As a surfer, you have either been visiting the Mentawai Islands for years, or it’s on the wish list to do with a group of mates! But why should your partner and children have to miss out on visiting this amazing exotic paradise just because they don’t surf? Well, times have changed and there are now various options that cater for the whole family so nobody misses out!
For a long time, my husband has been raving about this remote part of the world he has been travelling to surf with his mates and, of course, The Perfect Wave have been sending many clients there for years. My first trip to the Mentawai was 3 years ago, when we opened up our Education and Conservation Centre in the small coastal village of Mapadegat on Sipora. The trip was also a collaboration with Waves For Water and we joined up with their youngest ambassador Winter Vincent and his family to implement water filters in a remote village only accessible via boat. This was an amazing experience for our family, and two girls who were 6 and 9 at the time, who got to see what life is really like in these remote communities where technology is a foreign word and they get excited about clean drinking water.
Obviously, being in the surfing mecca of the world, there is always plenty of time to surf and each day’s activities revolve around the winds and conditions. Sometimes this means Dad is gone for the next 3-4 hours or if smaller conditions it means heaps of fun for the kids and maybe even a lesson or two for me. For those that don’t surf, there’s always the option of jumping on a SUP and paddling over the coral reef close to the islands, snorkeling in the crystal clear and warm waters or lounging around with a great book!
This trip, we were fortunate enough to stay at both Bilou Villas, which is in North Sipora near Telescopes and Icelands surf breaks, and close to our Education and Conservation Centre, and then at Kandui Villas which is in the Playgrounds region of South Siberut.
Bilou Villas offer an intimate and unique holiday option with four fully equipped villas each with a private boat, so you can create your very own schedule. This is gold for a family with kids, as you can even pre-order from a imported grocery list (think lamb chops, NZ butter etc.) and it will be waiting for you on arrival along with ciabatta bread freshly baked by the lovely Chantal! Every second night, you have the option of joining other guests in the Bilou Beach Bar for a traditional Indo dinner. Added bonus staying at Bilou as a family is you will get to know Josh and Indi, who are two awesome frothing boys ready to hang out each day (after their home-school activities), surf and just be kids living an island life.
Next stop for us was Kandui Villas which is about 45-60min boat ride north. Kandui Villas is a more luxurious option and much bigger, with 12 traditional Umas, each accommodating up to 1-4 guests and extremely spacious. Huge bathroom with the luxury of hot water and big spacious shower, totally catering to the female guests! They have a large infinity pool which is an added bonus, gym and yoga studio, games room and spa. What more could you ask for as a mum or non-surfer?
Jordan, the owner / manager and Jamie are off surfing immediately, and with 11 breaks around the island and another dozen other spots within 30mins by fast boat in all directions, who knows how long they will be away surfing. With surf transfers running at various and flexible times throughout the day, and an solid inventory of boats, you can really tailor your day around your preferred surfing schedule and spending time with the family.
The island has a great stretch of beach to stroll and collect shells, and your kids will enjoy hanging out with resident girls Kya and Kanna, who are home schooled and love seeing new friendly faces staying at their resort. And if your kids eat constantly like mine, don’t worry – there is always plenty of food, with flexible dining hours to keep everyone happy.
If this sounds like your type of holiday, then you and your family may be interested in joining us next year, when we return with surfing legend Barton Lynch, his wife Holly and son Lion for a humanitarian trip of a lifetime. We’ll be collaborating with Waves For Water and implementing water filters in a nearby village, you’ll get to meet traditional Mentawai tribesmen and visit our new Education and Conservation Centre on Sipora Island. There will be a select number of surf coaching spots available, so you can get professional advice from one of the best, and enjoy daily yoga sessions from Holly.
This region is truly one of the last remote indigenous places on the planet, and when you experience it for all its worth and not just the amazing surf, you’ll see just how important it is to protect it. A Perfect Foundation is based in the region and actually making a difference every day through education and environmental protection. We have taught over 500 students English in the last 3 years, and now we have the first recycling program running out of Tua Pajet, while continuing to work with government and local communities to try and ensure the foundations of sustainability before the region gets too developed.
So by donating $50 to our crowd-funding campaign to help build our new Education and Conservation Centre, you could win an all-inclusive trip for two. Alternatively, contact me directly on email@example.com for further details to secure your spot.
So as you can see, the Mentawai Islands are not just for frothing surfers, but these places really cater for families with kids that want to enjoy these island paradises just as much as anyone else. It has now become like a second home to us, with long-term friendships and happy memories, but at the same time helping these remote communities by developing sustainable practices to help keep our oceans plastic free!
“If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing nothing for nobody.”