Mentawai surf charters- wild liveaboard surfing expeditions

Mentawai surf charters- wild liveaboard surfing expeditions

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The Mentawai Islands, as well as the whole island chain between the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the open Indian Ocean, are known as one of the best surfing destinations in the world. Many surfers and ordinary travelers (non-surfers) go to enjoy the stunning tropical paradise and the gorgeous breaking waves in various ways. Some go to surf resorts (surf camps), and some stay in budget homestays as their “base camps”. And some try one of the most adventurous options- Mentawai surf charters. Now, we will focus on them- with general info, boats, routes, schedules, and useful tips.

Mentawai surf boat charters- general info

First, what is a surf boat charter? If you are not familiar, it is a type of liveaboard tour, like a cruise. It starts from a certain point, follows a certain route for a certain amount of time (7 days, 10 days, 14 days, etc.), and usually ends at the starting point. During this time, you live on the boat. On its route, it leads you to certain spots related to the main theme of the tour- in this case- surfing spots.

If you go to a surf camp, you stay in one place and you are limited to going to the nearby surfing spots only. But a boat charter allows you to try more surfing spots, in a larger area of exploring.

In the case of the Mentawai Islands, the routes of the boat charter usually take you around the whole archipelago. Some boats go even further, to the neighboring Batu Islands.

Join a Mentawai surf camp or a surf charter!

Mentawai surf charters- wild liveaboard surfing expeditions

The best Mentawai surf charters

In general, all the surf charters around the Mentawai Islands are 11-13 days long. They start from Padang and offer various routes. The following boat charters are all included on BookSurfCamp.

Crystal Clear: 13 Day Surf Charter

Crystal Clear is a luxurious 22-m-long aluminum catamaran, operating since 2016. It has two double-bed private cabins, eight single bunks, and two double beds. There are two bathrooms, and a guest accommodation lower hull level. You can enjoy three deck levels, a saloon, and other facilities. Everything is enough spacious for more than 10 passengers (the minimum number of passengers for a tour).

You have two tour options with this catamaran. The first option is to travel around the Mentawai Islands, and the second- to the islands north of Mentawai- Tello (Batu Islands), Nias, Hinako, and Banyak. The routes are flexible because they depend on the current conditions, weather, and other factors.

The crew will welcome you at Minangkabau Airport in Padang, and normally, the boat departs from Padang at 6 pm. But before that, there will be a team meeting with general instructions, details discussions, and of course, making friends.

Check for availability in Crystal Clear!

Crystal Clear
Crystal Clear

Moon Palikir: 13 Day Surf Charter

Moon Palikir is another luxurious boat, designed for 12 passengers. It is 35 m long, with several spacious cabins, docks, and safety equipment. It has also bathrooms and entertaining equipment. This boat provides tours not only for surfing but also for stand-up paddle board and snorkeling, and they offer gear that you can use.

Again, the itinerary of Moon Palikir is flexible. The boat roams around the whole Mentawai Archipelago and Telo, a part of the Batu Islands. As mentioned above, you can not only go surfing, but also you can enjoy paddling, snorkeling, and relaxing on the beaches between the surfing sessions.

The team provides a full package with air transfer from Minangkabau Airport to the harbor of Padang where the boar departs. As usual, there is a meeting in advance. Although this tour is proper for advanced surfers, there is an instructor who can teach beginners and intermediate surfers too.

Check for availability in Moon Palikir!

Moon Palikir
Moon Palikir

Maki Boat: 12 Day Surf Charter

This tour provides a bit different vibe. The Maki Boat is a traditional Indonesian “Phinisi” boat. These boats have their roots in South Sulawesi, the area around Makassar, and were recognized later by the Europeans as one of the best types of boats in the world, used to this day.

Initially Maki Boat was used for diving liveaboard around Komodo Island, but later converted into a surfing charter boat. It is 24 m long, with five cabins, a large living room, a kitchen, a sun deck with eight additional beds, and six bathrooms. In addition, it also offers SUP, kayaks, fishing gear, snorkeling gear, and more.

Maki Boat offers a 12-day itinerary around the whole of the Mentawai Islands. As usual, the exact route is not fixed, it depends on the weather and other conditions, as well as the preference of the passengers, but in general, the boat roams around all of the surfing areas on the archipelago. The group of passengers can be from 7 to 13 people. This tour is not only for advanced but also for intermediate surfers.

Check for availability in Maki Boat!

Maki Boat
Maki Boat

Now, we will focus on a company, called Sibon Charters. They have a fleet of two vessels- Sibon Baru and Sibon Jaya, both exploring the archipelagos west-southwest of Sumatra.

Naga Laut: 12 Day Surf Charter

Naga Laut is another luxurious boat in its own style. It is distinguished from the other charter boats by its timber interior. It has four 2-bed cabins and one spacious 4-bed cabin, well-provided with electric sockets for electric devices charging. It has two tenders- a fiberglass speed boat and a smaller zodiac to take you to the waves of every surfing spot that you arrive.

The tours of Naga Laut are only around the Mentawai Islands. Although they say “12 days”, the length is actually 11 days, with provided transport from Minangkabau Airport in Padang. Their tours are designed for 8 to 10 people, but in some cases, with discussion in advance, the group can be 12 people. 

Again, between the surfing sessions, you can enjoy various other activities like snorkeling, paddling, fishing, or just relaxing on board or on a beach. There is also a photo and video service, not included in the package. 

Check for availability in Naga Laut!

Naga Laut
Naga Laut

Sibon Baru: 13 Day Surf Charter

Sibon Baru is the bigger of the two boats. It is a 62-foot aluminum catamaran with six cabins, three bathrooms, a saloon with a TV, and more. It has perfect safety equipment and offers SUP, fishing, and snorkeling gear. In general, the crew makes great efforts to arrange everything as luxurious as possible.

As usual, the route of Sibon Baru is only around the Mentawai Islands. The number of participants is between 8 and 12 people. Like the other boats, this one also guides you to the best surfing spots with no fixed route and itinerary, and opportunity for other activities. What’s more is that they also offer professional photo services (the photographer is included in the price, however, various packages have additional prices).

On BookSurfCamp, you can see two Sibon Baru 13-day tours. Actually, it is the same tour but on the first one, the price is per 1 and 2 participants, while on the second one, they offer a group price for 6 people.

Check for availability in Sibon Baru for 1-2 participants!

Check for availability in Sibon Baru for a group!

Sibon Baru
Sibon Baru

Sibon Jaya: 13 Day Surf Charter

Sibon Jaya is a bit larger than Sibon Baru, but only with four luxurious rooms. In other words, this boat is a bit more luxurious, as they say, it is like a floating “5-star hotel”. Besides the bathroom and other facilities, it has a comfortable deck with sofas for relaxation. The boat uses solar panels for electricity and water heating. In addition, again, it provides gear for other activities.

Sibon Jaya roams around the Mentawai Islands like Sibon Baru, but of course, due to the flexibility, the route can be different. It allows only 6 to 8 participants. Again, there is a professional photographer and he offers various photo and video packages with additional prices.

Like Sibon Baru, this boat has two offers for the same tour in BookSurfCamp– one for 1 or 2 participants, and one for a group of 6 participants. For the trip, the teams of the two boats provide full transport service from Minangkabau Airport.

Check for availability in Sibon Jaya for 1-2 participants!

Check for availability in Sibon Jaya for a group!

Sibon Jaya
Sibon Jaya

Join a Mentawai surf camp or a surf charter!

Useful tips

The first and probably most important is that booking a surfing boat charter in the Mentawai Islands is not like “booking a hotel for tomorrow”. Usually, the tours are full almost a year ahead. So, if you want to join such a tour, think about the next year! Of course, you can check for early dates but the chance for availability is small.

Here is more info:

  • 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. This tax is not included in the boat charter price.

Joining a surf boat charter around the Mentawai Islands is undoubtedly an expensive pleasure, even more expensive than the surf camps fixed in one location. But the experience it offers is unforgettable and totally worth it!

Check some travel books about Mentawai:


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Go to an dventurous surfing experience around the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia, combined with expedition- surf charters. Go to an dventurous surfing experience around the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia, combined with expedition- surf charters.

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