SCENE: A lone beachbreak mid-way along the Mentawai Island chain in Sumatra. The Indonesian sun blazes down on eight surfers, split between four peaks. The wind is desultory. Sets appear hither and yon, allowing anyone with even the most basic of games to easily put themselves inside the wave’s curve. Paradise? Yeah, it’s close.

The surfers are temporary residents aboard the breathtaking Ratu Motu (Polynesian for Island Queen, since y’ask), all 115-feet and 275 tons of her. If it looks familiar, it’s ’cause it’s the former Indies Trader IV, home to every surf star of the last 10 years.

The Rotu Matu floats above the water as an icon of the best of western civilisation. A joyous experiment whereupon the notion of hard-core, with all its anarchy and crisis, is abolished for the undisputed finest experience in all of surfing.

Let me paint the briefest of pictures. These keystrokes are being punched in an air-conditioned saloon, its writer fueled by a quinoa-egg-avocado-and-salsa breakfast, created by MasterChef contestant Pip Sumbak (she surfs too!), and all after a three-hour dawn patrol in the aforementioned sand-bottom cabanas.

Cabin beds are dressed in striped Frette linen, a basket of Rotu Matu toiletries greets each guest and, when shoulders or back aches, a Brazilian masseur and chiropractor eases out the kinks.

I know people who are big stars in my town and they make tons of cash but they’re miserable because they don’t know their own requirements for happiness. Riding in the Ratu Motu may not be the definition of success but it’s one helluva start.

: : Derek Reilly (filling in for Uge as he’s surfing)

Founder of Stabmag and latest gig

10 thoughts on “Mentawais

  1. One paragraph in and i think to myself – wow my husband must be really inspired on this trip. He’s really considered this post – good scribe Ugee i am so impressed. Then i think- or maybe it’s that he’s sleeping a full night, in the warm sun and has salt on his skin, surfing – doing what he really loves (no kids screaming). Second paragraph – i think hang on, he doesn’t even know those words. Third paragraph i stop, scroll down and see my new buddy Derek’s sign off. You had me DR. That was a good Aquabumps. Maybe we make you a guest writer monthly – i could sell that! Love BB xx

    1. haha, Its a rare day when the words speak more than the photographs, but think think Derek may have you pipped today Uge!
      Nice to escape in both, good work fellas.

  2. Here I was thinking “Geez, Uge has his A-Game on today, killing his writing”….. Nice one Derek!!!

  3. For the love of Huey! My husband reads your posts! I need the man to be on the E65 bus each day earning the bucks! Not secretly planning his escape!! Ya killin’ me!

    1. …And if the world needs one thing its well-paid, diligent bus drivers! Good luck consoling him when he gets home!

  4. Hi I really like these photos and I think thats they are good. I am obsessed with these photos. I need more!

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