Life at Hidden Bay

Words by Scott Johnstone

A trip to the Mentawai Islands is one that needs to be on the bucket list of every surfer. Towards the top of the list. It is an experience without comparison. A true feast for the senses.

The waves, the culture and the environment blend together creating a pure state of flow. Flow state is the optimal human experience. Flow states transform time. Flow activities happen when there is a balance between challenge and skill level. There is a feeling of clarity and ease. The mind becomes quiet and you are completely present.

Out here you are removed from the routines of everyday life. No driving, no cooking, no stress. Just surfing and good times. Surfers travel the globe chasing the peak experience of riding a wave. The playgrounds area in the North Mentawai’s has some of the best of them.

Some iconic waves are found in this region. A mixture of lefts and rights waiting to offer up the wave of your life. A few of the better known include Kandui and Rifles. Long grinding tubes. “The playgrounds” region gets its name due to the variety of waves on offer. There are over 20 waves in reach of Hidden Bay Resort. Some heavy, some mellow. Some deep, some shallow. There is something for everyone out here.

Staying at a resort gives the feeling of having a home and a base to launch from each day. The traditional building of the Mentawai Culture is called an “Uma”. The restaurant area at Hidden Bay is an amazing structure and is the largest Uma in the entire region. The energy of the structure represents hundreds of years of local building technique and you really need to step foot inside to appreciate it.

With a maximum of 10 surfers and the resort owner Alex Riberas as host this is an intimate experience. Each day you sit down and make a plan based on the swell direction and wind forecast. As a surfer himself, Alex has a passion for putting each surfer in the best conditions to match skill level and experience.

Out the front is a postcard worthy setting. A calm bay and palm tree covered sand beach. The bay is perfect for stand up paddle boarding, snorkelling or relaxing on the beach for non surfers or partners. Sipping a bintang while the sun sets is a memory you wont forget.

Chefs prepare 3 generous meals per day. The standard is high and what you would expect from a resort. Rooms are local style bungalos with air conditioning, private bathrooms and comfortable beds so you are well rested each day.

The Andai High Performance Centre is one thing really sets this experience apart. Hidden Bay is the first resort to offer up this experience to guests. Included in your stay is 2 training sessions per day. These sessions aim to maximise surfing potential.

Physiotherapists and experienced trainers run the sessions each day. The morning session is a warm-up to get the body moving and the blood flowing. The second session after an exhausting day of waves is based around recovery. Stretching, muscle releases and breathing exercises to restore and regenerate.

Also included is a surf coach. They provide advice on positioning in the water and managing the line up. Each night a slideshow of every wave surfed that day gives a chance for specific coaching. It is amazing what you see in photos of your surfing and how much this can help performance. A week in these waves along with the training and coaching will do more for your surfing than 12 months at your local break.

As with most things in life, putting in extra effort tends to be rewarded. A trip to the Ments is not the cheapest destination. The ments is not the closest destination. But when it all comes together you have a real chance to score the session and the wave of your life. Can you really put a price on that?

For more info go to Hidden Bay Resort Mentawais

Scott Johnstone (DPT, BAppSc(ExSS)