Amongst the chain of islands that holds some of the most dreamy and sought-after waves on the planet sits Kandui Surf Resort. The Mentawais Islands off the west coast of Indonesia have a handful of surf resorts that allow surfers to access world-class but hard-to-reach waves there. Kandui Resort is one of these and is located oceanfront on Karangmajat Island.
Some of the advantages and value points touted by Kandui Resort is that it’s been in business for over 14 years and has over a 70% customer return rate. It’s also the only resort with direct beach access to the heralded “Playgrounds” region that features many of the best waves in the Mentawais.
While most surfers would be content with sleeping in a tent and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if it meant being able to surf the waves there, Kandui Resort has a collection of “umas” for visiting surfers to stay in. An uma is a traditional thatched house built by local Mentawaian craftsmen. Each uma has an ocean view and features hardwood floors, furniture, air conditioning, a bathroom, a shower, and is stocked with cold drinks. An uma can sleep up to 2-3 people and each has its own wi-fi connection and speaker system for music.
Kandui Resort is an all-inclusive resort and provides all meals out of their central restaurant. Their goal is to provide surfers with the energy and nutrients they need to surf and replenish their bodies when they get back. Dishes feature seafood from local fishermen and also include typical Indonesian fare, pasta, pizza, and chicken. Meals come with juice or soft drinks. The classic Bintang beers go for $1 each and they also offer wine and cocktails for an additional charge.
Kandui is a true surfer’s resort and not ideal for novices or beginners. The waves are more suited for intermediate surfers on up, with some that require serious experience and skill. Within a short boat ride around the island, Kandui Resort can put you on 15 different waves. Some of the more popular and featured breaks include 4 Bobs, A Frames, Bankvaults, Beng Beng, Burgerworld, E-Bay, Kandui Left, and Rifles.
Being an island and with wind directions constantly shifting, quality surf can be had nearly year-round. In-Season is considered to be April to September, with May, June, and July being the prime months of the year at Kandui and the Mentawais in general. Shoulder Season is October through March, and can actually be the preferred season for surfers looking for fewer crowds or waves in the smaller to medium size. Kandui Resort closes down in the month of December for maintenance.
Packages include unlimited boat rides and Kandui states that it’s their goal to make sure everyone is surfed out at the end of their trip. They boast a 100% success rate in that. All of the staff there are local from the Mentawais and part of the allure of Kandui Resort. Their local knowledge of the waves, weather, and ocean conditions allows them to put surfers in the best spot possible. A free cold Bintang is always waiting at their floating dock upon arrival from long days of surfing. Kandui also has a recently added game room that includes a ping pong table and entertainment center. There’s also a surf shop for board rentals and finding other gear. Non-surfing activities include fishing, hiking, snorkeling, and more. However, the idea at Kandui Resort is to surf until you drop.
Getting to Kandui Resort is no easy task, though it has improved through the years. After flying onto Padang, Indonesia through the Minangkabau International Airport, a 90-mile boat ride is required to get to Kandui. In recent years, they’ve partnered with a transportation company to make this journey in just three hours and include drinks and entertainment along the way.