The Mentawais are a chain of islands off the northwest coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. They’re remote, they can be challenging to get to and they don’t have much in terms of amenities, but they have some of the most consistent and challenging waves on earth. If you’re into surfing or want to learn how then this is an adventure that’s well worth pursuing. Here’s what it’s like:

The Mentawais are a chain of islands off the northwest coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The Mentawai Islands are part of the Molluca chain and are located in the Indian Ocean. They’re also known as West Sumatra’s surfing hotspot due to their consistent waves that can reach up to 15 feet high (4m).

The Mentawais have some of the most consistent, and challenging, waves on earth. The waves that break here are consistent because they come in at a specific time every day (usually between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm). This means that if you go out at 10:00 am every day for a week straight, you’ll get surfed out by noon every time–and then again at 1:00 pm! But if you’re looking for something different than this endless rhythm of perfection, there’s always plenty more action waiting around the corner as well. The waves at each break change constantly depending on wind speed and direction.

This variety is one reason why Mentawai surfing has become so popular over the past decade: no matter what level you’re starting from or how many days per week (or month) you want to spend chasing these perfect tubes around Indonesia’s West Sumatra province–you’ll find exactly what suits your needs here!

There are five main islands but all offer excellent spots for surfing.

The Mentawais are a group of islands off the west coast of Sumatra. There are five main islands, with the best waves on four of them (the fifth is uninhabited). Each island offers different surfing experiences depending on your level and what you’re looking for in terms of waves and environment.

  • G-Land is known for its hollow and powerful waves suited to expert surfers
  • Sipora has spots that cater to beginner and intermediate surfers
  • Nias has mellow right-handers that are perfect for beginners but can also be enjoyed by more advanced riders
Image: Driftwood Mentawai

Surf Camps vs Boats

When it comes to booking a surf trip in the Mentawais, there are two main options: a surf camp or a surf boat trip. While both options offer incredible surfing opportunities, there are some key differences to consider before making your decision.

Surf Camp:
A surf camp in the Mentawais typically involves staying in a land-based accommodation, often on one of the islands in the area. These camps vary in terms of amenities, but most offer basic accommodations in a communal setting, with shared rooms, bathrooms, and common areas. Meals are usually included in the package, with communal dining areas where guests can gather to eat and socialize.

In terms of surfing, surf camps often offer access to nearby breaks via boat or even by foot. Guests can expect to surf in the company of other camp guests, as well as local surf guides who can help navigate the waves and offer tips and advice.

Image: Maki Boat

Surf Boat Trip:
A surf boat trip in the Mentawais involves staying on a boat, which typically cruises around the area to access the best surf spots. These boats range in size and amenities, with some offering more luxurious accommodations than others. Guests can expect to have their own cabins and bathrooms, as well as shared living spaces and dining areas.

When it comes to surfing, surf boat trips offer the advantage of being able to access a wider range of breaks, as the boat can move around to find the best waves. Guests can expect to surf in smaller groups, often with just the other guests on the boat and a dedicated surf guide who knows the area well.

Ultimately, the choice between a surf camp and a surf boat trip in the Mentawais comes down to personal preference and budget. While surf camps are typically more affordable and offer a more communal atmosphere, surf boat trips offer the advantage of being able to access a wider range of breaks and surf in smaller groups.

Getting to the Mentawais can be challenging, including flights, ferry rides, and transfers, but it is well worth the journey.

Each location has different requirements, but we have seen that coordinated travel to the islands can be challenging. Flights to Indonesia can be pretty straight forward, but it may require connecting flights to get to your final destination. In many cases, it might also require a ferry ride to get to your destination. Those ferries are often high-speed, but might not run every day of the week. You should definitely coordinate with a member of the Heli team when discussing options to look at the specific arrival and departure instructions for each operator. They can be vastly different when it comes to accessibility.

That being said, each surf camp or local operator has painstakingly mapped out the plan to arrive, as it’s vital to their business. You’ll have very clear directions on exactly how to get to the property. Once you do, you’ll be greeted with some of the most spectacular beaches and breaks in the world. The Mentawais is an amazing place to visit for anyone who loves surfing. You will have the opportunity to surf some of the best waves in the world, but it is important that you plan ahead and make sure everything is taken care of before arriving at your destination.