Mentawais Surfing Boat Trip | Surf Adventure

Off Sumatra’s West Coast lies the holy grail of surf breaks – the fabled Mentawai Islands. The warm water, world-class waves, and glassy conditions have revolutionized surf travel. Embark on a Mentawai surfing boat trip to enjoy one of the most unforgettable, sought-after surf trips worldwide.

The Mentawai Islands offer some of the most incredible surfing experiences in the world. Combine that with a boat trip with a few friends and fellow surfers to find the hotspots at HT’s, Macaronis, and Rifles, and you will have one of the most incredible surfing adventures of your life.

With 50 recognized quality breaks, the string of Mentawai Islands offers pristine scenery and some of the best waves in the world. Here’s what surfers can expect and how to prepare before you jump on board for the ride of a lifetime.


Discovering The Best Waves And Scenery In Mentawais On A Surfing Boat Trip

Mentawai is a small, enchanting archipelago tucked away approximately 90 miles off Sumatra’s West Coast in Indonesia. Mentawai comprises four main islands – Sipura, , Siberut, Pagai Utara, and Pagai Selatan – and over seventy smaller islands. Mentawai offers an adventure packed with natural beauty and cultural richness.

The Mentawai people are one of the oldest indigenous Indonesian groups, with a distinct culture rooted in their close relationship with nature. Fortunately, their culture and customs have been preserved for generations and remained largely untouched by modern influence.

The Mentawai Islands are renowned for their verdant rainforests, pristine beaches, and crystalline, turquoise waters. The islands offer world-class surfing conditions that rival Bali, Nias, and G-Land. Mentawai is a paradise for adventurous surfers and nature lovers alike.

How Mentawai Was Discovered By Surfers

The Mentawai Islands were pioneered by three hardcore surfers, Chris Goodnew, Tony Fitzpatrick, and Scott Wakefield, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They named the iconic break ‘P-Land’ after Pasangan Bay and discovered Lances Right a few years later while keeping their surfing discovery hidden.

The first photos of the Mentawai surf breaks were leaked after a surfing trip in 1992 aboard the MV Indies Trader with professional surfers Tom Carroll, Ross Clarke-Jones, and Martin Potter. The images quickly took flame and revolutionized surf travel, and the Mentawai Islands have been on the radar of surf travelers worldwide ever since.


Benefits Of A Surfing Boat Trip In The Mentawais

Padang Airport (PDG), Sumatra, is the gateway to the Mentawais. From the city of Padang, you will head out to the Mentawai Islands using one of three options – an overnight ferry, fast boat, or speedboat.

Despite the latest land camps offering stationary land-based alternatives, surfers still believe a surfing boat trip in the Mentawais is a “bucket list” experience. Enjoy the adventure of a lifetime abroad with a charter boat that takes you to some of the greatest surfing hotspots in the world.

You won’t have to deal with battling lineups in large crowds of hundreds of other surfers on famous breaks like other favorite Indonesian surfing hotspots.

The Mentawais offer a plethora of different breaks, ranging from wedge right-handers to leg burner lefts and fun barrel sections. The islands’ unique reef formation allows the waves to break perfectly, providing consistent swells year-round.

Boat charters are tailor-made for traveling around areas where the breaks are spread out, discovering the best-hidden spots, and ensuring you catch the perfect tide and right swell directions.


What To Expect On A Mentawais Surfing Boat Trip

What you can expect on a Mentawais surfing boat trip depends on your chosen boat charter.



You can expect well-laid out, comfortable accommodation with spacious entertainment deck areas. The cabins range from classic dorm-style rooms to spacious suites with tastefully finished interiors.

The vessels include air conditioning, a saloon area with a sound system and TV, satellite internet, a marine toilet, and shower facilities. You can hang out in the saloon area during bad weather or watch a movie when your tank’s empty after a long day of catching once-in-a-lifetime waves.


Amenities And Activities

Although surfing is the primary activity, there’s a list of other activities you can do during your trip.

The Mentawai Islands archipelago is one of the most beautiful locations worldwide. The islands offer pristine beaches with white sand, perfect for lying down and relaxing between surf sessions.

The clear water, live coral reefs, and vast assortment of marine life make it the perfect spot for snorkeling sessions. You can also enjoy superb fishing experiences abroad – Mentawai is one of the most unspoiled fishing areas worldwide.

Some upper-class luxury charter boats offer jet skis and speedboats, allowing for quick location changes and spot searches to consistently score those perfect waves.

When you’re spending a day inland, you have an excellent opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty. Siberut National Park is a famous attraction for nature lovers, or you can tour the Kulu Kubuk Waterfall and visit an authentic Shaman hut.

There’s no shortage of experiences, both on and off the water.


Top Surfing Spots To Visit During A Mentawais Boat Trip

The Mentawais offer waves for every surf level, from beginner to pro, to extreme adrenaline junkie! Here are the best surfing spots to score pumping tropical waves on your Mentawais boat trip.


Hollow Tree’s (HT’s)

Hollow Tree’s, otherwise locally known as HT’s or Lance’s Right, is rated as one of the top surfing locations in the world. The spot offers some of the best fast, barreling right-handers, perfect for intermediate and advanced surfers.

The Office reef is HT’s fastest section, providing a steep drop followed by a hollow barrel. The Main Peak section is an open wall that breaks over the Surgeon’s Table shallow reef.


Macaronis (Macas)

Macaronis, also known as Macas, is a mechanical left-hander described as some of the most fun, high-performance waves. It is one of the few coral reef breaks that continuously breaks well in all tide stages.

The waves hold from 2 to 8 feet, offering 4 to 6-second hollow barrels followed by a long, rippable wall section perfect for tail-slides, cut-backs, and smashing some serious punts.



Many surfers consider Rifles the best wave in Mentawai (and possibly even the world) under the right conditions. Part of the WavePark Mentawai Surf Resort, this right is not for pure beginners. But more experienced surfers rate it among the top five surfing spots.

Conditions are crucial, though; it gets blown out quickly since it’s located on the outside corner of Karangmajet Island.


Preparing For A Mentawais Surfing Boat Trip

As with any surfing trip, preparation is vital. Let’s consider what you should take along and what you can expect from the weather.


What You Should Take Along

First and foremost, to prepare correctly, you should take a few essentials with you:

  • Don’t forget your passport. Obviously, you won’t get far without it.
  • You need to take some health precautions. Indonesia requires a COVID vaccine, but it’s also wise to check with your doctor for Malaria, Hepatitis A, and Tetanus vaccines.
  • Take a hooded rash vest and sunscreen to protect you from the sun, sand, wax, and saltwater.
  • Take a proper leash. Don’t compromise on this one. You should try to get at least a 5mm quick-release leash that’s 6 feet long.
  • Reef boots are essential, even if you dislike surfing with them. The Mentawais are full of coral reefs.
  • Take warm water wax or tropical surf wax. Normal wax will not help you here.
  • Take some extra fins of various sizes and a spare fin key. You want to be prepared for any surfing conditions.
  • Remember your board shorts. Ensure they’re comfortable because you will spend most of your days wearing them.
  • Take a light raincoat with you. Tropical rains can strike at any moment.
  • Take a ding repair kit with some solar resin and ding tape. You never know you’re your surfboard might be in need of a quick repair.
  • Take your surfboards. It’s recommended you take two standard thrusters and one step up. Having some extra volume in your boards is a good idea.
  • Have a complete first-aid kit. Injuries are rampant in the Mentawais, so take antibiotics, waterproof wound sealer, malaria medicine, and anything else that could be useful. If you’re in doubt, take it with you.


Weather In The Mentawais

The surf season in the Mentawais’ 85-degree water is from March to November. Most of the rainfall happens during January and February, so you can expect mostly sunny days during the rest of the year.

However, rainfall can be a bit unpredictable in any tropical jungle region, so it’s best to be prepared for the eventuality.

Outside surfing season, the winds won’t always be ideal, but you can still get some great surfing in without too many people crowding the beaches and water.


Choosing The Right Boat Trip Provider

Now that you know what to expect, it’s time to choose your boar trip provider. This will largely depend on your budget and needs, but there are a few great options out there. So, how can you choose the right one?

There are various aspects to consider.


Get Recommendations

The first and wisest place to start is with referrals. Ask some of your friends or get a recommendation on an online forum. But be sure to ask people who have used that operator before, especially when getting advice online.


Check For Reviews

Before you commit to a particular operator, read some online reviews. Go to Facebook pages, other social media platforms, or dedicated reviews sites like TripAdvisor, TrustPilot, or Hello Peter.

Reviews shouldn’t always have the final say, but they can give you some valuable insight. If all the reviews are negative, there’s likely something wrong.


Find Out What’s Included

Most boat trip providers have a list of items and costs that are included. For example, the Mentawais imposed a Surf Tax. Some providers include this in their fees, while others don’t. Some of these companies offer very low prices, but you may suddenly face unexpected expenses halfway through your trip.

Be sure to get a list from all the providers of everything they include in their rates, then compare them before committing.


Go For Experience

It’s best to get a boat trip provider that knows the Mentawais, either a local company or someone who has spent most of their life there. These locals will know the best spots and the ideal times to go there. Some of them understand the weather and can predict when the surf will be best.


Testimonials And Reviews

The best way to know if a Mentawais surfing boat trip is right for you is to see what people think after being on one of these trips.


The first common point that almost all reviews and online forum users say is, go, you will not regret it! Some Reddit users even state that a bad experience in the Mentawais is often better than a good experience elsewhere.


A frequent concern is health. Not only are the coral reefs around Mentawai hazardous, but there is a high risk of infection resulting from injuries you sustain. To top it off, there is a slight risk of contracting malaria, as a family member of Reddit user “yeahmanforsure” experienced first-hand.


Another problem is that many surfers found that Mentawai surfing is best experienced on their own. There isn’t much to do for anyone who doesn’t enjoy surfing, so if you plan to bring a significant other along, it’s best if that person likes surfing too.


Brett Wood from New Zealand rates his experience with a Mentawais surfing boat trip as “the best surf trip I’ve done in 35 years of surfing.” That’s quite a testimony of how incredible such a trip can be.


In his review, he also states that his guide was very knowledgeable about the area, so he could accurately predict the weather and the surf and always found the best “secret spots.”


Pete Ceglinski says that, during his trip, he scored more perfect waves in 10 days than he ever thought possible, and he was still dreaming about HT’s for a long time after the trip.


All things considered, if you are mindful of the risks and prepare accordingly, a Mentawais surfing boat trip could be the most incredible surfing experience of your life.



There are many great surfing sports around the world, but there’s just something unique and special about a surfing adventure in Mentawais. It’s not just about the incredible waves (of which there are plenty) and the warm ocean, but the entire experience of a surfing boat around these islands will remain with you forever.


There’s a good reason why many surfers say that they have already taken this journey multiple times and will do so again and again. If you are looking for the absolute ultimate in surfing experiences, a Mentawais surfing boat trip should definitely be on your bucket list.


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