by Ben Horvath | photos by Andy Potts

IMG_2762Cahn Mitchell is an experienced, well travelled 38 year old surfer who was born in Fremantle, Western Australia. He spent his childhood on the central west coast of WA in the area where his father’s family dwelled.

After a year in Europe, Cahn returned to Western Australia. where he attended high school in Fremantle, before moving down to the Margeret River area in search of surf. Post school, he spent a bunch of time doing whatever for cash, to pay for his insatiable passion of chasing waves. In between, Cahn revelled in all the usual teenage rite of passage stuff, partying, chasing girls and the like.

When a friend offered Cahn a job up in the Mentawai in the mid 90’s he up and left Margaret River and moved to the city to learn to speak Indonesian. Bored out of his brains in the city whilst studying Indonesian at night school, he got right into bombing hills on a long skateboard and a Dirtsurfer.

Within two months he was offered work in Europe, Asia and America skating downhill, a pretty exciting prospect for a 19 yr old adventurer. He blew the job in the Ment’s off, and spent 7 years cruising around the world having a blast, but not surfing that much.

In 2003 whilst doing an air demo in the States, Cahn broke his leg pretty badly,  a spiral compound fracture on his lower left leg to be precise. He was out off the water on workers compensation for nearly three years. It was during that pensive period that he really worked out what he wanted to do with his life.

Cahn had been travelling all over Indonesia since he was a teenager and like many surfers he developed a real affection for the place. He spent a lot of his recovery time hanging around in Indonesia sussing out what options may open up. IMG_7436
While a few things presented themselves, when hanging out at Desert Point in Lombok he met a lady – Ainsley Ocean. who with her husband John had created Kandui Resort in the Mentawai. Having spent time in the Mentawai previously John and Ainsley’s offer of a job at Kandui was a dream opportunity come true.

Cahn arrived in Padang 6 months later where he was met by John and Ainsley, who had, since left Kandui to begin a new venture – Togat Nusa Retreat in Nth Sipora.

That was seven years ago and Cahn hasn’t wanted to be anywhere else since.

A year and a Half after arriving on the small Island of Pitojat, to help John build a new resort., Cahn met a cute young Mentawai girl Sunarti from a nearby village who started working on the island. A year later they were married, Cahn left the island and began living in the village with his wife and her family. Within a year their daughter, Kaela, was born.

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Around that time that Cahn needed a job, and Aloita needed a surf guide. Less than an hour from the village it was perfect. Cahn took the job under the proviso that his wife and daughter were able to stay with him, since the daily commute home was a bit far. The Mitchell clan have been at Aloita since.

Things have really fallen into place for Cahn and his clan. He admits to not really knowing how he got to where he is, but after visiting Aloita a few weeks ago, I can tell you it is where he belongs. Cahn is an epic surf guide. Mellow, knowledgeable and a good surfer to boot. All he wants in life are the simple things. He lives on the beach, surfs good waves regularly and spends plenty of quality time with his family.


Ben Horvath (BH) – What are your plans for the rest of the year Cahn?

Cahn Mitchell (CM) –  The rest of the year will be busy. I have my second child coming and I have started building my house on the beach on the neighbouring island to Aloita, Pototogat. It’s a nice place, just over a hectare on the beach where you can see 5 waves from the front door step.

BH. How do you rate Season 2014 in the grand scheme of things?
CM . I rate this year the best season I have had since living here. We were so lucky to score plenty uncrowded perfection early in the season,  and plenty of back to back swells throughout the season with very few people at times. I guess it was one of those lucky years, so next year may well get busy again.

BH. Best or peak moments of 2014?
CM. It hard to say what the peak was for me, there were a bunch this year.  Getting to surf waves like HT’s, Rifles and Telescopes as good as gets with no one else out was pretty special. Another real highlight was The Perfect Wave Occy trip. Unfortunately I didn’t get to surf with Occ, due to a nasty fin chop I suffered the day before he arrived. Still though, it was a memorable week scoring some fun waves for the boys on hand, though we didn’t get anything as good as it gets that week it was certainly good enough for Occy to want to return again next year.

BH. What do you generally do with yourself in the off season?
CM. I definitely do some surfing, spear fishing and hanging with family during the down times. This year’s there is the added excitement of a new baby and we are building our new home. Basically I look forward to having a break to recharge for next year,  before I do it all again, getting barrelled and enjoying a beer with the people I meet.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in getting me to this point, whether we still talk or not. All the good but mostly the bad episodes of my life have brought me to this true state of happiness. Thanks and love everyone.


Written by:
Ben Horvath

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