Ombak Bagus

For a surfer, paradise is called Indonesia! Among all the variety of destinations to choose for a surf trip in Indonesia, my favorite one is The Mentawai Islands. Whether staying on a boat or at a surf resort, both are a fantastic experience.

For a surfer, paradise is called Indonesia! The Republic of Indonesia is an archipelago with more than 13.000 islands in the Indian Ocean. It receives, consistently, swells from the south. Its many surf spots offer such a variety of perfect waves like no other place on Earth. From the worldwide famous Uluwatu, G-land and Desert Point to the secret ones, there are plenty of classic barrels breaking at this exact moment! Among all the variety of destinations to choose for a surf trip in Indonesia, my favorite one is The Mentawai Islands, a chain of islands and islets located around 150 km off the western coast of Sumatra. 
Hollow Tree
Perfect Hollow Tree

Where to Stay: Boat or Resort?

 To reach it is necessary to take a boat or a ferry from Padang, the West Sumatra province capital. There are, basically, two options for accommodation in the islands: staying on a boat or at a surf resort. Both are a fantastic experience. The feeling of a light breeze on a sunny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean catching some perfect waves with friends. My preference, however, is the boat because of possibility to reach almost anywhere. On a boat, mobility makes it possible to go for the right place under wind and swell conditions. On the other hand, by staying in a resort, you don’t have to deal with boat sickness, and you get better rest and energy recovery. It can get stressful to have a meal sailing in rough conditions, for instance.

Glassy Morning at Lance's Left
Glassy Morning at Lance’s Left

Roughly, there are three main surfing areas: the Playground in the south of Siberut Island, the northern region of Sipora Island and the southern part of Mentawai (South Sipora and the islands of Pagai Utara and Pagai Selatan). The Playground has many surfing spots close to one another as Rifles, Bankvaults, and E-bay among many others. There are also good options for resorts attending different budgets. North Sipora also has some nice breaks as Telescopes and Iceland. The southern region is where the best breaks lie: Lance’s and Hollow Trees in South Sipora, Macaronis, Greenbush and Thunders among others. By the way, there is a beautiful resort in Pasangan Bay (Macaronis surf break).

There are waves for all levels and tastes. If you are not an advanced surfer or a kamikaze, I strongly recommend you to wear reef boots. Remember that there is a sharp coral reef on the bottom and contact with it can put an end to your adventure. You need to be especially careful in HT a perfect, fast, challenging and shallow right-hander. Rashguard and tons of sunscreen are mandatory due to the tropic sun, besides an extra leash and wax. Surf helmet is not a bad idea either.

I suggest for those coming from a long haul flight to overnight in Jakarta (or Kuala Lumpur). As is a long journey, it is useful for recovering before boarding to Padang and then getting a boat crossing to the islands.

Rifles - Playgrounds
Rifles – Playgrounds
To go to the Mentawai Islands is not a cheap holiday considering all expenses (flight to Indonesia, domestic flights, accommodation, meals, and beers!) But I guarantee; it is worth every dollar. If the Fountain of Youth does exist, it is right there at The Mentawai Islands!


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