Sipora Island, The Smallest Island On The Coast Of West Sumatra
Whether you are an experienced surfer, looking for a challenge, a solo backpacker with a more adventurous side, or thinking of just getting away from your routine daily life, this island is a haven of activity. With its challenging surfing spots, white sandy beaches with exotic fish and colorful corals, Pulau Sipora offers a little something for everyone.
Strategically located in the Mentawai Islands, Pulau Sipora is the smallest island in this cluster off the coast of West Sumatera. Compared to the other four major islands in the Mentawai, Pulau Sipora’s position is right in the middle between Pulau Pagai and Pulau Siberut. On this island is the town of Tua Pejat, the district capital of Mentawai.
Covering an area of approximately 845 km², Pulau Sipora is approximately 10-15% pristine rainforest. Much of the population on Sipora are either farmers or fishermen.
Sipora has become one of the major tourist attractions in the vicinity due to many beautiful and unique characteristics of this island, one of which is its world class surfing. The best time to visit the island for windsurfing is from April to October, as this is when the waves are usually at their peak. Even so, you still can enjoy the challenge of the rolling waves at Pulau Sipora most all year round.
Some of the world-class surfing points, the Hollow Trees and Lance’s Left are at the southern tip of the island. A number of other famous surfing spots are located in the northwest of the island, among those being the Telescopes, Iceland, and Scarecrows.
Hollow Trees, or also known as HT or Lance’s Right are cylindrical waves (known as the right tubes) have appeared in international magazines and surfing videos for the past 10 years. When waves of this type come not too large, there will be 3 take off zones which will challenge even the most skilled surfer to maneuver smoothly. When the larger waves come, the peak of the wave where it breaks, will be connected with a continuous barrel, which will again be a welcome opportunity for surfing enthusiasts to hone their skills on the board.
Be careful with what is called The Surgeon’s Table at this surfing point. These waves appear as if they are trying to lift surfers to its peak, to wave in the air as if a trophy of some sort. The Hollow Trees site is not recommended for beginners or novice surfers as the waves present a challenge for even those with adequate skills and expertise.
Lance’s Left is a strong wave and the most consistent at Pulau Sipora and the surrounding Mentawai areas. Having the characteristics of waves with two different barrels and a take-off zone, Lance’s Left (if caught in its perfect condition) is said to be one of the most beautiful waves on the planet. The movement of the waves along the surface of the sea is a result of differences in air pressure and winds which create a larger vertical take-off zone and a perfect barrel. When the waves are not too big, Lance’s Left is suitable for surfers with intermediate skills.
In the northwestern sea of Pulau Sipora, there are two other well-known types of waves, the Telescopes and the Scarecrow. Telescopes are a type of very long waves, semi-hollow (waves rolling with a hole in the middle), and almost perfect for surfing. Many surfers who have surfed Telescope waves admit that this is one of the best waves in Indonesia. Telescopes are not too big but lots of fun to surf with their cylindrical shapes. These waves are suitable for intermediate level surfers. The Telescope waves are located the closest to Tua Pejat (the district capital), approximately 5 km to the west of the town.
The Scarecrows are a type of wave with a take-off zone from the left which is formed with the wave walls connected directly to the fast rolling barrel. These waves are also suitable for intermediate level surfers.
For accommodation during your stay at Pulau Sipora, tourists can stay at private homes open for rental, called home-stays at Tua Pejat. Another popular option is to stay on liveaboards which can be hired at Padang, capital city of West Sumatera.
For a more adequate accommodation, staying at the resorts here could be an option. We recommend that you reserve a hotel room at these places well in advance especially during holiday times, given accommodation on the island are fairly few.
The following is a list of resorts in Padang that can be your reference.
Hollow Trees Resort, Resort Surfing Retreat Resort, Nusa Togat, Aloita Surf Resort.
Marine tourism and surfing are the most popular activities offered at Pulau Sipora. This island in the Mentawai group, is world-famous as a surfing location with numerous surfing spots which will have any surfing enthusiast eager to jump right in the water and on to their board.
Aside from being a destination for surfers (local and international) to chase large waves, the natural beauty of this island is undeniable. With conditions of unspoiled nature, Pulau Sipora is very well maintained with watersports attractions suitable for families and children as well. Snorkeling, diving, or just relaxing on the beach while enjoying the view, accompanied by a cool, whistling breeze as you wait for the sun to set are other attractions to take part on this island. Photography is another worthy and interesting activity. Take a stroll along the beach, or through the forest and capture the natural beauty of Pulau Sipora.
To know more about the interesting tourist sites on the island and beyond, here are some brief explanations of some attractions specific to this island and also available activities and places of interest.
If it’s surfing locations you are after, there are several challenging points around Pulau Sipora. Another popular surfing destination can be found at Dusun Katiet. Located at the southern tip of Pulau Sipora, this spot is in Desa Bosua, a small village located approximately 4 hours away from Tua Pejat by speed boat.
Dusun Katiet is famous for its perfect rolling waves reaching heights of 3-4 meters. The beach in this village has a relative amount of coral, but that does not deter surfers from hunting down these waves. The waves at Dusun Katiet are at their best from early April to December.
Besides Dusun Katiet, another surf spot known to the international surfers is Karang Manjat, literally translated, Coral Climb. This spot boasts high and exceptionally long waves, making it one of the favorite surf spots on the island. In addition, Karang Manjat is also a prime snorkeling and diving location that should not be under-estimated. The waters of Karang Manjat have a high percentage of the best live coral, and for this reason encourage a large diversity of fish and underwater life. This is one of the reasons why this is such a popular diving and snorkeling location, the large amount and variety of marine life. At Karang Manjat, are found several different species of angelfish such as the Angel Napoleon (Pomacanthus xanthometopon), Angel Betmen (Pomacanthus imperator), Angel Roti (Pomachantus semicirculatus) and Angel Doreng (Pygoplites diacanthus). For snorkeling fans, Pulau Awera, approximately 3.5 kilometers from the dock at Tua Pejat, the district capital of the Mentawai Islands, could be a very interesting point of reference. This beautiful island with its white sand, decorated with scattered palm trees, has a large variety and abundance of biodiversity. Extensive coral reefs are protected areas by the Mentawai government. In this region there are several endemic fish such as the Goldstripe Maroon Clown (Premnas epigramma), Desjardin’s Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma desjardinii), Fox Face-Red (Siganus magnipicus) and Powderblue Surgeonfish (Acanthurus leucosternoon), all of which can be seen while snorkeling and diving in these waters.
Gosong Siasiat is another interesting dive site, frequented by many tourists and known for, again, the diversity of marine life and beauty of its coral reefs. Ghost Pipe Fish, Nudibranch, Harlequin shrimp, octopus, sea horses, several different species of crabs, turtles, and other creatures can be found in the ocean depths around Gosong Siasiat.
There is an airport on Pulau Sipora but only for charter flights. If you depart from the Minangkabau International Airport, which is the main airport of West Sumatera, there are small rental planes available with Tiger Air or SMAC which can take you to Tua Pejat on Pulau Sipora.
Other than that, the more opted for mode of transportation to Pulau Sipora is usually either by boat of speedboat. The boat will usually sail to Pulau Siberut first, the largest island within the Mentawai cluster, before proceeding on to Pulau Sipora and other Mentawai islands.
Mentawai Express, Sumber Rezeki Baru and Beriloga provide travel services from Padang, capital of West Sumatera, to Pulau Siberut and on the other Mentawai Islands, including Pulau Sipora.
The boat from Padang to Pulau Siberut will depart on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, ticket prices being approximately Rp 85.000. Departures back to Padang will be on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Mentawai Express offers a journey by speed boat taking approximately 4 hours to Pulau Siberut from Padang. At a cost of approximately Rp 85.000, transportation is available on Thursdays and back to Padang on Friday.
Sumber Rezeki Baru has an overnight travelling service from Padang to Pulau Siberut by ferry at a cost of approximately Rp 67.000. Sailing schedule is on Mondays and Wednesdays and return to Padang is on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This journey by ferry can take up to 10 hours.
Tickets can be purchased at Bevys Sumatra (address and contact information listed below).