The Hole
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About the Mentawais

The Mentawai Islands lie roughly 100 km off of the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. They consist of 4 main islands with many smaller islands scattered throughout. From north to south, the main islands are Siberut, Sipora, North Pagi, and South Pagi.

These islands block most swells from reaching the mainland on Sumatra, but they offer some of the most perfect surf in the world. Access to the islands is by sea only with regular ferries to the main trading ports, but by far the best way to access the surf is by charter boat.

The Surf

Indonesia is one of the most consistent surf destinations in the world. The best waves can be had from February to November, with the biggest swells likely to occur in April-September. During these months the winds are variable and it’s easy to find a break with offshore conditions since there are waves facing almost every direction.

The main breaks from North to South (Our Captains know many more – we can be sneaky when we need to be):

Burgerworld – This is a softer pointbreak – like righthander. Can offer barrels at times, but usually long rippable walls with many cutback sections. When the swell is small this place has waves. As the size comes up it turns into a mush burger – hence the name. An extremely picturesque setting too..

Beng beng – This is a left just up from E Bay. Good for all abilities and works on medium swell.

E-BayThis is a hollow super picturesque lefthander that barrels off the take-off with a short wall down the line. A great option when a lot of swell is hitting.

Pit Stops – This is the right off the peak at E-Bay Usually a playful right that can offer some cover-ups off the take-off, but mostly a high performance waves with air sections at the end. Ends in a sandy channel.

Bank Vaults – A heavy righthander that barrels and spits. Usually larger than most spots in the area. Watch out for clean-up sets. Can handle a bit more swell than its neighboring wave, Nipussi.

NipussiA shorter right that breaks down the point from Bank Vaults. Definitely fun and rippable. Usually has fairly deep water from the takeoff to the inside. Ends in a riptide that sucks all the water back out to sea. Along with Burgerworld this is a good option when there’s not much swell, and usually the most consistent spot in the area.

HideawaysA very hollow left that can be shallow at times. It comes out of deep water, then unloads on a shallow section of reef before barreling towards the channel. More dangerous at low tides.

No KanduisA long barreling left that wraps around a small island. Usually very sectiony, but can line up on the largest of swells. Fast takeoff, pull-in and pump like mad!

Four BobsGood with tons of swell. A mellower option as it is a softer wave than some of the other closer breaks. Mainly a right with a short barrel off the takeoff, then backing off into the channel. More shallow on the inside.

Karangbat LeftThe reef that forms the “mooring” by the floating fish house. The left is soft, long, fun and playful. The right is shorter, faster and not ridden as much. Goofball wave but fun – longboarders take note.

RiflesOne of the best waves in the world when on, no exaggeration. A very long righthander that wraps around the other side of the same island as No Kanduis. Insanely hollow once it’s a few feet overhead, but usually more sectiony at smaller sizes.

IcelandsBeautiful setting, lefthander – big deep water wave. A lot of punch …. another consistent lefthander for when the swell is smaller. Good snorkeling and spear fishing when surf is small also.

TelescopesA perfect wrapping left hander. Long walls wrap around the reef with very few sections on larger days. Mostly breaks in pretty deep water, but on the bigger days it can get heavy outside and shallow on the inside reef.

ScarecrowsBreaks off of an island just south of Telescopes. Good lefts but less predictable and shifty. This wedgy wave works best on a dropping high tide. Good snorkeling inside here also.

Bintangs A short and hollow right across the channel from Lance’s Left. As the wave approaches the reef, the bottom drops out before barreling towards the channel.

Lance’s LeftLong left walls wrap down the point before hitting the last section, which is the main take-off area. Great hollow section after the take-off. A bigger gun helps on the larger days. Watch the inside on low tide if the swell is carrying in there.

Hollow Trees (HT’s, Lance’s Right) – A great righthander that has been all over the surf mags and videos over the last decade. The main takeoff spot is up the point where most of the waves start barrelling and peel flawlessly down the reef. On larger swells it can be very shifty and hard to read. It can shift more to the end bowl where it can break, reform, then bowl again into the channel. The inside is very shallow and is often referred to as the “surgeon’s table” due to the many reef-cuts doled out to traveling surfers.

Bat Caves (Gilligan’s Island)A righthander that breaks when wind favors only lefts. Sometimes enjoyed more by longboarders – usually funner than it looks from the boat.

MacaronisOne of the most perfect waves in the world. A very hollow wave with many shallow spots. Lefts start from way up the point, then gradually slow down as it approaches the channel. The further up the point you paddle, the faster it barrels when you take-off. After the initial barrel ride, this wave offers one of the most rippable walls for any maneuvers you can think of.

GreenbushA heavy lefthander – Sick takeoff and then pull in quick. Beautiful setting but if you don’t make the takeoff, pull in fast enough, or straighten off you’re on the reef.

Rags Left – A great lefthander that can hold the biggest swells. It is very hollow and can often dish out some of the heaviest hold-downs in the island chain. Usually a bit more water moving around so a larger board can be useful.

Rags RightA shorter, hollow right on the southern end of Rags Island. Needs higher tide now – a lot shallower after the quakes. Fast, short barrel …. better be on your game. Drop in, pull in, go fast, don’t be greedy, leave the inside alone and kick out. Be ready for the reef and scrapes – fall flat!!!

ThundersAnother large left that picks up and can hold the biggest swells. It’s a top to bottom wave on the outside, that gets a bit mellower on the inside section (or not). Another wave that usually has a lot of water moving, so a bigger board can come in handy. A good “go to” wave on smaller days.

The HoleAnother very hollow left off a small island in the southern end of the Mentawais. Starts barrelling off the takeoff, but never really stops until a closeout section at the end of the reef. The pros get scraped here so surf this spot smart or you’ll be on the reef.

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Sumatra Map