Mentawai Surfing, Surf Charter Mentawai Images

The Mentawais

The Mentawai islands are the real deal! Like trout fishing in Montana, powder skiing in British Columbia, the women of Rio de Janeiro and Rincon on a giant west swell, the Mentawai are one of those places that live up to the hype.

And because of all that hype, the Mentawai need no introduction. If you are not aware of this surf-infested corner of the Indian Ocean, you apparently haven’t opened a surf magazine or watched a surf video in the last 20 years. Matt Warshaw’s Encylcopedia of Surfing proclaimed the Mentawai “the world’s richest wave zone.”

The Mentawai are not pluralized and they are pronounced “meant a why.” The main islands from north to south are Siberut, Sipura, North Pagai and South Pagai. But the Mentawai are 70+ islands running northwest to southeast, less than 100 miles west of Sumatra, between the equator and four degrees south.

The four main islands and dozens of smaller islets are laced with coral barrier reefs and inner beaches, with abundant Indian Ocean swell wrapping into those countless nooks and crannies. The “wrapping” affect creates a situation where there seems always to be at least a few waves in each area working well under any, even unfavorable, wind conditions.
Surf tours by yacht began in 1989 and the popularity of the zone was cemented by a zillion surf videos from Sonny Miller, Taylor Steele and many others, all of them featuring perfect, four to eight foot barreling rights and lefts, going off under offshore winds and clear skies in a primitive land where the locals watched from the shoulder in dug-out canoes.  This scene is still going off today - day after day.

There are two ways to tour the Mentawai: One is by land and two is by sea.

By Sea:  Many people still prefer the original mode of transportation for accessing the buffet of surf breaks in this zone. What was once sketchy is now luxurious as the boats have upgraded and come a long way since the early explorers. The yacht charter option provides the most flexibility to move up and down the chain based on conditions and your groups’ preference.  WaterWays charter options range from basic and safe to high-end luxury.

By Land: Some travelers are just “land lovers” and the thought of being on a boat for 10+ days with a bunch of guys is not really their idea of a vacation.  If you prefer to stretch your legs, have the privacy and luxury of a large A/C bungalow, take your meals in a proper dining room or are traveling with a “significant other” - you’re in luck!  Over the past five years, land-based resort operations have been developed in each of the wave-rich areas that make up the Mentawai chain. 

These resorts all offer boat shuttle service to the breaks in the immediate area, and some offer overnight trips to other breaks.

No matter if your preferred choice to access these waves is a resort or live-aboard yacht charter: WaterWays has you covered. You’ve seen these waves a million times in magazines and movies, and you’ve been mindsurfing them in your daydreams. If you want to find out how you’ll go for real, the WaterWays team is looking forward to making your dreams a reality.