Very few surf destinations boggle the mind quite like the Mentawai Islands do. Known in the surf world for its picture-perfect waves, the main season runs from April until October, when you can expect the biggest and best conditions. If you’re someone that might endure the long & costly journey to this remote corner of Sumatra, make sure you add these 6 waves to your hit list..
Once overlooked as being too fast to ride, Kandui is a mesmerizing full throttle wave that is still referred to as “No-Kandui” simply because it’s so hard to out run. Long, hollow, lightening quick & down right heavy, try and time a session on the higher tide and be mindful of the inside section that can end your trip in the blink of an eye. This is one of those waves that the rewards are unbeatable but with consequences to match. Only advised for the most experienced of surfers.
Just a short boat ride around from Kandui, you’ll find one of the best waves in Indonesia. Surfers will literally travel to the Mentawai region purely on a whim of surfing this iconic right hander. Rifles breaks best above head high & can hold pretty much whatever you throw at it. It will endlessly reel down the reef for hundreds of meters given the right combination of wind and swell. A fickle beast, this wave is sensitive to most wind conditions (apart from a light north or west wind) and requires a south swell. Expect a crowd if you’re coming in the main season. And bring a big board as well as spare on the boat.
If Tele’s was a little more consistent it would certainly be home to several surf camps. But the fact that it’s even more fickle than Rifles, means that only a handful of locals offer budget accommodation. But time it just right & you’ll discover that Telescopes is one of those waves that will be etched in your mind forever. Unlike many waves in the region, this wave is relatively user-friendly especially when its around head high. A wave of decent length, it produces both perfect barrels & long carvable walls without the deadly end section that many of the other breaks have.
4. Lances Right (aka HT’s or Hollow Trees)
A short paddle from a palm fringed white sand beach, Hollow Trees is another wave that relies on a south swell to light up. Waves refract close to 180 degrees around the reef pass before producing some of the best right handers ever seen on the planet. More advanced surfers will sit deep in the line-up hoping to score waves in the “office” – where it unloads its fury in picture perfect fashion delivering some of the longest and cleanest tubes you can imagine. When the tide draws out, be mindful of the infamous surgeons table that can turn a dream session into a horror show.
5. Lances Left
It might not make the headlines quite like the other waves in our list, but Lances left is not to be missed. Found around the corner from HT’s in Kingfisher Bay, the wave is way longer and much more consistent than most waves in the region, producing long, down the line walls, & numerous tasty tube opportunities. 2 or 3 distinct take-off areas eases the pressure in the line-up, Lances breaks across the tides and when the swell is just right will link up with another wave further up the point called Cobras. Although a favorite spot for passing surf charter boats, there is only 1 camp in the whole bay – Kingfisher Resort.
Referred to as the funnest wave on the planet, Macaronis breaks with such rhythmic beauty that only after a session or two it’ll usually become every surfer’s favorite wave. Maca’s is the type of wave that most dream of when heading to the Mentawai Islands. At chest to head high it’ll offer zippy walls and countless opportunities to get barreled. A slight increase in size will deliver a tube from start to finish. And anything over double over head the lip tends to thicken, and the line-up thins out. It roars into a beast.
One of the most consistent waves in the Mentawais, not only is it a swell magnet, it also handles onshore winds very well. Intermediates should head out in the off season where chest to head high conditions prevail.