Mauritius and Rodrigues Islands are two world-renowned destinations for Windsurfing. Our guest this week is Coban Hardy, Operations Manager at Mautourco, a Windsurf enthusiast during his free time.
How did your interest in Windsurfing start? Can you share your passion with our readers?
My grandparents’ garage was full of windsurfing equipment, and around the age of 10, I decided to learn this discipline. Windsurfing is a water sport, which comes in two main interest groups: racing and riding. Racing is all about speed, and riding the waves is all about freestyle… I only practice racing.
What are the priority skills and qualities that one should have to get started in this discipline?
First of all, you need to love the sea, the wind, and gliding… Then you need perseverance, because the more you practice, the more you will progress. The problem with this sport is that wind is essential to its practice. Winter remains the most favorable period.
Did you have to undergo specific training?
No, I learnt by myself in the 80s with an equipment dating from the 70s. Today with modern equipment, you can learn much faster with improved sensations and comfort.
Are there any national or international competitions to which you have participated?
Thanks to the involvement of some local windsurfers, who greatly help to develop this discipline, I have had the chance to participate regularly in local competitions for the past 20 years. With the help of the sponsors, the organizers have succeeded in attracting foreign riders, including some international well-known windsurfers to Mauritius for competitions. For my part, my best memory remains a competition where I was lucky to take the start alongside Antoine Albeau (25 times World Champion, and the most successful French athlete in history).
What would be your recommendations for a beginner who would discover the same enthusiasm about Windsurf?
Equipment is still quite expensive, so my advice for beginners is to go for second-hand gear. There are two local WhatsApp groups, one for buying/selling equipment, the other for surfing. Joining these WhatsApp groups allows you to know who is windsurfing where and when and gives you access to second-hand equipment. Practicing alongside the best windsurfers leads to a much faster progress.
What is your greatest satisfaction when performing this activity?
Personally, when I am sailing by myself, I appreciate the “silence” and the gliding feeling. It allows me to relax. When sailing with other people, there is always a competitive spirit, to go faster than the other riders…
To your opinion, what are the best spots for Windsurfing in Mauritius?
Without hesitation, I would say Le Morne and Anse la Raie, because those are the windiest spots, which make it possible to surf as often as possible. Le Morne is not recommended for beginners, as the currents can be dangerous in some places. The eastern and southern regions are exposed to the trade winds. The western regions, however, should be avoided for beginners, as the winds come from inland and may carry you offshore in case of problems.
Our warmest thanks to our friendly guest whom we thank for his time and for sharing his passion with us. We can only wish him … Bon vent!
Stay tuned for future interviews.