Playgrounds is the true heart of the Mentawai Islands thanks to more than 20 quality surf breaks within a 40 minute radius. Primarily suited for Intermediate to advanced surfers, those that make the pilgrimage can enjoy some of the planets best waves including Rifles, Kandui and E-bay.
Known as Playgrounds (aka WavePark), the largest islands in this surf rich area are Nyang Nyang and Siberut and are home to a growing number of surf camps. Surfers can best reach this remote corner of Sumatra by taking a Fast Ferry that departs Padang every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The crossing takes 3-4 hours.
Those opting to take a Charter Boat to explore the whole of the Mentawais can usually expect to spend at least 2 or 3 days in the area.
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This surfing area offers around 9 waves that are within 5-20 minutes of each other, with the majority being left hander's. Best suited for intermediate surfers, a family or those simply looking for the least crowded waves in the Mentawai Islands. The region can cater for beginners, which is a rarity in Sumatra.
Those opting to take a Charter Boat to explore the whole of the Mentawais might stop at one or two spots here, especially when a large south west swell is running in the hope of scoring the regions premier wave, Telescopes.
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Here you will find 3 of the Mentawai Islands best waves, Lances Left, Lances Right (HT's) & Bintangs as well as a number of other well kept secrets. The region is known for its consistency as well as having off shore options in nearly all wind conditions.
For those wanting to experience this part of the Mentawais, take the Fast Ferry departing Padang every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The crossing takes 3-4 hours before arriving into Tua Pejat, the Mentawai Islands capital. Guests will then need to take a speedboat to reach the southern part of the island.
North Pagai is home to one of Indonesia's best waves, Macaronis. Its been described as the planets funnest wave and breaks with jaw dropping consistency. Primarily suited for Intermediate to advanced surfers, this region is home to several other quality waves including Green Bush & is also suitable for beginners.
Guests looking to stay at Macaronis Resort can reach this remote corner of Sumatra by taking an Overnight Ferry that departs Padang every Tuesday & Saturday. The crossing takes 12 hours. A further 1 hr speed ride will take you to the resort.
Those opting to take a Charter Boat to explore the whole of the Mentawais can usually expect to spend a day or two at Macaronis as well as Green Bush and many other waves located in this relatively quiet corner of Sumatra.
CAMPS, CHARTER BOATS & MORE
The Mentawai Islands are one of the most consistent surf regions on the entire planet. Thanks to mechanical swell machine of the Southern Indian Ocean, the tropical islands of the Mentawais are blessed with super groomed and very consistent swells all year round. Its location, at just a fraction South of the equator, means that winds are usually light, offering glassy conditions that dreams are made of. And thanks to the coral reef passes that line the shores of this remote archipelago, the end result is a world class, wave rich surf region, that is second to none.
The most ideal time to surf in the Mentawais is during the dry season, late March to early November, during the southern hemisphere's winter. But thats not to say that perfect waves aren’t on offer all year. The low season certainly delivers superb waves – its just that some of the A list waves wont usually break.
The surf season is divided by a high season (April until October/November) and a low season (November until March). From April onwards, consistent swells frequent the Mentawai islands shores producing world class waves in the head high to double over head range. This is the busier part of the year regards crowds –with an average crowd of around 15 guys to be expected at most surf spots. It is also the dry season where you’d experience very little rain and so surfing during the mid day sun can be extremely punishing. Winds are light and variable most the year but from time to time a Southerly wind pattern will set in, limiting some of the surfing options.
During the low season the winds remain light and favourable with the exception of a passing storm. Rain is more common. The swell will also decrease in size but with so many waves on offer, there’s always somewhere with a good wave. The off season remains a great option for those wanting to beat the crowds.
There are essentially 4 main surfing areas spread across the Northern Mentawai and the Southern Mentawai islands.
In the Northern region the most wave dense area can be found. Its often referred to as Wave Park or Playgrounds. The main islands are Nyang Nyang and Siberut. This region is second to none and is home to more than 20 quality surf breaks within a 40 minute radius.
About 1.5hrs South, you will find Sipora. In the North of the island is another superb cluster of world class surf spots including the areas jewel, Telescopes. To the South of the island, Lances left and Lances right are the main focus - as well as a dozen or so less famous waves.
Then finally In North Pagai, another 3hrs south again, a slightly less frequented area includes the world famous Macaronis and the infamous Green Bush.
The only way to access ALL the areas (on one trip) is by charter boat. Staying at the various camps is also a great option but waves will be limited to the area your camp is located in.
Your international flight should arrive into Jakarta, Soekarno–Hatta International Airport (CGK) or Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL)
From Jakarta or KL, you will need to take a further flight to Padang, Minangkabau International Airport (PDG)
It’s about 1hr from Padang airport to downtown Padang where the majority of the hotels are. The Mentawai Fast Ferry departs from the river port which is close by to the hotels too. Some charter boats also depart from the river - but some also depart from Bungus port which is about 1hr from downtown Padang. Some guests will need to overnight in Padang - especially when taking the Mentawai Fast Ferry to Siberut or Sipora. Other guests wont need to, usually those departing by charter boat.
For more detailed information including airline information, airport transfers and hotels please check out the individual camps and boats listed below.
As a rule, Sumatra is best explored as an intermediate or advanced surfer although there are some camps that cater for beginners in the Mentawais as well as South Sumatra.
Beginner surfer – can only surf the white water & often misses waves. Leaner’s will wipe out regularly on take-off and whilst riding a wave.
Beginner-intermediate surfer – can catch waves regularly, trimming left & right but without performing many manoeuvres.
Intermediate surfer – Will rarely miss catching a wave & will complete most waves from start to finish. Surfers will perform basic manoeuvres such as a cut-back, re-entry and floater.
Intermediate-advanced surfer - will perform most manoeuvres including getting tubed and sometimes aerial manoeuvres. These surfers are competent on point breaks and reef breaks.
Advanced surfer – are fast, stylish and will make surfing look easy. If they’re not performing aerials, then they will be getting tubed all day long or displaying an array of carves, hacks and flowing turns.
Guests should be aware of the following hazards & natural disasters:
Malaria is something that exists but isn’t a problem if guests cover up at dawn & dusk and use plenty of anti-mosquito sprays when not in the surf. Anti-malarial medication can also be taken.
Earthquakes do occur throughout Sumatra on a regular basis. But most of them are non destructive. Most casualties are due to the poor state of its buildings, which 99% of the time, shouldn’t affect any of our guests.
Tsunami’s like the huge one in 2004 are rare. On average, once every five years or so, a large tsunami occurs in “Indonesia”. Generally, damage to the infrastructure exceeds the loss of lives. Most camps in the area have an evacuation plan as well as the charter boats. In fact being on a boat is probably the safest place to be.
Coral Reef – Although it helps shape the mechanical waves of the region, it is also something to be respectful of due it’s sharpness. It’s why we recommend only experienced riders venturing to some of the more dangerous surf spots.
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