Your trip to the Mentawai Islands should be the best experience possible. The very nature of the way in which waves break in the Mentawai’s lends itself to an even higher degree of order and cooperation. Follow these rules and everyone will have a better session, especially you. Remember, you’re on vacation!
1. Don’t think you own the place.
When you arrive at a new spot and there is already a group surfing the worst thing you can do is to send out every surfer on your boat in an all out assault. It’s just not cool. A good surf guide will show you how to strike a perfect balance by sending out a few surfers at a time and making the transition as subtle as possible.
2. Take your turn.
The majority of waves in the Mentawai’s break like classic point breaks. The most discouraging thing in the world is to have some clown paddling past you after every wave. For this rule, think assembly line, take your turn, go in order, and everyone will get their fair share of waves.
3. Hands up if you don’t want it.
When it’s your turn and you’re waiting for the set of the day it always helps to let other people know your intentions. Most people will expect that you’re going to be going on the next decent wave that comes through but by no means does that mean you have to go. When a wave is approaching that you are not interested in all you have to do is hold both of your hands up and out of the water to send a clear message to everyone that you’re not going. This will eliminate any ambiguity and there will definitely be more waves to go around and a clear line of communication in the water.
4. Let it go.
It sucks to get burned on a small, weak day so you can imagine how much worse it is on a big, scary day. If you see someone paddling for a wave, even if they look like they aren’t going to catch it, let it go. Getting stuffed on a double overhead grinder with the reef lurking a few feet below the surface and the possibility of getting stuck inside isn’t worth the potential conflict.
5. Pick me up.
When you’re ready to get picked up all you have to do is wave your board in the air from the channel. If there is someone injured, everyone in the line-up should wave their boards at the same time.