Earth : Asia : Southeast Asia : Indonesia : Sumatra : West Sumatra : Mentawai Islands
The Mentawai islands are a chain of islands in Indonesia off the western coast of Sumatra, recognized as having some of the most perfect surfing breaks in the world. However, because most waves break over very sharp and shallow coral reefs, only experienced surfers should attempt them.
Pagai Tua Pejat
The local Mentawai people use the national language of Bahasa Indonesia and they also have their own Mentawai language.
The most economical ferry to Mentawai is the Ambu Ambu (made from steel). Since September 2009, the Ambu-Ambu ferry travels overnight from Padang Bungus to Muara Siberut on the second and third Thursday nights of each month. From Muara Siberut to Padang Bungus, the ferry travels on the 2nd and 3rd Friday nights of each month. The ferry departs from Padang at 21:00 and arrives at approximately 08:00 the following morning. Take note that this ferry takes double of its capacity so it is overcrowded most of the time. You can hire mattress or crew's cabin for two (800,000IDR)
The Sumber Rejeki traditional ferry (made from wood) travels overnight from Padang Bungus to Muara Siberut every Monday evening. From Muara Siberut to Padang, the ferry travels every Tuesday night.
Since July 2014, Mentawai Fast  (privately owned) ferry operates 6 days a week from Dermaga Muara (closest to Padang city). It takes 3 hours to get to Tua Pejat and Siberut. The ferry accomodates 200 passengers. Made fully from aluminium with 3 engines and 2 generators to keep the air conditioner running. Rates per 2014 is 295,000 (IDR) to Tua Pejat and Siberut (insurance, drink and snack included). However there is surfboard charge included (230,000) IDR per bag which goes to local people and crews.
There are a number of ways to travel to the Mentawai Islands.
Surf spots include:
"Thunders" Reliable swell magnet left, holds plenty of swell and often has plenty of punch (normally as far south as most charter boats venture)
"Rags right" Very hollow, very shallow right, a world class wave but only for the very experienced surfer, a wave that can deliver the barrel of your life or come close to ending your life, if you hit the very shallow reef.
"Rags left" Quality left although a little fickle and not as good as it once was due to reef uprise from an earthquake some years back.
"Malakopa/Roxys/clear water springs" A wave that actually improved after the previously mentioned earthquake, a fun right with a nice barrel on take off followed by a sections to hit or carve.
"Green bush" Very hollow left, lines up in a classic deep water cobra peak before quickly grinding through a very shallow sharp uneven coral reef, another wave really only suited to experienced surfers.
"Macaronis/maccas" One of the waves most surfers come to the Mentawais to surf, first section lines up in a perfect peeling barrel, before backing off for a perfect rippable, playful inside section perfect for getting your bottom turn top turn combo happening, a very consistent wave with perfect shape, although it does have a few draw backs mainly it doesn't hold a crowd that well and is always crowded, a wave every surf should surf once in there life.
"Maccas right/KFC's" pretty average shifty right, only really worth surfing to escape the crowds of maccas on no wind days.
"Bat caves" A fairly average right by mentawai standards, but still worth a check while passing by, rarely barrels, but can offer up a number of fun sections suited to all levels of surfers, even if the waves are no good the tiny tropical island the wave peels of and the nearby sea caves in the cliffs are worth checking out.
"Lances left" Another consistent quality left that breaks from waist high to triple overhead or bigger? the wave is made up of a few different sections/take off spots with a variety of sections from barrels to walls to carve, not as consistently perfect as many other Mentawai waves, however does have the potential to be world class especially with some size.
"Lances right/Hollow trees/HT,s" One of Indos best rights a very unique set up as the swell wraps 180 degrees to get in but still picks up a bit of swell, although rather tidal, the wave is actually made up of a number of sections, the bombie, the office, the cage, before ending on the infamous piece of reef named the surgeons table.
"Bintangs" Unique sucky right not the longest wave, but can be a barrel from start to finish.
"Scarecrows" Not the best wave in the mentawais, kind of like Telescopes little ugly sister, the real bonus is it picks up much more swell the Telescopes and is not as popular. Gets longish on big days.
"Telescopes" The real quality wave in the area, often with a crowd to match, needs a west swell to get happening as sits in a tucked away area, however once breaking its a fun wave suited to most surfers, with a variety of sections including barrels. On a more solid west swell it gets hollower and longer and world class with plenty of barrels. It can get crowded, but like Lances Left holds a crowd okay due to there being a few different take off spots.
"Icelands" The swell magnet of the area, when small its a fairly average wave that peaks up before peeling off in a tapered shoulder, however when a solid swell hits the wave turns into a beast. There are 3 more lefts breaking on points and reefs just to the north, which all need a solid size swell but give good waves on their day.
"Ulars" or Seven Palms. Another swell magnet, just around to the south from Scarecrows. Good left up to 100m or so with a backdoor bowl section on good days. Doesn't handle more than a medium size swell, but picks up waves when everywhere else is flat.
"Ombak Tudor" a long right opposite Icelands. Needs a solid south swell otherwise it tends to close out. Gives barrels on several sections on its day, it can also get very long, but needs just the right conditions (south well, north east winds). On the inside about 1km down the point is another mellower wave called "Ariks" which needs a giant or west swell to get in.
South Siberut (playgrounds)
"Burger world/burgers" The swell magnet of the area a long fun right hand point break
"Kandui left" Very fast hollow long left over a very shallow reef, another wave only suited to experienced surfers, further down the reef on big swells is "Baby Kandui/Corners" a scaled down fickle version of its big brother.
"Rifles/Kandui rights" Another one of Indos best rights a very fast hollow right in the vein of indos version of Kirra, a little more approachable than Kandui left but still a wave suited to the better surfer.
Beng Beng. A very consistent wave, an extremely rippable left. This spot is loads of fun and probably one of the easiest waves to surf in the Mentawai’s. It’s the deepest and safest wave in the area and also pick up a bit more swell than other locales. 5 more breaks in the area, including E-Bay and Pitstops. Nestled inside a small bay with one of the most scenic views imaginable all around you.
E-Bay. This is a hollow left that barrels off the take-off with a short wall down the line. A great option when a lot of swell is hitting. A hollow, fast, powerful left. A world class wave for experienced surfers. Watch out for the two rocks on the inside. Great barrels, and turns into a surfing paradise at 6 feet offshore. There is a heavy warble that hits as you are taking off. Make the drop and don’t get thrown by that first warble and chances are you’ll get a mean aqua blue barrel. The scenery alone will blow you away. Besides its aesthetic beauty, double overhead E-bay is a beast and forces to be reckon with.
"Bankvaults" Hollow shifty Hawaiian style wave complete with big barrels.
Nipussi or Pussies. A shorter right that breaks down the point from Bank Vaults. Definitely fun and rippable. Usually has fairly deep water from the takeoff to the inside. Ends in a riptide that sucks all the water back out to sea. A good option when there’s not much swell, and usually the most consistent spot in the area.
"Piggybanks" Short hollow right tube just down from Bankvaults, needing higher tides and bigger swells. No nonsense wave with the reef very close.
Pitstops. This is the right off the peak at E-Bay. A playful right that can offer some cover-ups off the take-off, but mostly a high performance wave with air sections at the end. Ends in a sandy channel.
"Hideaways". A very good left that can only really be surfed from mid to high tide. Breaks very hard and barrels right through to the inside on good days, and holds large sizes. A very high quality wave for experienced surfers.
"Sometimes". A reasonable long left on the main island to the north opposite to, and similar in style to Beng Beng, that needs a small to medium swell to get cranking. Not very hollow but gets reasonably long and has a hollower end section.
"Bird Baths". Left on the mainland island to the north and further around to the east, which needs a very solid swell to get in. Hollow on takeoff with a sucky pocket as it zips along the reef/point, it is reasonably mellow but does barrel in the right conditions, with northerly winds and bigger swells.
"Bat Cave" Another wave on the main island to the north, and around to the east, requiring a solid swell to get in. Hollow solid right hand barrel needing higher tides and northerly winds for experienced surfers.
"Kerinci". Very hollow, hard breaking left tube on the main island to the north, and around to the east. Needs a solid swell to get in, but gives hollow high quality left barrels with northerly winds and bigger swells. Experienced surfers when big as there are reef/rocks on the inside.
"4 Bobs/Spankers". Average short right which gets very shallow on lower tides. Can hold some size when it breaks further off the reef. Picks up more swell than most other waves.
"John Candys/A frames". Average peaky left with rare good days. Gets hollow but most of the time doesn't seem to line up properly. Picks up lots of swell.
"Playgrounds". Average long left in the bay that needs a solid swell to get in. Mellow, but gets hollower, longer and much better on bigger swells and lower tides. Holds any size swell so worth a look when big. A softer wave unless very big.
Surf Charter Operators include:
(From south to North):