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

by Glenn Reeves

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 of the great things about this wave field and the overall environment is that it has something for everyone.

I just want to pull a few things out of this video for comment, mainly for my own amusement. You might want to jump right in and watch the thing. Go for it. No need to abide my ramblings. Just head to the end of the post.

Ok, if you’re still with me, what I like about this edit is the vibe which is a bit like what the Eagles were complaining about in Hotel California: “We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969”. There’s some 60s spirit here which is hard to find in the surfing world these days.

Anyhow, the boys arrive in Indo:

corruption Indonesia

Keep your wallet in your pocket

In a country where this is not an issue, you won’t find a sign like this. Indonesia ranks 100 out of 183 countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index. It’s been worse. The bottom line is that graft is common, but there is definitely an art to it. There are “rules” and unspoken protocols which determine how to proceed if there’s a need. Certainly in such a public place as the main airport it is the beast that shall remain nameless!

Macaronis, Lances Left, Roxy's, Telescopes

Beam us over, Captain

The hologram a bit after two minutes in is a very cool touch. For those who have surfed the Mentawais and even for those who have only couch surfed the place, this is one run-down of where the guys got amongst it that will put a smile on your face.

You can’t beat the enthusiasm with which the multiple locations surfed are announced (although he could be a little more excited)… Icelands, to Telescopes, then down to Lances Left, Macaronis, on to Roxy’s, Rag’s Left, Bat Cave, back to Lances Left,  then along to Scarecrows.

long board stability on the wave face

A bit of the Mark Richards style happening here?

The boards the crew are riding go to the heart of the appropriate equipment. As a friend of mine, Christie Carter of Wave Park points out, you need something to get you onto the wave, minimum of fuss. On this score they do the job. Many others would be heading vertical back up the face here for some air time. Each to their own. I’m very much reminded of Mark Richards in this shot.

forehand cutback towards the wave foam

Scoping the next move

There’s time and space to glide into a stylish cutback and get these sticks covering every inch of ground that you’d want, including the odd cover up. Sure it’s not a case of being deep in the pit. But each to their own.

once dropping in was about sharing a wave with a friend

Be a good chap and crank it around towards the boat. It’s time for lunch

You look at this and think about being deep on the far side of these guys. But it strikes me as an image that was pretty common a few decades ago. No such thing as “dropping in” back then. A couple of guys on their Mals enjoying each other’s company and great surf, except their surfing some technology a grade or two above the ol’ Mal. (Again, each to their own).

alternative activities in Mentawai

No chute required

One way to get amongst the fish here is to jump on ’em. Rocky outcrops that for millennia have not held interest for any human for any reason are now part of a million dollar industry.

As one of the crew sings near the end:
A good friend is a miracle
You get a reflection,
A true friend has got your back
You get protection …

Check out the whole edit here:

Mentawai surfing culture has just got going. While its probably a bit early to start talking about it yet, you can say that it’s a creature of many moods, some of them quite ugly. Wonder what the place will be like a century from now.

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