King Millenium I

Indonesia: Sumatra

Affordable, comfortable charter boat exploring Telos, Nias and of course the Mentawis, for up to 10 surfers with spacious communal areas and private room or dorm options.

LowPressure Stormrider Surf Guide says

Mentawai Islands, Indonesia, EAST ASIA

In a very short period of time, this wild and remote chain of islands, lying about 90k’s (55mi) off the Sumatran mainland, have become the most sought after destination for surfers looking to ride “the best waves in the world”. This bold claim is rarely disputed, as those who score a solid SW swell will testify and few return from the Mentawais disappointed with the wave quality and quantity. The key to this rapid ascension to the pinnacle of world surfing lies in the sheer concentration of truly world-class breaks and an unmatched flexibility when it comes to handling different swell and wind combinations. Being a degree or three below the equator helps massively, as the light, flukey winds provide a variety of directions unseen in other parts of Indonesia and it often transpires that proper glassy conditions bookend the day. Furthermore, the geomorphology of this seismically active region seems to cause unusual swell refraction and diffraction, creating unexpected waves round the back of islands and islets where none should normally exist. These coral encrusted lava reefs fringe a still relatively untouched rainforest and many of the tribal inhabitants of the remoter regions still cling to a traditional subsistence lifestyle, maintaining little contact with the outside world. Progress is unavoidable though and whereas 15 years ago, yacht charters were the only way to go, now a half dozen land camps have been established at the banner waves and many more are planned. This has led to Silabu Village installing 2 buoys in Pasongan harbour next to Macaronis, requiring boats to book in a week before arrival and pay a $30 mooring fee plus the $1.50 per head surfer fee, which are used for community projects. This limits the numbers to around 36 maximum, shared evenly between the resort and charters and stops anchor damage in the bay. This precedent may expand across the region if resorts can obtain the various government licenses. Threats to revoke charter licenses for boats not registered in Indonesia have been rumoured and would drastically reduce surf fleet numbers if implemented.

The hulking mass of Siberut presents a primal vista, with the hardwood forest shrouded in mist and it exudes an air of power and mystery, emanating from the mountainous interior. This largest island in the Mentawai chain has only been lightly surfed by long-range charter crews grabbing an opportunistic wave on the way to the Nias area. That means spots on the backside are more often seen from the northern tip at Tanjung Sigep, down to the impossibly sheltered Teluk Tabekat and out to the headland at Sikabaluan, but most will pass by like ships in the night. A good deal of the SW-facing coast is straight line reefs, exposed and messed up by wind and swell, but a few obvious jinks in the coast could produce a left or two at Tanjungs Sakaladat, Sataerataera and Simasuket. Many captains will have a few spots sussed for certain conditions and there are some mellow breaks in the playgrounds area that get ridden like Taileleo, a fun mal slide facing south, Pearlers peak nestled behind Masokut and a righthander round the backside near the Muara harbour. It is important to recognise that while there are 40-60 named breaks, many more are out there, being surfed by experienced captains who know the deal.

Find more general info about when to go and statistics on the Low Pressure’s Stormrider Guide website.


Nias and Hinako Islands, Indonesia, EAST ASIA

The perfect righthander at Lagundri Bay on the island of Nias was the first world-class wave discovered in the Sumatra region. Nias was first surfed in 1975, by Aussie surf pioneers Peter Troy, Kevin Lovett and John Giesel. They put up with swarms of malarial mosquitoes and the most primitive of living conditions to ride absolute perfection in the jungle. These days, it’s much easier to get to Nias Island and a slew of losmens fringe the deep bay, competing to accommodate the constant stream of surfers. The massive 2005 earthquake tipped the island, lifting reefs in the south with some waves improving and others disappearing. Just offshore in the Hinako Islands, the two super-consistent, crowd-spreading spots have also been affected; Bawa’s bowly rights have suffered while Asu’s lengthy lefts have got even hollower over the lifted reefs.

Find more general info about when to go and statistics on the Low Pressure’s Stormrider Guide website.


Batu Islands, Indonesia, EAST ASIA

Often referred to as the Telos, the 51 Batu Islands have dodged the bulk of the Nias and Mentawai crowds for much the same reason as the Banyaks. There are fewer big name spots and the best set-ups often require stronger swells, usually from the rarer W direction. However, consistent, year-round, headhigh surf can always be found with plenty of fun, easier line-ups that cater to most tastes and abilities. A few surf camps have opened, but for independent travellers, this place is a mission without a boat to get around and it has a reputation for malaria and other diseases. There are flights from Medan and Padang to the small strip at Lasondre on Tanahmasa, plus ferries from Nias, but most of the waves are found on the smaller islands to the NW. Check around and in between the larger islands of Telo, Sipika and the more exposed reefs of Pulau Sigata. Like the Mentawais, refraction brings swell in at unusual angles so don’t discount either end of Pulau Pini during big pulses. Down south on Tanahbala, there are some less frequented breaks with longer travelling times between them especially if going all the way to Bojo. The camps all have their own names for the spots, so it depends on who you travel with, but there is no doubt this group holds some excellent waves and since the equator runs through here, winds are rarely a problem with plenty of glass and a spot for all wind/swell combos.

Find more general info about when to go and statistics on the Low Pressure’s Stormrider Guide website.