WS: Hey Jaco & Caylin, great to finally catch up with you! Could you tell us a bit about
K: Kingfisher Resort is situated directly in front of a long peeling reef break called Lance’s Left, located at the Southern tip of Sipora Island in the Mentawais. It's the ultimate surfers paradise with a world class break on your doorstep. Set against a lush jungle back drop, each of our 4 beach bungalows with en-suite bathrooms boast panoramic views of the spectacular wave. You can literally step from your bungalow terrace onto the sand and into the ocean within seconds. Our big open air restaurant and bar is the centerpiece of the resort where our in-house chef serves up a variety of freshly prepared nutritious meals. Our large seafood BBQ’s are a vibe! We have 10 waves in the region, including the world class Lances Right around the corner. Having a 28ft speedboat at our guests disposal means the furthest wave away is under 10minutes. In addition, we also have scooters available for our guests to use for whenever they wish to explore. Our ethos is to get you on the best waves of your life day in and day out. We froth to get you frothing! The resort caters for all levels of surfers and with a bunch of other activities on offer besides surfing we also cater for both families and significant others. Whether it’s fishing, snorkeling, standup paddle boarding or exploring mangroves, we are always up to fun!
WS: So, how and why did you get into the surf tourism industry?
K: The incredible lifestyle of course! We've both been surfing since a young age, our lives and the decisions we have made have always revolved around the ocean. So instead of chasing careers and money we made a conscious decision that we wanted to live an enriching life, where precious time and beautiful experiences would become priority. And so, we made the move and now we feel that there's no other job in the world that enhances the quality of our lives as much as this. Initially we sought personal fulfilment from the decision to live in the Mentawais and operate a surf resort (of course we get to surf perfect waves all day) and years later we have now grown to a point where we get more stoked on making our guests stoked. It makes us stoked to put our energy into making sure that when our guests leave the resort, that they are wanting to come back year after year.
WS: Covid has been super challenging for the tourism industry, you are now open and back in operation, how have you adapted and gotten through this challenge?
K: Covid sure has been tough, despite it all we continued to hold onto hope. We held onto hope knowing that we will once again be enjoying having our guests back, getting them onto epic waves and having a great time. We also viewed these last 2 years as an opportunity. Never in history before did we have so much time on our hands to concentrate on the resort, and so we used the time wisely to renovate and make sure the resort is in tip top shape for when our guests return. We can't wait for our returning guests to enjoy the new additions to Kingfisher Resort.
WS: What have you been keeping yourself busy with at the resort as of lately?
K: Besides getting some of the best waves of our lives, we've been concentrating on maintaining the resort, upgrading the bungalows and restaurant with new furniture, fixtures and fittings. We have redesigned our BBQ area and built a fantastic swimming pool and beach bar which boasts panoramic views of Lances Left. It has become the new sunset hangout spot! In addition we have added a new large luxury bungalow which we call the “honeymoon suite” as it even has its own private dip pool. And yes, this new bungalow also has incredible views of the wave out front. Our main focus was to improve Kingfisher to keep it fresh and modern, and so that our guests get even more joy from the resort.
WS: What are some of the highlights and challenges of keeping things running day in
and day out at a busy surf resort?
K: The highlight for sure is getting our guests onto the best waves of their lives. The froth and energy levels after a day of perfect waves is something that will never get old. Topping the day off with a freshly caught fish for dinner is great too! The biggest challenge on a daily basis is deciding which way to go, left hand barrels or right hand barrels!
WS: It’s been a long time since the Mentawai’s have been this empty, can you tell us about some memorable sessions you’ve had over the past 2 years?
K: Now that’s a hard one! We’ve had far too many (yes we are spoilt).
I remember one session in particular, perfectly glassy 4-foot Lances Left. Not a drop of water out of place, just myself and Caylin in the water. A set came through, Caylin went on the first one, me on the second. Two screamers down the point, at the end of the wave I kicked out next to her in the channel. We looked up the point and watched on as the set continued to send freight train wave after wave down the reef. We started screaming with excitement and kicking hard to make it back to the top of the reef for another wave. We got there and the set was still producing waves, Caylin swung around and went on another wave from the same set, I followed suit. Another two perfect waves from the same set. We both kicked out in the channel and just sat there, we looked at each other, awestruck. We could only laugh, realising the moment that we were living in was extraordinarily special and we would never be able to experience it in our life again. Perfect wave after perfect wave, it’s a real thing out here!
WS: What is your favorite wave in the Mentawai’s area?
K: Caylin - It has to be Lances Left. I am a goofy footer and this wave is a goofies dream (and the reason I made a life out in the Mentawais). I have had the best barrels of my life out here and it is a really long wave which I love. It is also right on my doorstep, meaning that when it's on I can be in the lineup within seconds.
Jaco - I'm a regular footer so it has to be Bintangs. I think you would need to search far and wide to find a wave more fun than this. Mechanical round barrels with a wall that bends back at you which is just perfect for turns. A bonus as well is that it is only 5 min across the channel by boat from Kingfisher so we are always the first ones in the lineup when it turns on!
WS: We’re all hoping that 2022 will see a broader resumption of international travel, what are you most looking forward to other then welcoming back guests!?
K: Sharing the stoke that we get to enjoy every day! Over the last 2 years we have had such incredible waves and beautiful moments, we are just itching to share this special place and waves with other people!
WS: Thanks guys for joining us in this months Stoked Article, it's been great to catch up with you both for a rundown of what's been happening at Kingfisher Resort!