West of Sumatra are the Mentawai Islands, an archipelago with waves so spectacular, Tim Elliott would brave just about anything to get there.
In the Mentawais, perfection is on tap. This extends to the quality of the food. Being stuck on a boat thousands of kilometres from the nearest food hall might lead you to expect a somewhat lower-than-usual quality of grub, but Robbie, the boat's Australian chef, is a culinary Dr Who, capable of conjuring miracle meals from a Tardis-like kitchen: tandooris, pasta, poisson cru. The only thing that excites Robbie more than the prospect of fantastic surf is when we catch a tuna or Spanish mackerel on one of the trawl lines. "Waa-haa!" he yells, filleting the fish on the back of the boat. "Fresh sashimi tonight!"
It's difficult to explain the exquisite privilege of surfing such a world-class wave by yourself. It's a little like turning up in the French Alps resort of Chamonix under three metres of fresh powder with no one around, or you and a mate playing the Old Course at St Andrews all day, completely alone.I surf for eight hours - a personal record. I could have surfed for more but it was getting dark and the moon was rising, huge and pearly blue.
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