After 12 days in the Mentawai, I’ve got an idea…

1- Make sure you travel with friends as stupid as you are

2- Choose the right base camp

About the team, I knew from the beginning that I was right.

I know Philippe aka L’Anguille, for over 20 years, and it’s not the first trip we’re on together. We pass the surf instructor diploma together back in the days and he now have 2 surf schools in Vendée. One thing is sure with that guy is that you won’t get bored at beer time!

Craig is my older son’s god father, and, as a good South African he lives everything 100%. He works hard all year long to develop Hurricane Surf in Europe and when it’s holiday time he’s really here to enjoy!

le team aux Mentawai

Regarding the surf camp where we were suppose to sleep 12 nights, we didn’t chose the worst one!

Craig already stayed at Kingfisher Mentawai, 3/4 bungalows standing right in front of Lance’s Left on Sipora island. An amazing place ran by Brock and Jules. 2 Ozzys who, thanks to their warm welcome and good vibes made that trip one of the best I ever did!

4 other really cool Australians were staying on the camp as well. We shared lot of surfs, beers and fishing sessions together!

Kingfisher resort Mentawai - chipiron surf trip
Coucher de soleil aux Mentawai - chipiron surf trip

It took us 3 and a half days to reach Kingfisher from Biarritz…

4 planes, 1 bus, few taxis, 1 ferry (with sea sickness) and a speed boat later, we’re on location, exhausted by this long journey and the few Bintangs (local beer) drunk all the way (and the gin & tonics on the long flights…)

So here we are tired from the trip and a long season of work in Hossegor, facing now a solid 6 feet swell hitting the shallow reef. One of the biggest swell of the season…

I jump in the water at HT’s super excited (no one’s out!) with a 7’2 Flat Track and I paddle to the peak. The wave is like a fast train with an hollow barrel start to finish on a shallow reef…

I realize that ma board is definitely not the right one for this kind of wave. It’s way too long and it’s hard to maintain it on hollow face waves…

And it’s really scary for a first session!!!

Première session un peu velue - chipiron surf trip Mentawai

I hardly catch  2/3 waves on the last section and… the big one of the set on the head.

I still remember Julie telling me « and don’t forget to bring back cool action shots with one of our t-shirts! »  Mate, honestly! I’m not gonna get smashed on the reef on day 1 for a photo!

So I decide to change tactic, I gonna photobomb Craig’s shots. As I said before he’s doing everything 100% and he’s really charging on that 1st session…

 

Photobomb par Damien - chipiron surf trip Mentawai
Craig aqua shop - chipiron surf trip

I grab as well the water housing to aqua shot a wave of Craig.

On the next day, we paddle at Lance’s Left, in front of our room, it’s still solid and I decide to go out with the 6’5 Duo. (double single fin)

It’s bigger that the day before but the wave isn’t that hollow and less technical. It’s way better to surf with a shorter board and I feel really comfy with the Duo with that much fin surface in the water. We’re 3 in the water, it’s like a dream…

Surf à HT's - chipiron surf trip Mentawai

Like the day before I grab the cam to do some aqua shots of the African. Philippe is drinking Bintangs…

Backstage aquashot depuis le bateau
Aquashot - Chipiron surf trip Mentawai

The swell finally drops down to offer less challenging and really fun waves. Lance’s Left will become our playground . The wave is really fun! Not really barreling but a long rippable wall. And the on-shore wind that start blowing afternoons doesn’t affect the face of the wave (probably because it’s shallow…)

 

Hips of fun with the 6’2 Gambas. It flies on fast sections and I’m having a great time on that endless left hander.

We ride Bintang as well (the wave, not the beer) a right hander slab 5 mins away by boat from the camp. We’ve got a taste of what it could look like with off-shore wind…

 

 

It’s not really busy out there, 8 guys max in the water. Few boats drop the anchor in the channels… When we don’t feel like going with the « crowd », we go on others adventures.

Motorbikes sand races, spear fishing, fishing…

Kingfisher well deserve it’s name, they’ve got a lot of good fishing equipment, and we spend almost every afternoons fishing…

Every night is sashimi time around the massive fire.

La seule prise de Craig... du plastique. On rit ou on pleure?

Another big time of the trip is that boat full of South Africans who accost on the island to watch the rugby final. You can imagine the party we had on their luxury charter boat after that…

A surf trip with good mates is always a good idea! What’s great as well is to see how things don’t change with Philippe. We’re still laughing on the same jokes after 20 years… I’m sure now that we’ll never become adults!

I just got one wish now, going back to this island!

Terima Kashi Kingfisher!

Credit photo: Anas Nasrullah, Geni Larosa