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kite/wind Spots in the South

LA PRAIRIE (LE MORNE)-Probably the most advertised, and the most frequented spot on the island has various conditions due to it’s size and nature.

La Prairie is the upwind part of the lagoon. This is the area you can see when looking upwind from le Morne, and it consists of a very large and pretty shallow lagoon. This lagoon has it’s traps nearer the reef where there are large fields of urchins, and some big patches of staghorn corals in places. When sailing this lagoon one should approach darker patches with care to make sure they are passable. Some very nice downwind rides can be had from there all the way down to the point of le Morne four km away.

Le Morne lies on the South western tip of the island and is the best spot of the island, if your skill level is up to it.

Unfortunately, overcrowding of the point at le Morne is now a common fact in the windy period, bringing with it all the related troubles and frictions. We will not expand on these, but can only recommend a good dose of good will and common sense to avoid any hook ups and consequent troubles.

Another piece of advice is to take good care when entering the water there, to make sure you have all the information to avoid the dangers, as some have never come back from it.

Le Morne has a comparatively small lagoon, but this is usually well winded, and a little public beach on the point gives access to a great number of riders. This past windy season has seen as many as 150 windsurfers, and many kiters riding together on the lagoon.

The reef offers three different waves for different levels.

The inside reef is the safest, with seaweed covered rocks and few corals, side shore waves that get hollower at low tide.

“Manawa” or “jaws” is the wave past the main pass looking south, facing the mistral centre and hotel. It can hold pretty big, and is a rolling foamball with the odd faster section, ideal for aspiring kiters and windsurfers. Beware when the swell is large, the current in the pass is in the same direction as the wind (out to sea), and can instantly ”kill” the wind when you hit it. Some big predators have also been seen and met in this pass.

“Chameau” is the wave that dreams ( good and bad ones ) are made of. This is the ultimate in wave riding for windsurfers and kiters, and should be approached with great care. The wave is hollow and really shallow, and the amount of masts and egos that have been broken there cannot be told.

“One eye” is the end of the wave and is reserved to surfers only. This break ends in a narrow strong current pass that will suck out any passing object or persons.

Due to the strong frequentation of this spot there have been several cases of friction between locals and visitors in the past, and a good way of avoiding these is to give the locals a bit of space and room to move on weekends, when they will be wanting the use of their homespot.

BAIE DU CAP-This is a quiet little village separated from the sea by the coastal road that runs through it.

The lagoon is well windy and sailable in most east conditions. It is a fairly basic lagoon conditions,  but caution has to be kept when near the fringing reef as this gets progressively shallower as you approach it. The passes should also be kept well clear off, as the current in them is strong, being the only way for the water that was brought in by the waves to get out again.

Some waves on the reef should be ridden with great caution, as they are far from the beach and shallow at best of times.

BEL OMBRE-A lagoon that up to now was hidden to most by several rows of trees, has been recently remodeled into a vast hotel and touristical development.

It has a shallow lagoon, with many coral patches, that can be ridden at high tide only, and does not offer great prospects for surfing or waves. These are wild and choppy on the reef. There is also an important downwind current in the lagoon, making it fairly difficult to keep your position upwind. However this is where the Bel Ombre kiting centre (foto) is based, and after consultation with them, safety can be arranged.

The spot works on easterly winds, from about 70 to 180 degrees, and does sometimes offer rideable conditions when elsewhere there is nothing, thanks to a thermal effect.

-Has a very wide and shallow lagoon that can only be ridden at high tide, but this is quite a unique experience as the water is still fairly shallow. This gives for very smooth conditions and hardly any chop even in the strongest of winds. Make sure to ride there only on the highest tidal levels, as some fields of urchins nearer the reef will make you regret it if you don’t.

The access to the water is no problem at all, the whole beach, which is pretty long and side shore, is public.

Beware of the westerly, or downwind area of this lagoon, here the current gets strong towards the channel in the reef, and has sucked out many unaware bathers.

This bay works well on most east oriented winds and can accept wind shifts better than further down the coast.

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