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Lance's Right. Hollow trees

Lance's Right. Hollow trees

Mentawai islands - Sipora , Indonesia

Surf, Bodyboard

Lance's Right is one of the Mentawai crown jewels. It's located on the southwest coast of Pulau Sipora in front of the beach in Katiet, in a place that the first surfers that arrived there called Hollow Trees (HTs) due to the many coconut trees with hollow trunks that were found lying on the beach. Lance's Right was discovered at the beginning of the nineties when an Australian called Lance Knight arrived in the small village of Katiet. A local legend, called Hassan, took Lance in and he didn't just enjoy a warm wlecome, he discovered the best right-hander that he'd ever seen in his life. One day when a boat called the Indies Trader was passing by to retrieve a bulldozer that had fallen into the sea, the captain Martin Daly was surprised to see someone in the distance in this unknown line-up. He got closer and found Lance and his right-hander.

In 1992, the Indies Trader returned with Tom Curran on board and from then, this beautiful place became the centre of attention and professional surfers, producers and photographers started to visit, revolutionising the concept to be had about what was a perfect right in a perfect place, and in turn converting Lance's Right by the late nineties into a fashionable wave that everyone wanted to see. It can be said that in Indonesia, Nias was the wave of the eighties, G-Land was the wave of the nineties and at the beginning of the XXI Century, it was Lance's Right (Hollow Trees). For the last few years Lance's Right has embraced the Rip Curl Pro Mentawai and the best locals and the best Indo surfers battle it out in a show of barrel riding. 

Nowadays something has changed in Hollow Trees and your main concern may not be the number of surf-charters that you'll be able to get, but it will be the level of surfing that the Katiet children have acquired that will surprise you the most as those that had not surfed before or attempted with logs or broken boards, now surf at the highest level and they are the real owners of the peak.

It's quite useful to know some of the local dialect, this will help improve your experience, especially if you are travelling by your own accord. Once you're in Padang, the easiest option is to go by ferry to Tua Pejat, the capital of Pulau Sipora. Everything here is subject to the weather conditions and other local factors so it's better to be patient in Padang and everything will have been worth the effort when you are paddling in the channel and realise that every drop of water was put in place to create one of the best rights in the world.


Despite it not facing the Indian Ocean, Lance's Right is one of the most consistent waves in Mentawai between April and October. There you'll find one of the best examples of the phenomenon known in Indonesia as 'swell wrap' or refraction that allows the swell to arrive with all its energy along 180º of the south of the island.

The reef is more than 100 metres in size and for most it works best with high tide, northwest wind and S - SW swell, if the swell is more from the SW, there's more chance that you'll be able to link the sections. The first section, 'the Office', is precise and dangerous as when it's between 6 to 8 feet, it creates a huge barrel just after the bottom, creating one of the most impressive double ups in Indo. This is when HTs is most sought after. With 4 or 5 feet it's very good but it gets too shallow below 3 feet. The last section is 'the Cage' and with 3 to 4 feet and high tide it has barrels and is very rippable. However, you should be careful of the sharp reef that's known as 'the Surgeon's Table'.

If you have an intermediate level, at high tide you can enjoy the final sections. In general you should take care because Lance's Right seems easy when you see it but in reality it isn't and so it's recommended to enter with precaution the first few times. With good conditions, it creates large barrels and above all there is no room for errors in 'the Office'. Be careful if you wipeout on the inside, don't try to paddle back from there as you'll get trapped on 'the Surgeon's Table'. Let the current take you towards the channel.
Optimal Conditions
  • Wave
  • Wind
  • Tide
  • Swell
    SW - S
  • Bottom
    Coral reef
  • Size
    3 to 12 ft
  • Time of year
    All year long
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