No verbal description of a wave can do it justice, each surfer will have their own personal take on what the wave is like for them. There’s every type of break in lefts and rights, there are waves for all wind directions, all swell sizes and directions. There is always something to surf around Southern Mentawai Outpost. We are located directly in front of Thunders, the most consistent swell magnet, possibly in all of Indonesia. Even in the Mentawai’s, there are more days of the year in between swells than there are days with swell. So for most trips, the best spot in the area is directly in front of your house! Another huge benefit to this is that we always know when the swell has hit, and what the direction is, just by looking out front to see how the wave is breaking. We aren’t governed by the guesswork involved in getting swell forecasts and crossing our fingers that the forecast was correct and the wave we travelled to that morning is working. When deciding where to surf we use our sight… Not a website. When a surfer is based at SMO, riding an hour in a boat to go surf is an OPTION. Most camps require a boat ride just to check and gauge what the swell is doing. That ultimately boils down to less time in the water for their guests. When variety is what a guest wants, we have it available in spades. Just like surfing anywhere else on the planet, the breaks that are working at any given moment, are determined by the conditions, but you can be sure that there is always a classic session to be had within reach of Southern Mentawai Outpost.
Thunders is the most consistent high quality break in Indonesia. This lefthander has multiple sections to surf strung along the 300m+ stretch of reef, each with it’s own distinct personality. The two main sections most commonly surfed since they’re the most mechanical of the bunch are located directly in front of SMO. The smaller the swell, the more the wave hugs the edge of the reef and this results in the break becoming hollower and more mechanical as the swell height and/or period decreases. Even on the flattest day of the year, head high waves still come through and at that size it’s common to have each set dishing out multiple waves with 2-3 second barrels for those quick enough to squeeze under the lip on the take off. The bigger it gets, the further it moves off the reef and on the biggest swells it delivers the closest thing the Mentawais has to “Big Wave Surfing”, with 25ft+ wave faces breaking in deep water. While huge barrels abound, the only takers that the author has witnessed were content to navigate a steep drop into a bottom turn and carve on the open wave face.
Southern Mentawai Outpost exists because Thunders never fails to deliver an exciting wave for any level of surfer.
Thunder Box and other rights near by:
On the southern side of Sibigeu, a small bay offers three separate surfable reefs. Like all the breaks on the southern side of the islands in the area, these are all offshore when the other side of the island is onshore. Ie; the rights work when the lefts aren’t working, and vice versa.
The premier spot is Thunderbox. It is a slabbing right that starts off in a wedging peak (which can sometimes even be split into a right AND a left), from there the rider must backdoor a gaping section. Thunderbox is one of the widest barrels out in the Mentawais, and while the ride is relatively short, the barrels to be had here are legendary. Thunderbox needs a medium swell or more to start to work properly, and can hold all sizes of swell as long as the direction is right.
In the middle of Sibigeu Bay, there is a fun right hander that doesn’t get much above head high and doesn’t need much swell to work. It is somewhat shallow which serves to make the wave faces ultra clean but otherwise isn’t a factor as this wave doesn’t have the power that other breaks in the area have, so violent encounters with the reef are minimal. Expect a speedy wall for a few quick maneuvers and an exit into a deep channel.
Across the bay from Thunderbox is a long, almost point break-esque break that starts with an approachable drop that is generally head high to maximum overhead and a half. After the drop it quickly tapers into a long wall that is the most longboard friendly wave in the Mentawais. The long ride is the most stress free wave the area has to offer.
Up the reef from the take- off zone the swells hit hard and fast. While it is usually an un-makeable, walled up freight train, almost a close out, on rare days, the right swell direction and enough size cause the wave to slow down just enough to allow enough time to jump aboard the freight train. Rides of around 100yds are common when this happens along with heavy barrels. The rider must pull off of the wave in time before it closes out…there’s no cruising into a safe deepwater channel here.
Pitojat Island is located 2.5 nautical miles from the North end of Sibigeu. Pitojat hosts Rag’s Right on it’s southern side and Rag’s Left on the northern side. Rag’s right is an extremely fast, extremely shallow barreling wave that has a section which dishes out what’s got to be one of the deepest make-able barrels in the country. This wave is a barrel from start to finish. No mistakes allowed, as the barrel will outrun the rider if they’re not able to get directly slotted from the takeoff, and any mistakes will be punished with a scrape or slam onto the reef. Make any wave here and it will probably be the best barrel of your life. To put it in perspective, in the surf movie, Innersection, both Kelly Slater and John Florence had rides at Rag’s Right as their last waves of their clip. That’s saying something.
Rag’s Left is a long reef with 4-5 sections that save for the wide section on the biggest swells, are quite shallow. The consistency and surfable sections changed dramatically after an earthquake in 2007 raised the reefs in the Southern end of the Mentawai island chain. Since then, the wave has been a bit of a crap shoot as far as which section will be working and will the wave be a heaving barrel with a ledging take off or a relatively easy drop with a huge open face that is just right for laying down several hard rail turns. The good news is, every year, bit by bit, the wave gets a little bit closer to returning to it’s former self where all the sections linked and 200M long, double overhead+ barrels were common.
Buddhas is about 4 nautical miles from Thunders. At it’s smallest, this break is a perfect beginner’s spot with a slow, deep water takeoff and gently sloping wall, that gradually goes flatter until it fades out into deep water. The wave can even accommodate a complete beginner as going straight is still an option. Unlike nearly every other wave in the mentawais where going straight will see one “dry-docked”. This is because the wave crumbles into deeper and deeper water before fading out completely, and even allows one to paddle back around completely unscathed. When the swell is pumping, it becomes a totally different wave. It is one of the few waves around where a barrel can be had without fear of hitting the bottom.
COLDSPRINGS aka ROXY’S
This wave is about 6 nautical miles from Thunders. ColdSprings gets its name from the cold, fresh water swirling through the line up from a near by river and the springs in the reef. The cool water is a welcome relief some days when it feels like you’re surfing in bathtub water!
Roxy has shot a bunch of photos here for there advertisements. There used to be an interesting tree on the end of a bit of reef, you could see it next to the wave. It has since fallen down but you may still recognize the place when you arrive. Roxy’s is a great right hander, it’s super rippable, and a lot of surfers favorite wave.
Some people refer to this spot as Roxy’s, while others still use the original name Coldsprings…At SMO, we use both names: When it’s small, it’s Roxy’s, when it’s big, it’s Coldsprings. Roxy’s is a quick ledging take off with a quick straight section that sometimes even offers a quick head dip barrel before hitting the corner of the reef and bending back into itself. While no wave can rival the quality of Macaroni’s, this right does the best reverse impression of it. To top that off, Roxy’s is as harmless as a reef break can get. On the biggest SW swells, the break mutates into a different beast entirely, and the implications of the name “Roxy’s” no longer apply. Coldspring’s wave faces get to about 8-10 ft, and from there the wave only gets wider. The take off gets ledgier, and only a take off under the lip straight into the barrel will see you making a wave here. On the biggest swells of the year from the right direction, this is the spot for square, spitting pits!!
REDBUSH and nearby waves.
North from the bay that Roxy’s/ Coldsprings resides, a long beach offers the possibility of a surf over a sand bottom, while most of the beach is a closeout, the odd peak does appear on the right conditions. North of this beach is the strait that separates the islands of North and South Pagai, there are a few novelty breaks in this area that guarantee a solo session when conditions allow them to break. On North Pagai, a break we call Redbushbreaks on the smallest swells and in a North wind, offering an “emergency” spot of sorts as no other breaks in the area work in that combination of conditions. When there seems to be nowhere to surf, and Thunders is onshore, one can always get a wave at Redbush. It is a deepwater peak that can be fun to hunt down and connect through the reform into the inside wall.
GreenBush is 12 nautical miles from SMO. A fun relaxing boat ride, before thrilling moments of sheer terror and excitement! Once it was a super-secret spot, only surfed by a few boats in the know during the direct South swells. After the release of Young Guns 2, every surfer who came to the Mentawais would request a crack at Greenbush. You have probably seen it… The real key to getting this spot breaking properly is to only try to surf it on the swell direction it needs to give it the best shape- and a place to get off before it ends on dry reef. The further the conditions are from the proper swell direction, the more the wave closes out. The barrel is fast, and extremely round, but the wave breaks in such a way that all the rider needs to do is pull in and set the proper line, and they will make every barrel. The gamble is on whether or not the wave is going to be one that lets you off after you get the barrel of your life, or lock you into the barrel until the death section at the end of the wave. This wave is heavy! It’s picture perfect and waiting for you if you’re willing to charge it!
Nearby here is also a tiny right-hander that is unbelievably fun, just in case the conditions require a change of plans and we’re already in the area.
It’s a secret, but please believe us – we’ll be there when it’s working! We like to surf as much, or more than you! We are owner operated and we’re doing this to get you stoked!
Just about 18 miles from SMO is the world famous Macas. This wave speaks for itself.
South from Sibigeu, within a 45 minute boat ride from SMO, there are a handful of secret spots. It may be hard to believe for some that in this day and age secret spots do still exist, however these can still be called “secret” in our books, and here’s why: The break’s locations aren’t known by the majority of boats because for them, Sibigeu marks the end of the line and they don’t go any further south. What really makes these breaks secret however is not their location, but when they are really properly doing their thing. Many boats who know of, and surf these spots likely still don’t have a full grasp on their potential, because anyone scoring those spots stays pretty quiet about it. In keeping with this spirit, we’ll just tell you that on the right swell conditions, there’s an awesome right hander that can be a super short rippable wall before becoming a semi-mushy shoulder great for practicing roundhouses, but the day we are always hoping for is when it is a roll-in take off that can start off as a head high barrel that has plenty of room inside to make it to the corner, where the wave bends back into itself and doubles in size and width. It’s a truly magical spot!
In this same zone there are 3 different lefts. Rest assured if any of these spots have the right conditions to potentially work while you’re staying at SMO, you will know about it!