Nestled amongst the palm trees on Pitojat Island, Togat Nusa Retreat is truly a magical place. A private, tropical island sanctuary perfect for those looking to escape, relax and unwind. Positioned in the surf rich Mentawai Islands chain, this unique retreat is surrounded by some epic scenery and waves. Togat Nusa Retreat is a low impact, private retreat and caters expertly for only 8 guests at a time. Quality and service come first, as your hosts focus on providing you with the most unique and relaxing surf trip experience in the Mentawai Islands.
Looking out over a turquoise lagoon at the front of the island, you will see 'Scarecrows' - a long left hand wave that peels around the fringing coral reef. The other end of the Island drops off quickly into a deep channel and offers impressive views to the south of the palm fringed mainland and waves breaking on distant reef passes. Paths through to the centre of the island will have you walking amongst a lush, tropical rainforest abundant with flora and fauna such as native orchids, climbing vines, large monitor lizards and many bird species. This place is the total package in island holiday relaxation. Perfect for couples and friends to chill out together in between surfs.
Have lived in the islands since 2004, moving to the Mentawais via the big island of Hawaii, where they were married in 1999, on a tandem surfboard that John shaped and glassed! In Hawaii, they owned and operated Ocean's Organic Avocados, an organic farm.
John was raised in Longbeach / Dominican republic and moved to Hawaii in the 80's. He lived on the North shore of Hawaii for many years, before moving to Big Island in search of uncrowded surf. John is a MASTER woodworker, waterman, kind-hearted individual - when you live on an island 100 miles away from a tool store, you become a jack of all trades.
Ainsley was born in New Zealand, then moved to Canada, then to Hawaii. Coming from a travelling family, Ainsley has it in her genes... Ainsley says "The water in Canada was too cold for surfing, so I moved to Hawaii in search of surf and that is where I met John".
The appropriately named Oceans are both avid surfers, adventurers and animal lovers. In June of 2004, John and Ainsley Ocean sold their Hawaiin farm and belongings, and moved to Karamajet Island in the Mentawais to work on the construction of Kandui Resort. They spent the next 10 months living in a tent, learning Indonesian, teaching local workers construction skills and reclaiming driftwood for the construction of buildings.
They surfed and worked through the off-season, facing a myriad of challenges that included storms, heat, tsunamis, earthquakes, injuries and Indonesian politics to create the now world famous Kandui Resort (with the assistance of partners). Surf resort projects are certainly not about making millions. Instead, they're about dreams. "We just wanted to go surfing," says Ainsley Ocean, "you only have so much time… we were ready to sell everything, travel, and surf." Simply put, these are hard-core surfers, and they've abandoned their western lives to pursue dreams of tropical reef barrels. As you can see from the photos, they've already succeeded on that level.
After several years managing Kandui Resort, John and Ainsley decided to head in a new direction and worked for Surfaid and made another organic farm in the Mentawais; bought a fishing boat and floated around in search of a new location and uncrowded waves.
In Ainsley's words - “Now we have created our new place, Togat Nusa Retreat, where we are focusing on small groups, quality service and a place to relax. As the world is becoming increasingly crowded, it's getting harder to find quiet places on the planet. We moved to the islands in search of surf, an unspoiled paradise and to get out of the rat race and live a good lifestyle… and we found it!! We have created a sanctuary... peaceful, soulful and with waves! Please come and share our little slice of heaven"
Four traditionally inspired Bungalows, each uniquely designed and built in the same style as the main building, using recycled timbers and driftwood. Each bungalow is set up to accommodate 2 people (unless otherwise organized), for a total of 8 guests on the island at any one time. All have private bathrooms with running hot water. The funky interior design incorporates hand-built custom furniture and antique lighting and fixtures left over from Dutch fishing vessels. Each bungalow also has fans to help stay cool.
Using local Mentawai builders, under the guidance of John E Ocean, Togat Nusa Retreat maximizes its local surroundings and functions as a partial eco- resort, yet still delivers a very high standard of accommodation and personal space. Togat Nusa Retreat was built by the same builders who created Kandui Resort.
Influenced by the design of traditional Mentawai Umas, the bar has been built with the owner/builder’s (John E Ocean} artistic flare and creativity in design shining through in its rustic styling, making this spectacular piece of craftsmanship, truly a one of a kind.
With an emphasis on locally sourced fresh meats, fish, fruit and vegetables as well as home baked breads and pastries, Togat Nusa's experienced Indonesian chef combines traditional and western recipes to create the most delicious meals. You won't go hungry and the team at Togat Nusa will make sure you have the energy to fuel those epic surfs.
Breakfast for early birds includes fruit, yogurt and homemade granola, tea and coffee. You can then order what you like choosing from omelettes, pancakes, French toast, homemade bread, bacon and eggs.
Lunches and Dinners are served buffet style and include pizza, burritos, pasta, curries and Indonesian dishes (Rendang, Lumpias, Soto Ayam) plus fresh fish and salads. For dessert you can indulge on homemade cakes, donuts and fresh fruits. You will be given a large aqua bottle that you can refill in the restaurant.
Food allergies and special dietary requirements are not a problem but should be specified before your arrival to ensure the kitchen is prepared. Please also advise of any birthdays or special occasions during your stay so we can help to make them extra special.
Built entirely out of recycled timber and driftwood collected from the surrounding beaches, the high pitched sago palm thatched roof is supported by a centre beam made from the trunk of a massive coconut tree. Crossbeams and supports with branches and root systems still intact protrude from the walls, creating the shelves which hold the sound system, lights and ornaments.
Each piece of furniture, from the bar stools to the dining table has been individually built in the same style as the building itself. From the roof hangs the skeleton of a pilot whale, whilst the walls are adorned with traditional carvings and locally collected treasures... all adding to the vibe of the place. Old Japanese fishing buoys, antique boat lamps and the shells from various marine animals have been fitted with bulbs to supply the lighting, and have set the scene for many a party.
The Bar was the first building on the island and is essentially the hub for all island activity. Situated at the front of the Island, with a panoramic view of the waves reeling off at Scarecrows, this is where guests will gather for meals, enjoy a drink, or simply to put their feet up, listen to some tunes and watch the surf!
The bar stocks a variety of beers and spirits as well as making cocktails and fresh fruit smoothies. Its NW facing aspect makes it the ideal place to grab a cold beverage and watch the sun set on another perfect day in paradise.
The Mentawai Islands are world renowned by surfers for the quality and consistency as a surf zone. Situated on Pitojat Island, off the northern end of Sipora Island, guests to Togat Nusa Retreat have access to a number of quality breaks, all within a short boat ride of the Island. Icelands, Scarecrows, Telescopes and loads more world class waves are within a short boat ride from the resort.
A traditional dugout canoe, powered by two 40 horsepower Yamaha engines will transfer you safely to and from the surf at speeds of up to 20 knots. Built locally, this style of boat is designed for travel in local waters and, whilst the ride can sometimes be a little wet, the length and shape of the hull helps it to cut efficiently through the surf for a smoother ride than a western style speedboat.
The drivers are experienced boatmen, growing up in the islands and around boats all their lives. It is impressive to watch the way they manoeuvre these big logs around. As well as carrying all the required safety gear, the boat has a cooler for drinks and a large roof and padded seats with backrests, ensuring guests are comfortable and protected from the sun during travel and when sitting in the boat shooting photos or taking breaks between sessions. Daily transport to optimal surf breaks are included.
Whilst you can surf year round, it is the southern hemisphere winter, from April through to October that sees the peak of the season, as storm activity in the southern Indian Ocean pushes swell after swell up towards the island chain.
We have compiled a glimpse of five well-known surf spots near Togat Nusa Retreat... with many more secrets to share once you arrive.
Iceland - Rarely a day goes by when there isn't some form of surfeable wave at this swell magnet. An average day at Icelands will see a steepish take-off, followed by a shorter ride with opportunity for a couple of turns and the occasional barrel. However, it is once a big W-SW swell hits, that Icelands truly starts to show itself, transforming from a small swell to somewhat of a beast. A powerful left, the take-off is steep, as the wave jacks quickly out of deep water throwing out a heaving barrel, for anyone who has what it takes... maybe a bigger board required to paddle over the lip and into it!
Scarecrows - Your new front yard - A long lefthander wraps around the front of the Island for rides of up to 200 yards. Picking up most available swell and surfeable on any tide, and at any size, Scarecrows is one of the most consistent breaks in the Mentawais. A wave of many moods depending on swell size and direction, the length of the wave ensures a little of everything is on offer. On a good day out front a surfer will find open faces perfect for carving, long racing walls and multiple barrel sections... sometimes all on the one wave! A fun wave, suitable to surfers of all abilities and skill levels. The reef here is deep by Mentawai standards, though the inside "Curry Bowl" section can get shallow and challenging at low tide, rewarding those who commit with a more intense barrel!
Telescopes - When it’s on, this long lefthander would have to rank up there with the most fun waves to be found anywhere. Requiring a more specific swell direction, Teles is not as consistent as some of the other spots but once the swell direction is good and lines start wrapping around into the bay at Mapadegat, it really is a sight to be seen. Long rides of over 200 meters are possible, as predictable section after section offer ample opportunities to whack, hack and pull in! Considering the quality of wave, Teles is quite forgiving, the reef here is relatively deep, though the wave should definitely not be taken too lightly. Big swells see large sets breaking further up the reef as barrels reel quickly down the line and into the regular take-off zone, slowing down briefly before walling up and concentrating again on the inside tube section.
Suicides - A right hander which breaks over a shallow and very live reef, Suicides is best surfed on a high tide. Those who aren't lured too far up the reef by an enticing, yet unmakeable section, can negotiate a steep take-off straight into a barrel before coming through to the next section and chance for a couple of turns as the wave fattens out into the channel.
Seven Palms - Good option for some fun on small days. Only a short ride from Togat Nusa, Seven Palms peels off along the reef in front of a scenic limestone coved beach. The wave tends to close out when the swell gets too big so it is generally saved for a bit of a change on those smaller days. It is a fun, rippable wave capable of throwing out the odd barrel. Suitable to surfers of any skill level, those looking for more of a challenge can push themselves further up the reef to a sometimes makable faster barrel section.
Rikas Rights - a fun ledgy hollow right hander that races down a shallow reef, hollow but user friendly. Shallow but not too heavy with plenty of opportunities to get barrelled as it peels and wraps around into deeper water. When it gets too big, there are a few more fun waves in the bay a few hundred meters away that you can paddle to.
Ariks Right - Breaks in a west swell when it’s big, and is an easy, good wave from 3-8 feet that can also barrel.
Loads more - The retreat has access to several other world class set ups. Expect variety!!
Swell: Sth or SW
Wind: Any type of East
The landscape and activities available in the area are extraordinary and varied. There are things to keep you totally busy or you can practice the fine art of doing nothing at all. Here's some suggestions from Togat Nusa’s most popular activities:
Fishing, Snorkelling, Poker, Picnics, Visiting a Local Village, Yoga Classes, Jungle Cruises.
Wi-Fi access is available throughout the resort and bar for guests to stay in touch.