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

by Glenn Reeves

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 of Steel (in spirit…long live the Captain!) acolyte camped a board length or two back inside. But a lot of this is pretty mediocre. A bit like the neighbors slide night–anybody remember the 60s?

This one’s good with a soundtrack featuring Placebo and Tanya Stevens. Interesting 🙂 . There’s a lot worse around, as you probably know.

Over the last two decades “Mentawai” (I’ll tell you why I’ve done that in a minute) has been a very well photographed place. What with professional photographers and film crews heading into the interior to get great copy of the indigenous folk, Mentawai is everywhere, compared to 20 years ago.

These expeditions were mainly to the one place though, just in between Ugai and Matotonan in the Rereiket. This meant that in fact one region of “Mentwai”, the Rereiket, came to represent all the rest. Hence “Mentawai”.

With the explosion of the surf charter industry it’s the coastline and the myriad breaks that are being documented like never before. But it’s once again, a pretty partial view. Never seen so much of the reef before either.

Whatever. Let’s talk about style. Some surfers have it. Others just don’t. Like the guy in the first 5-6 minutes of this edit. He sure can handle himself. Barrels, emphatic cutties–none of your long, drawn out  convinctionless wind ups. Just zap, bang. Done. Overall technically schmiko.

But there’s nothing all that sylish about it. It’s not stylishly schmiko. I’m thinking of Joel Parkinson or Jordy Smith sort of style. Some guys make it look quite a bit of an effort. Others not.

What’s your view on style?

For razor-sharp technicals and plenty of style (that flows out of the moves), albeit with a few arm-flailing moments here and there, check this out. California, Hawaii, France, Indonesia (Lombok) and Australia, with quite a few familiar faces.

DAZE AT SEA from DAZE AT SEA on Vimeo.

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