Ever ask yourself “I wonder what’s happening in the Mentawais right now?” Christian Barton never has to ask himself that question, because he pretty much lives out there. Barts, 38, from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, has been surfing Indo for 17 years and working as a surf guide in the Ments for the past five. In that time, he’s worked on 12 separate vessels and is currently the resident surf guide at world-famous Macaronis Resort. His job description, in his own words: “To keep my guests safe and well-fed, make sure they’re having fun, and getting very barreled!”
With the 2012 Rip Curl Pro Mentawai just around the corner, we checked in with “Barts” for an insider update from surfing’s most beloved playground.
Hey Barts, when did you get out to Macaronis Resort this season?
I’ve been at Maccas Resort this season since Boxing Day 2011, getting the place up to scratch for the mid-March re-opening which was “all hands on deck.”
How is the all-new Macaronis Resort looking?
The resort is looking awesome. It’s been a major rebuild, fraught with all the logistical challenges that came up the first time the resort was built, but it’s now complete. We opened in late March and the feedback from guests has been very positive. The amenities, pool, bar, massage gazebo, A/C rooms, and everything makes life very enjoyable when you’ve been surfing some of the funnest waves on Earth.
What’s the best thing about staying at Macaronis Resort vs. other land camps in the Ments?
The nearest resort to Maccas is Kingfisher Resort at Lance’s Left, so it’s really nice not having all the longboats from various resorts like there are further up north. That’s the main difference between Maccas Resort and the other equally beautiful and well-run resorts further up north.
Can you give us an update on the wave at Macaronis since the earthquake and tsunami that hit the bay in Oct. 2010.
The wave at Macaronis is still exactly the same. But the surrounding headlands and beaches have indeed had radical “haircuts.” Think 80’s flat-tops!
How has the 2012 season been so far out at Macaronis and nearby waves?
We just had the most amazing weather and swell patterns in April. Early March was a little slow but it seemed to just hit when the first guests arrived. Pumping swell and glorious weather. Hasn’t stopped since.
What have been some of the highlights so far?
Everyone’s been scoring – Rifles, Bankvaults, Maccas, Greenbush, down south, etc. There have been pros around scoring everywhere. Pedro Felizardo should have some mental shots of the Bush just recently with Heitor Alves and crew. The afternoon I peeled my head open at Maccas they had left an hour before to go surf the Bush. They scored while I bled!
Yeah, tell us about your recent run-in with the reef at Maccas. What happened exactly?
I got 15 stitches in my face and head pulling into a far-from-perfect low-tide double-up bomb. The wind was funky, no one was out and I quite clearly chose the wrong line and paid the price.
A lot of people who’ve never been to Macaronis think that it’s just a perfect fun wave, but it can get heavy too.
Maccas has many moods. It should be great to watch the upcoming contest if it’s held in an angry/serious mood, though I hope nobody gets hurt.
We hear you might also be surf guiding on the Indies Explorer, the largest surf charter boat in the Ments.
I boarded the Indies Explorer last season to have a look and was really impressed. She looked fantastic! She’s a big vessel and the guys that worked on her to get the boat to where it is now all deserve a pat on the back. I hope to guide for them when I’m available.