On the peninsula of Babaomby in the North of Madagascar is a paradise for windsurfing.This feature looks at two locations; Les Cocotiers Windsurf Centre in the Baie des Français near to the city of Diego Suarez and the Babaomby Windsurf Centre in the Emeraude Sea opposite Isle Suarez and home to the Air Madagascar Windsurf Challenge.
Photos courtesy of www.windsurfchallenge.com
|Windy Season||April to November|
|Wet Suit?||No need!|
|Average Wind Speed||20 knots to 35 knots|
- How To Get There
You need to fly to Antananarivo/Madagascar or St Denis/La Réunion. There are plenty of flights from France with Air Madagascar and Air France. Then it’s a local flight of about an hour to Diego Suarez. Approximate cost is 1000 euros.
- How The Wind Works
The wind is a powerful trade wind, blowing from 20 knots to 35 knots from the beginning of April until the end of November and almost 100% consistency of more than 20 knots from June to October!
- The Sailing Spots
This is a reef break between two islands producing fun size waves good for jumping and riding in the side shore winds. It’s a bit like sailing at Sprecks/Camp One if you’ve been to Maui or ‘south coast’ sailor heaven if you’re from the UK! The best time for waves is July to October where you can get 2 to 3 meters of swell. On the inside of the lagoon, when the wind is strong it is choppy, but you can find glassy water close to the shore.
Best wind direction: South East
What’s on the bottom: Sand and reef.
Suitability/levels: Beginner to Advanced
Wipeout factor: There is a rescue boat so if you get in trouble, mainly through kit breakage, someone will come and collect you.
This is a free ride spot which is quite choppy.
Best wind direction: South East
What’s on the bottom: Sand
Suitability/levels: Beginner/Intermediate or Freestyle legends!
Wipeout factor: Again there is rescue cover.
Air Madagascar Windsurf Challenge 2005, 2006 and 2007.
- Water State
- Instruction And Kit Hire
A new windsurfing club opens for business 1st April 2008 stocking JP boards (Real World Wave, Freestyle Wave and X-Cite boards) with Neil Pryde Sails (Combats, Excess and Experience beginners’ sails). The rates go from 40 euros for half a day, 50 euros for one day and 235 euros for a week.
Babaomby Lodge: www.babaomby.com
Close to the Babaomby Windsurf Centre in front of the Emeraude Sea. You get there by boat.
Les Cocotiers Hotel: www.lescocotiers-diego.com
Close to Les Cocotiers Windsurf Centre, in the Baie des Français and 20 minutes by car from Diego Suarez.
L’allamanda: www.hotels-diego.com This hotel is in Diego Suarez, 20 minutes from the Les Cocotiers centre.
There are good restaurants within these hotels and lots of others good and cheap restaurants in the area. For supermarkets, chemists and general shops go to Diego Suarez which is an old French city with 100 000 persons and is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Madagascar.
The clubs in Diego Suarez are very hot!! The cost of a beer is 1 euro / 2500 ariary. It is a safe place at night.
- Bored Of Windsurfing
Go walking in the mountains. Montagne d’Ambre is 1000 metres high and the hotels provide excursions there.
Discover Diego Suarez. The city has one of the most developed shipyards in the Indian Ocean; the Secren, situated in Antsiranana. It is also famous for its outdoor market.
Going to this place is a bit more of an adventure than your usual windsurfing destination. It is consistently windy with fun wave conditions, not too intimidating and plenty of flat water if you want it.
Name: Nicolas Martin
Local beach: La Baule (French west coast)
How many years sailing: 25yrs
Last windsurf move you cracked: Aerial
What you’re working on now: Back Loop