Overview of surfing in Mentawais
The Best of the Best: Surfing in the Mentawai Islands
Welcome one of the top surfing destinations in the world, where pristine turquoise waters meet the lush green islands of the Mentawai archipelago. Picture yourself gliding effortlessly through the most perfect barrels on the planet, surrounded by a breathtaking tropical paradise, and you’ll have a good idea of what waits for you at the end of a long travel day or two. If you’re a wave enthusiast, the Mentawai Islands are a bucket list destination. Read on to learn more about this magical chain of islands.
What makes this chain so special is not only the quality of the waves here, but the sheer volume of them packed into such a small coastline. There are more than 50 top quality spots within the 100 mile radius, and plenty more that are still very high quality. There are waves for all abilities here, even if the most well known spots are all heavy reefs.From legendary gems like Macaronis, Hollow Trees, Rifles, and Green Bush to lesser-known breaks like Scarecrows and Icelands, the Mentawai waves will leave you awe-inspired and humbled.
Best Surf Spots
There is an abundance of high-quality surf here. Luckily we have compiled a list of the best surf spots in the island chain which you can find (and then drool over) here!
In the meantime, check out the Billabong team ripping the islands to shreds
From rustic land camps to luxurious surf resorts, the Mentawai Islands cater to all tastes and budgets. All options are close if not right in front of world-class waves. Living aboard a charter boat offers the ultimate freedom, allowing you to chase waves and get first dibs on dawn patrol. On the other hand, indulging in a comfortable land camp or resort provides a unique opportunity to experience the local life, share stories with fellow surfers, and form lasting connections. Each accommodation option offers its own charm, enriching your surf trip with authentic experiences that perfectly complement the epic waves.
Padang (PDG) is your gateway airport to the Mentawai. Direct flights are available from various Indonesian airports like Bali, Jakarta, Medan, Bandung, and Surabaya, as well as Kuala Lumpur. Once you arrive in Padang, the true adventure begins. You’ll embark on a speedboat or charter boat, and boat out to your chosen surf resort. The travel can take a while! Make sure to bring some snacks and water.
The Mentawai Islands are divided into several surf-rich regions, each offering a distinct experience.
North Sipora: North Sipora is a more tranquil island, where Telescopes shines as the crown jewel. It’s a long, perfect, barreling left that lights up on larger west swells. Nearby, Scarecrows offers a super consistent, friendly left whose easy takeoff and long rides make it ideal for all levels of surfers. As you navigate the relatively uncrowded lineup, you’ll be rewarded with unforgettable sessions that will be missing the crowd factor.
South Sipora: Home to one of the most iconic waves in the world, Lance’s Right (HT’s), one of the best and most consistent fast, barreling right-handers. This powerful wave barrels along an idyllic bay, offering exhilarating rides for advanced surfers. For a different flavor, explore Lance’s Left, a more down-the-line wave that presents a plethora of turns and maneuvers. South Sipora’s Bintangs and Cobras offer quality options for various swell angles and sizes, ensuring there’s always a wave to suit your preferences.
Playgrounds: Prepare to be spoiled for choice in Playgrounds, the wave-dense region at the northern tip. As you explore this region, you’ll find yourself next to 20 world-class waves, all located within a half-hour boat ride from each other. The renowned Rifles, Nokandui Lefts, E-Bay, and Bank Vaults are just a few of the breaks waiting to be discovered. While Playgrounds may attract a crowd, its number of waves ensures that you can find a secluded spot that better suits your needs. Don’t miss out on lesser-known reefs like Hideaways, Pistols, and Dog’s Reef, which can produce sessions that rival those of their more famous counterparts.
Pagai: Venture to the southern end and experience Macaronis, the planet’s “funnest” wave, offering a mix of barrels, high-performance sections, and incredible consistency. This wave has become known as a wave pool in the ocean, and its allure is undeniable. Greenbush, another world-class left nearby, caters to experienced surfers with its heavier, challenging barrels. For those seeking a quieter corner of the Mentawai magic; consistent, quality waves like Rags Left and Rags Right, the super fun Roxys, the perfect Bat Cave, and the thunderous Thunders provide options for everyone.
The 33 best Surf spots in Mentawais
Overview of surfing spots in Mentawais
Surf spot overview
From rustic land camps to luxurious surf resorts, the Mentawai Islands cater to all tastes and budgets. All options are close if not right in front of world class waves. Living aboard a charter boat offers the ultimate freedom, allowing you to chase waves and get first dibs on dawn patrol. On the other hand, indulging in a comfortable land camp or resort provides a unique opportunity to experience the local life, share stories with fellow surfers, and form lasting connections. Each accommodation option offers its own charm, enriching your surf trip with authentic experiences that perfectly complement the epic waves.
Surf seasons and when to go
The best time of the year to surf in Mentawais
The Mentawai Islands is one of the most consistent surf regions globally, ensuring waves throughout the year. No matter when you visit, you’ll be greeted by the energy of the South Indian Ocean. The off-peak season from December to February offers the least crowds and more mellow waves, ideal for a laid-back surf experience. During these months, the weather is impeccable, and you’ll have the choice of more small, perfect waves than you could surf in a year. The shoulder months of March, April, October, and November provide everything from solid swells to playful days, making them a prime time for mixed groups or surfers looking for some variety. For those seeking the ultimate barrel and the quintessential Indonesian surf experience, peak season between May and September is your time to shine. During this period, the larger swells awaken, and you’ll get the barrel of your life along with some proper beatings.
Mentawais surf travel guide
Find trips that fit a flexible lifestyle
Activities Other Than Surf
Beyond the waves, the Mentawai Islands offer a treasure trove of adventure. Embrace the spirit of exploration with trekking tours, discovering untouched jungle reserves, and visiting indigenous villages that have preserved their ancient ways. Engage with the locals, learn about their traditional customs, and immerse yourself in a rich cultural tapestry that spans millennia. Respectful encounters with the islanders are an enriching experience that showcases the beauty of both the people and the oceans. Snorkeling and diving enthusiasts can explore incredible underwater worlds teeming with vibrant marine life. For anglers, the Mentawai waters present an excellent opportunity to hunt down game fish like wahoo, mackerel, tuna, and giant trevally. Whatever your ideal off day activity, you can find it here.
The Mentawai Islands are not just a surf haven; they are also a living museum of indigenous tribes. As you venture into the heart of the islands, you’ll encounter the Mentawai people, whose rich culture and traditions have withstood the test of time. Engaging with these remarkable communities, you’ll find yourself humbled by their deep connection with nature and their preservation of ancient customs. Discover their unique art, learn about their belief systems, and witness traditional ceremonies that have been passed down through generations. Your journey to the Mentawai Islands can be both a surf trip as well as an opportunity to understand a different culture and to show respect for those that allow you on their land.
Bahasa Indonesia is the official language of Indonesia, including the Mentawai Islands. However, due to its remote nature and popularity among surfers, English is widely spoken in most surf resorts and accommodations. You’ll find that communication won’t be a barrier when interacting with locals and surf guides. Learning a few basic Indonesian phrases can enhance your experience and show respect for the local culture. The people of Mentawai are known for their friendliness, and making an effort to greet them in their native language can lead to more meaningful connections. While English is prevalent, embracing the local language, even in small ways, can make your surf trip all the more enjoyable.
In the Mentawai Islands, you’ll find that your connection with nature takes precedence over your digital connection. While some surf resorts and land camps may offer limited WiFi access, it’s advisable to prepare for a digital detox during your stay. The allure of these pristine islands lies in their remoteness, where you’re surrounded by the sights and sounds of unspoiled tropical paradise. Embrace the opportunity to disconnect from the online world and immerse yourself fully in the beauty of the Mentawai experience. This break from constant connectivity is a chance to reset, rejuvenate, and appreciate the simplicity of life in this remote surf haven. You’ll find that the absence of cell coverage and limited WiFi only adds to the charm of the Mentawai Islands, allowing you to savor every moment in this surfing paradise.
The Mentawai Islands offer a unique blend of remote surf adventure and rustic charm. When it comes to budgeting, it’s essential to remember that this is not a luxury resort destination like the Maldives. The local currency used in the Mentawai Islands is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). While some upscale surf resorts offer all-inclusive packages, many accommodations are more basic. Prices for meals, transportation, and other essentials tend to be lower than in more touristy areas. However, keep in mind that some surf charters and resorts operate on an exclusive basis, which can be pricier. It’s wise to carry cash, as ATMs are scarce, especially on the more remote islands. Tipping is appreciated but not mandatory. Budget-conscious travelers can find affordable options, making the Mentawai Islands accessible to a range of budgets.
Embark on a journey that transcends mere waves, enveloping you in a world of untamed beauty, vibrant culture, and endless adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned wave rider or a curious novice, the Mentawai Islands offer opportunity for all. Experience the exhilaration of carving the perfect wave, the warmth of connecting with local communities, and the wonder of exploring a remote corner of the world.