Experiences of Madagascar

I travelled to Madagascar in May 2004. A life-long surfer, I wanted to explore a destination with good potential for waves but a bit off the conventional map. Initial research pointed me towards the Indian Ocean's west side. More study isolated Madagascar as a suitable destination.

The island was positioned to pick up the same swells that feed the breaks of South Africa, and later Indonesia; the weather and water were mild to tropical year-round; and the people were friendly, by all accounts. What clinched it was a satellite photo of the southwest Indian Ocean at night. Madagascar was completely dark. There were no visible lights from the cities, towns or villages. This lack of illumination appealed.

I found out all the usual facts about geography, history, environment, culture and so on, but still didn't really know what to expect. Apprehensions were present but unfocused. Madagascar was to be their lens.

I didn't experience any flawlessly perfect surf, or any that was particularly big, but I did discover areas of great potential and was able to get a taste of some classic set-ups. In the end the fickle surf didn't matter much. It was with the adventure that Madagascar really paid. In a country that doesn't have one single set of traffic lights adventure is pretty hard to miss.

Now even the difficult experiences seem great.

Bruce Harris
Sydney, Australia
July 2004