Indonesia: Mentawai Islands
Small pristine resort on a private island, placed right in the heart of the Playground area, offering stylish and comfortable bungalow accommodation.
LowPressure’s Stormrider Surf Guide says
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.