North Sipora, Mentawai, Sumatra

There are so many different waves within striking distance of Northern Sipora that there is something for everyone. There’s around 9 waves that are within 5-20 minutes of each other. But the real bonus is that South Sipora (Lances left and Lances right) is just 1 hour South – and that “Playgrounds” is just 1 hour North (20+ waves including Rifles etc) culminating in a vast amount of waves on offer.

Although there aren’t as many waves in the direct vicinity as *playgrounds* - there’s a nice variation of lefts and rights with differing ferocity. There’s certainly something for everyone – including beginners, which is a rarity in the Mentawai Islands. It’s also much less crowded than its neighbouring more famous surfing areas found in the Mentawai Island chain, so you’ll arguably get more waves.

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 surf zone, a 1.5hr boat ride to the South of Playgrounds, you will find North Sipora. This often overlooked region is home to around 9 quality surf breaks including the world class Telescopes. Surfers visiting the area can choose between 2 or 3 camps.

A list of camps can be found below.  Please note; the only way to access ALL the waves in the Mentawai Islands (on one trip) 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.

North Sipora, Mentawai SPECIAL OFFER

Aloita Resort

Arguably the best value for money surf camp in the whole region, the resort also has a Dive Centre and Spa...

Surfers From: USD 150 150 pp / night
Non Surfers From: USD 100 pp / night

North Sipora, Mentawai

Togat Nusa Retreat

A private surf & yoga sanctuary that's blessed with an extremely good left hander that graces its shores...

Surfers From: USD 187 pp / night
Non Surfers From: USD 187 pp / night

Wave Quality: World Class
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Tellies
Experience: Intermediate
Consistency: Inconsistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 10-30 surfers
Season: April until October

One of the crown jewels of the Mentawais, Telescopes is a world class lefthander that suits a wide range of skill levels and always seems to have something fun to offer. Tellies breaks on a variety of different swells, but it really thrives on is a decent sized west swell. If it’s firing, you can tuck right in after the takeoff and line up a long, straight barrel. Even if you’re really deep, the barrel typically ejects you out onto a part of the reef that gives you multiple opportunities to whack it off the top, until you hit the Monkey’s Corner on the inside, a bend in the reef that hooks back at you providing a great opportunity for a second solid tube. Even when Tellies is small or has a bit more south in it, it’s still an extremely rippable wave. It suits natural foots as well as goofy foots because of the easy entry and clean readable walls. The reef isn’t too sharp and there are certainly areas you can “play it safe”. 

Wave Quality: Very Good
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: The Ice
Experience: Intermediate
Consistency: Very
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 5-20 surfers
Season: Year round

Icelands is a great lefthander that basically has two completely different personas: Small Swell Icelands and Big Swell Icelands. When everywhere else in the area is flat, you can still pull up to Icelands and there will be a head-high, cruisey, rippable wall. But when a big west swell hits, Icelands turns into a monster with barrels big enough to drive the speedboat through. A deep ledge outside the normal take off zone causes the swell to lift in a way it doesn’t do on smaller days, and allows you to get in with a fairly easy drop. The wave then rolls into a horseshoe shaped section where the wave bends onto itself and throws out a big, thick barrel section that spits nearly every time. Icelands is definitely one of the few (and best) true big wave spots in the Mentawais.

Wave Quality: Good
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: The Sleeper
Experience: Intermediate
Consistency: Very
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 5-20 surfers
Season: Year round

If you’re caught inside on a decent sized west swell, you’ll think there’s nothing sleepy about this wave at all. Just down the reef from Icelands, this right hander picks up nearly as much swell and can be a fun option when the wind has a bit more north in it. The wave is actually a series of different right hand sections that can look like firing J-Bay from a distance, but up close reveals breaks in the reef and several different surfable sections. The peak at the top is often the most predictable, and can chuck out fast walls and the odd pit as it shifts along the reef. Just try to pick the right section, because if you pick the wrong wave on the first wave of a set, you could be in for a loooong paddle, as the reef never seems to have a shoulder when you’re trying to make it back out. 

Wave Quality: Good
Wave Direction: Right
Also Known As: Ariks
Experience: Intermediate
Consistency: Average
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 5-15 surfers
Season: Year round

With a North wind and large South West swell, Ariks can offer an extremely long barrel that barely relents along a shallow reef pass. On less than perfect days, it can be a fun, whackable right, that tapers off easily into the channel. Just a short distance from Ombak Tidur, Ariks prefers a higher tide even under the tamest looking of conditions. Reef booties are a good idea even when it’s soft, because it has some nasty coral that can actually be more problematic the smaller it is. Holds size well and is one of the few local options when the winds blow from the North.

Wave Quality: Very Good
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Scarecrows
Experience: Intermediate
Consistency: Consistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 5-15 surfers
Season: Year round

One of the least hyped up waves, Scarecrows is a super consistent left, located off a beautiful tropical island. Its neighbouring wave Telescopes gets all the plaudits while this superb left often gets overlooked especially when the surf gets bigger. The wave has several easy entry take off spots, so it holds and spreads out a crowd very well. Scarecrow’s certainly has many faces but during the main season it will offer quality waves on a daily basis. Rides of over 200 yards can be had quite consistently with its end section “The Curry Bowl” delivering a tasty inside barrel. As with most breaks in the area, the wave is surfed ideally on a fuller tide. 

Wave Quality: Good
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Ulars
Experience: Intermediate
Consistency: Consistent
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 5-15 surfers
Season: Year round

When the Indian Ocean’s mechanical swell machine doesn’t deliver much swell, then 7 Palm point is certainly a great option. A fun, walled up, down the line left hander, rides can be up to 200 yards long. Surfers can enjoy memorable sessions especially when it’s around shoulder to head high. Another year round reef break just round the corner from Scarecrows. If you surfed here in the off season, you’d probably surf it alone.

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

Found just a 10 minute stroll around the corner from Aloita Resort, these 2 neighbouring waves are suitable for all levels. Both offer fun little lefthanders with the occasional steeper sections. You can paddle to Fish Face in about 5 minutes from The Rat, and it’s even more suited for beginners. It’s a little less perfect than The Rat, but the wave faces are forgiving and not too steep. This is certainly a great option for learners or those looking for a cruisey, crowd free surf session. Both of these waves also manage a South wind really well.

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

Found just a 10 minute stroll around the corner from Aloita Resort, these 2 neighbouring waves are suitable for all levels. Both offer fun little lefthanders with the occasional steeper sections. You can paddle to Fish Face in about 5 minutes from The Rat, and it’s even more suited for beginners. It’s a little less perfect than The Rat, but the wave faces are forgiving and not too steep. This is certainly a great option for learners or those looking for a cruisey, crowd free surf session. Both of these waves also manage a South wind really well.

Wave Quality: Good
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Suicides
Experience: Advanced
Consistency: Average
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-10 surfers
Season: April until October

The name says it all. A full throttle, heal to the steel, freight train barrel. A fairly fickle spot, Suicides is a fast unforgiving barrel suitable only for experts. Offering perfection from time to time, even then you’ll rarely surf with anyone else. When a solid ground swell is running most surfers will simply cruise past the line-up, opting for the less consequential waves in the vicinity. 

Wave Quality: Good
Wave Direction: Left
Also Known As: Twiggies
Experience: Advanced
Consistency: Average
Wave Type: reef
Crowd: 0-10 surfers
Season: April until October

Another high tide spot, Twiggies is a fun wave to check, especially if Telescopes is looking crowded or a bit funky. Twiggies has two distinct faces – that depend largely on the swell direction. West Swells offer heavier walled up barrels where as a South swell will hug the reef, offering some fast workable walls. Certainly less intense than Suicides, surfers still need to watch the inside section that can catch you out from time to time.

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