Dr Jason from SA, in action at Maca’s Camp

I took a trip out to Macaronis in the Mentawai islands early November and got really lucky with some decent swell so late in the season and minimal crowds. The wave delivered frequent 4-5 foot sets that threw perfect barrels and fun walls all the way down the reef. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that Macas is an amazing wave. It’s one of those that you just can’t get enough of. You’ll find yourself spending the whole day in the water and still wanting to stay in for a few more after it gets dark.


The manageable crowd was always mellow and good vibes prevailed in the lineup. We were hooting for mate’s barrels, calling strangers into the sets and laughing at others going over the falls. Generally the standard of surfing was exceptional. With quality surfers, good vibes in the water and guys and girls pushing it to the limit we saw some incredible surfing on some world class waves in a beautiful location. Evenings were spent sharing bintangs and tequilas, chatting about the waves of the day, worse wipeouts and the saltwater crocodile that was lurking around the nearby island. Generally the better the waves that day the more we drank in the evening. So it’s safe to say we spent a fair amount of time at the bar! Really I couldn’t have asked for more out of a surf trip.

I offered my medical services at the camp and these were received with much gratitude. All the crew were very stoked to have me there and I felt welcome immediately. I was kept fairly busy during my time at Macas. There were numerous reef cuts and scrapes. I found myself running a daily pre and post surf dressings and wound review clinic at the poolside. Providing and advising on appropriate treatment and dressings and how many set waves the patient was allowed considering the injuries. Obviously always trying to ensure that more waves were left for the doctor. I treated a local guy for what looked like a spider bite with abscess formation requiring incision and drainage. A burn wound from a motorbike exhaust needed careful attention to ensure patient could get most surf time during her trip.

The worst injury occurred late one evening while we were about to settle down for a few bintangs. A really cool elderly gentleman, who was an experienced surfer with the froth level of an early grom, managed to connect his forehead with the reef on a smallish evening out at Macas. Fortunately there was no loss of consciousness and no evidence of a severe head injury. But the force of impact was evident from the damage he had done. He had the multiple abrasions, lacerations and significant swelling over his scalp and forehead including a large skin flap. Some good wound cleaning and technical suturing was required to fix him up. He was very stoked that I was there and very grateful for the help. Recovery went well and he insisted on getting in the water two days later, but this time wearing a helmet. Looked like his wounds had healed really well by the time I left.

For the rest of the surf doctors I would highly recommend a trip to Macas. The staff, the wave and the exquisite location are amazing. Hopefully there will be more opportunities for the surf docs out there in the future. All the staff agreed that we as surf docs come in very handy in such a remote location, far from medical attention where surf related injuries and non-surf related medical problems occur relatively frequently.

Special mention must be made to all the awesome staff at Macaronis including Aaron, Guy, Chad (thanks Hakenvisual for the photos), Andrew and Julie. You made the stay unforgettable. Thanks to all the new friends at the camp and the great crew at the Beach House on the Moon. It was a pleasure sharing some fantastic waves with all of you. And of course my wonderful girlfriend Hannah for always lending a hand when someone needed medical attention and putting up with me disappearing for eight hours a day to surf.

I will definitely be back soon for another round. You can’t get enough of Macas!


  1. Awesome work Dr Jason Van Heerden it was a pleasure to have you there and your service was much appreciated, hope to see you in the near future
    kind regards
    Guy Morgan

  2. Thanks for the report! I’m heading to Maca’s for the first time in Feb. Could you tell us what items would be good to bring in a first aid kit?

  3. Jason, “elderly gentlemand”?!?! How about elderly grom with a froth level of an early gentleman…je,je,je. Thanks again for your excellent care and attention. Mark

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