– California 2002, 2004 –
– Mentawai islands 2003 –
The great thing about Indo is you can normally stay and travel all around for not much money.
Years ago, I managed to book a 992$ trip on a boat with five other guys. At that time it was quite manageable to avoid the crowds. But this kind of boat trip ended quickly and the Mentawai business moved up to another scale. It costs something now like three times more to spend two weeks on a factory boat, a price for which you find yourself packed with ten or twenty other guys to reach waves with sometimes until six or seven more crowded boats. Bilboards and shady promoters never had any trouble in pushing the masses to waste shitloads of money for crap. We all knew surfers ain’t nobel prize winners, but to that point…
I’d rather like to avoid the “mass hysteria” for my part, so if you still plan this kind of trip the first thing you need to know is that boats and resorts in the Mentawai are like total bulshit. Apart from being too expensive for what it is, it’s an unfair business of local resources made by foreigners where nothing goes back to the people; we are talking of a place where they don’t even have running water or electricity.
Everyone should know that.
You can actually go there for the same price as anywhere else in Indo.
And keeping away from this kind of colonial exploitation provides great oportunities for more legitimate experience, support to local life, and eventually free surf outside the insane boat circus, without being extorted. You can’t tell me you wouldn’t be a little upset at having yourself sheared like a sheep by a bunch of greedy exploiters?
Because as far as I’m concerned, it would rather piss me off…
Fiji is a fairly unique place in the world: great singular nature scenery, spectacular beaches, friendly and helpful people with true open and sharing culture, and of course the dream place of powerful waves right in the middle of the South Pacific.
In July 2010, the Fijian government decided to open access to every wave in the islands. This meant in particular that anyone could surf Cloudbreak and Restaurants, two of the most famous waves in the world, until then exclusively restricted to the guests of Tavarua island resort for as little as 500USD per person per night. Shortly after what has been called the “Surfing Decree”, I had booked all flight tickets to go there. Followed one month on a trip by myself in august at the peak of the South Pacific swell season.