The Mentawai Islands are one of the most consistent surf destinations in the entire world. Its broad exposure towards the vast, southern Indian Ocean provides these majestic islands with remarkable consistency and quality. There are great waves in this area YEAR-ROUND. However, the most ideal time to surf in the Mentawais is during the dry season, late March to early November, the southern hemisphere’s winter, when the Indian Ocean is an ultra-active, groundswell producing machine. During the entire year Kandui Resort offers the average surfer the opportunity to score the best waves of their lives in the premiere surf resort location in the entire world, nothing else comes close… Here is a month to month breakdown of the weather, waves, and conditions to help get you ready for the best surf trip of your life:
MONTH BY MONTH
– February and March is a great time of year for surfers looking for "fun-sized" wave heights and a lack of crowds. This time of year is characterized by nice weather as well and we often surf Burgerworld which needs a small swell to break properly, Nipussi which is a wave magnet, and even Bankvaults. The waves around Kandui are likely to be on the small side but any pulse from the south and you are surfing alone at A-Frames, 4 Bobs, and even at a few reef passes at the bottom of our island which are receptive to swell. Overall, wind conditions are generally very light with faint north winds in the morning followed by variable conditions the rest of the day. Our average guest at this time of year is looking to escape a cold winter somewhere and with the staff eager to start off the year they are excited to get the year started as well!
– April is when the southern Indian Ocean really starts to kick into gear! At this time of year we typically see phenomenal weather with an abundance of sunny, cloudless, hot days and sublime weather conditions. Swells at this time favor a more southerly direction which is great news for our best right-hand option Rifles with rights seeing more traffic than lefts. Wave heights can range from the "fun-sized" zone all the way up to "downright scary" but it’s mostly clean, user-friendly fun. This month still has light northerly winds in the morning followed by variable winds the rest of the day. It has generally light crowds at the start of the month increasing slightly after Easter. April is one of our personal favorite times to be on the island!
– May is considered the "prime" month of the year at Kandui Resort and in the Mentawai Islands in general. May churns out the biggest waves of the year with the cleanest conditions and as a result attracts good surfers looking for big barrels. Waves at this time are almost always "head-high plus" and the waves in front of Kandui Resort are breaking consistently and earning their namesake, "Playgrounds!" May also sees the most traffic but with the global economy as it is the amount of boats have dropped significantly and the sheer amount of swell in the water tends to spread everyone out. May is awesome but if you are looking to find an open date in May with us you’ll need to plan far in advance!
– June is a very close second to May in terms of overall wave size and quality. It is a popular month at Kandui Resort as well but usually delivers swell after swell and as many waves as anyone can handle! The weather in June sees a subtle shift and this time of year expect variable conditions and even a slight edge to southeast trade winds which are better for the lefts. – June is another month where it’s good to book far in advance but if you’re able to come before June 5th airline tickets are generally more affordable!
– July gets a ton of swell and is rarely under head-high. For some reason or another we usually see an above average number of good days at Rifles and Bankvaults during July as well. The weather in July has turned towards an array of thunderstorm activity but this results in variable wind conditions! These kind of conditions open up a new spot everyday and make the art of local knowledge come into play that much more. We usually have the same groups travel in July year after year and it’s great to see the same, friendly faces over and over!
– August sees the thunderstorms of July being replaced by a southeast wind trade pattern ideal for the lefts! This time of the year coincides with large southwest swells originating under the coast of South Africa and as we see this year especially, once the storm factory gets underway it pumps until October. This year we have had plenty of swell with the Indian Ocean in a terrific wave generating pattern. August is popular with our New Zealand and Australian friends who are in the middle of their winter and looking to score some warm water waves and go home with a nice tan.
– September in the Mentawai Islands is our last true, high season surf month. If you’ve seen the movie "September Sessions" you’ll be able to see first-hand how good it can get (and from what we’ve heard the trip was actually filmed mostly in October but October doesn’t rhyme with "Sessions!"). September sees the return of thunderstorm activity, similar to July, and there are still plenty of big powerful storms producing big, powerful waves. The crowds are thinning out from summer and airline ticket prices are slightly lower. At this time we see a lot of traveling professionals who’s kids have gone back to school and are traveling with a group of friends. The waves can be absolutely amazing in September, you should be able to get a spot in September if you reserve a space before January.
– October is marked by two distinct phases. The beginning of October usually has great waves but as we transition into the end of October and into November the thunderstorms grow increasingly active and we head into our rainy season. At anytime from October through February we can have great windows of good surf and weather, it’s just during this time the Southern Hemisphere summer is taking over and the swell factory grinds to a predictable halt. Surfers that visit us during this time are looking for "fun-sized" waves again, no crowds, and a cool spot to go with their friends.
The remarkable thing about the Mentawai islands is even on what we would consider our worst day it is still better than 90% of other surf destinations on their good days! There is always a good wave breaking over our local reefs and wave for wave we like to think that a trip to Kandui is unmatched in the entire world. You can go to other places and not score surf but trip after trip we are so stoked to hear how so many people have "the wave of their lives" and how cool it is to be able to surf all day everyday at Kandui Resort! Most of our guests are focused in the early April to early October window; however, if you are interested in smaller crowds, more manageable sized surf, and the same Kandui experience we highly suggest considering a trip in October, November, February, or March.