Mentawai is known to be the best place for surfing in Indonesia. Not only local surfers, but a lot of foreigners would go all the way across countries to have a roll on Mentawai’s wave. Mentawai has hundreds of surfing spots. They also hold some international surfing competitions in almost every season. Even with the earthquake and tsunami on 2010 in Mentawai, people keeps coming around from around the world for a challenging surf in Mentawai.
Surfing in Mentawai is mostly fun around April to October. It is when the waves reach their maximum point. But several famous spots which are famous for their consistency are fun to surf almost anytime. According to the tourism management of Mentawai, there are about 400 surfing spots throughout Mentawai. Twenty eight of them meet the international standard for surfing competition.
Some of them are the spots on Bosua Village where the wave can go up to 3 meters high. To reach this spot, you need to ride a speedboat for 4 hours from Tuapejat. The beach is craggy but the wave is very famous for international surfers.
The highest wave in the world can be seen on Nyang Nyang Island on Katurai Village where the wave can go up to 4 meters high. Karamajat Island which is still a part of Katurai Village also has the waves that could go that high. And the best thing is, there is a floating inn on this village. It might be an exotic place to stay in during your surfing vacation.
Two wave spots in Mentawai were even listed at the “Top Ten Most Fun Wave in the World”. These spots are famous and favored for having an amazing consistency. There is no such thing as “flat wave” or “too much wind” on these spots. It is always perfectly challenging. These two spots are often used as a location for international surfing competition.
First spot is called Lance’s Right or Hollow Trees. It is located on the northwest side of Sipora Island. On the last ten years, a formation of wave called “the right tube” frequently appears on this spot and became a cover on many sport and tourism magazines around the world. There is also another formation of wave called “The Surgeon Table” where it can bring a surfer up to the top of the wave. Surfer needs to be careful about this amazing wave formation. Inexperienced surfers are not recommended to surf at this spot.
Second spot is called Macaronis or Macas. Macaronis spot is located nearby the Macaronis Resort on Silabu Lagoon, North Pagai. In 2010, this spot is swept by a tsunami after an earthquake, causing people died and lost their houses. Macaronis Resort was even destroyed to wrecks.
The tourism activity was stopped for a few months to give time to the locals for grieving their loss. They thought it is the end of Macaronis’ fame. But when they open this spot again, tourists immediately come back again there as if nothing big ever happened.
Macaronis spot has amazingly consistent wave. Surfers describe it as if it is a machine of wave instead of natural creation because the waves do not seem to be influenced by the wind, swell, or tides. On the list of “Top Ten Most Fun Wave in the World”, Macaronis spot is placed on the number one. It is voted by 76% of the respondent surfers. This spot is only a five minutes away from Macaronis Resort if you go by a speedboat.
If you are beginner surfers, you might want to try the waves on Siruso Island. The wave is not so big there so it might be a good place for practicing. Besides that, the beach also has clean white sand and clear water. Maybe you can even take your family to just enjoy the view or play around a little bit and built a sand castle.
Although almost 80% of the tourists in Mentawai are surfers, but there are also about 20% of them come with different intention. About 15% tourists come to enjoy the nature. Sometimes, they also like to watch the surfers play. Meanwhile, the rest 5% are researchers. The question is what do they do in Mentawai?
If you go to Madobak Village, you can see an amazing waterfall called Kulu Kubuk. The waterfall is about 70 meters high and consists of two levels. The water is amazingly refreshing here. Swimming under the waterfall is very safe. Kulu Kubuk Waterfall is still managed by the locals so the nature is still pure and untouched, allowing you to enjoy the breath-taking beauty surrounding the waterfall.
Siberut National Park on Matotonan Village is also worth visiting. At this village, you can meet the Mentawai tribe and learn their traditional and cultural lifestyle. People of Mentawai Tribe like to put tattoos on their body. The pattern depends on their social status. Sometimes, you can even see the tribe practicing rituals and sacred ceremonies such as Sikerei or Shaman. The ritual is practiced everytime someone has just finished building a new house, right before the house is entered and used. This ritual is to drive out the evil spirits away from the house.
In 1981, Siberut Island has been defined as a conservation center by the UNESCO. Inside the island, there are many kinds of endemic species such as simakobu or pig-tailed monkey (Simias concolor), bilou atau short siamang (Hylobates klosii), short-tailed macaque (Macaca pagensis), and joja atau mentawai ape (Presbytis potenziani). This is where the researchers are going to.
Mentawai is still hard to access. Ferry ships are operating twice in a week from Padang and the trip takes a whole day. It departs from Padang every Sunday night and Thursday night. The ships will go back from Mentawai to Padang every Tuesday night and Friday night. The ticket is about $8 to $9.5 for one trip. Every first and second week of the month, an extra ship called Ambu-Ambu will depart every Saturday night from Padang. It will go back to Padang the next night from Mentawai. On the Mentawai archipelago, you can ride a speedboat to reach your wanted surfing spots.
There are several hotels and resorts in Mentawai. Some of them are even have the world-class quality. But not all of them are close to the surfing spot you wish to visit. If you want to stay nearby your spot, then you can stay in homestays or stay at the local people’s house.
Most people live on this archipelago are Mentawai ethnicity. They still build their houses traditionally and call it “Uma”. They are very friendly and most of them would not mind to let foreigners to stay on their Uma.
Mentawai is surely not a place a surfer may simply miss. So if you think you like surfing but have never been to Mentawai, then you must plan your trip there for the next surfing season. Do not hesitate!