Check out this amazing video, captured by a drone.

About the Mentawi Islands

The Mentawi Islands are a chain of about seventy islands and islets off the western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. The other major islands are Siberut, Sipura, North Pagai (Pagai Utara) and South Pagai (Pagai Selatan). The islands lie approximately 150 km off the Sumatran coast, across the Mentawai Strait. The indigenous inhabitants of the islands are known as the Mentawai people. The Mentawai Islands have become a noted destination for surfing.


The Mentawai Islands lie above the Sunda megathrust, a seismically active zone responsible for many great earthquakes. This megathrust runs along the southwestern side of Sumatra island, forming the interface between the Eurasian Plate and Indo-Australian Plate. Earthquake and tsunami activity has been high since the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake

Surfing Mentawis.

There are at least 30 documented world-class Surf Breaks around the Mentawis. There is S-SW swell year round and the water temperature is 28°C year round. The best months to surf are typically from March to June.


Read this story from the founder:

The SurfAid story started in 1999 on a regular surf trip to the chain of islands off the coast of Sumatra, the Mentawais. The region is home to 76,000 people and some of the most perfect reef surf breaks the world has to offer. I was a career-focused doctor working out of Singapore and, taking a break from a stressful corporate directorship, arrived in the islands with the aim of feeding myself upon the buffet of tropical waves on offer. I wasn’t disappointed.

However, late one afternoon on what I thought would be a harmless tourist venture inland to one of the villages, my beliefs in what is important in life were changed forever. After walking past the graveyard and seeing a lot of very small graves I ended up running a clinic at the chief’s request. I was the first doctor ever to visit the village. I saw women and children dying from malaria, malnutrition and inadequate living standards – things that I knew were treatable and, better still, preventable by helping them change behaviours such as basic hygiene and better breastfeeding practices.

The scene haunted me for the rest of the trip, and followed me back to Singapore where I began questioning my life. Did it have meaning? Were my skills wasted chasing some corporate carrot? What if I could make a real difference to these people? The thought of more children dying drove me mad with frustration and helplessness yet, at the same time and in some strange way, the potential solutions inspired me. I couldn’t just walk away from those kids; I vowed to return to the Mentawai with people and supplies.