The Mentawai Islands are one of the few places in the world where literally any surfboard you bring will work. Some of the most common questions we get asked are, what type of boards should I bring? Followed closely by, how many boards should I bring? Rounded out by, how do you suggest I pack my boards for the trip? Let's take a quick look at these one by one to help get you dialed in:
1. What type of boards should I bring?
The answer to this is easy, use the boards you like riding at home and then adapt the rest of your quiver depending on the swell forecast. If the forecast looks solid we would probably recommend bringing two of your everyday shortboards, a step-up, and maybe a mini gun if it's going to be huge. If the swell is medium- sized bring two step-up boards and leave the mini gun at home. Usually, the biggest board you will ride is under 7'0" no matter how big it gets. A lot of times our guests also bring an assortment of fins and instead of changing out their boards they will change fins and fine tune their boards for the conditions on that particular day. If you're used to riding a fish or quad by all means bring it! We've got plenty of waves a fish or quad will excel at and more and more we are seeing people use quads at Rifles and Kandui for the added speed they create.
It's really not necessary to purchase an entire new quiver but it does help if you're able to bring a few boards better suited for riding barrels and fitting the curvature of the waves in the Mentawai Islands. For sure, bring one board that will be your go to barrel riding option. And of course if you are charging like a champion and break all of your boards (it happens) we have a back-up option and have stocked the resort with a variety of Firewire and Tuflite boards. Since Firewire and Tuflite boards are created with a consistent shape every time you'll be able to surf the same board you surf at home.
2. How many boards should I bring?
Most airlines, including Singapore Air, will allow you to bring a boardbag up to 50lbs, or about 23 kilograms. Use it! This translates into three boards with extra padding and four with very little extra padding. I (Anthony) like to travel with four boards and use very little extra packing and in 29 trips to Indo I've only had one unlucky transfer. In short, most people bring 2 - 4 boards. Along with those 2 - 4 boards bring your favorite fins, extra leashes (not the comp leashes but the thicker, sturdier ones), a few bars of wax, a small ding repair kit, and throw in an extra traction pad for safe measure.
3. How do you suggest I pack my boards?
In line with the second question poised above the main consideration is weight. Technically, most airlines have a two board maximum policy so when asked you can either play stupid or just say "two" with a degree of confidence and hope they don't check. A modern triple boardbag will hold four boards pretty easy and it's usually a good idea to point the bottom two noses forward and whatever you stack on top the opposite way. Resist the temptation of using copius amounts of bubble wrap and other packaging material because that really adds weight fast. The people who work in the luggage department do not like trying to lift an 80lb boardbag! Make sure you pack 1/2 of your surf gear, fins, boardshorts, t-shirts etc... in the boardbag, and take the other 1/2 with you in case your boards get lost in transit. While that scenario is rare, it can happen and it's better to be 1/2 prepared than not prepared at all.
Of course if you have any questions we are available 24 hours a day to help. More and more, people are contacting us for the surf forecast for their trip and board advice. Rest assured, we love to hear from you and are stoked to help get you set up for your trip in any capacity possible.