When Bill Boyum organized his permit to set up a surf camp on the edge of the jungle in Java, Indonesia, no one knew how he did it. A country with one of the most complicated and notoriously corrupt governments had given him a permit to start a surf camp in the Plenkung Nature Reserve – it was unbelievable! Still, apart from all the bribery and greasing of palms that must have taken place, one thing that Bill stipulated was that there were extremely limited number allowed in the camp at one time, and no one could surf there unless they went through the camp.
Boyum knew one thing though – the waves were so good, that eventually people would pay to go there and surf these waves relatively uncrowded. This is exactly how it worked, and the Grajagan Exclusive Surf Resort model was proven to be functional. For a free-spirited sport like surfing, many people could not accept the fact that the waves – free to all mankind – were now controlled, and to surf them you now had to pay a heft first world price while living on a third world budget.Thus exclusivity was introduced to surfing. The reason for it to be limited was that the surf camp existed in treetops, as the jungle was still littered with tigers and the only way to stay safe was to be high – tigers can’t climb trees.
These days there are three surf camps in G-Land, and they all work together, but the waves are obviously more crowded and less exclusive then with the one camp with extremely limited numbers. The more exclusive waves in Indonesia can now be found on the island of Sumba at the most perfect left. The resort is called Nihiwatu and it is probably the most exclusive surf resort in the world with only 10 surfers allowed in at a time. Bali style resort on the ocean Surrounded by mountains & palms
Over in the Maldives, another prime surf destination, the ideology of surf resort exclusivity is alive and well, with the prime destination being Pasta
This resort is based around the wave called Pasta Point, a left-hander discovered by Australian surfer Tony Hindes when he was shipwrecked nearby.
The exclusivity of Pasta Point has long been a talking point in the Maldives, but recently more resorts have chosen the exclusive route, including the old time favourite Hudhuranfushi, home to Lohi’s left This resort was always very popular, but it started becoming a little crowded, and eventually it got so crowded that the waves became dysfunctional and unplayable. Thus the surfers in the camp at any one time are now limited to 45. Still quite a few, but with some timing and planning, one can still get a fairly uncrowded surf on the house reef.
Kandooma Resort in the Maldives is also exclusive, and it is a location that has a perfect right-hander breaking on the house reef, an exception to all the lefts around. One of the great things about Kandooma is that if you’re not experienced and you want to try out surfing, then they offer surf classes as well.
These exclusive surf resorts listed are just a few of the best ones in the surfing universe, and many more exist, with various levels of exclusivity and with various rates. Some of them are quite expensive, and in some places the actual exclusivity has been disallowed by the government, as in the Tavarua Resort on Fiji, home to the waves called Cloud Break and Restaurants, and home to the Fiji Pro World Surf League event After years of exclusivity, the government eventually opened it up, and the break has been fairly crowded ever since.
The theory of exclusivity has long been debated, with many different opinions, but it is here to stay, and exclusive resorts could quite possibly even increase in numbers in the years to come.