Despite their ideal location for getting the most out of the SW swells that consistently pour through the Java Trench, the Mentawai's have only been surfed since the early '90s. This is because these islands, lying about 90k's (55mi) off the Sumatran mainland, are one of the wildest places on earth. Many of the tribal inhabitants of the remoter islands have had, until recently, little contact with the modern world, preferring instead to live their own age old lifestyle. Add the fact that malaria is endemic and the untouched rainforest is almost impenetrable, then it's little wonder that the Indonesian government deterred surfers or tourists from visiting the Mentawai's. These days, yacht charters take groups into this extremely fragile environment where even the waves are very sensitive to winds and tides. There is always a perfect, crystal clear wave, reeling off somewhere, close to the tree lined shore of coral encrusted lava. Just hope that not too many other boatloads of wave-hungry surfers are on to it.