The Ultimate Guide For Your First Surf at Hollow Trees Mentawai

by | Apr 25, 2024 | Surf, Surf Spots

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  • The Ultimate Guide For Your First Surf at Hollow Trees Mentawai

Surfing Hollow Trees, Mentawai is a dream come true for almost all surfers. 

The thrill of riding one of the world’s most consistent right-hand barrels at this Indonesian gem is unlike anything else, making it a top destination for surfers seeking that barrel of a lifetime. 

With expert tips on gear, etiquette, and techniques for getting into the right waves, this guide will prepare you for your first session at HTs. Dive in to discover the best ways to catch the perfect wave and make the most of your time at this world-famous surfing spot.

Introduction to surf spot Hollow Trees

You might hear Hollow Trees being referred to by a few different names, often referred to simply as HTs, it was first known as Lances Right after it’s discovery by Lance Knight. Today it goes by all 3.  

Located on the south end of Sipora, Mentawai Islands in Indonesia, HTs offers some of the most consistent and coveted right-hand barrels in the world. The clear waters, tropical climate, palm tree-lined shore, and the perfectly shaped waves provide an idyllic backdrop for scoring some of the best waves of your life.

Your view of HTs from Villa Onu. Now imagine chilling in that hammock after a session and watching the show.

As one of the most famous waves at Lances Right, Hollow Trees attracts surfers from all corners of the globe eager to test their skills against its fast, wrapping tubes. 

The Mentawai region is world-renowned for its consistency, providing surfers with the opportunity to score waves almost every day of the year. 

Lances Right demands respect, as the waves can be unforgiving, but for those who approach it with the right mix of skill and patience, the rewards are beyond worth it. 

Whether you’re an experienced surfer or looking to challenge yourself, understanding the unique characteristics of Hollow Trees surf is important for making the most of your first session in this paradise.

Essential Equipment for Surfing Lances Right

To tackle the waves at Lances Right, having the right equipment is non-negotiable. A well-chosen surfboard is the most critical piece of gear. 

For the powerful barrels of HTs, a board with good paddling power and stability is key—usually, a shortboard or a step-up that can handle steep drops and fast waves. Once the waves are over 4 foot, your step up is going to come in handy. Once it’s over 6ft, it’s time to bring out some of your proper weapons. 

Next, a sturdy leash is essential to ensure your board doesn’t get lost after an inevitable wipeout. Investing in a high-quality, durable leash can save you from a long swim back to shore across the reef. Check it for damage before every session, and make sure you pack a spare or two.

Additionally, a good set of fins will help with control and speed in the Hollow Trees surf. Again it’s worth having a spare set just in case you take a shallow paddle over the surgeons table. 

Given the coral reef below, a pair of reef booties can help to protect your feet. They can make the difference between an epic session and a painful encounter with the reef.

Don’t forget your suncream either. The Mentawai sun can be strong and there is nothing worse than missing your next session cause you didn’t cream up and protect yourself from the sun.   

Navigating the Lineup & Sharing Waves at Lances Right

Navigating the lineup at Lances Right requires both skill and etiquette. The lineup is where surfers position themselves to catch waves, and at HTs, this can get crowded depending on the day.

To share waves and maintain harmony, always follow surfing’s basic rule: the person closest to the breaking part of the wave has the right of way.

It’s crucial to communicate with fellow surfers to avoid collisions and show respect. Paddling around the lineup, rather than through it, can help prevent interfering with others’ rides. 

Additionally, be patient and wait your turn. DON’T ‘snake’, which is paddling around someone to get into the priority position, or ‘drop in’ which is taking a wave in front of a surfer already up and riding. Not only are drop-ins rude, but on bigger days, they can be very dangerous.

Understanding the rhythm of the waves will also help you anticipate the best time to take your turn, so put in the time in the lineup and you will find your bomb. 

We are all guests here, and we are all looking for the best waves, but by respecting the lineup dynamics and other surfers, you’ll contribute to a positive atmosphere that allows everyone a chance at the perfect ride at Lances Right.

Techniques for Catching and Riding Lances Right Waves

Catching and riding the waves at Lances Right is an art that combines timing, positioning, and skill. 

When aiming to catch these waves, start paddling early. The power and speed of HTs waves demand strong, committed paddling to ensure you match the wave’s pace. 

Position yourself so you’re taking off just beneath the peak to get the best trajectory into the barrel. As you drop in, keep your weight centered and your eyes forward, focusing on the exit of the barrel. Your stance should be low and wide for stability. 

It’s also essential to practice your turns, as quick and sharp maneuvers are often necessary to navigate the hollow sections. Remember, every wave is different, so adapt your technique as needed. With practice, you’ll learn to read the waves better, allowing for deeper, more exhilarating rides at Hollow Trees.

Common Mistakes to Avoid at Lances Right

At Lances Right, even experienced surfers can make mistakes that put their safety and enjoyment at risk. 

One common error is underestimating the power of the wave. HTs waves are fast and powerful, so always give them the respect they command. As surfers, we sometimes misjudge our own ability and paddle out in conditions that are beyond our skill level. Know your limits and only surf waves that you can handle confidently. If it gets really big, grab an ice cold Bintang and enjoy the show.

One of the most common mistakes people make is paddling over the Surgeon’s Table on their way back out to the lineup. The Surgeons Table is the name given to a shallow section of reef towards the end section of HTs. As the name implies, its not a place you want to be, so it’s a better idea to opt for the longer paddle behind the table and back to the channel. 

On lower tides, you really want to make sure you make your waves and get out before the end section. Sometimes, it can look like the perfect section for one last turn, but don’t do it. 

Lastly, failing to observe local customs and etiquette can disrupt the lineup harmony. Always be mindful of your surroundings and fellow surfers to ensure a positive experience for everyone.

The Best Time to Surf Lances Right

What time of the year you plan your trip to HT’s depends on what you are looking for. If you want the biggest and best days,  the best time is during the dry season, from April to October. During these months, the southwest swells are most consistent, bringing in the hollow, powerful waves that Hollow Trees is famous for.

The winds are also more favorable during this period, often light and offshore, which is essential for creating those sought-after barrel conditions. Early morning is typically the ideal time to paddle out, as the winds are calmest and the crowds thinner.

However, be aware that this is also peak season, so expect more surfers in the water. 

For those looking to avoid the crowds, the shoulder season might be exactly what you are after. With generally smaller conditions, light winds, and less crowds, shoulder season offers a good balance of swell and solitude. 

Always check the surf forecast before heading out to ensure the conditions align with your skills and expectations.

Villa Onu: The Ultimate Place to Stay at Hollow Trees Mentawai

When planning your surf trip to Hollow Trees, getting the right accommodation can make or break your trip. Villa Onu stands out as the ultimate place to stay for those looking to score the best waves at Lances Right. This luxury villa offers unrivaled access to HTs, situated directly in front of the famous break and next doors to Hollow Trees Resort. 

The convenience of being so close to the action means you can maximize your time in the water and seize the perfect conditions as they arise. You can literally check the surf from bed. 

Villa Onu isn’t just about proximity; it provides comfort and style for a relaxing retreat after a day of surfing. With its serene, privaate setting, you can unwind and enjoy the tropical surroundings, recharge your body, and be ready for another day of surfing. Our in-house chef will keep you fueled up with 3 delicious meals a day, and you can unwind with a massage in our massage mezzanine, sip a cocktail by the pool, or chill out with Netflix in the cinema room

The amenities and services ensure your focus remains on the waves, not on the logistics of your stay. For a seamless and unforgettable surfing experience, Villa Onu is the top choice for those visiting Hollow Trees.