Mentawai trailblazer returns to find empty perfection in a pandemic era.
Martin Daly is the swarthy skipper credited with pioneering the Mentawai Islands as a surfing playground. Working as a salvage diver on wrecks in the 80s, Daly stumbled across the wave zone that has since become a Disneyland for surfers.
Daly was the first to surf and name a host of the Mentawais’ fabled breaks and began running charters to the region in the early 90s. Following in Daly’s boat wake a fleet of charter boats soon began operating in the wave-rich island chain, delivering surfers to the kind of set-ups that trumped their fantasies. Not surprisingly Daly has enough sea tales to write a book bigger than Moby Dick. Some of those were told In Michael Oblowitz’s (produced by Daly) controversial documentary, Heart of Darkness. Oblowitz and Daly have long-harbored ambitions of turning Daly’s story into a TV drama series. It appears some of the mythology surrounding Daly will be borrowed by the ABC TV drama 'Barons', which is currently cranking up production.
In a quirky twist of fate, the COVID pandemic finds Daly back in the Mentawais, once again with almost nobody around. After establishing a luxury resort in the Marshall Islands, Daly is now running charters in the Mentawais, urging surfers (those who can) to jump on a plane and enjoy a rare chance at empty perfection.