Mentawai Islands are a chain of 4 main islands with nearly 70 smaller ones in Indonesia, about 150 kms off the western coast of Sumatra. Protected by strong winds, unpredictable currents and razor-sharp corals, the Mentawais remained one of the ‘purest’ indigenous societies in Indonesia until relatively recently. Now, however, although still relatively unspoiled, the Islands are being dragged into the 21st Century and they have become particularly popular with surfers, many of whom rank Mentawai right alongside Nias as one of the world’s top sweet spots.
The islands block most swells from reaching mainland Sumatra, and offer some of the most perfect surf in the world. Access to the islands is by sea only with regular ferries to the main trading ports, but by far the best way to get to that surf is by charter boat.
With its 100 miles of world class surf and 49 named surf breaks, with many other ‘secret’ ones, Mentawai is a surfer’s paradise. It has some of the world’s ultimate waves and can almost guarantee perfect surf conditions all year round. This is world class surfing at its best.
The Mentawais are directly exposed to the Indian Ocean’s “roaring forties” swell. From April to October, surfers from intermediate to advanced level, will find the best surf experience of their lives here with waves such as E-Bay (a world class hollow, fast, powerful left), Bank Vaults (a thick, tricky, shifty right with a fast and intense tube for experienced surfers only), Nipussi (a shorter right that breaks down the point from Bank Vaults – extremely consistent), Pit Stops (a playful high performance right, near E-Bay), Rifles (this is considered by some to be the best wave in the Mentawai Islands, and sometimes the world, when ideal conditions prevail – it is a very long righthander that wraps around the other side of the same island as No Kanduis ), Scarecrows (a short, wedgy wave that works best on a dropping high tide, good lefts, but shifty and unpredictable), A-Frames (one of the most consistent lefts in the whole archipelago), Hollow Trees (also known as Lancer’s Right – a great righthander recognised for its constant coverage in magazines etc over the last decade), Maccaroni’s (a very hollow lefthand wave with many shallow spots – one of the most perfect waves in the world), No Kanduis (a long barrelling left that wraps around a small island, sectiony but can line up when there’s a large swell), and Thunders (a large left that picks up and can hold the biggest swells)… to name just a few. It is however true to say that 21 of the most consistent waves in the world are found here.
But remember, this is a year-round surfing destination, not only April to October…
This surfers paradise causes visitors to rhapsodise. N. Carroll poetically describes it, “The waves aren’t the dramatic, over-powered explosions of winter Hawaii, or the almost supernatural, curving menace of southwest Tahiti. They’re silky, perfectly formed and balanced. They swing among the islands in a refracted dance around deepwater reefs and tidal channels, and bend into quick, delicate shapes. The water is 28ºC. It’s probably the best surf in the world.”
Another contented visitor says of his stay there “Its simply a small paradise, with a beautiful lagoon and postcard white-sand, private beaches, and, much more important, situated in the middle of an incredible variety of waves.”
Now feast your eyes on this video. The cameremen and cameras are getting more and more impressive. The following footage of the Red Bull Minor Threat boat trip is awesome. A spectacular day at Mentawai Islands was enjoyed to the full by the Red Bull lads…