Once upon a time the only film footage on Mentawai was in the form of Reimar Shefold’s contribution to the 1974 Disappearing World series, The Sakuddei.

The film, as with the series overall, was based on the same audience-grabbing scheme that works like a charm to this day. “Ancient cultures are being obliterated by the rapacious modern world. Check ‘em out before it’s too late”. Cut to credits via an image of the grim reaper.

Of course 40 years on things have changed a bit as in individuals might have disappeared, but the culture is still there. But as a selling point it’s a winner. If you want the audience, you have to press the right buttons. Some things never change. [Read on]

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Trekking to Save a Life – Mentawai Culture and Infant Mortality

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Canoe on the way down. Trekking on the way back. Motorboat all the way down to the coast. A busy day. The kid lived. I entered the hut (sapou) where the baby’s dad cradled him. He was maybe two months old but listless. Eyes slightly open, burning up. The gaping ulcers over several parts of […]

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Budget Mentawais Surf Resort – New Proposed Regulations Concern Ebay

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“Lets get straight to the point, Christie’s proposed home stay laws are about one place and thats E-bay“ Christie Carter’s proposed revision to regulating the surf industry in Mentawai has attracted a lot of interest. In reply to a reader’s comment on that post I suggested that the Mentawai surf industry is as much a […]

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Surfing Mentawai | Regulation and Management Revision Proposal

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“who should enforce the law and how?” Tensions in the Mentawai Surf Resort and Charter Boat industry have been high recently, following the confrontation at Macronis in early August. The surf charter vessel, Addiction, anchored at the break in violation of the law dictating that no more than two boats at a time may do […]

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Surfing Mentawai | Videos from Season 2012

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How hard is it to come by good video edits of Mentawai culture, trekking, or surfing? Hard. If you define “good” here as attention-grabbing, entertaining, and having a well edited, cool sound track, oh and informative as well, then it’s not easy to find. Seems like just about everyone who hits the high seas to […]

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Trekking Tour in Mentawai? Check out this Video Guide to Siberut Culture

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There’s plenty of videos out there about Mentawai these days, mainly about surfing. That’s no surprise since surfers make up the overwhelming majority of foreign visitors to the islands. There’s also a good deal of video and fim-making relating to the Mentawai cultural ‘hot zone’, namely a couple of river valleys in South Siberut. If […]

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Mentawai Earthquake & Tsunami – Better To Be On a Boat Than Land Based Surf Resort?

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A fanciful view of the lineup after an 8.7 magnitude quake, smack bang in the middle of the channel separating the Mentawai islands from Sumatra, sends one or more walls of water over the top of Playgrounds or into Katiet to wipe it from the face of the earth. Can you imagine what’s left of Katiet […]

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Average Surfers in Above Average Mentawai Waves–Whatever Your Ability The Mentawais Deliver

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If you’ve never been on a surfing trip to the Mentawais then this video edit is the one to check out. Well, if you are the sort of surfer that is up for a challenge, but not too much of a challenge and would like a little variety in your activities at any rate. One […]

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Mentawai Culture is not Disappearing

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Repeat. Mentawai Culture is not disappearing. It is changing though, oh yes indeed. And it always has been, faster at some times, slower at others. Look, I’m just a bit tired of this old narrative, this old story-line that repeats this simply untrue old refrain that Mentawaian culture is in peril. It’s like Lady Gaga […]

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Mentawai Left Handers, the Issue of Surfing Style, and the Most Photographed Place on the Planet?

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It’s been my intention to slap a cultural post in here but here’s another one about surfing…and culture…and photography. Below you’ll find a cool edit of a bunch of dudes who did a land-based surfari to Mentawai thing. I say cool because there’s no shortage of footage of barreling lefts and rights with a Pig […]

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