You are either in the group who have surfed it, or you are nowhere. It has been shot to death, it is the whore of the surf media, yawn, but f_k it is a good wave! Who cares if mag editors and the pro’s are over it? Its still one of the best right hand barrels in the world. Sure, one of the reasons why HT’s has gotten so famous is because it is so easy to shoot. And that golden afternoon light – it’s enough to make even the most jaded surf photographer’s ears glow. Literally.
So lets dissect all the elements that created this legend, situated on the southern tip of Sipora Island, near the village of Katiet.
Number one: Its consistent. From 1ft to 10ft, it does not often go flat. Both South and SouthWest swells get in.
Number two: It does not easily get blown out. HT’s is situated in a tight little corner, and even a light SE wind, which blows out all other righthanders in the Mentawais, is OK here.
Number three: A clearly defined reef cut which becomes a deep channel. It iss so defined that even some of the smaller charter boats park right up inside this keyhole. A better angle to shoot from does not exist. Not on this planet.
Number four: The wave itself. Somehow, when the wave is in the process of refracting, it shapes into a slight A-frame wedge. This A-frame can be fairly shifty, and inexperienced surfers often chase this peak around the reef like headless chickens. It’s best to choose your spot and wait., because it will come. When it gets over 6ft another reef further back comes into play and then it’s best to wait for those big bombs further up the reef, nice and deep. And then suddenly you will be in the group who have surfed it. Pheeeew.
HT’s, the insigator of Mentawaii hype:
Kelly, Ross-Clark Jones and some other ou’s made HT’s famous in the 1995 movie “Land of Many Waves”. It is this movie, and Kelly’s barrels at HT’s, which made me drop everything and come to Indo back in the mid nineties. I simply had to surf this wave, and I ended up staying 6 years. The moral of this little story is that HT’s, or Lance’s Right as it was originally known, was more or less single-handedly responsible for the Mentawai gold rush. And she’s still there, that sexy slut called HT’s, waiting for you to get up from your desk, reeling off barrel after barrel…
No description of HT’s would be complete without a mention of the surgeon’s table. This is the shallow reef where you will eventually end up if you blow the barrel. When its small and low tide you will see school’s of fish and crabs hang around the table to eat the pieces of meat you leave behind. Lekka! And by the way, HT’s is short for Hollow Trees, of which there are plenty in the tidal zone.
Meet the Author: Gideon Malherbe
Gideon built and skippered the legendary Indies Explorer, explored every inch of the Indo coastline and captained more than 70 charters over a 10 year period. Since then he foundedAll Aboard Surf Travel with his wife Chantal, and most recently took two years to explore the South Pacific on his yacht.