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August 2016 – Words and photos by Murray Fraser from

In the middle of August I arranged a photography trip with The Perfect Wave to the Mentawai Islands, roughly 100 miles off Sumatra.

It’s the first time I’ve done a Mentawai surf charter trip since 2007.

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The islands sit in the cradle of the most perfect surf scenario on the planet; directly in line of the powerful, consistent, long period South-West swells of the Indian Ocean and on the equatorial band of slack winds called the doldrums. Their remoteness and location on a very active tectonic plate add extra elements of risk but for those willing, the rewards are some of the best and most challenging waves of your life.

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Our Captain and the surf guide for the trip on board the Raja Elang was legendary boatman and surfer Tony “Doris” Eltherington. There wouldn’t be too many places in the Mentawai Islands Doris hasn’t poked his bow sniffing out new breaks and fishing spots; he’s been there helping out after tsunami and rescued overboard survivors.

If dodging other Mentawai surf charters and trying to second guess the islands’ fast-moving micro weather systems was an Olympic sport, Doris would be a gold medalist.  During our 12 days out in the islands, we covered hundreds of nautical miles surfing breaks from 2ft glassy fun peelers to double-overhead heavy barrels and we barely surfed with another boat.

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The photos are from just a sample of our 12 days on the Raja Elang.

Cheers to Doris, Charlie from The Perfect Wave and all the lads on board for having me along for the ride!

If you’re keen to join us on a Sprout Daily photography trip somewhere in the Ments next year, flick an email and he will send you a quote and book you on next years adventure.

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Charlie from The Perfect Wave slotted

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