It's been quite some time since the Mentawais looked like this. Sure, we had a couple of lockdown sessions last year but it is still incredibly lonely over there. And people are scoring pumping Rifles and Bank Vaults with hardly anyone in.
Especially tantalising when coupled with oh, the best swell so far this side of December? Probably the best swell this side of many Decembers, for that matter. Currently on a trip of a lifetime is photographer Manu Miguelez. Manu used to work as a skipper in the Mentawais and had been dreaming of getting back over to the islands during the extended run of lockdown. Now that it's easier to get over there, Manu hopped a flight and after eight days quarantine, made the mission over to the Ments.
These are the kind of sessions that'll make your jaw cha-ching like a cash register. In the lineup for a pumping Bank Vaults session was 13-year-old grom phenom Erin Brooks - and that was the day before one of the craziest days at Rifles in quite some time.
“Just to think about the islands in this sort of early 90s vibes was killing me,” Manu tells MSW. So I asked my good friend and Kandui resort manager if I could come over? He said yes, and so, here I am.”
Manu managed to touch down in Jakarta at the end of May.
“The waves were fun but nothing crazy at the beginning,” he says when asked about FOMO during those eight days. “But afterwards, we had like Impossibles going off with three mates!”
There's one day that sticks out at the moment though. “This Rifles day blew our minds. Any other time, it's easy to have 30 guys out here,” says Manu about the session from last week. “Not like that now. I just stayed out there for the day, didn't bother with lunch, just unreal, maximum of 10 guys at any moment. We paddled out or sunset when it was just 4 friends. Forever, this will blow our minds.
“I've never heard so many people say “best wave of my life”. Now though, I have been laying on bed for two days [laughs] that sun... and my feet are destroyed.”
We'll be bringing you more from the lens of Manu Miguelez and empty Indo over the coming weeks. Stay tuned.