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Surfing the Mentawai Islands with Kieran Anderson

Ever wondered what it would be like to hop over to the other side of the earth for a surfing expedition in paradise?


We caught up with one of Salt Life’s favorite surfers, Kieran Anderson, after his surfing trip to Indonesia's Mentawai Islands. This was Kieran's fifth time in Indonesia, and he gave us some super helpful insider information for anyone thinking about surfing the Mentawai. 


First, we'll examine why the Mentawai Islands are such an unbeatable surfing destination. Then, we'll give you a few tips for planning your next getaway.

What makes the Mentawai Islands such an incredible surfing destination?

This unassuming island chain is much beloved by surfers for many reasons. But it's reached the status of “Surfing Mecca” for one simple reason — the Mentawais offer some of the best waves on the planet. Here are the top three reasons the Mentawai Islands should be at the top of any surfer's bucket list. 

Unbeatable Surf

The Mentawais are home to some of the best surf spots on the planet. There are hundreds of secluded spots with waves for all skill levels, from breezy beach breaks to perfectly-formed barrels. However, the Mentawais are perhaps most famous for the number of reef breaks that offer consistently excellent waves. 


The currents lap the islands from every direction, ensuring a great surf spot is always nearby. And with that many great spots scattered around, none are too crowded!



Indonesia is a super affordable destination for Westerners. Less than five bucks can buy you a meal and a beer at a local restaurant, and there are dozens of nice hotels for less than fifty USD a night. While there isn’t much public transit to speak of, you can hire a driver to take you anywhere you want to go for around 40 bucks per day.


When it comes to travel, don't assume that staying close to home is cheaper. The flights may seem eye-wateringly expensive, but the ticket price will be likely offset by savings in other areas. 


Lots to Do and See

While surfing is the main attraction in the Mentawais, there are plenty of other adventures to be had if you need a break from the breaks. From fishing for wahoo and Spanish mackerel to exploring Siberut National Park, there are tons of activities to explore in the Mentawais and across Indonesia. 

How to Plan a Surfing Getaway to the Mentawai Islands

Once you’ve decided to journey outside of your comfort zone, you may be wondering how to approach planning your trip. After all, Indonesia is a long way away. But it’s easier than you think to get the ball rolling on the adventure of a lifetime. Here are a few simple steps to make it happen. 


Book a Surfing Charter

The first step to planning your surfing trip is to reserve a spot on a surfing charter. There are dozens of charters out of Padang, so do your research to find the best one for you. 


Kieran highly recommends the Santana Laut, one of the top charters operating in Western Sumatra. A good boat will provide food, comfortable lodging, and a surf guide to ensure you always know where to hit the best waves for your skill level. 

Book Your Trip to Padang

Once your surfing charter is nailed down, it's time to book your flight to Padang. You'll most likely have to fly to Jakarta first and onward to Padang from there. While it's a pretty easy trip from Australia and New Zealand, flying to Indonesia from the Western Hemisphere is a long slog.


You'll probably want to spend a few days in Padang to acclimatize before jumping on a boat, so consider booking a hotel in the city. There are many hotels at unbelievably affordable prices just a stone's throw from the beach.


Pack Your Bags and Get Ready to Surf

After booking your flights and accommodations, it’s time to start prepping for your journey. Start building a packing list in advance so you remember all those little things when it's time to break out the luggage. Of course, Salt Life is always the first stop for performance gear that can withstand the elements! 


Make sure you're ready with all your surfing gear and everything you'll need to brave the sun, sand, and sea comfortably. As you prepare, you'll feel more ready for the adventure ahead! 

Final Thoughts

After a trip to Indonesia, you’ll undoubtedly come back with a new lease on life and a new love for your favorite sport. At Salt Life, we’re committed to helping you get ready for your adventures on the water with our top-of-the-line performance gear, so make sure you bookmark the Salt Life online store as you prepare for your next surfing getaway!