Stand-up paddleboarding has exploded in the past couple of years, drawing hordes of SUP-ers to the world’s best waves. It’s no secret that some surfers have become surly about having their favorite waves suddenly overcrowded. The solution for one of the world’s greatest ocean paddleboarders, Jamie Mitchell, was a first-of-its-kind SUP expedition in Mentawai, a chain of islands in Indonesia. “There’s literally hundreds of waves there,” he says. “Dream waves, perfect waves, not just scary huge waves, and there’s plenty to go around for everyone.”
Using a charter boat, his small group of stand-up paddleboarders was able to seek out their own waves in what felt like a very private setting. “It’s absolutely the ideal way to experience a high-performance surf area,” he says. “Plenty of Bintang (an Indonesian beer) aboard the boat didn’t hurt either.”
The Mentawai Islands are a chain of more than 70 islands and islets located about 90 miles off the west coast of Sumatra. Separate from the mainland for more than 500,000 years, the islands have a rain forest ecology that’s home to a unique ecosystem. Included in the abundant flora and fauna are four species of endemic primates.
Since 2002, Jamie Mitchell has won nearly every major paddleboarding race he’s entered, including ten consecutive wins in the race across Hawaii’s Molokai Channel—a 32-mile marathon regarded as the world championship of paddleboarding. Mitchell is also a force on the growing stand-up paddleboarding scene, a highly acknowledged big-wave surfer, and an all-round world-class waterman. Read his Adventurers of the Year profile.
Jamie Mitchell's Gear Pick: Surftech Board
“I always bring my Surftech board—the Jamie Mitchell namesake one, of course. And my Quickblade paddle.”