The Mentawai Islands are one of the best surfing destinations in the world. If you are a surfer and if you want to try and enjoy the breaks there, you have to organize your journey to this tropical paradise and arrange surfing as your first activity. You can do it in various ways, but one of the best options is joining a surf camp. In this article, you are going to read about the Mentawai surf camps, where they are based, how they are organized, which of them are among the best, and other useful tips.
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Basic information about the Mentawai and surfing there
The Mentawai Archipelago consists of four big and almost 70 small adjacent islands, islets, and sandbars. Along with the other archipelagos and islands nearby- Simeulue, Nias, Batu Islands, Enggano, and more, they are literally located “at the edge of the world”, as a part of West Sumatra. They are the final southwest boundary of Asia, directly exposed to the open Indian Ocean. From their western-southwestern coasts, there is almost no land until Antarctica.
So, the currents from Antarctica and the Indian Ocean freely reach the Mentawai Islands, creating a constant swell that hits all the western coasts of the islands. As a result, the archipelago is known not only as a place with some of the best surfing spots, but also as a destination with a high quantity of such spots- they are between 30 and 50 (depending on what you consider as a “surfing spot”), and they can be found everywhere.
The Mentawai surfing spots have been known since 1980 but were discovered by surfers in the 1990s. As a result, surfing tourism started developing in the archipelago, to provide better conditions for surfers visiting the islands. The transport connection with the rest of the world was improved and many new accommodations were built. Some of them were budget homestays, and some of them- luxurious resorts. Today, they provide various types of service, and the best type is the so-called surf camp.
The surf camps in the Mentawai Islands
If you are not familiar what is a surf camp, here is the explanation: it is a version of a tour for surfers, based in one location- usually a resort (luxurious bungalows or exotic hotel), with full service for them- meals, boat rides to the surfing spots, sometimes with more activities including snorkeling, trekking, parties, etc. In addition, they provide full logistics and transportation, from the airport to the private boat that leads surfers to the camp.
There is also another type of surfing tour, the so-called surf charters (a type of liveaboard), where you reside not in a resort but in a boat, and move every day to different surfing locations. But in this article, we will focus only on the Mentawai surf camps.
Surf resorts and surf camps
The term “surf camp” is not clearly determined today, and this is true for the Mentawai Islands too. In the Mentawai Islands, there are more than 30 resorts, and besides accommodation, they also offer various surf services.
Some of them offer full surf camp packages, but many others exclude “surf camp” elements like transport from the airport, etc., and offer only boat rides, surfboards, and transport from the main harbor to their island. Some of them are more luxurious, others are “wilder”, like wooden huts in the jungle, “far from the civilization”. There are also the so-called “surf houses”. They offer a version of surf camp that is more private, for a limited number of surfers.
Some also offer surf school, which is different than “surf camp”. Nevertheless, many travelers and surfers still call them “surf camps”.
But now we will focus only on those few resorts that offer full surf camp packages.
The surf camps in the Mentawai vary in length- usually between 7 to 15 days. They also vary in services they offer- some provide only two or three times a day boat riding to the breaks, and others provide an unlimited number of boat rides. Some provide only surfing, others provide more activities. Some are more luxurious, others- not. Finally, some are cheaper, others are more expensive.
The best Mentawai surf camps
Now, we will review the resorts that offer full surf camp packages on BookSurfCamp. They are Kingfisher in the south of Sipora Island, Beng Beng, Hidden Bay, and The Shadow in the Playgrounds surfing area south of Siberut Island, South Mentawai Outpost at South Pagai Island, and Awera Resort on Pototoga (Awera) Island, north of Sipora.
Of course, these resorts also offer various surfing services, other activities, or just accommodation that is not organized in a “surf camp package”, just like the other resorts, but now we will focus specifically on their surf camp packages.
Kingfisher Resort, South Sipora
This is a popular resort, located in the southernmost tip of Sipora Island, in the resort village of Katiet, part of Bosua. It is located on the western of the small Katiet Peninsula, exactly in front of two surfing spots- Lance’s Left and Bintangs.
Kingfisher Resort consists of three bungalows in the local Mentawai style. The maximum capacity of the resort is 12 people. This is to provide more privacy. It has also a restaurant and a bar, and another beach bar, as well as a swimming pool. Everything is exactly on the beach, in front of the waves, surrounded by tropical rainforest and coconut palms.
In such an exotic environment, Kingfisher Resort offers four surf camp packages. Two of them are for beginners (for 8 and 10 days), and another two- for intermediate and advanced surfers (for 7 and 8 days).
The program of the surf camp includes welcoming at Minangkabau Airport in Padang, transport to the resort (using the public fast ferry and local speed boat from Tuapejat to Kingfisher), and the same return transport at the end of the camp.
It also includes unlimited surfing to the nearby spots, and daily cruises to more distant spots (like Telescopes in the north of Sipora, and even Macaronis beside the North Pagai). In addition, it also includes other activities like jungle hiking, biking, fishing, snorkeling, SUP boarding, and cultural experience (wood carving, and more).
The surf camps for beginners include surfing lessons (with surfing teachers) while in the surf camps for intermediate and advanced surfers, you don’t need a teacher. Also, they guide beginners to easier waves while intermediate and advanced surfers go to more difficult waves.
Beng Bengs Surf Camp, Siberut Playground
This resort is located on Masokut (Nyang Nyang) Island, south of the big Siberut Island, in the Playground surfing area. There are many other resorts around it (many of them called “surf camps” too), but it is still private enough because all of these resorts are built in the wild jungle. The nearest surfing spots are Ebay and Pitstops. Not far from them are also Beng Bengs in the north, and Nipussy and Bank Vaults in the south.
The resort consists of an exotic luxurious lodge designed in the local Mentawai style. Again, the maximum capacity is 12 people, shared in four rooms. There is a nice bar-restaurant in front of the lodge where you can enjoy meals, coffee, beers, or just relaxation and socializing. As usual, everything is exactly on the beach, in front of the waves, surrounded by tropical rainforest and coconut palms.
Beng Bengs Surf Camp offers 5 packages- for 8, 10, 11, 12, and 13 days. All of them include transfer from Minangkabau Airport in Padang and back, and transport from Siberut Harbour (Muara Siberut) to the resort. The packages don’t include the ferry ticket if you are not a part of a group. But on the other side, recently the surf camp started offering a private fast boat from Padang.
The surf camp offers two surf trips daily (to the nearby surfing spots mentioned above)- one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The rest of the time, you can go snorkeling, walking around the island, or just relaxing. For beginners or intermediate surfers, there is a professional instructor.
- 8 Day Tropical Surf Camp in Siberut
- 10 Day Tropical Surf Camp in Siberut
- 11 Day Tropical Surf Camp in Siberut
- 12 Day Tropical Surf Camp in Siberut
- 13 Day Tropical Surf Camp in Siberut
Hidden Bay Resort, Siberut Playground
This resort is located on the same island- Masokut (Nyang Nyang), but on the opposite coast, looking eastward. So, it is not exactly in front of the surfing spots, but at a pristine exotic seacoast. Of course, it is not a problem, because their boats will quickly take you to the best breaks in the Playground.
Hidden Bay Resort consists of two Uma houses- traditional Mentawai houses. They contain 7 rooms- 3 rooms in Uma 1, and 4 rooms in Uma 2. Of them, the King room on the first floor of Uma 2 is their “jewel in the crown”- one of the best accommodation rooms in the whole of Mentawai Islands. Despite the quantity of the rooms, the surf camp is still limited to 12 people, to keep better privacy.
The special highlight of Hidden Bay Resort is its High Training Center. It is arranged to improve further the physical conditions of the surfers by various gym methods, including Pilates, biomechanics, and more. For this purpose, they have hired excellent professional instructors.
In addition, the resort offers a nice bar-restaurant with delicious local and western meals.
Hidden Bay Resort offers 4 surf camps- for 8, 10, 11, and 14 days. They include the transfer from Minangkabau Airport in Padang to the resort. There are two surfing sessions every day. Between them, besides the gym sessions, you can join other activities such as snorkeling, hiking, games, cooking lessons, massages, photography lessons, or just relaxation.
- 8 Day Surf Your Brains Out for Advanced Surfer
- 10 Day Surf Your Brains Out: Intermediate and Advanced
- 11 Day Surf Your Brains Out
- 14 Day Surf Your Brains Out for Advanced Surfers
The Shadow Mentawai, Siberut Playground
The Shadow Resort is located on a small private island, called Pauasak Island, very close to the mainland of Siberut. There is nobody else on Pauasak, only this resort. So, this provides complete privacy- only you, your companions, and the staff of the resort. Everything else is the small rainforest on the island and the beach.
This resort consists of 2 triple lodges, 2 bungalows (one couple, and one twin), and “New Beach Bungalow”- a two-floors Uma-style bungalow. The maximum capacity of the resort is 14 people. There is also a restaurant and a bar.
The surf camp offers 8 different packages- 4 packages for beginners (8, 10, 11, and 14 days), and 4 packages for intermediate and advanced surfers (again 8, 10, 11, and 14 days). The packages include all the transportation, 2 surf trips per day to various surfing spots (even to some “secret spots that only locals know”), meals, accommodation, and some other activities. These activities include as usual: snorkeling, massage, SUP, canoeing, or just relaxation.
For beginners and intermediate surfers, the resort provides a surf school.
In addition, there are two guides who can take you on a 2-day trek in the interior of Siberut Island to see the local indigenous Mentawai people. However, this has a separate price.
- 8 Days Beginners-Intermediate
- 8 Days Advanced
- 10 Days Beginners-Intermediate
- 10 Days Advanced
- 11 Days Beginners-Intermediate
- 11 Days Advanced
- 14 Days Beginners-Intermediate
- 14 Days Advanced
Southern Mentawai Outpost, South Pagai
This is one of the southernmost surf resorts in the Mentawai Archipelago. It is located on the northern tip of the small Sibigau (Sibigeu) Island, just west of the large South Pagai Island. Right in front of the surf resort is one of the best surfing spots in Mentawai- Thunders. Other nearby surfing spots include Roxys, Rags Right and Left, and more.
Southern Mentawai Outpost is designed as a fully eco-resort. Its electricity is provided only by solar panels, its water comes from local wells, and its bungalows are built with bamboo. It has 5 bungalows and its maximum capacity is 10 people.
Sibigau Island is uninhabited. Besides Southern Mentawai Outpost, there is only one more surf resort- Sibigau Surf Camp (about 2 km away). Everything else is a tropical jungle, coconut palms, and empty beaches.
The resort offers 4 surf camp packages- for 8, 11, 14, and 15 days. All of them are for advanced surfers- there is no surfing school (however, there is a surf instructor). Unlike the other resorts mentioned above, this one is much more “wild and adventurous”. There are unlimited boat rides to Thunders or other surfing spots. When you don’t surf, you can roam or relax around the endless beaches of the island or in the jungle like Robinson Crusoe.
- 8 Day Amazing Waves for Experienced Surfers
- 11 Day Awesome Free Surf for Experienced Surfers
- 14 Day Incredible Free Surf for Experienced Surfers
- 15 Day Amazing Free Surf for Experienced Surfers
So, the Mentawai Islands welcome surfers from all over the world. Here are some facts surfers have to consider:
- The Mentawai Islands are located very close to the Earth’s equator, and the climate is equatorial. It is an endless rainy season with more (between October and April) or less (between April and October) rainy parts.
- The swell is constant during the whole year, but due to the winter in Antarctica, it is a bit stronger between April and October- it is considered the high season.
- Every surfer has to pay the Mentawai Surf Tax before going surfing there. It is 1,000,000 IDR (around 75 USD). It is valid for 15 days, and if you stay for a longer time, you have to pay another 1,000,000 IDR.
- There are additional ferry charges for surfboards: 1-15 kg: 230,000 IDR; 15-25 kg: 460,000 IDR; more than 25 kg: 690,000 IDR. This is for the Fast Ferry.
To recap, surf camp on the Mentawai Islands is a great experience. Yes, it has its pros and cons. The cons are mostly the price- it is relatively expensive, and the limitations- after all, it is an organized tour. You can’t just pause it for a while, go to another place, and back to the surf resort to proceed with it. But on the other side, the convenience inside the tropical paradise, and the nice atmosphere with other fellow surfers make it 100% worth.
Check some travel books about Mentawai:
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Hi, we are Krasen and Ying Ying. Krasen is from Bulgaria, and Ying Ying is from China. We are passionate about geography and history, and we believe that the best way to experience it is by exploring the Earth in reality, not in a school, and not virtually.
So, we created this blog Journey Beyond the Horizon, where we share geographical knowledge, travel guides and tips how to experience it when you explore our planet, and a lot of inspiration.
And we wish you a happy journey, not just virtually, but most of all- in reality.