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You’d be hard-pressed to find a more idyllic spot for surfers than the Mentawi Islands in Indonesia. With over 70 islands to explore, there are waves ranging from fat and longboard-friendly to hollow barrels. Best of all, with a Mentawis surf charter, you can change location depending on the swell and crowd level. Ready to go? In this post, we’ll show you the best Mentawi surf charters and share some tips on how to choose the right one for you.
Onboard this 31-meter wooden Phinisi surf charter, surfers are taken from the port of Padang to some of Mentawis best breaks. If you’re looking for explore Indonesia onboard a traditionally designed vessel with modern amenities, Maki is a top contender.
In between surf sessions, enjoy spending time on Maki’s spacious lounge areas including an entertainment room with TV or sun deck. There are kayaks, SUPs, and dinghies to shuttle surfers to and from the best breaks. Each room comes with air conditioning, new mattresses, and an ensuite bathroom.
Food, snacks, and drinks are included with your trip — as is all transport to and from Sumatra’s main airport.
If you want an ultra-luxury surf experience, opt for the Indies Trader 3. Being the first charter in Sumatra and founded by Martin Daly, you’ll be on a surf trip with an impeccable safety record and led by staff who know the breaks inside and out.
The Indies Trader 3 is one of the best surf charters for those keen to experience the region’s top surf breaks as their staff have no qualms about leaving the comforts of breaks near the cell phone tower.
Trips typically run for 13 nights and can host up to 10 surfers. Your time onboard the 26-meter yacht includes three meals per day, snacks, drinks, and use of all onboard toys and entertainment systems.
Sibon Jaya is a 21-meter catamaran built in 2015 and was specifically designed to accommodate surfers in the Mentawi Islands. Fast, stable, and spacious, the Sibon Jaya is one of the most comfortable surf charters around.
Onboard, you’ll find a sun deck, sofa areas, and indoor entertainment room with a TV and DVD player. Kayaks, snorkels, and a SUP are also free for guests to use. Each room comes with an ensuite bathrooom with hot water showers.
Food, snacks, drinks, and transport to and from Sumatra airport included. There is also a staff photographer who will provide pictures and video for extra charge.
Though slightly smaller than Sibon Jaya, Sibon Baru is an agile catamaran shuttling surfers to and from the best breaks in the Mentawis. Sibon Baru has six spacious cabins and three shared bathrooms throughout the vessel. Each indoor area is air conditioned and there are plenty of places to get some sunshine or shade on deck.
All meals, snacks, and drinks are included on Sibon Baru, as is transport to and from the airport. You can hire the staff photographer to shoot pictures of your trip for an additional cost.
If you want comfort without paying a premium price, Sibon Baru is a top pick.
Built in 2016, Crystal Clear is a catamaran with three deck levels. Guests can choose between private double-bed cabins or shared bunk cabins.
One of the main pulls for Crystal Clear is their surf guide, Mike Matthew, who has been surfing in the Mentawis for nearly 30 years. This information is essential for knowing which waves are breaking best under specific conditions. Each trip is personalized and the staff heavily factors in surfers’ preferences.
Your surf charter includes food, non-alcoholic drinks, airport transfer, and use of the vessel’s amenities.
The Naga Laut has been running surf charters to the Mentawis for over 15 years, and the vessel has seen yearly upgrades since its debut. Onboard, you’ll spend the short time in between surf sessions enjoying its air-conditioned interior, lounge area, and sun deck — wifi included.
Cabin options include four two-bed rooms as well as one four-bed room, all with power outlets. Two smaller speedboats shuttle surfers from the Naga Laut to the lineup as needed. This makes it great for surfers with mixed abilities and interests.
Your trip includes up to four beers per day (don’t worry, you can pay extra for more), all meals, snacks, airport transfer, and use of snorkeling equipment.
The 35-meter Moon Palikir is a vessel designed with surfers in mind. Guests are accommodated in six cabins that can host between one and four surfers. There are also two shared bathrooms onboard. Each room comes with air conditioning and the vessel’s entertainment area has a TV and DVD player.
Two tender boats service the Moon Palikir, where it’s a relief to save your paddle strength on the waves themselves rather than making your way from the boat to the break.
Food, drinks, and limited beers are included with each trip. Guests are free to use the SUPs and snorkeling gear as they please.
Tips for choosing the best Mentawi Islands surf charter
There are so many factors to consider when it comes to finding the best Mentawis surf charter for you and your group. In fact, there are over 40 Mentawi Islands surf charters to choose from. If you want to read about each one in depth, John at Indies Trader has accomplished the incredible task of listing and writing about every surf charter in the Mentawi Islands.
These are the factors we think you should consider:
Cost vs. Comfort: Are you someone who can rough it for a week as long as you get your surf sessions in? Or would you rather splurge on the full experience?
While there are surf charters that suit just about every budget, bottom-line surf charters are often more crowded, are less willing to venture to hard-to-reach breaks, and may make compromises when it comes to safety standards. Meanwhile, the ultra-luxury surf charters may be overkill if it means you’ll be flying home with an empty bank account. If you are choosing a crowded boat that will dump you and 17 other surfers at a break, you might find better value in staying at a Mentawis surf camp.
Safety: Sadly, Indonesia’s shallow and hard-to-navigate waters have made it a destination notorious for shipwrecks. Safety should trump any other consideration. John from Indies Trader advises, “Make sure your Captain has a license of ANT V (Master 5) or higher so that you can be assured they have the proper training to know how to deal with emergencies and make prudent calls on weather conditions and risk.” See their post for a full safety checklist.
Should an accident occur, you will want to be onboard a vessel that has a satellite phone–as many surf breaks are outside mobile phone coverage.
Skills and desires: If you’re in a large group with mixed surf abilities and preferences, it can be stressful to find waves that suit all. Charters that host smaller groups are often more customizable — and everyone will get their share of waves. With fewer people, it’s easy to make compromises on where to go.
Which Mentawis surf charter would you like to go on?
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