A surfing obsession called No Kandui

September 3, 2019 | Surfing
Gustavo Deutrich: finding heaven at Mentawai's No Kandui | Photo: Gustavo Rojas

Every surfer has a dream. Mine was to travel to the Mentawai Islands to experience No Kandui at 12-foot plus.

Despite obsessing over Indonesia's No Kandui for 33 years, witnessing the wave's exhilarating power and freight train barreling waves was moving beyond words.

At the age of 10, reading my first surfing magazine, I became transfixed, stumbling upon a perfect left-hand wave breaking in crystal clear turquoise water.

The bare-bones description was nothing but "somewhere in the Mentawai Islands." I was hooked, and my dream became hunting for the perfect wave.

Visiting the Mentawai Islands transformed this abstraction into a reality.

Now that I'm 43 years old - it feels like a long time waiting for this moment.

No Kandui: people in the boats cheer every surfer that makes it out the barrel | Photo: Gustavo Rojas

About No Kandui

Considering No Kandui only works about ten times per year, the wait was worth it.

No Kandui is one of the heaviest, barreling left-hand waves in the world, breaking over a razor-sharp shallow coral reef.

Inspiring a mix of respect and fear in experienced surfers, the difficulty and danger of this wave are for expert surfers only.

When this wave breaks perfectly, the atmosphere is breathtaking.

No Kandui: when this wave is breaking perfectly, the atmosphere is breathtaking | Photo: Gustavo Rojas

The thunderous noise of the wave crashing, the tremendous volume of water moving, and the people in the boats cheering every surfer that makes it out the barrel - it is all sensory overload and nothing short of exhilarating.

The energy in the air when No Kandui comes alive is remarkable and, to me, watching the spectacle is what it feels like to be alive.

Without a doubt, I can say that waiting 33 years to see No Kandui - and photograph it - was well worth it and better than I could have imagined.

Seeing No Kandui alive and kicking was a dream come true.

I full-heartedly recommend to all surfers to make a trip to the Mentawai Islands the priority on their bucket list.

No Kandui: a perfect left-hand wave breaking in crystal clear turquoise water | Photo: Gustavo Rojas

Words and photographs by Gustavo Rojas | Surfer/Photographer | @saltybloodphotography