Client testimonial

I’ve been intrigued by Monkeys – both the wave and the resort – ever since Mark Byrne
conjured the place out of the jungle in 2018. When the opportunity to visit actually DID
come along, it was so quick and spontaneous that it caught me off guard. One moment, I was idly
daydreaming about an off-season trip. The next, I had my finger hovering over my flight’s ‘book now’ button.

I hesitated for a couple of hours – the booking site timing out repeatedly as I scrolled
through the Monkey’s Instagram a dozen times, umming and ahhing, finding reasons not to
go: “Can’t afford the time or the airfare, back’s too sore, etc.” All the excuses that get in the
way of following the voice inside that’s telling you what you need to do.
It took my mate Jonesy – a fellow goofy-footer who’s had the pleasure of surfing Monkeys,
to message me “I had one of the best backhand sessions of my life out there at three foot,
the way it doubles up off the boil at take-off … gives you a stirring in your pants. Such a

What the hell. I refreshed the browser on the booking site, hit the button. And I’m glad I did.
That exchange was January 30th. It’s February 10th now, and I’m writing this little
appreciation here at Monkeys, with three days left in the trip. And though I’m totally surfed
out, damn, I wish I could stay longer.

In the close-to-20 times I’ve been to Indo ever since my first trip to Sumbawa in ’89, I’ve
been fortunate to stay at various surf camps, lodges, and resorts, and boats of all sorts.
They’ve all been special, unique and memorable in their own way.
Possibly because I’m here right now – and I’m an emo kinda bloke – I reckon Monkeys
stands alone.

Other resorts might be bigger, or more luxurious, or the wave out the front might be closer
to hand. They might have a fancy fleet of speedboats, or a more impressive wine list, but it’s
hard to imagine a place with more welcoming vibe, a friendlier crew, better grits, colder
beer, more empty surf on demand, and just a happier act overall, than Monkeys.
One of the main reasons for this, I think, is the fact that the fella who built the resort, owns
the resort, runs the resort. On this foundation lies the fact that everyone who works here
has their head and heart in the right place. There appears to be zero dysfunction, zero
bickering, zero bad vibes, and everything just … works!

And the waves? I’m reluctant to go on about them, to be honest. And I’ll confess, a selfish
part of me wishes Mark and the crew weren’t quite so prolific with their social media surf
reports, because the quiet season here is just so special. We have surfed ourselves into
exhaustion in head high, sheet glass for days on end, with not a single other surfer or
charter boat in sight. The Indian Ocean swell machine may not be firing on all cylinders just
yet, but I’ll take head-high empty perfection any day.

It actually came as a relief when the swell backed off the last two days, and our guest group
– an epic bunch of blokes from Melbourne, Sydney, Byron and the U.K who’d been clocking
up six or seven hours of surfing a day, pretty taxing for (mostly) old blokes – relished the
opportunity to sleep in, slow down and allow the essence of this place to get in under our

Yesterday afternoon we went upriver in the skoci (small boat), spent half the time craning
our necks, gazing up at the ancient rainforest canopy. What a privilege it was to visit a place
that’s truly untouched. High overhead, a troupe of monkeys paused their acrobatics,
possibly as intrigued to see us as we were to see them. The fishing has been next-level, and
the lads have even been enjoying a spot of golf on the lawn.

And for now, on this windless, glassy Saturday morning, it’s time to shut the laptop down,
walk across the carpet-like grass to the pavilion for another of Maxy’s fine coffees, see if the
predicted swell is starting to show on that utterly perfect reef they call Monkeys.

Cheers, and thanks again to Mark and Lou for the amazing hospitality!


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