Friday, 21 October 2011
Russian Rippers Mentawai Tour October 2011
Saturday, 1 October 2011
Off on my coaching trip to the Menatwai’s this morning. 3pm arvo Malaysian Airlines flight to KL. Take off as the AFL grand final is about to start.
Fly into the international airport at Kuala Lumpur but need to bus it to the Low cost airport 40 minutes away. Leave my boards at left luggage there for at $10. Just over a 5 minute walk away is Tune hotel or more correctly “dog box”. Pretty sure they had to build the double bed in the room to make it fit. Sleep there the night and up at 5.30am to catch the Air Asia flight to Padang. This trip is on a charter boat called the Addiction, I am coaching 7 Russian surfers.
Rizal picks me up and drives 45 minutes to Sumatran Safari’s office. I have brought a soft beginner board for Scuzz, who skipper’s the Southern Cross.
Hang around for the day walking around Padang, getting Indo phone credit and last minute supplies.
The Charter has a cool bunch of surfers; it is the Russian Ripper’s Tour.
The Addiction is catamaran moored in the bay at Padang, some smaller boats use the river. The charter has been booked and we leave Sunday night. There is some wind around and the crossing is a bit bumpy. We leave around 8pm after a good meal of pasta and salad. Captain Eric gives the safety talk but is more worried about no white wine being delivered. We have quite a few crates of red though.
Everyone is excited, checking out their boards, fins etc. There is some wind around so the crossing from the mainland to the Ments gets bumpier the further we go.
Captain Eric and his wife Nicole are from California and their young son Eli is on board.
Alena, Tanya and Artem have flown in from Russia while Dmitri, Penza, Andre and his wife Anastasia have flown up from Bali.
Wake up early and surf Iceland. Not too much wind and before it gets too cross shore everyone scores some waves. Andre and Ana sleeps in, it is the first time being away from their daughter as well as having trouble sleeping on the crossing.
Have been doing some coaching on technique - the surfers are pretty switched on and fast learners.
In the arvo we head to seven palm. It is about head high with the occasional wide bomb. The girls are the set magnets. Every time they paddle out a bigger set comes through.
We head to the sheltered side of the island for the night. Alena and Andre try some wake boarding behind the rubber ducky or tender in boat language.
Tonight’s meal was roast chicken and tuna with potatoes, rice and salad. Dmitri eats enough for four men.
A slide show after dinner checking out the day’s photos. Ana has taken some extra pics and has a good eye for photography.
The night ends with a Russian DVD.
Captain Eric is up before light and we cruise to Scarecrows. We surf early in some inconsistent waves. Dmitri and Alena score bombs and everyone is pretty stoked. The boys have another surf with another boat of guys. The wind is a bit strong and putting a bump on the wave face.
Lunch is superb and after lazing around we up anchor to check Telescopes. Looks like the swell is picking up with clean 3 foot plus waves. I surfed with the girls and the boys took the rubber ducky off and head for Maccas – hopefully for an early surf. All the boats seem to be around here so Captain Eric thinks we may get Maccas uncrowded. Could be a good call.
Prawns and beef for makan malam. Enak Sekalil!!
The crew are really cool and work hard to please us.
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
Wake up to a strong wind and Maccas looks average, maybe a lay day?
By 8am the wind eases and the surf improves. The boys are out. Only tow other boats are here so it is a mellow crowd. The big boat goes around the corner and the girls surf silibue lefts. Now called RGP (Russian girl’s point). The conditions are perfect and all the girls are styling. It is a little bigger than we first thought. Girls have a great session. Dmitri and Penza sneak around to Maccas in the ducky.
A howling westerly wind comes through so we take the big boat back to Maccas. The wind eases and the boys are out again not before an awesome sushi and soup lunch.
It ends up a barrel fest. Andre snaps his DHD. Eric scores some waves but Geni gets the best barrel of the day.
Dmitri crashes, he is surfed out. The Addiction cruises to it’s mooring. There is wakeboarding and a visit to the beach and still Dmitri sleeps.
Up early and back around to Maccas. Dmitri and Penza are out, no wind and head high barrels. Only one other boat arrives. Maccas with two boats is unusual.
Alena overcomes her nerves and paddles out. She gets some really good waves and is stoked. The guys in the line up are calling her into waves and cheering. The other guys are getting tubed off their heads. Artem and Andre join us, we have a really good session. Eric takes Tanya and Ana to a sneaky spot called Kruto Point. They have a great surf in 2-3 ft clean lefts. (Kruto is a Russian word for cool).
Before dark we moor back behind Maccas. Eric takes us by ducky up the mangrove lined river to Sibilue village. This is a tiny village with a shop, school and big church on the hill. We are escorted through the village by the local kids who want to know our names. The return trip was almost in the dark and just a little spooky. The village is really poor and I must admit I felt a bit guilty when we returned to the Addiction for a meal of roast chicken, potatoes, fish, vegetables, salad and chocolate cake (the Mentawai dilemma).
We finished the night with the slideshow and more Uno. Artem wins again. Penza wins the second game and the bottle of Jack Daniels is empty!!
Friday, 7th October 2011
Two more boats arrived last night at the Macaroni’s mooring. The swell has dropped so we head north a little and stop at Bat Caves. This is a beautiful spot. Surf is an OK right hander. Dmitri and Alena have an early surf. Alena doesn’t surf on her backhand that much but catches a couple of long rides. The hangover team slowly get up and after our surf take the ducky to explore the bat caves and do some wake boarding.
We head south to Roxy’s. It is light across shore wind and only 3 foot on the sets but still lots of fun. For the first time everyone is in the water together. Everyone’s surfing is improving. I grab the SUP and tandem surf with Ana. Alena and Dmitri stay out till dark. We head around to Thunders for the night. There are two boats here. We thought there could be more. Really good slide show with some coaching discussion at the end of it. Geni had taken the photos from the beach. Eric, Nicole and Eli spend the afternoon on the beach as well.
I win Uno for the second time today.
Saturday, 8 October 2011
Wake up at Thunders with one extra boat, really glassy until 8am then the onshore comes in. The boys are out, Dmitri first in the water again. I take Alena, Tanya and Ana over to another left across the bay. It looks really good but it has a powerful wedge that drills Alena and me. Alena loses her board, Tanya gets rolled while Ana surfs one all the way in. The wind comes up so we race back to the boat in the rain. Croissants for breakfast are good. Eric has an old client over from the States who is on another boat over for breakfast.
We take off back north and look at Rags Right and Green Bush but keep going until The Cut. We surf a small clean fun right hander. Tonight is BBQ night. The crew set up a bonfire and cook chicken and fish with all the trimmings – salad, potatoes, rice, vegetables, Bintangs and red wine. Tanya has all the good music and after beach combing for shells, eating and drinking, fireworks come out. Geni takes some cool time elapsed photos.
Everyone has a fun night.
Big sleep in today. Everyone is a bit dusty from last night’s BBQ. It is overcast and raining with a small swell so no big deal.
We head north to Maccas, only two boats with four foot sets. Everyone including Eric is a little surprised how good the quality is. The boys are out while I take the girls to Krutos. The trip back in the ducky is against the wind and slow.
Geni and I sneak out for a quick surf while everyone is resting. There are only four other guys. For a while we think there is a new guy on the boat until we realise Tanya had cut Andre’s hair.
Hamburgers for lunch and more surfing at Maccas. The girls, including Nicole, take on little Maccas. Everyone gets waves and surfs till dark. Dmitri has mastered the double arm pump to generate speed and is really stoked. A pretty good day of waves. Tanya manages to do the washing as well.
The wind is north-west so we moor inside Maccas. This is Tsunami territory so the crew set up a quick release knot on the anchor for a quick getaway.
Roast lamb for dinner. The slide show is interrupted by a big sea snake that climbs up the back of the boat. Dmitri or Dima is not too keen on snakes. He has been bitten twice in Bali and spent time in Hospital form the bite.
Wake up before 6am. Maccas is smaller but still has 3ft plus sets. Dmitri, Penza, Alena and I are out there. Alena has the best surf of her trip so far. Takes a lot of steep drops and surfs them a long way. In the end, it is just Alena and me. We should go in because it is getting shallow. Alena gets drilled on the reef and gets a few cuts.
After breakfast we decide to cruise to Lance’s lefts/rights. The wind shifts a little so we go past the left and drop anchor at Bintangs. A short fun right, it is small and inconsistent but Penza has a crack. We take the ducky and wakeboard for a while. It took me at least 6 times to get to my feet but eventually I was up. The other guys made it look easy. Alena, Artem, Tanya and Andre are good. The wake on the ducky is small but they had a few tricks happening.
The girls surf the small A frame beachie. Tanya catches about 25 waves and has worked out the pop to her feet. Andre and Artem surf the kayak together then take turns on the SUP.
At dinner (lasagne, spaghetti, salad, fish and vegetables) we toast to Roxy Day which is girls day for this trip. During dinner Eric sets a course for Burger World. A five hour trip north, it is very calm and easy travelling.
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Another day, another wave. We are at Burger World and no surprise that Dmitri is first out. Andre, Artem and I have a surf while Penza is waiting for low tide. Ana is taking photos. Tanya is in the kayak and Alena is trying stand up paddle. Later Alena and I try to catch some waves but it is way too crowded.
We all have lunch and the boys surf with less people. There are about 7 camps in the playground area.
About 3pm we head over the Bang Bangs – a fast hollow left. I surf with the girls till nearly dark. Ana and Tanya get caught inside and fight for the same board. Nicole gets a couple of good waves on the longboard while Alena has found the speed button in her technique.
The sunset is amazing! The boys have taken the ducky to Na Pussi and score some double over head rights. They are pumped when they return in the dark. Dmitri can’t get the smile off his face. Another really fun day of waves.
Prawns and fish for dinner with crème caramel desert.
I sneak off to bed while everyone plays charades.
We have anchored back at Burger World for the night but we cruise to Na Pussi in the morning as everyone sleeps. The sea is alive with bait fish so the fishing lines are out and we zig zag through them but have no luck.
The boys surf Na Pussi and I take the girls to Bang Bangs. There are three guys out, a French guy and two Brasilians. They are pretty cool and seem pleased to chat to the girls. We all have some small fun lefts until two more Brasillians paddle out so we jump in the ducky and check E Bay and Pit Stops on the way back to the Addiction.
I must be mixing with the group well because Dmitri starts talking to me in Russian this morning. The boys surf Na Pussi all day and the girls and I go back to Bang Bangs. Alena gets a couple of good waves and starting to do cutbacks. The French man comes back out and we think he is in love with Tanya.
After dinner, everyone plays charades again, this time a mixture of Russian and English. Captain Eric produces a bottle of Jack Daniels which doesn’t help the game or maybe it does because we have a really good night. Artem and Andre describe the chocolate bar Bang Bang and Jet Ski really funny. Alena gives Dmitri the word ‘’fantasy’’ and we get stuck trying to guess it for about 45 minutes. Captain Eric has had a couple of drinks too many and goes to bed. I sneak off too but the team stay up till 1.30pm.
Last day today. The conditions are beautiful and glassy but there is only a small swell. Dmitri, Ana, Alena and I check the surf spots by rubber ducky. A Frames, Two Bobs, Rifles and Pistols and they are all too small. We end up back at Bang Bangs (now renamed Artems). Only the girls and I are out with the French guy from the day before. The tide is lower with some bigger, hollower waves. Everyone get some even when a few more Brazillian’s come out. Alena finishes her surf with an overhead bomb wave. Late drop, bottom turn and maximum speed down the line. A good one to finish the trip on.
There is the last minute swapping photo files everyone has on their trip. Geni has a great photo package for everyone as well.
The boys are still keen for a wave so we check Burger World but it is onshore and not very good. We return to Bang Bangs and Artem and Dmitri have a surf. It gets crowded with other boats.
We have to start packing up our gear. The realisation the trip is over starts to kick in and everyone is a little sad. The Addiction will head back to Padang tonight. We should reach port around 3am. We will sleep on the boat and leave from the boat to the Airport.
Our final meal of prawns and beef is really good.
We all say our goodbyes. It has been a super Kruto trip.
Friday, 14 October 2011
Wake up at 5.30am on the boat. Time for a quick coffee, last minute goodbyes to those who are up and then a one hour trip to the airport. I fly Padang to Kuala Lumpur on Air Asia. There is a US$25 visa charge on the way in to Indonesia and a 100,000 rupiah charge for leaving. If you are on Air Asia you will get charged about US$25 per sector for your board bag. If you want to get on board a Mentawai charter boat next year start checking now, they are always heavily booked. There are a few things to keep in mind when booking. Two tenders are really good for splitting the pack on the big boat and the amount of days the charter is for. How experienced the captain/surf guide are. I have been a couple of different ones but the best so far were: