The Mentawai Islands are one of the most consistent surf destinations in the entire world. The power of southern Indian Ocean storms is turned by the prevailing SE trades towards these amazing islands and amplified. The result is surf that is remarkably consistent and of unsurpassed quality. During the southern hemisphere winter, (late April to early November) the Indian Ocean is an over-active, groundswell machine.
If you haven’t had a chance to surf in the Mentawai’s you will have seen it on video, in print, or heard about it from your friends. The place is simply “magic on a stick”. The archipelago is sprinkled with picture perfect, glassy barrels that light up and fire in tune with the constantly changing equatorial winds and weather.
The Mentawai Islands are one of the most consistent surf destinations in the entire world. It’s broad exposure towards the vast, southern Indian Ocean provides these majestic islands with remarkable consistency and quality. There are great waves in this area YEAR-ROUND, because the Indian ocean is the most ultra-active, groundswell producing machine in the world. During the entire year Saraina Koat Mentawai offers the average surfer the opportunity to score the best waves of their lives on the best local boats operating in the Mentawai Islands.
The best time of year to come to avoid crowds is October-February, because most people are under the misconception that this time of the year has no waves, and extreme weather, but this is false. Because of Mentawai islands proximity in relation to the equator the islands are virtually uneffected by the monsoons which greatly effect other areas of Indonesia. The Indian oceans relentless generation of clean swells year round, and the wheather in the islands makes for year round epic surf, and conditions.
In an effort to minimize the exploitation of this sovereign area we have compiled a brief glimpse of seventeen well-known Mentawai Islands surf spots. There are an astonishing number of additional spots which offer an abundance of hollow, glassy barrels constantly evolving around the various moods of the ocean; however, the most important element in the Mentawai Islands experience is that overwhelming feeling of discovery and finding these perfect waves on your own.
A Frames is one of the most consistent lefts in the Mentawai Islands. Situated in front of an idyllic island it is one of the many good waves found in the Playgrounds region. There are generally two sections to surf, the top and the inside. The peaks at the top can be a bit shifty and require a fair amount of paddling around to find the right area while the inside section is more dependable and offers up a better wall to work with. A frames is easily one of the most popular spots in the Mentawai’s and is sometimes referred to as “John Candies”.
Bank Vaults is a thick, barreling right punctuated by a shifting line-up. Sets seemingly emerge out of nowhere and can wreak havoc if you’re caught out of position. The ideal size to surf Bankvaults is head-high to a triple overhead, in any swell size, getting caught inside is a certainty. Despite the dangers, snag a clean, open barrel here and you’ll be talking about it for years. If it looks too heavy, Nipussi is a scant three-hundred yards to the east.
Beng Beng is an extremely rippable left located a few hundred yards away from E-Bay and Pitstops. It’s probably one of the easiest waves to surf in the Mentawai’s and is fun for surfers of all ability levels. The area surrounding Beng Beng is breathtaking as it sits nestled inside a small bay with literally one of the most scenic views imaginable all around you. The best size to surf Beng Beng is anything over shoulder high – even though it’s relatively short some people like this wave more than other waves that are considered far superior – best of all, it rarely has a boat on it so most sessions are by yourself.
Burgerworld is an amazingly good wave, when every where else is so small that you can’t surf there. I surfed it with the likes of Mick Fanning, Dane Reynolds, Shane Dorian, Andy Irons, and more, and I over heard them talking about how closely Burgerworld resembles small J-Bay. It is only good when it is small, because any bigger than a couple of feet over head, and it starts breaking wide, and mushing out. At this point, you could only classify Burger world as a ‘Straight hander’ because all you can do is go straight in the soup, and there is no wall to speak of.
E-bay is a fast, barreling left that gets good when it’s head high or bigger. When a pumping west swell is marching through, E-bay does a close impersonation of Padang Padang on Bali without the death cliff looming inside, and only a death reef instead. The overall set-up at E-bay is flawless, stereotypical Indonesian, with beautiful, bluish-green water and tall palm trees everywhere. Besides its aesthetic beauty, double overhead E-bay is a beast and force to be reckon with.
Hideaways is an occasionally heavy left in the Playgrounds region. Most people do not surf here because of it’s fickle nature; however, when it’s working it’s one of the best waves in the Mentawai’s. Not really a “secret” wave but not surfed very often either.
Lance’s Left is one of the most popular destinations in the Mentawai’s for consistency and quality. It is an occasionally grinding left with multiple take-off zones and during the right conditions two distinct barrel sections. Despite its relatively harmless allure Lance’s Left can pack a serious punch, especially if you get caught inside and find yourself parked on the reef. The extreme inside sports a series of lava fingers with deep gaps in between, keep this in mind as before you try to squeeze in that last roundhouse. The place can hold size, basically as big as the swell can get, and is often compared to G-Land’s Moneytrees section as steep take-offs throw you down the line with impressive speed and flow. Lance’s Left is always a good call if the winds are right so it’s no surprise that many boat captains and traveling surfers frequent the area.
Lance’s Right, more commonly referred to as “HT’s” (Hollow Tree), is a fast, perfect, barreling right-hander. Out of all the breaks in the Mentawai’s “HT’s” best exemplifies the term “swell wrap”. The waves here wrap around the south end of the island and into a guarded bay over one-hundred and eighty degrees before unloading over an unmerciful reef aptly named “The Surgeon’s Table”. It is probably one of the top five most famous waves in the entire world and not without good reason. There are three main take-off zones, but it’s the deepest zone, dubbed “The Office” that serves up the heaviest, scariest, roundest, most mesmerizing barrels in the world. On video or in magazines it appears to be a simple drop, routine cover-up and graceful exit, when you surf here you’ll find out it’s none of the above. On the contrary, it’s one of the most feared waves in the Mentawai’s, not so much because of the wave itself; but, the mere prospect of blowing a drop and getting shredded to pieces on the inside keeps most normal surfers hesitant to charge the bombs. Most surfers gravitate towards “HT’s” straight out of Padang and end up getting hurt in their first session of their trip. Our advice is to catch it at the end of the trip when you’re more comfortable with your surroundings and aren’t afraid to get hurt because your trip was already a success anyway.
Macaroni’s, more commonly referred to as “Macca’s” is one of the best performance lefts our planet has to offer. It is one of the premiere destination of every boat charter in the Mentawai’s and more often than not there are a minimum of six boats camped out in front of it. Every magazine and surf video nowadays devotes an obscene amount of coverage to this wave, remarkably, it deserves it. The wave itself barrels graciously on the take-off before walling up into the most high performance oriented waves imaginable. To top it off, the scenery surrounding it is breathtaking as it sits comfortably inside a picturesque cove with emerald green water lapping its shores. The only downside to surfing Macaroni’s is the fact that it’s usually smaller than everywhere else because it faces an awkward direction. Macca’s works best from three to six feet, it is possible to surf here during larger swells but the drops begin to look more like Teahupoo and the consequences become more substantial.
Nipussi is a high-performance right situated inside a reef-laden cove. Most people line up at the apex of the point and surf a solid wall that hugs the inside, but during a west swell some people prefer to sit wide and wait for the swinger sets which break in the middle of the cove. Nipussi always has waves and is a good alternative when the rest of the islands are flat. It’s known as one of the mellowest waves in the islands but it is possible to make 100% of the waves.
Pitstops is a bit over hyped, and over rated, but some people say it is the most high performance wave in the Mentawai Islands. Located a few hundred yards away from E-Bay you can’t really tell if Pitstops is breaking unless you take a close look. The wave itself starts breaking in a compact area over reef, remarkably, if you’re not paying attention, the take-off can be quite challenging. However, once you’re on your feet you’ve got a really fun, semi-backwashy wave to carve, pull in, or boost on. As the wave progresses it starts breaking over a combination of sand and reef until eventually expiring itself on a beautiful tropical beach. One of the most photogenic waves in the world.
Rag’s Right is a formidable opponent to your health, safety, and well being. It is a wide-open right capable of churning out oxygen-sucking dry barrels. Perhaps the most difficult part in the Rag’s Right equation is the drop. The wave stands up and explodes over a nearly exposed reef, the faster you are able to get into it, the greater your chance for success. If it’s breaking, it’s definitely worth a gander as eight to twelve second tubes become standard. If you can swing it, ride a shorter board for increased maneuverability and control deep in the barrel.
4 Bobs is a short, playful right-hander located directly in front of Kandui Resort’s restaurant. Swells that break here wrap considerably around the south end of the island and break over a relatively safe reef. If you’re fast you can take off deep and try to float the first section where most people take off; otherwise, most of the time it’s strictly a one or two turn wave, but fun none the less. At extreme high tides, 4-bob’s becomes a right, and left peak, and even throws some decent tube sections. Ironically, despite it’s relatively tame appeal, 4 Bobs is a perennial favorite to almost every person who surfs it.
Every thing you’ve heard about Telescopes is true. It’s a remarkably long left which tempts you to sit deeper and deeper, almost daring you to backdoor an impossible section. With size, the wave breaks for over a half mile outside and descends upon the formal take-off area at mach one. Fortunately, by the time it reaches the pack its slowed down a bit and ready to serve up a wondrous, steep, hollow wall. Telescopes is frequented by many boats based on its premiere quality. However, there always seems to be plenty of waves to go around and when its absolutely firing at six to eight foot many less accomplished surfers watch it from the safe confines of their boats, videocameras in hand.
Thunders is the largest, most consistent break in the Mentawai’s. Aptly named, Thunders powerful lefts break so hard that it not only makes a booming sound; but it also creates a weird, sea foam that often has trouble clearing out before the next set. The line-up is extremely complicated as waves seem to break everywhere around you; however, on a rising swell a solid, slabby wall offers a serious drop followed by a forceful shoulder. The wave breaks in deeper water than you’d expect so it’s unlikely you will hit the bottom here. The reality of surfing Thunders on a big day, which is often, is you’ll get stuck inside and probably have to make a trip to the shore to make it back out. Grab a big board and charge.
Nokandui / Kandui Left (#1 best wave on the planet)
Nokandui a.k.a Kandui Left is the best wave on the planet earth!It is one of the fastest, down the line, left-hand barrels in the world, and is said to be the best wave on the planet by any, and all top proffessional who have surfed it at it’s best, and catches a set wave from the peak, all the way to the channel. Nokandui is an obscenely hollow wave with your only option for survival being tucked inside its enormous, gaping jaws. Unless you’re comfortable pumping inside the barrel the best you can hope for is to find the right line, exert a little extra front foot pressure, and hold on. Most of the waves will simply outrace you; however, the thrill of charging through the longest barrel possible is more than worth the effort. If the conditions are right it is possible to make 100% of the waves.