Surfing Mentawai

Just like many off-the-beaten-track corners of Indonesia, The Mentawai Islands – some 150km off the coast of Sumatra – were first put on the map by a bunch of intrepid surfers over 30 years ago, looking to find perfect waves away from the busier islands. Ask any surfer which breaks are on their bucket list, and you can bet that most of them will be found somewhere out here.

“The Ments” are home to an all-star cast of left and right reef breaks, most of which are tailored perfectly for the intermediate to advanced level surfer. Waves such as Lance’s Right, Telescopes and Macaronis are lodged firmly in surfing folklore as the kind of places where dream sessions go down almost every day, but for every named spot there are still plenty more just waiting to be chanced upon.

For surfing visitors to the islands, there are essentially two choices if you’re looking to score the waves of your life. Inter-island travel is close to non-existent, so the first option is to stay on land at one of the land camps that are mushrooming all over the archipelago ( has its own private island!).

Meanwhile, the second option is to jump on a charter boat, for an all-inclusive full board two-week trip. Check out The Orca Laut ( and Raja Elang ( for basic comfort with a dash of adventure on the high seas. One thing that remains the same either way is the surf, and for a country that is as wave-riddled as Indonesia, The Mentawai islands stand out as the jewel in the crown.

[Text & pics: Dan Ashcroft]

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