Budget Mentawais Surf Resort – New Proposed Regulations Concern Ebay

by Glenn Reeves

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 confrontation amongst Indonesians than it is about a clash amongst foreigners (“westerners”) attempting to secure their share of the market . The reader’s reply to my comment is reproduced below with some minor editing.

I would be very interested to hear more from you, the surfing public, who have used the various resort and charter services. You are the most important players in this industry. Your various points of view should be heard. I encourage you to guest post.

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Yes I understand about how the larger resorts business are set up and yes these Indonesians involved in these larger surf camps are mostly already well off Indonesians with money and power, rarely from Mentawai.

Lets get straight to the point, Christie’s proposed home stay laws are about one place and thats E-bay.

5+ years ago there was a few coconut farmers huts where the coconut farmers that own the land and coconut plantations would stay when they collected their coconuts to make copra.

These coconut farmers I believe are from mainland South Siberut villages like Taileleu. These people are often of true Mentawai decent, many have nothing and I know many have never been out of Mentawais not even to Padang.

Surfers began staying with these coconut farmers and and the first time I went there it was hardcore living, smoky huts, no generators only kerosine lamps, no bathroom, just wash from the natural spring, no toilet, just the bush.

From about five years ago, things have changed at a crazy rate. The huts are now quality style buildings as good as many surf camps charging $200+ per day. There are bathrooms and toilets, generators, even cold beer. All this is no secret since it is even published in the Indonesia lonely planet guide.

These local families have hit the jackpot and are earning money they would never have dreamed about.

Yes some are technically illegal, but some have all the licences needed in indonesia to run a home stay (think its a melasti licence or something to be displayed near entry).

In recent years there has at times been 60+ surfers staying at E-bay and being a budget option some of these surfers stay for weeks even months. Other surf camps/resorts even charter boats dont like this as it means more people in the surf.

Regarding the level of service, its pretty simple.If you want highest service possible, pools, A/C, western food and have $200+ a day budget then fine stay at one of the resorts.

But if your budget is $20 per day and you’re happy to do it a little more basic get more of a local experience and

see your money go directly into the local community

then that option should also be available.

More importantly the local people should have the right like anywhere else in indonesia to provide that option.

Photo credit: Wavepark.com

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