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John Barton / Mentawai Islands / Indonesia

Photographer John Barton captured this epic shot of one of the many surfers riding the waves off the coast of the Mentawai Islands near Sumatra, Indonesia.

Published on Dec 23, 2016

To get an inkling of what awaits visitors around the Mentawai Islands, resorts here offer, in addition to the more usual information about their facilities, updated critiques of the waves and daily surf reports. For this chain of islets off the west coast of Sumatra is, particularly between February and November, a surfer’s playground. It’s got great waves, no crowds, palm trees and clear waters. Talk centers around local legends like 4 Bobs... Malibu Right... Rifles. The last of these is known as one of the most awe-inspiring waves in the world—pros recommend the fastest board you have for the series of barrels that line up along what can be a 500-meter wall of water. It certainly isn’t a ride for newbies. Unpredictable currents, strong winds and razor-sharp reefs kept these waters isolated until the 19th century. No doubt, those factors help attract the global surf set today


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