Look, we all love warm turquoise waters, being surrounded by palm trees as flawless waves reel off in the distance. It's a few of these reasons why the Mentawais make for such a special surf trip -- and often end up on just about everyone's bucket list. But a slight dampener can be the sometimes crowded lineups. That's ok though, because there's a couple hints you can take on board that'll help get the most out of your trip and score uncrowded waves.
So what’s the Mentawai’s best kept secret? Small hint, it involves surfing the world’s best waves with no charter-boats in sight and with just a few of your friends. If you are having a hard time picturing it, just watch this short clip of Guy Morgan getting possibly the longest most picturesque Greenbush Barrel with only a few mates out on December 23 while staying at Macaronis Resort.
The secret to scoring those uncrowded line-ups is all about when and where you visit. At the southernmost end of the island chain, the Pagai Islands - where famous waves like Macaronis and Greenbush are located - sit right in the firing line of approaching south swells, which are common in southern hemisphere summer months. Storm activity passes by at a lower latitude, sending swells refracting off Western Australia in a northerly direction.
Each of these breaks work best in south swells, similarly to the reefs on the east coast of Bali, which work best in summer months with a NW wind. While south winds are more common between July and October, it is the opposite from November through to June, when north wind or no wind is common in the Mentawais. Combined with south swells, this can create the perfect mix of perfection at Greenbush and Macaronis, and some others.
Most charter boats dry dock between November and March for their annual maintenance, so they don't promote or operate during this time. Also, the vast majority of surfers who visit the Mentawais are southern hemisphere surfers during their winter months. Now that there are some resorts open year-round, this opens up an opportunity for northern hemisphere surfers to visit in winter months to score perfect waves with very few people around.
All surfers that visit during summer months are adamant that it's the best time to visit ,as they claim to get 10-to-15 waves for every wave they used to catch during the peak season. While the peak seasons produces the most powerful swells, in the low crowd season there is less chance of the surf being Maxed out, which is perfect for surfers looking to have those dreamy, wave-packed sessions where you can expect to score 3-to-5 foot waves, with the occasional bigger days, and barely anybody in the water.
While we'd recommend visiting South Mentawai between November and March to avoid crowds at the world’s best waves, there are two optimal times where you can truly maximise your surf trip.
1: December 20 to January 3 - Christmas Holidays
During these two weeks there are absolutely no charter boats operating in all of the Mentawai chain and no resorts open in the southern region, apart from Macaronis Resort. This means spending the holidays scoring epic waves with nobody but your friends and family. Santa has been known to deliver unbelievable Greenbush and Macaronis sessions on the days surrounding Christmas and New Years’. The Macaronis Resort hosts many holiday and non-surfing activities, so your family will be kept entertained while you are getting shacked.
2: January 17 to February 21 - Intermediate Surf Coaching Clinics, hosted by Clayton Nienaber and Cris Mills
Macaronis 3rd annual Intermediate Surf Coaching Clinics in 2020 run over five weeks in January and February from Friday to Friday, offering the chance to stay one or multiple weeks. As 2020 is already more than half booked, year 2021 dates have already been released giving surfers an opportunity to book early on old rates, before any price increases.
During these clinics, you'll have the opportunity to rapidly improve your surfing at Macaronis, reputed as the world’s most mechanical wave, for good reason. The clinics are coached by Clayton Nienaber and Cris Mills with surf photography by Shayne Nienaber and supported by Macaronis in-house cinematographers.
Clayton's unique style of coaching by utilising tasks that your muscle memory is already familiar with and incorporating them into your surfing, results in very quick progression in improving your surfing technique. Some guest testimonials claim to have improved more in one week, than in the past eight years.
This year Cris Mills is joining the team, adding a new dimension to the program providing strength, stretch, recovery and breath training. Surf Coaching Clinics are offered at great value and its' the perfect time to take advantage of these uncrowded perfect waves to improve your surfing.
If you want to experience the worlds’ best waves with only a handful of surfers in the water, then visit Macaronis Resort in the Southern Mentawai Islands from November through to March. Do things differently this year and trade onshore and cold conditions at home, for warm and perfect uncrowded sessions.
If the empty lineups and perfect glassy waves haven't convinced you yet. During these months Macaronis Resort offers 30 per cent off discounted spots for the first 10 surfers that reserve their spot! These early-bird spots go quickly so make sure you reserve your spot today and for our chargers that aren't ready to give up their May - September trips yet don't worry there are also 20 per cent Off early-bird discount spots for you.