Indonesia is blessed with some of the best waves in the world. Surfers flock here during the “peak surfing season” from April to October in pursuit of world class waves, warm tropical waters, in exotic destinations.
What’s relatively unknown is the unique opportunities that exist during summer months, referred to as “low season”, running from December to February. Nobody can deny swells are consistently larger during winter months, however those seeking perfect waves in the 3-4 feet range can score during summer months, while the majority of surfers from Southern hemisphere countries such as Australia, usually prefer to stay home while their weather is optimal.
Bali and islands to the East have become more popular surf travel destinations during summer months due to the publicity these areas have received. The Mentawai Islands, located 150km off the coast of West Sumatra, are a little more tricky to reach, but the rewards can be greater due to only a few venturing this far. The Mentawai Islands become highly populated with surfers during winter months, but during summer months, only a few tour operators remain open, with most choosing to do annual maintenance or close down for holidays themselves.
It’s easy to understand why, when bookings can be scarce, and as a result, lineups remain ridiculously uncrowded. Macaronis Resort has remained open during summer months over the past 5 years since year 2013, as the rewards are too great to pass up for the lucky few that visit during this time, often going home well rewarded.
Southern Mentawai waves, in particular gems like Greenbush and Macaronis, are ideally suited to South swells which are common in summer and shoulder season months. When the swell drops out, Macaronis normally always has a wave, alternatively ‘Thunders’, known as the regional swell magnet, is just a 45 minute boat ride to the South.
Given the Mentawai islands are located two degrees South of the equator, the temperature remains fairly consistent year round (26C-32C), and the water temperature remains at around 26C-28C. It’s the perfect destination to escape Northern Hemisphere winter, or for anybody that wants to escape crowds, and score quality uncrowded surf.
There is no distinct ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ season, unlike Bali and other islands to the East. As a result, visitors can enjoy days on end with no rain and sunny conditions during summer months. Highly enjoyable for the skilled surfer, but particularly attractive to intermediate surfers keen to further their skills, surfing some of the best breaks in the world, without needing to complete with crowds. Surfers who are dialed in, or discover these conditions by chance, rarely go away disappointed.
Macaronis Resort is the only Southern Mentawai surf resort open during summer months, also offering a range of activities for beginners and non-surfers, catering well to families and couples. There is a sand bottom beach break ideal for learning to surf, snorkeling and fishing equipment, sea kayaking, stand up paddle boards, spa services, and a lagoon style swimming pool to relax around throughout the day.
The “low season” will be likely to always remain relatively uncrowded, due to the many factors which make summer months an unusual time to visit remote Indonesia in search of surf. As a result, most operators choose to close down during this time, providing a unique opportunity for anybody prepared to take a punt and visit when the vast majority of surfers prefer to stay at home.