Pagai, Mentawai, Sumatra

The Southern Mentawai islands includes both North and South Pagai and are home to a number of world class waves such as Macaronis and Green Bush.

These 2 waves are the real pull for the majority of travelling surfers - but those who have visited the region will also know there’s plenty more waves on offer.

With the only camp being Macaronis Surf Resort in the whole region, the best way to access these waves is by charter boat as the Maccas camp will often limit their travel to their immediate vicinity for the majority of the time.

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.

Although blessed with some of Indonesia's best waves, there really is very limited surf camp options in both North and South Pagai. In fact the only notable camp is the 5 Star Macaronis Resort that sits across the bay from the regions crown jewel, Macaronis. With such limitations, the majority of travelling surfers choose to jump aboard a charter boat in search of the areas uncrowded line-ups.

For a full list of your options, please check out the options below.

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.

Pagai, Mentawai SPECIAL OFFER

Macaronis Resort

The ultimate surf resort with direct access to what's been described as the funnest wave on the planet...

Surfers From: AUD 360 288 pp / night
Beginners From: AUD 195 pp / night

Wave Quality: World Class
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Macas
Experience: Intermediate
Consistency: Consistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 10-35 surfers
Season: April until October

Macaronis is the reason you should come to the Mentawai Islands. At least for 9/10 surfers anyway. Most of us dream of surfing HT’s, Rifles or Kandui but fall short due to their ferocity. Macas is the answer! In glassy or off-shore conditions, it can deliver 4-6 second barrels from the take off, while the inside section delivers endless sections for re-entries, tail-slides, floaters, airs & cut-backs. It’s truly the thing dreams are made of.  Even in onshore conditions it cranks, and it’s one of the few reef breaks in the world that continues to work well on all tides. From 2-4’ it’s for everyone, 4-6’ is for more advanced surfers and at 8’ it’s for chargers only. In 2003, Waves Magazine conducted a survey (from 50 of the world's best surfers and industry figureheads) in order to rank the world's best waves purely for their enjoyment value. Macaronis ranked 1. Enough said!

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

Silabu Left is another overlooked wave in the region. Perhaps not world class or the longest of waves – but it’s certainly a fun option and rarely comes with any sort of crowd. Surfable on all tides it is ideal for those seeking a mellower left-hander (to Macas and Green Bush). Silabu is more protected from the Southerly wind than Macas, and as Macas begins to turn on-shore mid morning during South East trades, Silabu Left will remain off-shore for a good hour or so longer. Although not that long, it is a rippable wave to have close by (when staying at Macaronis Resort) – as its located on the other side of the headland. Charter boat guests never surf here, being too far from Macaronis (who go through the tidal lagoon to access the wave). So long as Macas is breaking 3-4 feet or bigger, Silabu should be also working, usually with very surfers too.

Wave Quality: Average
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Fish Fingers
Experience: Beginner
Consistency: Average
Wave Type: Sand
Crowd: 0-5 surfers
Season: April until October

A stone’s throw from the resort, just across a small channel is Fish Fingers - a perfect beginner wave breaking close to a palm fringed shoreline. A forgiving small peak peels regularly to the right and occasionally left, providing the ideal spot to try surfing for the first time.  And with a selection of soft-top learner boards to choose from (free of charge for Macaronis Guests) you’ll never find a better time to give it a go. Progressing learners can also try out Silabu Left and Mini Macas.

Wave Quality: Good Fun
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: KFC's
Experience: Intermediate
Consistency: Consistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-15 surfers
Season: April until October

Macaronis little brother aka KFC’s is found across the bay from the left.  Ideal on a higher tide with a north wind, this noteworthy wave is so often overlooked it’s almost a tragedy. Macas right is often at its best when Macaronis is doing it’s thing and amongst the excitement will largely go unnoticed. But this wave can certainly dish up the goods, certainly around the head high range – running down the reef producing both barrel sections and fun walls to throw some turns on. So if you fancy surfing alone or with a handful of others, then check out the right, you might be surprised with what you find. 

Wave Quality: World Class
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: The Bush
Experience: Advanced
Consistency: Inconsistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 10-20 surfers
Season: April until October

If you’re not a charger or an advanced tube rider, then it’s best to give Green Bush a miss. But if you’re willing to go and you pick the right one, then this uber hollow left will produce some of the best barrels available in the Mentawai Islands. You really have to pick the right wave, but when do, this is definitely a tube ride you'll never forget. Not too shallow considering its ferocity, extremely photogenic, and a perfect wave for those willing to charge. To score The Bush, you need to time your trip with a new or full moon as it needs a big high tide to break at its best. Ideally early season, April - June when winds are lighter and big South swells light up the reef.

Wave Quality: Very Good
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Roxys
Experience: Intermediate
Consistency: Consistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 5-20 surfers
Season: April until October

Roxies is a very fun wave that everyone seems to like. Its located 45 mins South of the Macaronis camp – and towards the very southern end of the Mentawai islands. It prefers some west in the swell and is pretty consistent from small to medium sized pulses that frequent the area. When it’s small it’s a top turn machine – but as the swell increases, this wave really comes alive offering beautiful barrels in dream like fashion. Many travelling surfers have compared this wave to a “Macas in reverse” due its synchronised shape & perfect rhythm. 

Wave Quality: Very Good
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Red Nuht
Experience: Intermediate
Consistency: Inconsistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 5-15 surfers
Season: April until October

The relatively unknown deep water peak known as Rednuht, is a solid right-hander that can deliver absolute gold from time to time. A relatively short ride, this throaty tube, barrels from start to finish and what it lacks in length is certainly made up in quality. A little fickle, the wave requires the right tide and swell direction to really fire, but when it’s on, it’s fully worth the mission. 

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

Mini Macas is found inside the bay from Macaronis. Best at high tide, it’s a fun nicely shaped left-hander perfect for those looking for a playful session away from the main spectacle of Macaronis Left. Ideal for guests staying at Macaronis Resort – guests can get dropped off on the way out to Macaronis and picked up on the way back. This wave works best when Macaronis is pumping so is often overlooked.

Wave Quality: Good Fun
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Bat Caves
Experience: Intermediate
Consistency: Consistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-15 surfers
Season: April until October

A long point break style right hander that wraps around a tiny tropical island, a trip to Bat Caves is a must.  This wave breaks for a few hundred metres offering fast walls, playful sections and even the occasional tube. This swell magnet catches most swells and will usually be bigger than Macaronis. Certainly a great day trip for everyone, as across the channel, high cliffs provide a place for those willing to try out cliff jumping. Non-surfers can also take in the spectacular scenery, have a picnic on the deserted beach & snorkel along the crystal clear reef that hugs the island.

Wave Quality: Good
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Rags Left
Experience: Advanced
Consistency: Average
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-15 surfers
Season: April until October

Rag's Left is a very long barrelling wave that only becomes more manageable during large south-west swells. An extraordinary sight to behold when the swell, wind and tide finally unite, the image will remain embedded in your mind for ever. Certainly not for the faint hearted, bring a big board and you might just luck into a 100m+ freight train tube, before bursting onto a mellower wall, further down the line, which can be ridden for another 150m or more. The end bowl is certainly the easier section to navigate whereas the top bend of reef displays both picture perfect tubes as well as jaw dropping shut-downs. This place holds serious size.

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

Rags Right is a fast paced reeling right hand tube not far from its neighbouring left. Generally considered a high tide only spot, on the right swell, Rag's Right can offer perhaps some of the most perfect tubes in South Mentawai. A full commitment wave, for advanced riders and tube specialists only – this thick cavernous right hander churns along the reef with raw perfection before shutting down in front of two coral heads that poke their way out of the line-up. Be sure to exit the tube safely!

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

Thunders is one of the most reliable waves in the whole island chain. It benefits from the fact that it not only picks up consistent swell, but it also breaks on all tides. It also has a number of take-off spots which will always spread the crowd out. The fuller tide can offer decent tube sections across a shallow inside shelf breaking close to shore, whilst on the lower tide a fuller shoulder breaks further out the back. As a rule, Thunders is an excellent option in smaller to medium swells due its diversity and adaptability in varying conditions.

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