8 DAYS > 7 PEOPLE > 1 PARADISE > AMAZING FEELING !!
SSF’s Kitewave Coaching disembarked on rich process of evolution in Mauritius, where the days of learning were full of friendship, union, and freedom in the Pearl of the Indian Ocean— a dream come true! Willow River led the boat.
By Jalila Paulino
The time had come. A year of planning, e-mails, phone calls, surveys, and everything else involving a group kite trip, inside our bags and inside our heads. We were about to embark on the Surfin Sem Fim Coaching in the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” – the paradisiacal Mauritius, located to the southwest of the African continent. The overflowing expectations also had given us the taste of a dream come true. It was as if our desires materialized. The trip always starts well before boarding, but there are always obstacles…
If the energy is good, it comes back somehow: the kind that anticipates the dream
I started traveling on the 13th in order to meet the group on the initial date of coaching, June 15, and participate in all phases of the plans drawn (from logistics to the schedule of “lessons” in and out of water). The cheap flights will always put you to the test (lol). I went to London, where I needed to switch airports to catch the last flight a few hours later.
A kiter who was going to participate in our coaching but could not come because of work, kindly invited me to meet up while I was waiting for my next flight.
On the way, a very nice gentleman opened his Mercedez Benz’s doors for me and I was able fit my board in there in a way he did not even dream of being possible. The car’s own wi-fi helped me connect with my friend who was waiting for me in a charming spa hotel to enjoy the spa’s “day use” and other relaxing services. For those who had opted for the more economical (and more tiresome) way, these pleasant surprises of life foreshadowed all of the good that would come at our final destination.
HISTORICAL > GEOGRAPHIC OVERVIEW
The island was discovered in 1505 by the Portuguese, colonized by the Dutch in 1958 and has been under control of France and the United Kingdom. It was only in 1968 that its independence was declared, although it just became a republic in 1992. The capital is Port Louis, an urban settlement with 140,000 people where the main port of the region is located, where sugarcane, tobacco and the tea (main items of the economy of the country) are exported. Located 800km from the island of Madagascar, the closest neighbors are the Reunion Islands and the Seychelles, two other paradises.
French and Creole are the predominant languages of Mauritius, though many natives speak English due to tourism opportunities. It is possible to see the famous black volcanoes, the same volcanoes that once spewed the lava that formed the corals where we kited.
PEARL OF THE INDIAN OCEAN > A KITE’S PARADISE
For those who love the sunrise, I was surprised by the colors of the mornings. The sloping incision of the light in the turquoise blue sea, with an incredible mountainous landscape in the background will forever be stored in my collection of good memories. The wind, which consistently starts around 10am, gives the signal for the kites to color the view. And so they danced, like characters on the stage, until the last light of day. The waves break on stone and coral, and range from 2 to 6 feet in height. In fact, Mauritius is one of the world’s kitesurfing meccas.
The best time to kite on the island is between mid-June and August, with strong winds blowing clean, without gusts. So most of the time you may only kite with small kites. To ensure fun in any condition, three different kite sizes are ideal for a cautious rider.
The wind was already buzzing when I met the Surfin Sem Fim group at the hotel. Many smiles, lots of hugs, and a lot of good energy! Some had just arrived from a session in Manawa and One Eye, two coveted kite spots in the area. I could not get out of the hypnosis that the color of that water had me in. In the face of all this, with the sun shining outside, I felt that the following days would be blessed.
The crew grabbed my attention, I did not waste any more time as I started to prepare to enter the water. I was eager to feel the force of the wind guiding me to my next discoveries. I was touched by what I saw and felt. Gliding over the blue, I saw mountains, volcanoes, and lagoons that inspired me and brought a unique feeling of satisfaction.
MANAWA – THE FIRST CHALLENGE
We were being instructed and guided by the professional rider and captain of the Surfin Sem Fim, Willow River, which added security. We went to Manawa, which maintained a shallow coral reef. I was kiting in the shallow part, respecting nature, until I found the right moment to advance over to the waves, which reached 2 meters at the time.
The fear passed, the real kiting began, and I was carried away by the energy of the moment. The waves, although large, had a fuller break in the shallower part of the lineup, and I did pretty well in my first drops. It’s like they say, if nothing goes wrong, then it’s too easy! (lol) At my chance to catch the “queen,” I did not get scared, and soon my ecstasy mixed with the vibe of our group!
The members of the group that participated in the coaching were already frequenter clientes of SSF, which made the experience very familiar. We also had the presence of a North Korean who entered the group last minute, who became a great companion.
It’s very interesting how people become close when they share the same goal. The passion for nature, for the connection with others; respect for differences and dedication to evolution in sport have created an intimate environment that no money can buy. Kitesurfing is a sport where everyone helps each other and takes care of the other. Compassion and respect prevail, and this is fascinating in today’s world.
In the case of kiting, I believe that traveling in groups is very conducive to an unprecedented experience. Especially when learning is involved. Traveling with Surfin Sem Fim has shown me the importance of being surrounded by people who want to live intensely, dedicated to listening and learning. Having a “guru” who always has the right words and the best individual analysis of their performances accelerates the process of self-confidence. Absorbing the first tips and guidances of the Willow early in the trip was key for us to learn and extract all our potential during this practice trail.
NATIVE > CULTURE > FUN
Mauritius offers great tours. We visited a waterfall complex called “Seven Waterfalls” which is a must see. After so much salt water, the clean, powerful water helped to clean and relax the group. In the city, we passed a mostly Indian neighborhood and noticed the architecture and customs, totally different from the rest of the island.
One of the most touching experiences of the trip, together with the crashing waves, was on a boat trip where we went to see the dolphins and the sunrise. There we swam, dove, and connected with marine nature in a very lively and intense way, as if they were recognized all of our emotions.
Throughout Mauritius, one thing is certain: the natives are extremely solicitous and hospitable, always ready to help and to be partners in your experience.
One day we went to “FÊTE DE LA MUSIQUE”, an annual music event that happened in Tamarin, with several performances. The surprise (and the highlight) was our coach Willow who sang and shared the stage with his 13-year-old sister, Asia, who made everyone fall in love with their voices on stage.
Next year Surfin Sem Fim will be back! If I could point out a new horizon for you to discover and enjoy a kitesurfing trip with family and true friends, I would suggest that you put Mauritius into your plans.
< STAY TUNED >
Fred Daiube (Drone)
Alexander House hotel & Utopia Spa (London)
St Regis Resort (Mauritius)
Hammond Sale Jr. (Translation)