the equation seeing as there's a surplus of Gilligan's Island clones. The entire chain screams tropical paradise - equatorial foliage thicker than Mick Jagger's lips and turquoise waters hitting the mercury in the high 20s that butt up against obligatory white sands.

As for the culinary side of the ledger, dismantle the notion of surfer grub you wouldn't serve in a prison. The cuisine is of a quality that would have you unfurling the plastic fantastic in your favourite restaurant on home turf. The staff from the owners down (including Larry the resident pooch) will give you a big RLZ welcome the moment your feet hit sand for the first time. From there the unforced smiles are standard. RLZ hums with the precision of a Rafael Nadal forehand on clay. I dips me hat to em.

Forget, however, sizzling nightlife. For guests, the resort swings into action at sunrise when the rhythm of life is dictated by the ocean. Yes it's surfer country but don't hesitate packing the wife/partner/kids into your board bag. There are ample activities to keep the non-surfing guests occupied. Then again, if the other half wants to leave the crampons at home, tell her to load a decent book or two,
Another shitty day in ParadiseAnother shitty day in ParadiseAnother shitty day in Paradise

Out the front of the resort
grab a lounge by the pool and prepare to be effortlessly seduced by Coma Beach.

Did I mention the surf? There's a range of things Indonesia does well, from corruption and political nepotism right through to spicy food. Another is waves. In fact Indonesia is virtually sacrosanct amongst the planet's surfing population and Sumatra's west coast islands are one of the flagships. Despite that, the one missing piece of the surfing puzzle, according to the world of public opinion, is that these waves vanish into the wild blue yonder come November. They won't then reemerge until March. But that's PUBLIC opinion. I've scored big time twice in November so it was really time to roll the dice and give January, absolute off season, a shot.

Why? Well seeing as you asked. High season means high numbers. Come May through September and the surf can be as crowded as a new iPhone launch. Arrive January and the opposite applies. No yacht charters and every resort other than RLZ is shuttered up until at least mid February. I liked those odds.

The wash-up is that the gods of surfing once again smiled upon me. It may not have been
Who said Poms can't surf?Who said Poms can't surf?Who said Poms can't surf?

Pommy Dave at Mishos
as big and brutal as mid-year but I managed more waves in two weeks than a year living in Cronulla. This may be a stretch but I also reckon more GREAT waves than a lifetime at my same home beach. From hormonal bully boy reefs that take no prisoners to spots that are all the fun of the fair. Look up fun in the dictionary and it should come accompanied by an image of Monkey Bay. Beautiful waves with the type of palm-encrusted backdrop you used to doodle on your school books.

I'm actually reticent to market the off-season brand at the risk of spreading this little secret. What I have done is reserve my spot for next year before I publish this blog. Selfish perhaps but it's only a matter of time before these islands as a whole are on the radar year round. Get in quick.

As the 14 days ran down, I sat by the lagoon with my hand firmly wrapped around a gin and tonic. With the soft light of a windless twilight, I couldn't help but ponder a sense of sinful decadence. With plumb in mouth and toffee on the nose I turned
A number 1 please.A number 1 please.A number 1 please.

after seeing this I saved my haircut for KL.
to the bride: (Please imagine my most formal of British accents) "One wonders what the peasants back home might be doing right now". Life is good.

Tit Bit Of The Week.

Pommy Dave (guess where this RLZ guest hails from) was thumbing through an Indonesian dictionary (as you do). He randomly plucked out a single word:

Besan. Translation - "parents of children who have married each other."Do we shake our heads at the thought that this situation is common enough to warrant a word of its own? Or is it in reality a badge of honour in Indonesian society; "My children get along so well they decided to marry".

I've said it before and I'll say it again, every country has something they can't explain but that is particularly on the bizarre side.

Will post Nikon images on return home at

Additional photos below
Photos: 8, Displayed: 8


Georgia on my mind.Georgia on my mind.
Georgia on my mind.

Bronte surf chick "Two Stroke Georgia"pulling in at Rangas
In the channel at RangasIn the channel at Rangas
In the channel at Rangas

About 30 metres from the carnage on the reef, Penny lounging away.

5th February 2015

Left at Mishos
"C-o-m-e -O-r-n!" (per Leyton)... let's see you off-the-lip on one of those nice left-handers Gaz!
5th February 2015

Off the lip?
I'm just happy to make it to the channel these days.
5th February 2015
Another shitty day in Paradise

Off season is the best season!
Those were some pretty righteous waves for being the off-season, and since there wasn't a big competition for them, they looked pretty perfect to me! Congrats on finding a slice of paradise!
5th February 2015
Another shitty day in Paradise

Thanks Tara. Always a roll of the dice but who dares wins.
6th February 2015

Great similes!
Love to hear about this place laced with such great similes! So- hometown Cronulla? My husband was born in Caringbah and went to Endeavour High School 65-71and was a Cronulla regular. They moved there as a family and his Mum still lives there. We have to get together - sometime!!
6th February 2015

Yes we will Meryl.
Sounds like your hubby went to school with a few acquaintances of mine.
6th February 2015

Best bit of Sumatra
I too felt a bit urghh about publishing blogs from this region - its kind of the place you want to keep to yourself. Am not a surfer but a diver so I go to the other end of the Mentawi chain but great to hear there are some more accomodation options for surfers too. Wouldnt it be nice though if the ocean hit the snooze button once or twice :)
6th February 2015

The Mentawais
I'm back down to the Mentawais at the end of this month. A sensational corner of the world.
13th February 2015

A hedonistic oasis
Sounds like you've been hiding in plane sight when the local of Sumatra are not familiar with the island. Very cool. The allure of fine cuisine may draw us to this island oasis. Love listening to the thrill of surfer dudes finding waves off season. Good job. We are not surfers but is the diving any good in this area? What do you know? Your secret location is safe with us.

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