It's no coincidence that Andy and Kelly's latest cinematic offering was filmed in and around Karamajet Island, part of the Mentawai Islands chain and home to Kandui Resort situated 75 miles off the west coast of Sumatra. A Fly in the Champagne may well herald the end of an era and Andy has by all accounts thrown away his collection of Kelly voodoo dolls. But well before this titanic battle, Rifles, Bankvaults and nearly a dozen other waves were firing and they'll continue to after we're all too old to surf. The Mentawai Islands are one of the most consistent surf destinations in the world. Roaring 40s swells detach themselves from their southern hemisphere conveyor belt and sweep up the southern Indian Ocean providing this island chain with remarkably consistent surf. Peak period is the dry season, from March until November, the southern hemisphere's winter when the convey belt of storm is in hyperactive mode.
Board breaking overview
Just to get an idea of quite how many breaks there are scattered around this remote island chain. The answer? A lot. Unfortunately it's unlikely you'll be surfing them totally alone. Despite the limited numbers of people staying at the land resorts this area is popular with charter boats. Fortunately there are a lot of waves to choose from and if it's busy in one spot just ask the boat driver to move on.
Anthony from the Kandui Resort may be a bit biased about the quality of the waves here but the pictures tell their own story - judge for yourself.
Kandui Resort is strategically located in an area known as "Playgrounds" - with six waves within five minutes of each other and two of the best waves in the world on either side of our island: Rifles and Kandui. Says Anthony. This might be the best location on Earth for any surf resort. Bankvaults (pictured above) is a thick, barreling right, punctuated by a shifting line-up. Sets seemingly emerge out of nowhere and can wreak havoc if you're caught out of position. Despite the dangers, snag a clean, open barrel here and you'll be talking about it for years.
Rifles - Heavy?
Rifles is one of the longest and most awe-inspiring waves in the world. When it's breaking properly with a hint of north-west wind you can expect 400 to 600 yard rights with numerous barrel sections. It's a violent barrel from start to finish and when you think a section is over it'll pitch again. If you do come out and see it lining-up it's time to go again, pedal to the metal all the way through this wave.
We recently named the section of reef immediately north of Rifles 'Steve's Corner' in honour of Kelly Slater's father. Kelly was the pioneer out there and dedicated the wave and sessions he's had to his late father.
Drew on Rifles
The trick here is to be looking for sets as you paddle back out. You can catch this wave anywhere down the line and snag the barrel of your life. Drew from the resort has got this wave dialled - the bigger it gets here the easier it is to make.
This is the view looking from the restaurant on Karamajet Island down towards the umas. In the far background at the tip of the island lies Rifles. You can just see it breaking.
Kandui, the beast itself
Kandui, a.k.a Kanduis or Nokandui is one of the fastest down-the-line barrels in the world. An obscenely hollow monster with your only option for survival being tucked inside its gaping jaws.
Safest inside Kandui
Unless you're comfortable pumping the barrel, the most you can do is exert some front foot pressure and hold on for dear life. Most of the waves will outrace you but the sheer thrill of holding on for dear life is more than worth the inevitable beating you're going to get.
If the conditions are right you'll take the beatings but you'll also kick out the the best barrel of your life.
TJ on form
One of the larger sets that rolled through on this day. TJ has been our primary surf guide the last few months and if you look closely you'll see a "Go Pro Camera" on the front of the board - the footage looks insane.
Backside glass, perfection epitomised, not a drop of water out of place, and every over-used surf analogy is applicable here.
Getting it wrong
However getting it wrong can be a a painful experience here. Getting clipped by the barrel and sent over the falls is no fun - as this guest is finding out.Kandui