Surf's up as monsoon season brings big waves to Seychelles
One local surfer says we have incredible waves rippling on our shores, and we should be able to use this to promote Seychelles as a surfing destination. (Selwyn Laurence)
(Seychelles News Agency) - As the southeast monsoon season starts in Seychelles, the time is right for bodyboard surfers to test their skills on the clear waves unfolding on the shores of the island nation.
“We have incredible waves rippling on our shores, and we should be able to use this to promote Seychelles as a surfing destination,” Selwyn Laurence -- a wave-rider told SNA.
Some of the beaches where surfers are commonly seen during the southeast monsoon season are Intendance, Anse Parnel, Anse Forbans on the main island Mahe, and Anse Kerlan on Praslin, the second-most populated island.
|Local surfer Selwyn Laurence has been surfing since growing up. (Selwyn Laurence) Photo License: CC-BY|
Surfing is not an easy sport and enthusiasts need some basic skills if they want to venture into it.
Local surfer Laurence told SNA that: “It took me a while to understand the technique and the maneuvers needed for the sport and you have to be a strong swimmer as well.”
Laurence has been surfing since he was growing up and said that “almost every Saturday, I used to go to Anse la Blague on Praslin to swim in the waves using my fun paddle board.”
Now a seasoned surfer, Laurence advises beginners that in order to get a better grip at surfing, they need to start with longer boards. Smaller boards, he said, are for “experienced surfers who want to have more control and thrills in the waves.”
|(Selwyn Laurence/YouTube) Video License: Standard YouTube license|
Julien Legras, another surfer, said that he enjoys coming to Intendance, located in the south of Mahe, where there are also offshore breaks along the beach.
“From the month of May to July you can experience big clean waves up to 6 feet, therefore it is much better suited for experience surfers,” said Legras.
He added that it imperative to match the velocity of the wave when surfing.
“When the surfer is at wave speed, the surfer must quickly pop up, stay low, and stay toward the front of the wave to become stable and prevent falling as the wave steepens. The basic idea is to position the surfboard so it is just ahead of the breaking part of the wave. A common problem for beginners is being able to catch the wave at all,” Legras told SNA.
Under the wrong set of conditions, surfing can be dangerous. Alain Alcindor, the chair of the Seychelles Sailing Association, said that to become a surfer “a person has to know how to swim and how to manage a wave. There is an element of risk that has to be taken seriously.”
|(Selwyn Laurence) Photo License: CC-BY|
“Surfing, like all water sports, carries the inherent danger of drowning. Anyone at any age can learn to surf, but should have at least intermediate swimming skills. Although the board assists a surfer in staying buoyant, it can become separated from the user,” Legras said.
One safety measure that can be taken to minimise the risk of a major accident is to attach a leash to the ankle of the surfer Legras said, but he added that does not prevent drowning.
With the sport gaining popularity, the surfers are getting the assistance of Alcindor to set up a local association.