AWAVE Travel

Use the search bar below or click on the icons to visit our Social Media channels!

When did you last get AWAVE?

how to surf in the mentawais

The Ultimate Guide to Surfing in the Mentawai Islands

So, you’ve seen the photos, watched the surf films, and want to take a trip to surf the Mentawai Islands!

The Mentawai Islands in Indonesia are renowned worldwide among surfers for having the most perfect waves on Earth located in a picture-perfect tropical paradise. In this guide, you will find out where are the Mentawai Islands when is best to travel to the Menatawais, how to get to the Mentawai Islands, and some hints for packing for the perfect surf trip!

The many legendary world-class breaks around Mentawai can handle all different swell and wind combinations, which makes this area a year-round surfing destination for all surfing levels.

Where are the Mentawai:

The Mentawai Islands are a chain of about seventy idyllic tropical islands located approximately 150 km off the western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. They can be divided into three main surfing regions:

  • Northern Islands: The majority of the spots are located around the islets south of Siberut, in an area called Playgrounds. This is also the most crowded region, due to the presence of many camps and easier accessibility from Padang via public ferries, but the variety and quality of waves are excellent.
  • Central Islands: push yourself a bit more south and get lost in paradise. Sipura is the main island and home of legendary waves as Lance’s Left and HT. 
  • Southern Islands: What you come for is Macas, the only wave in the Mentawai with limited access to a certain amount of surfers. This area is still very untouched and not so developed. With very few land based options, if you are on a charter in this area, expect to surf with just you and your mates!




When to go:

When to travel to the Mentawai Islands? The Mentawais are a year-round surf destination due to their exposure and swell consistency. There isn’t a bad time to go! Every season has something to offer. The low swell season (December to March) offers many perfect fun-sized days of surf (head high) perfect for beginners – to advanced surfers looking to relax. This is also the quietest time of year with very few people in the water!

The peak swell months (May to September) are every chargers dream with average swells of 7ft with long periods and a high percentage of forecasted 5 stars rated days, this is the time of year to surf the Mentawais if you want big barrels and to challenge yourself. In between the seasons, the Shoulder Months are the best pick for intermediate to advanced surfers that want to stay away from the crowds and still score fantastic waves!

How to get there:

How do you get to the Mentawai Islands? Padang is the international airport where you would have to arrive. Daily flights land here from Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta. Garuda Indonesia is the best airline company based on reliability and they carry surfboards in your checked baggage for free! Surf charters depart from Padang harbour during the late afternoon to undertake the crossing during the night. If you have chosen to stay in a land-based camp, Fast ferry boats leave the city of Padang every day. If you choose public transfer ferries try to do it on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays to get the best rates. As the fast ferry leaves early in the morning, make sure to arrive in Padang the day before your Ferry departure day! AWAVE Travels Expert Surf Team will assist in the arranging of all your logistics when traveling to the Mentawais.

Charters vs Land-based – Which is best:

This really is a matter of personal preference! Although dozens of land camps have been established in the past few years and many more are planned, the best way to get around Mentawai is no doubt a charter boat. Long-distance traveling is mainly done at night to be able to be at the surf spot already at dawn. All charter boats have a dinghy to drop you on and off the surf spot. Surf Charters offer unrivaled flexibility to be in the right place at the right time and to surf from dawn to dusk.

The real downside of charters is the lack of space and privacy. This is where the Surf Resorts really excel, offering access to a smaller selection of world-class waves in one region but offering much high levels of comfort and privacy. These are perfect for those that don’t enjoy boat life as much and couples looking to have a bit more privacy. AWAVE Travels Surf Travel Experts can help advise you on the best charter or resort for you!

What is the Mentawai Tax:

To surf in the Mentawai you need to pay a Tax. The Mentawai Tax has been introduced by Mentawai’s governor to benefit the local community and it requires each surfer to pay 2 Millions Rupiah (around US$130) upon visiting the region. The tax lasts for 15 days, but it’s extendable, in case you want to stay longer. The Tax has been thought to improve the management of carrying capacities of surfers in each region, reduce overcrowding, and improve the overall experience of visiting surfers.





AWAVE Travel’s Favourite Waves in the Mentawai Islands:

The island chain is home to an almost unlimited amount of waves with lefts, rights, a-frames, heavy reef breaks, playful pointbreaks, and everything in between. This region is a surfers playground and you can find waves for all levels on a trip to the islands. The AWAVE Travel team loves surfing in the region and has picked a few of their favourite waves!



South Mentawai – Voted the most rippable and funnest wave in the world, Macas Left is a machine, predictable, perfect, and challenging at the same time! Working on almost all swell directions, this world-class left can serve up perfect walls, heavy barrels and is even good onshore!



Central Mentawai – Hollow Tree or Lance’s Right is the classic Mentawai right barrel, mechanically perfect. Be careful in the inside, where the shallowness of the Surgeon Table awaits. On smaller swells, this can be a friendly right but with size becomes one of the best right-hand barrels in the world!



North Mentawai – Spectacular and barreling world-class left with a vertical drop and a race to the exit. A short but spice ride, the bigger the swell, the better it gets. Generally needs a good-sized SW swell to get going but is a beauty when it does! Watch out for the two rocks on the inside.



North Mentawai – Race on the most perfect rights in the Mentawai, or even the world. Rifles it’s all about hollow barrels and straight-line speed! Rifles is a rare gem that needs all the conditions to align to score it perfect but when it is on, this is a freight train barrel that races along a very shallow reef!



Central Mentawai – Truly one of the most underrated waves in the Mentawais, this classy right-hander produces a slabby, take-off barrel section followed by a fun bowly wall.


A Frames

North Mentawai – Short right and playful left in a beautiful set-up right in front of an idyllic island. Usually uncrowded and overlooked by most charter boats. A great spot to get away from the crowds and enjoy fun waves with your mates!


4 Bobs

North Mentawai – Fun right-hander for the less intrepid surfers, with a whackable wall and deep water. Although not as intense as the average Mentawai wave, everyone loves 4 Bobs. This super rippable right is perfect to lay some turns and get the occasional barrel. Kandui Resort even has a floating dock over locking the wave for afternoon beers!




AWAVE Travel’s TOP PICKS for surfing the MENTAWAI Islands















What to pack for your trip:

The Mentawais are a tropical year-round destination. Warm water, light winds, and sunny days are definitely the highlights of this region. Being very close to the equator you also expect some rain from time to time!

Due to its remote location and difficulties in finding even the most basic stuff, we recommend bringing with you the following items:

  • 2 or 3 surfboards
  • Spare legropes
  • Surf wax
  • Sunscreen (lots of it!)
  • Zinc
  • Surf hat
  • Rash Guard
  • first aid kit

Travel Insurance:

World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance and safety advice to help you travel confidently. World Nomads offers travel insurance for independent travelers and intrepid families. It has been designed by travelers for travelers, with coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation, and more. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world..

Travel to Indonesia:

Although Visa requirements change depending on your nationality, the majority of nationalities can get a free visa on arrival for 30 days extendable until 60 days. At the moment tourist visas are suspended, but entry to the country is possible if you hold a Special Visa and after completing a 5 days quarantine in selected hotels in Jakarta. Get in touch with us to get more information about visa.







    You don't have permission to register

    Customer Reviews

    AWAVE Travel

    Customer Reviews

    Tatsiana Radchanka 04/21/2024

    Amazing surf camp. Felt at home there. Super nice, kind, helpful staff. Any of my requests has been satisfied. Highly recommended!

    Charles Viellevoye 03/27/2024

    Very professional team. Giulia is always on and have an accurate answer to all my questions. The boat trip was incredibly well organised. Nothing was missing.

    Emily Bullen 04/03/2024

    Professional and Top Notch! From the moment we started planning our trip AWAVE was responsive and professional. We had a lot of back and forth picking the perfect location and resort and James and Giulia were patient and helpful. The resort we stayed at, AYADA in the Maldives, was beautiful and relaxing- great for families and couples! It was perfect for us- we have 1 surfer in the family, he was able to enjoy the waves and we also were able to enjoy the reef and snorkel as a family. Our kids loved the kids club and the private pool on the beach villas was amazing. The alcohol is expensive if you don’t do full board but that is to be expected. Wonderful vacation and amazing travel agency! Definitely recommend!!

    Cobus and Jackie Van Aswegen 10/19/23

    awesome last minute trip which was well communicated, friendly crew and great surf guide! waves were not the best but we realised at the time of booking that it was end of season. crew could not be more friendly and willing to help all the time - chef prepared a wide variety of food and never any complaints on that front - thanks!!!... we will be back for more!

    Steve 10/07/23

    I've used Awave twice ... so far. This is the second time I've used Awave for a trip to the maldives. Stayed in 2 different resorts this time. They've always been incredibly prompt at replying and handled everything for us, making sure the 2 Resorts were in touch to get us transfered half way through our trip. At one of the resorts I even bumped into Giulia and Delia who were out there surfing at the time. There's no doubt in my mind that I'll use awave again if I'm booking a surf trip

    Donald Ayres 11/06/23

    Indonesia Surf Trip/ Java/Bali/Sumba - James Colston was my representative from AWAVE - I’m an older solo surfer and James was attentive, respectful, extremely responsive from the initial planning stages all the way through the booking. And he was so patient with all my crazy questions along the way. I couldn’t have been more pleased with James’s level of service. Thank you James

    Alex Daish 12/28/23

    Giulia was an amazing person to book with. I was overwhelmed with choices initially, but AWAVE knew their stuff and helped me with my options and even suggested delaying my trip so I could go to a certain hotel which ended up being the best decision I made all year.

    Mickey 01/24/24

    Giulia and James were always on line to answer any question or to give an advice. The Ayada resort is perfect both for families or for couples. We did not have waves as the season goes from April to September, but there are plenty options to have fun and good times. Highly recommended both Awave and Ayada.

    James 01/30/24

    The AWAVE team are knowledgable and helpful. Giulia is a very helpful and patient person to deal with, and do not worry, you can trust her. I had to delay my trip to Morocco due to unforeseen circumstances and Giulia was very understanding. I have just returned from having a fantastic week at Amouage in Taghazout. Thanks AWAVE!

    Omar AlJammaz 03/07/23

    Great travel options, great customer support, simplifying planing process.
    Looking forward for my next trip.