Surfing the Mentawai Islands

“Surf Disneyland” and “The best waves in the world.” These remote Islands, 60miles off the Sumatran mainland, actually live up to the hyperbole. A few years back the adventurous surfer could have had this paradise almost to themselves. Today a micro industry of surf boat charters and land based surf resorts have sprung up to cater for the increasing number of surfers willing to travel and bear the cost of finding the perfect wave in this surf mecca.

To get the most out of these breaks  you’ll be an intermediate or advanced surfer. Getting there you’ll need to take a flight to Padang and either hop on your surf boat charter for usually 10-14 days at sea. Alternatively, take a boat transfer to one of the numerous land camps that have sprung up in the area. For those taking the water based option your captain will use his expert local knowledge to guide you to the best breaks for the conditions that day. He’ll do his best to find you your own slice of uncrowded surfing utopia. Those taking the land based option will have fewer breaks to pick from, though most camps have a speedboat access to nearby breaks.

As for the breaks, where to start? Rifles, Hollow Trees (Ht’s), Telescopes, No-Kandui, Macaronis. The list is seemingly endless. There are great waves in this area year round. However, the ideal time to surf in the Mentawai’s is during the dry season, late March to early November, the southern hemisphere’s winter.