Until recently, the inhabitants of Mentawai Islands had little contact with the outside world. Today, it has become a secret destination for surfers who want the challenging waves amid the peaceful, serene, natural setting that the islands offer. Here are 25 facts and tips on surfing when in the Mentawai Islands.
1. Padang: You will need to reach Padang first before setting off for the islands.
2. Best Waves: The legendary Rifles are some of the best waves in the world. If you like big and fast action, this is the place to be.
3. Best Year-Round Surfing: The Burgerworld point break may not be the best, but it’s always active no matter the time of year.
4. Fast Ferry: The traditional ferry takes up to 12 hours. But the new fast ferry takes far less time, although it is more expensive.
5. Best Left-Hander: E-Bay (not the auction site) offers fast, left-handed barrels and a beautiful location.
6. Speedboat: If you are traveling in a large group, rent a speedboat to the islands if you have the cash on hand.
7. Plenty of Surfing Places: There are over 50 areas on the islands that are perfect for surfing.
8. Pit Stops: Some of the best high-performance waves can be found here. The beach is also quite stunning.
9. Divided in Three Parts: The northern islands are dominated by Siberut while the central islands host the Telescopes. The southern area has two beautiful islands perfect for surfing.
10. Best Right-Hander: Bank Vaults offers thick, right-handed barrels, but be careful as the waves tend to be unpredictable.
11. Big Swells: The main reason why the Mentawai Islands are perfect for surfing is the consistent, large waves of 15 feet or more.
12. Ideal Conditions: The dry season is the perfect time, from March through October. The off-season has far more rain.
13. Solid Wave Action: Nipussi offers short, right-hand breaks which are not the best, but always reliable no matter the time of year.
14. Off-Season Delight: Although its rainier, the off season has fewer crowds, lower prices, and decent waves that are challenging.
15. Accommodations: If you don’t mind roughing it, $35 a day will get you decent accommodations while helping out the local businesses.
16. Wildlife: If you tire of the surf, you can check out the numerous wildlife, including the world’s largest snakes and water dragons.
17. Perfection: The waves off Macaronis is arguably the best in all the Mentawai Islands. It’s a barrel-rider’s delight.
18. Get Around: To reach the breaks offshore, you’ll need to charter a boat.
19. Fish: From snapper to mahi mahi to black marlin and more, there is plenty of fishing opportunities in the islands.
20. Speed Demon: If you like fast, left-handed barrels, then check out No Kanduis. Perfect for intermediate and advanced surfers but be careful of the reef.
21. Crowded, but Excellent: The Thunders are surfable no matter the tide level. Which is why so many flock to this area.
22. When Crowded is Good: The ripples off Beng Bengs are perfect for vertical surfing which helps you navigate large crowds.
23. Land Camp or Boat: Camps are cheaper, but tougher to reach the waves. Boats are more expensive but provide for easier access.
24. Beginner Action: If you are just starting out, try Four Bobs as its accessible and easy to surf. Just be sure to go at high tide.
25. The Surgeon’s Table: At Hollow Trees, you can enjoy excellent right-handers that ride the reef off Sipura. Just be careful of the shallow reefs, so you don’t wind up on the Surgeon’s Table.