Playgrounds, North Mentawai, Sumatra

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 including the infamous Rifles, Kandui and E-bay. Here you will find many surf camps that operate at least for the main season. Rates usually start from about USD$ 80-100 / day for the most basic packages. An average rate is more like USD$ 150 – USD$ 200 / day. The most expensive resorts charge anything from USD$ 250 or more / day.

Although there are about 20 waves in the region, please note that the only way to access ALL the waves of the Mentawais (including HT's, Macaronis and Greeen Bush) is by charter boat.

Your international flight should arrive into Jakarta, SoekarnoHatta 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.

Playgrounds, North Mentawai SPECIAL OFFER

Matungou Surf Camp

Unbeatable value and well positioned surf camp in the otherwise expensive region of the Mentawai Islands...

Surfers From: USD 125 120 pp / night
Non Surfers From: USD 60 pp / night

Playgrounds, North Mentawai

Mentawai Surf Retreat

Set in a pristine bay with sunset views overlooking Pitstops, an extremely fun and rippable right hander...

Surfers From: USD 197 pp / night
Non Surfers From: USD 197 pp / night

Playgrounds, North Mentawai

Shadow Surf Camp

Locally run and owned by the 2 nicest and well respected brothers in the whole of the Playgrounds region...

Surfers From: USD 135 pp / night
Non Surfers From: USD 70 pp / night

Playgrounds, North Mentawai

Umma Maonu

Probably the most remote of any camp in the entire region, Maonu offers a completely unique experience...

Surfers From: USD 110 pp / night
Non Surfers From: USD 60 pp / night

Playgrounds, North Mentawai SPECIAL OFFER

Kandui Villas

Watch Kandui from the infinity pool or relax in the Spa in between surfs, KV takes everything to new levels

Surfers From: USD 285 213 pp / night
Non Surfers From: USD 175 pp / night

Wave Quality: Very Good
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Bankies
Experience: Intermediate+
Consistency: Very
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 5-20 surfers
Season: Year Round

Challenging, hollow, heavy and often perfect. This right-hander breaks thick, hard and square and is ideally surfed with a bit of extra foam so you get into the wave nice and early. Bank Vaults can handle up to triple over-head, but also works from around head high. It’s a wave capable of delivering the best barrel of your life. Surfers should watch out for the sets, it's a big reef and breaks in 2 or 3 areas, so choose your spot wisely, sit, wait and be patient! Wide sets will usually catch out most surfers - and they always turn up. Getting caught on the inside means long hold downs in very turbulent water but doesn’t dish out the reef cuts some might think, which is certainly a welcome relief to the rest of the shallow reefs in the area. 

Wave Quality: World Class
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Emerald Bay
Experience: Intermediate+
Consistency: Inconsistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 10-25 surfers
Season: April until October

Breaking just 200 yards from Pitstops is Emerald Bay, a perfect, hollow left-hander that breaks best between head high to double or even triple overhead. Although fickle, when it's on, the wave is worth the wait. It barrels from start to finish with the main tube section found straight in front of two large pieces of reef that stick out of the water. The bigger it gets the hollower it get and the heavier it gets. Certainly one of the best waves in the area!

Wave Quality: Good Fun
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Pitstops
Experience: All levels
Consistency: Average
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 5-15 surfers
Season: April until October

This right-hander is a really fun wave that breaks off a sandy reef and runs onto a golden beach. The wave offers a fast and hollow tubing take-off, followed by a great rippable wall. This is a great wave for speed, barrels, and airs. The ideal size is around head high as the bay will close out when it gets much bigger. Pitstops is an excellent way to ease into the Mentawai experience, working on all tides and in small conditions; it’s a pretty consistent break as it even works when its waist to chest high. When most other spots are blown-out, you can usually count on Pitstops.

Wave Quality: World Class
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Nokandui
Experience: Advanced
Consistency: Average
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 10-30 surfers
Season: April until October

Kandui is truly a world class, freight train, left-hand barrel. Hollow, fast, and heavy. Hence the nickname "No-Kandui", it’s hard to out run, but if you do you’ll never forget it. Even expert surfers are humbled by this wave when it’s pumping. Some incredibly long barrels have been recorded at this break and it can handle up to triple overhead. Kandui breaks with ferocity and intensity and should only be surfed on the fuller tide and at least head high in size. In fact, although it breaks with more consequence on a bigger swell, it actually becomes more makeable and easier to surf especially when riding a slightly longer board.

Wave Quality: Very Good
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Shadow Right
Experience: Advanced
Consistency: Inconsistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-15 surfers
Season: April until October

A secret spot that only lights up on larger swells. Certainly not for the faint hearted, this pretty epic right hander is extremely hollow with freight train rights on offer for those willing to dare. Expect some punishment from your efforts; this wave can dish up the good, bad and the ugly. When this wave is really working, many of the regional classics will be pumping too, meaning that it never gets too crowded. 

Wave Quality: Very Good
Wave Direction: Left & Right
Also Known As: Dogs
Experience: Intermediate+
Consistency: Inconsistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 5-20 surfers
Season: April until October

Once a secret spot, it seems that the lid on Dogs was blown in recent years. Hardly surprising given that it’s located on a regularly used "rat run" between the islands and Maura Siberut. That said, it’s a very inconsistent wave and needs specific conditions like a strong southerly swell combined with North winds. On its day, the short right offers a barrel on take-off leading into a 2 maybe 3 turn shoulder before fading out. The left on the other hand, although still short, offers a horse-shoe bowl with perfectly forming barrels before closing out onto its super shallow inside. 

Wave Quality: Good Fun
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Burgers
Experience: All levels
Consistency: Average
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-25 surfers
Season: Year Round

When most of the Mentawai Islands are flat, you can rely on Burger World to dish up something tasty. Not a highly rated wave for the region but when it’s working, this wave-magnet runs down the point offering numerous sections to work with as well as some nice barrel sections. It never truly breaks to its potential in the main season (and is usually crowded), preferring the small long range singular swells of the off season. Larger swells have a tendency to "burger-out" and go fat. Ideal around head high to a foot over head, Burgers prefers a lower tide and a wind with West/North-West in it. Great for the ripper or the cruiser, this magical spot has an incredible back drop that has graced numerous magazines over the years. 

Wave Quality: World Class
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Baby Kandui
Experience: Intermediate+
Consistency: Inconsistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 5-20 surfers
Season: April until October

When Kandui Left is huge and only the hardest of chargers are taking it on, most surfers will opt to take the five-minute paddle down the reef to Baby Kandui. Less than a handful of times a year, Baby Kandui lights up to produce a 300 yard tubing left hander, with 3 or 4 barrel sections on offer. When smaller, it’s a long, whackable left, that is ideal for turns and breaks with much less consequence. It’s pretty unlikely that you’ll get to surf this wave breaking to its full potential, so if you do consider yourself lucky!

Wave Quality: World Class
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Kandui Right
Experience: Advanced
Consistency: Inconsistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 20-50 surfers
Season: April until October

A mind-blowing right that looks just like the cartoons you drew on your old school books. Without question, it’s one of the best waves on the planet. Rifles works from around head high and can hold size, breaking mechanically long, hollow, and fast. Conditions have to be just right, Rifles needs a swell with a distinct south direction in it and winds with some west and not too strong. Surfers have been known to log over 6 barrels on one wave at Rifles, and many say if you are lucky enough to score an epic day here it could truly be the best session of your life. 

Wave Quality: Good Fun
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Pussies
Experience: Intermediate+
Consistency: Very
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 5-20 surfers
Season: Year Round

Just a stone’s throw away from Bank Vaults, set in a very scenic bay lies Nipussi. The wave is regarded as the safer and lighter option to its more popular neighbour. This wave-magnet works best on small and medium swells and breaks on all tides. Around head high is the ideal size where it wraps from the tip of the point all the way down into the bay. At this size it can offer barrels, perfect walls and plenty of speed for good measure. On larger swells, two defined peaks will show and although some steep drops are on offer, the wave tends to fatten out a little. Surfable on all tides, watch out for the inside that gets shallow when the tide is low.

Wave Quality: Good Fun
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Bengers
Experience: All levels
Consistency: Consistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 5-20 surfers
Season: April until October

There's always time for a Beng Beng's session. A reasonably long wave that offers a succession of feathering sections for both down the line and top to bottom hits. The wave is best known for its rippability; and under the right conditions can provide the occasional barrel section. Set in a very scenic and tranquil bay, Beng Beng's is always worth a look but is ideal from chest high to just over head high. When the swell maxes it out, it’s time to head to Ebay. Certainly a great warm up location that’s protected from the southerly winds, works on all tides (which is a bonus) - and is very consistent.

Wave Quality: World Class
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Hideaways
Experience: Intermediate+
Consistency: Average
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 5-20 surfers
Season: April until October

When thoughts are made of a perfect Indonesian wave - Hideaways would probably be the reality. It’s a stunning wave set in translucent blue water, peeling mechanically a few hundred feet off a pristine island. The wave can offer a tube of a life time - but punishes surfers who get greedy. Although surfable at lower tides - any mistakes will mean you'll be taking home some form of Mentawain tattoo, courtesy of the fire coral that lurks below. Most will surf the wave only on the higher tide. A real plus side to the break is that it can handle Southerlies (Devil wind) that can be the Achilles Heel of the region meaning it’s a pretty consistent spot in the area.

Wave Quality: Good
Wave Direction: Left and Right
Also Known As: John Candys
Experience: Intermediate+
Consistency: Average
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-15 surfers
Season: April until October

Situated in front of a jaw-dropping tropical island, this peaky and consistent, A-frames can handle size and is made up of two main sections. The outside throws up challenging shifting peaks, that can real both left and right and continue through to the inside offering both tube sections and playful walls. But although this wave seems to tick the boxes, the shiftiness of the take-off spots can prove not only difficult to locate but can also prove frustrating, especially if you only get to surf the spot once or twice.

Wave Quality: Good
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Pistols
Experience: Intermediate+
Consistency: Average
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-10 surfers
Season: April until October

Pistol’s is a very good option when the swell is small and the wind is from the North. And on the smaller days, it’s also a good alternative to Burger World that can often get crowded in the main season. Located at the very southern tip of the Playgrounds surf zone about half a kilometre further around from Rifles, Pistols can be a little wind sensitive & prefers a South swell. When it’s on though, it’ll dish up crystal clear barrels & some fun wedgey walls. Like many of the local shallow reefs, it’s even more amplified by the transparency of the water - but it’s certainly manageable.

Wave Quality: Good Fun
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Good Times
Experience: All levels
Consistency: Consistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-15 surfers
Season: April until October

Another semi secret spot that has slowly become more frequented by more camps and the occasional charter boat. Good Times is a very long left hander found in the region, with 200-300 yard long lefts available when a medium sized pulse is combined with an East wind. It certainly has its off days, in fact more often than not it’s a frustrating pig of a left with a fat take off causing many waves to go unridden. Many surfers swear it’s not even worth a look. But that said, once in a while it’ll turn on. And when it does, you’ll certainly have a good time!

Wave Quality: Good Fun
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Four Bobs
Experience: Intermediate+
Consistency: Very
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-15 surfers
Season: Year Round

A fun, rippable right-hander situated on the East side of Karangmajat island. Looking at any aerial map of its location, you’d think it was extremely fickle! However, although relatively short, it’s pretty consistent and always a fun spot to ride. Breaking over a shallow reef (watch out for the "four bobs" of reef at low tide) the wave offers two to three opportunities for turns. Although Four Bobs isn’t the reason you’d travel to the Mentawai islands, it’s certainly a fun and playful wave at least for a surf or two.

Wave Quality: Average
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Burger Left
Experience: All levels
Consistency: Average
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-10 surfers
Season: April until October

Certainly not the best wave in the region, this left hander is situated round the backside of Burger World. Certainly a wave with many faces, working on a smaller swell - it will occasionally deliver some fun sessions with carvable sections to be had across 2 sections of reef. Far less superior in quality to the right round the corner – it’s often a nice option when you’ve made the effort to go to Burgers – and it’s packed out due to lack of swell. If nothing more, the back drop is mesmerising and a quick dip away from the masses is always welcomed.

Wave Quality: Good Fun
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Karangbat Left
Experience: All levels
Consistency: Inconsistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-15 surfers
Season: April until October

Just to the North of Four Bobs you’ll find Karangbat Left, located in the middle of the "Playgrounds" surf zone. The wave is best on a solid south swell & breaks for around one hundred yards. On offer are some playful walls for intermediate, even beginners surfers to progress on before taking on some of the areas more consequential waves. Often overlooked by intermediate and advanced surfers, it will only usually get good when other "better" waves are working properly. It’s also fairly exposed to the wind and so is rarely perfect.

Charter Boats in Mentawai Islands

Star Koat SPECIAL OFFER

Star KoatMentawai & Telo Islands

The Star Koat has made a reputation for itself in recent years, as the best value for money boat in the Mentawais...

From: USD 3090 2790 per person
Max 12 / Min 6 guests

Moon Palikir SPECIAL OFFER

Moon PalikirMentawai & Telo Islands

If you're looking for that something extra from your Mentawai experience, then the MP just might be the answer...

From: USD 3600 3150 per person
Max 14 / Min 8 guests

Nusa Dewata SPECIAL OFFER

Nusa DewataMentawai & Telo Islands

The Nusa Dewata is all about scoring uncrowded surf where the larger charters simply can't compete...

From: USD 2500 2250 per person
Max 6 / Min 4 guests

Naga Laut SPECIAL OFFER

Naga LautMentawai & Telo Islands

Built in 1999, the Sea Dragon was designed exclusively for upmarket surf charters...

From: USD 3255 2590 per person
Max 12 / Min 6 guests

Aileoita

Aileoita Mentawai & Telo Islands

The Aileoita 1, is a modern & comfortable surf charter that can host groups of 8 to 10 surfers...

From: USD 2500 per person
Max 10 / Min 8 guests

Kuda Laut

Kuda LautMentawai, Telo & Banyaks

The Kuda Laut had a recent refit and is ideal for small groups looking to explore the Mentawai & Telos...

From: AUD 2800 per person
Max 7 / Min 6 guests

Bintang

BintangMentawai, Telo & Banyaks

The Bintang is one of the largest & longest serving charter boats in the West Sumatra region...

From: AUD 3500 per person
Max 14 / Min 10 guests

MV Addiction SPECIAL OFFER

MV AddictionMentawai & Telo Islands

The Addiction is the most luxurious surf charter in the Mentawai Islands as well as being one of the fastest...

From: USD 5250 4200 per person
Max 12 / Min 10 guests