I hear the question often: What are the right surfboards to bring on a surfing trip to X, Y, Z location and how many will I need?
This is the first in a series of posts aimed at helping you to ensure you don’t waste your precious time & money by going on a serious surfing trip with the wrong equipment. Note, there is no ‘best surfboard for the Mentawais’ but the concept of an ideal Mentawai surfboard quiver works for me and others I’ve taken trips with.
The Mentawai Islands, off of the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, are a wave rich paradise. Nowhere else on earth (that I know of) receives more consistent, powerful swell with generally light winds and perfect setups to translate all of that swell into world-class waves.
However, the waves in the Mentawais are not for the faint hearted. The waves are serious – big, powerful and the reef is often not far below – and, therefore, you need to pack serious surfboards. After many trips, this is the formula that many follow.
Bring at least three boards but I strongly recommend four. If this sounds extreme, I’ll share a story from my first trip:
We arrived right at the start of a solid swell. Collectively, our boat of ten surfers snapped six boards in the first three days of an eleven day boat trip…and we are not hellmen. My brother-in-law snapped two boards. Thankfully, he brought four otherwise he would have been stuck surfing the rest of the trip on one board. Bring 3-4 boards!
Surfboard #1: Your standard all rounder shortboard. You won’t likely surf this board often. It will be your ‘go to’ when the waves get ‘small’ (I was told that on my first trip that a flat day in the Mentawais is head high, and that’s proven true).
- For Benny, this was a Channel Islands Black Flag Whip, dimensions: 6’4 x 20 x 2 3/4 @ 37.7L
Surfboard #2: A step-up to your all rounder. Longer, more rocker and preferably with a round or pin tail. You will likely surf this board 80% of the time.
- For Benny, this was a Channel Islands Fred Rubble with a round tail, dimensions: 6’6 x 20 1/4 x 2 3/4 @ 37.8L
Surfboard #3: A backup to #2, in case you snap it!
- For Benny, this was a JS Prodigy, dimensions: 6’6 x 20 1/4 x 2 3/4 @ 36.8L
Surfboard #4: A proper gun surfboard for when it gets big. Long, lots of rocker, thick glassing and a pin tail. A word of advice: if you don’t like surfing big waves, that is perfectly fine but you won’t have an excuse not to go out if you have a board that handles big waves!
- For Benny, this was a custom by Mike Psillakis of Psillakis Surfboards, dimensions: 7’0 x 19 3/4 x 2 3/4 @ A LOT of volume
That is my Mentawai surfboard quiver. If you are fortunate enough to head to the Mentawais, I hope this helps you to choose the right equipment.
All the best,