We all know about Mauritius and Tamarin Bay. A flawless left that breaks perfectly for a long distance over a coral reef. We also know that it is a no-go zone for traveling surfers, as attacks and punch-ups have been reported regularly in the surf and mainstream press, with little ever done about it.
That side of the Mauritius story is passé. The locals have felt for 40 years that they have been unfairly treated and shown no respect, ever since Larry Yates released his ‘Forgotten Island Of Santosha’ in 1974, and in their eyes what they do is justified. Nowadays the most worrying story is that there is a new breed of groms who are ready to fight anyone, with the backup of the rest of the locals.
There is more to Santosha however, and if you are adventurous and know your way around, it is still a very special travel destination that will fulfill all your needs, pretty much.
The waves on the Le Morné Peninsula are less hectic and localized than Tamarin, and they are often very uncrowded during the week and during the mid-day hours. There are two lefts in the area along the same coral band, and there is a big bowling right that gets affected by the easterlies pretty quickly. There is also a double-up right fun wave in the immediate vicinity.
In the south of the island there are a number of quality waves, with all needing various swells, tides and wind directions. Some of them are right in front of you, while others are far out beyond the reef, and the only way out is via boat. Some of them sit in river mouths or nearby, and others wrap around giant boulders that stick into the ocean. If the winds start puffing from the north, head south and drive the coast slowly. There is a cemetery and nearby there are about 9 waves. Mauritius surfers who hang out down here are cool and friendly, and are more than stoked to have some company in the water, especially if you have to paddle across that one giant river mouth together.
If the wind is light and from the straight south (rare) and you have some solid swell in the area, then head for the north. There are a number of waves on the west side of the northern area, and there is a left-hand point-break that has unfortunately been a little messed-up by a local hotel build going on. The waves in the north are harder to find, but if you reach Grand Baie you’ve probably gone too far.
The other thing that you can do is to bring a kite with. The beach on the corner at Le Morne Peninsula is one of the greatest kiteboarding destinations in the world, and is frequented by so many kiteboarders from all over the world. There is a kite school in the area, and often when the wind blows hard and the waves are blown out it’s a good idea to go fly a kite.
The south coast running towards Le Morne is also a primo destination for downwind ocean paddling, and athletes use it for training. Downwind SUPing is also a fun alternative that keeps you in the water, and keeps you fit as well.
Finally, the golden rules that exist around Mauritius that doesn’t all sound right, but are of my opinion the way to deal with any possible aggressive situation that happens there.
Try and avoid the key surf spots on the weekend. They are usually quite crowded, and you run the risk of encountering pack mentality. Weekend includes Friday afternoon.
If you paddle out, do so either alone or with one other. Keep it low-key, get what you can, and don’t hassle anyone. Sit wide and you might get a few lucks swinging towards you.
If you get told to get out of the water, it’s best to do it. Paddle in, don’t engage, and live to surf another day.
Take the time to check out the low-key spots. Some of them are pretty satisfying, and you will get your share of the waves, so there’s always that.