Surfing in Mauritius can be really amazing and I am blessed to have one of the best surf spots in the world right in front of my house.
I do not consider myself as the best surfer in the world, far from that! Yet, I believe that the best surfer in the world is the one that has the most fun.
Surfing in Mauritius has many advantages and disadvantages like anywhere else in the world. Whether it is the iconic bull sharks of Tamarin Bay to the surf localism, let’s jump and let the waves roll.
Waves in Mauritius
Mauritius was called ‘The Lost Island of Santosha’ and that’s for good reason. We have some of the best waves in the world. So you wonder why isn’t Mauritius a global surf destination or why it is not on the WSL surf tour.
Well, there is one important reason for that, and that is our neighbor, Reunion Island. Our waves are born in the southwest and the swell hit Reunion Island first. That means that the surf in Mauritius is very inconsistent. You can easily spend a whole winter on the beach looking at a completely flat reef.
Surfing in Mauritius can also be quite tricky, especially if you are a beginner. We mainly have reef breaks, out of my head I can come up with a spot that has a sand bottom. This makes it very hard for beginners are we have live razor-sharp coral reefs and falling on it can be life-changing; for the worst!
Check out how I broke my neck on the post Shattered Dreams.
Mauritius surfing season
As waves are rare and swell forecasts tend to be unreliable, I would not say that there is such a thing as a surfing season in Mauritius. Of course, like with anywhere else in the world, winter is the most reliable season. That said, winter waves tend to be too big when they hit our island. That means that only a few spots work well, and guess what. Those will be the spots the most crowded with locals and white shorts.
In general, Mauritius is the kind of place where you would want to be multidisciplinary. From surfing to kite surfing with stand-up paddling in between. In that way, you can make the most of what the ocean has to offer on a day-to-day basis. It is common here to wait for 2 months for the swell the winter and have nothing come at all.
The best option is to drive around the island with a surf guide. Your guide will get updates from surfers living close to different spots around the island and thus provide you with the most reliable solution.
Mauritius tides for surfing
Different surf spots require you to surf at different tides. In most cases as 99% of the surf spots in Mauritius are reef, surfing low tide is a bad idea.
Tidal changes can also be quite drastic, so timing is everything. By the time you check a surf spot and go to the other one, coming back to the first spot may be too late. Thus the fact that local knowledge is very important.
Furthermore, tidal differences make it hard in certain places for entry and exit. You can paddle straight onto the reef at high tide at most surf spots but coming back the same way is more than often impossible. That would mean paddling around which can easily take 30 minutes in most cases.
Surfing for beginners in Mauritius
Beginners really love Mauritius to learn surfing. Compared to many countries you will go to, the island provides a wide array of things to do apart from surfing.
If you fancy going to swim with dolphins which is a well-known activity in Mauritius, make sure to check my post The Hidden Cost of a Selfie first.
The fact that Mauritian locals are multilingual also really helps. Everyone here is fluent in French and English making it very easy to communicate.
As a beginner surfer, you can learn the basics at beach breaks. Taking the white foam or going straight is everything you will need for your first few lessons and that is done on sandy beach breaks.
Moving from going straight to following your first wave is where things can get a bit more complicated. As previously mentioned, most waves in Mauritius are reef breaks. That means that if you want to move from going straight towards the beach to learning to follow a wave, you’ll have to go on the reef. But threat not!
Reef waves are broken down into different parts. The highest point where the wave starts breaking is often shallower and faster; definitely not suitable for beginners. It also takes many years before even being allowed to surf there, even for locals. This line-up, called the first line up has a huge hierarchy attached to it. If you haven’t proven yourself and taken the time to climb your way up, you will be asked to move down the line.
The best place to start for beginners is at the end of the wave. This is done accompanied by a local surf guide or instructor in order to make sure you are respecting the rules and not killing anyone with your board. The reef there is much less of a threat and when positioned properly you will be out of the way of other surfers.
Mauritius surf localism
You must have heard of the issue with localism in Mauritius. Where the Hawaiians have the ‘black shorts’, we have our local ‘white shorts’.
Entry to our waves, especially the famous one are very hard to get into. Now, is it a good or back thing?
Localism has its good and bad sides. I am personally not a fan of aggressivity. Surfing is all about being zen and one with the ocean. I have to admit that when I came back from the UK and started surfing in Mauritius I was totally against aggression towards foreigners. I fought a lot at the start, not understanding where that aggressivity came from. It wasn’t even a year after that from seeing the behavior of so many people towards the locals that I started to understand.
Sadly, some foreigners can be rude and feel entitled because as one of them said ‘I paid my ticket to Mauritius and contributing to your economy’. This makes it hard for the locals and due to the lack of waves and time, as most have a day job and family to look after, it is not thinkable to spend the time to filter the good from the bad tourist. A sad thing indeed as the wrongdoing of a few has destroyed the chances of the mass.
That said, we have many foreigners on our surf spots and even sharing the first lineup. Australians, South Africans, French, to name a few. Those are the ones that took the time to meet the locals, wait at the bottom, and take the tail waves. Those that took the time to say hi and mix with the locals. A good example is my shaper Deano, check out his work on DK Surfboards. So yeah, if you want to surf in Mauritius, you got to blend in.
Yes, you heard that one right. And if you are a surfer it comes as no surprise. Mauritius is a small island in the middle of the Indian Ocean where waves break mostly on open reefs.
I haven’t had many shark encounters in my years of surfing in Mauritius (and Mauritius sharks are nice). I’ve only seen a huge tiger shark from quite close at Le Morne. We were only 3 in the water and on the set of waves that came I stayed at the back while my 2 friends took the set. I had that weird feeling that something was in the water with me, and as I turned my stare to the left I saw what looked like a submarine with a fin on its back. We all came out of the water.
The only other close encounter was going for a swim with 5 bull sharks in Tamarin Bay. It was quite a daring thing to do though the sharks were still babies measuring around 1 meter and a half. Normally they stay around their birth ground to hunt until they get big enough to fend on their own. Tamarin Bay has 3 resident bull sharks that are well known by the fishermen that dive to put fishing traps.
Rest assured, we never had any shark incidents in Mauritius. Due to the location on the island in the ocean and the huge amount of rivers flowing down in the sea, it is normal to have many big sharks in Mauritius. As with anywhere in the world, just don’t surf in murky water and don’t surf alone. You will be fine.
How to move around?
OK, now that’s a tricky one.
Moving around in Mauritius is neither the London underground style nor the Bali scooter style. It is in between. If you want to surf in general, your guide will bring you around usually in a 4×4.
If you want to move around on your own I would definitely suggest getting a rental car. Driving a scooter can be dangerous in Mauritius, especially with the crazy buses.
What if you want to come and surf in Mauritius
It doesn’t matter if you come to Mauritius specifically to surf or whether it is on a holiday and want to learn to surf. Mauritius has it all. Now that you are aware of all the details you can make your choice on what to choose.
You will be glad to hear that there are some great surf guides in Mauritius. Most of them are locals from the area where you will surf. Those guides will teach you how to surf in the safest manner. And for the good surfers, they offer surf guidance, where they bring you to the good surf spots and allow you to enjoy the waves.
If you want to come and surf in Mauritius, whether you are a beginner surfer or advanced, make sure to contact us and we will put you in touch with a surf instructor and guide.
I think that this is the best compromise. Surf the local spots and support the locals that need it the most.