World Surfaris: We all know Mentawai Surf Charters has been operating mind-blowing surf trips in Indo for years, but when exactly did the venture begin?
Mentawai Surf Charters: The company started officially in 2008, but the founder, Kadu Maia, was already in the surf charter business years before that. Kadu would help out on friend’s boats and sail around the islands on private charters, which eventually lead to a desire to have his own boat.
World Surfaris: From conceptualising initial ideas, to welcoming your first guests, can you talk us through the process?
Mentawai Surf Charters: The adventure of living in the Mentawai Islands and the fun of surfing perfect uncrowded waves is what sparked the idea to own a surf charter company. When we realised it was possible to make a living simply by bringing our friends over to surf, we turned the idea into a small business. Along with two other partners, Kadu started building the first boat: Star Koat 1. We lived in Padang during the 12-month construction process, which was a big reality check being so far removed from the tropical paradise we had dreamt of. Becoming residents in Indonesia meant a much smoother process in terms of running the business; and learning the language, understanding the Indonesian culture, and building solid relationships with the locals contributed significantly to our initial success. Finally, after dealing with builders, mechanics, extreme heat and bureaucracy, the boat was ready. Word of mouth in the surfing community spread rapidly about the new boat charter, and within a year Star Koat 1 welcomed pro surfers onboard and were represented by all the big travel agencies around the world. The reputation we’ve built has a lot to do with the quality of our services, as well as the love we put into every single detail of our operation.