Though not a great distance from the mainland, the Mentawai Islands and its people were kept isolated until the 19th century by strong winds, unpredictable currents and razor-sharp reefs. A genuinely surfing paradise.
It’s thought that the archipelago separated from Sumatra some 500,000 years ago, resulting in unique flora and fauna that sees Mentawai ranked alongside Madagascar in terms of endemic primate population. Of particular interest is siamang kerdil, a rare species of black-and-yellow monkey, named simpai Mentawai by the locals.
Surfers comprise the other island-bound pilgrims, many of whom rank the Mentawais as the ride of their life.