Spot Guide Le Morne Mauritius

Spot Information for Le Morne Mauritius

This information is a guide to Le Morne to try and help those independent travellers inform themselves prior to arriving on Mauritius, not all combination’s of weather have been taken into account so take this as a general guide and not a definitive set of rules, after all nature is unpredictable and we have to enjoy our time in harmony with it.

Le Morne Mauritius

Spot Information for Le Morne Mauritius

This information is a guide to Le Morne to try and help those independent travellers inform themselves prior to arriving on Mauritius, not all combination’s of weather have been taken into account so take this as a general guide and not a definitive set of rules, after all nature is unpredictable and we have to enjoy our time in harmony with it.

If you have been looking around the web for infos on Le Morne the world famous spot situated on the South of Mauritius then look no further you are in the right place.

I have noticed that there are a lot of opinions and myths about Le Morne so please read on if you would like the real take on the spot, its good points and the things you need to take care of.

Le Morne offers a wide variety of windsurfing, kite surfing and surfing opportunities all within easy reach and without the need to drive from one place to the next. The sailing area is bordered by a Public Beach and some local hotels including the Indian Resort which offers the easiest access to the best part of the lagoon to start sailing from.

Orientation of the waves is relative to looking from the beach.

From the beach front you step into a beautiful lagoon which goes between ankle deep and chest deep depending on a few factors, firstly the tides in summer are higher than in the winter months, what I mean by summer is Mauritius summer so between December and April, during the winter months the actually height of water in the lagoon is quite a bit less. The other factor is the waves, if we have larger waves especially from the South West they push a lot more water over the reefs into the lagoon resulting in greater water depth. Its a really good idea when visiting to check the moon cycle in conjunction with the tide table for the month you might want to visit.

Hazards in the Lagoon you may come across are some larger rocks which you can see under the water as very black shapes if you are kite surfing don’t jump over these you run the risk of a serious injury. In front of the ION CLUB centre are 4 large rocks which are usually marked but sometimes the marks are stolen in the night these rocks are too shallow to windsurf over and definitely a danger to high flying kiters, the ground level between the rocks also rises a little compared to the rest of the lagoon. You can easily loose a fin from a windsurfing board over some of the larger rocks in the lagoon so stick to the green/blue water and avoid the large black shapes…

Picture of Buzz jumping in the Lagoon on a Yellow Flag Day at Le Morne Mauritius

Le Morne is famous for its world class waves which bring us a real fun playground but also bring with them on certain combinations of conditions some very real danger to life.

The best wave direction for Le Morne allowing a combination of safer wave conditions but still with a good size to say mast and a half in Manawa and logo to mast in small reef is South East.

What do I mean by safer wave wave conditions? the reef layout at Le Morne is what really makes the spot a bit special but also presents the spot with potentially disastrous combinations of wave and currents. The reef has a pass called La Prairie Pass and for about 4 kilometres either side of this pass and for all of the rain water running down from the mountains is the only exit for all of the water to the Indian Ocean. As you can imagine on some days its a bit like when you take the plug from your bath. With South East swell the pass stays open and can be navigated with relative speed in a boat to enable a rescue by boat being launched from the lagoon. In South West swell the waves break into the pass, as i said before when we have South / South West swells the waves also push a lot of water into the lagoon increasing the natural flow of water towards the pass so there then becomes a dangerous set of conditions strong fast currents flowing out with large breaking waves blocking boat access to the outside of the lagoon. It is true that on some days like this the ION CLUB boat crew can and have navigated through this very dangerous pass to help people but it is really at the risk of the crew and the boat. Failing access to a boat the only help really able to come is from the Mauritian Coastguard and this takes time, if you have sustained an injury or broken your equipment you will drift very quickly for example in 1 hour you can be 5 kilometres outside on some days. We also get days where the wind is more Easterly and this wind brings gusty conditions and very unpredictable weather causing winds from 2knots to 25knots, on these days a drop in wind with South West swell, larger waves and a strong current can easily leave you stranded on your windsurfing board or kite board drifting out in excess of 5 knots. On unstable days it is best to stay inside the lagoon no matter how much your desire to get out there and rip up those waves its really the best option to play safe. No weather conditions at Le Morne will bring you back inside once you are outside everything is only taking you out.

This is no exaggeration but here is the only spot I have ever been hooked in with both feet in the straps planning but moving backwards so take care and be aware.

The wave spots you will find at Le Morne are Small Reef, Manawa, Chameaux, Platin Rouge and of course the famous One Eye. The ION CLUB centre does not allow its guests to windsurf or kite surf in Chameaux or One Eye and for good reason but I will get to an explanation of these particular waves shortly.

Small Reef

Directly in front of the ION CLUB station is Small Reef, this reef breaks from right to left so into the wind, it can be choppy but is also a great training wave because it is actually not so easy. Tip, if you want to make a few turns start early down the wave before its vertical so you can get one or two turns on it before it peaks which will also give you the chance to read what’s going on and give it some at the right moment. Small Reef is underestimated because it borders the lagoon and it seems easy to get back if there is a problem, in fact this reef is quite shallow in the front and has quite a strong rip (current) pulling left towards the channel. Due to the water depth and the frequency of the waves just in front of Small Reef it is not possible to drive a boat in there close enough to get people out. So once again if there is SW swell restricting access through the pass which is where the current will take you it is very difficult to impossible to get a boat in there to help. Small Reef is also a great surfing wave especially at low tide when there is no wind. A nice SE swell is really working well in Small Reef, if its South swell you get very mushy waves, loads of white water. SW swell can also produce good waves but check the access through the pass, if there are breaking waves in the pass or a Yellow flag on the end of the fence at the car park stay out of there and inside the lagoon.

Picture of One Of The ION CLUB Team In Manawa

Manawa

The next option on a good SE swell day is Manawa, this wave is nearly 2 kilometres from the beach so best not to go alone but on a good day its absolutely the cream of wave sailing. A smooth glassy wave breaking left to right with the usual E SE winds Manawa gives you the opportunity to ride down the line (Facing the wave). The pick is outside on the corner of the reef and the current set-up there along with the way the wave is breaking creates the perfect anti clockwise circuit for all to enjoy the place. If you are kite surfing up there please please please stick to the circuit and try not feel the urge to go diagonally through the waves and tun on the peak again. If you do this you will block the waves for all the other people and won’t make many friends out there. There are more than enough waves for all to get their fair share. Manawa is quite a fat wave, lots of water in there, if you are unlucky and get washed or fall in there there is quite a lot of white water (sometimes a good meter of foam to contend with).If your equipment gets washed away over the reef DON’T PANIC!! there is a flush of water from the outer reef that slowly pushes your kit back to you, just try to swim down to meet it as it gets delivered back to you in the channel. Obviously with the wave being quite far and the only fast rescue service coming from the ION CLUB centre its best not to go there before the centre is open or after its closed and DON’T GO ALONE!!! make sure someone knows you are there and what time you expect to be back. To get to Manawa use the lagoon, the wind in the lagoon is stronger so work upwind in the lagoon and then sail up the left hand side of the pass. As you get further out the wind and current are working together to take you downwind so if you try to sail directly out of Small Reef in a SE wind you will make a lot of work for yourself to get upwind to the waves. Its absolutely free to get spot information from the ION CLUB centre and you may even find you can make a nice group with some of the guests. 3 people at a time is the best, that way if one of you has a problem one person can stay with the person in difficulty and one can come and raise the alarm. HAVE FUN BUT BE SAFE. DON’T take unnecessary risks you may not only be putting your own life in danger but also the people trying to help you as well as damaging the reputation of Le Morne as a place where people can enjoy the amazing conditions that are available here most of the year. RESPECT NATURE LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY.

Chameaux Left

Chameaux is situated to the right of Small Reef, underneath the reef bases changes from the stone, sand and grass plate under Small Reef to real corals including fire coral etc. The reef under Chameaux is made up of a mix if very shallow reef area and very deep canyons. There are also columns of coral that can appear as the waves take shape and such water up the front of them. At low tide the reef is very shallow and you run a real risk of loosing fins, even kite board fins and also damaging the bottom of your board. The left of Chameaux makes a very bowl like wave and the left shoulder of this wave can be ridden but venture too far inside and you will end up on almost dry reef. In conjunction with the bowl shape the wave peaks very high and falls very hard, its not a long wave but you can get away with riding left shoulder at high tide. Take real care f jumping windsurfing equipment there as you can definitely land on a column of rock/coral (I know I have done this taking the nose off my board and also hitting my back trying back loops there) If you ride out in front of the wave once again you have very shallow water as you come back into the lagoon so can loose fins or put a hole in the bottom of your board. Rescue inside Chameaux is very difficult on bigger days, because you have Small Reef waves starting to break out as far as Chameaux starts so driving a boat around in there is very dangerous for everyone. If you get washed and break a mast or something in there you have 2 options, if a boat is able to come you may have to try to swim out to deeper water outside the breaking waves, or throw your rig and try to surf your board back inside the lagoon, either option will be exhausting and you risk injury on the reef. Depending where you are the currents will take you either more inside Chameaux or out left to Small Reef where you will be taken to the pass and back out again either into Chameaux for another washing or out to sea.

Chameaux Right

Chameaux right brings a lovely left breaking wave, its not a long wave but gains a lot of height giving a real rush as you drop down it, ION CLUB guests are not allowed to go to Chameaux Right. The wave sucks quite a lot of water as it forms and the water it takes up leaves columns of coral exposed so depending on the height of the tide you may have to slalom the coral on the way down for a bottom turn. The waves come in nice clean sets on a SE swell its not a long ride but you gain a lot of speed making for a fast bottom back up to the top before you run out of wave. A washing in Chameaux Right will send you over the reef into the lagoon the rest depends on currents and state of the tide. In a SW swell the wave is washed out and not a good ride, lots of white water tumbling over the reef and stronger currents definitely not worth a visit. Chameaux right finishes almost where One Eye starts, there is a kind of step of flat water between the two but its not really worth trying to speed your way from Chameaux to One Eye because you end up taking the wave in One Eye far too late to make any real progress down the line before getting closed out.

Picture looking from the back of One Eye to the shallow reef

One Eye

One Eye is the most famous wave at Le Morne, it is a very fast left producing a tube and breaks onto a shallow reef only about a harness hook depth once you are out of the white water. ION CLUB guests are not able to sail in One Eye. One Eye works best in a nice SE swell staying a little more open making it accessible to windsurfers as well as kiters. For windsurfing the best starting size is between 1.5 and 2 meters otherwise you find the wave breaks very close to the reef and very quickly, once its getting a little larger its forming a bit further out so there is time to ride it and duck out over the shoulder before the close out. In S/SW Swell the wave is either falling over on the reef without much face to ride and in SW is washed out with a lot of white water and closing out very quickly. S/SW will also close the channel at the right end next to the surfers point. One Eye can get up to around 8 meters in the face but at this size the currents both on the reef and in the lagoon really make it far to dangerous to venture out there. The surfing point which is sheltered from the wind is at the far right of One Eye near a small pas around 4 meters wide which has a very strong current pulling out and right into One Eye right. One Eye right is not really a ridable wave, its falling onto a very live coral reef with many blue sea urchins and canyons. If you are kitting in One Eye and loose your board after a washing it will normally come in over the reef depending where in One Eye you are washed the board will either go left towards Chameaux or if you are after the half way point in the wave the current will take it to the small channel on the right side next to the surfers point, you need to take it quickly before its sucked around into One Eye right at which point its not really possible to get it back. In a SE wind the wind on the wave is a bit cross offshore due to the angle of the reef. As I stated before One Eye is a very very fast left which closes out in front of you and on most days its not possible to ride the wave all the way from one end right down to the surfers point. Take care with the close out you will most probably need to duck out over the shoulder which if this is the case would mean its best not to take the first wave, especially on larger days when the wave you ducked out of leaves a wind shadow from the cross offshore wind direction. The currents behind One Eye take you out to sea.

Take care with the water depths on the reef especially during the winter months (Mauritian Winter) and especially for windsurfing as once closed out there is not enough water to sail over the reef to avoid the next waves.

Once washed out of One Eye you have 2 choices if you want to go back to the pick. DO NOT TRY TO SAIL DIRECTLY BACK THROUGH THE WAVES! you can pass either through the small pass at the surfers point at the downwind end of One Eye if you have enough wind to get through the pass and sail upwind. Failing that come inside the lagoon tack upwind in the lagoon where the wind is generally a little stronger and go back out through small reef and sail downwind behind Chameaux to the pick.

RESPECT OTHER WAVE RIDERS AND WAVE PRIORITIES ESPECIALLY IN ONE EYE DROPPING SOMEONE THERE CAN RESULT IN A SERIOUS ACCIDENT. Picture of the information given about flag colors used by ION CLUB Le Morne

Saftey Information Available At Le Morne

The authorities do not provide any information about the spot, all information is either obtainable from experienced locals or from the ION CLUB centre. The team at ION CLUB are more than happy to explain the spot it costs nothing and the locals there are very experienced with some of them surfing Le Morne since they were children or coming from families of fisherman.

The ION CLUB centre only changes the flag colours if they feel the spot will being danger to life on any given day because of the combination of weather conditions. The team at the centre are the first port of call for a rescue and if the locals feel with their years of experience that the spot is too dangerous to drive the boat the restrictions will apply. The team there all enjoy sailing the various waves at Le Morne so for sure the spot is not restricted because of worries about equipment damage or to keep people from enjoying themselves.

The ION CLUB Centre runs the flag system on the Public Beach at Le Morne. Flags are placed on the end of the fence bordering the Indian Resort. Also provided is some explanation but it is still better to check with the team on any given day.

No Flag or Green means that the boat crew can navigate around the spot including getting outside the reefs through the passes.

TAKE CARE OUTSIDE THE REEF LATE AFTERNOON THERE IS NO RESCUE AFTERTHE ION CLUB CENTRE HAS CLOSED SO ASK YOURSELF IF YOU CAN SWIM THE DISTANCE YOU ARE OUT IF YOU BREAK A MAST.

Yellow means that the passes are closed and there is strong to very strong currents and that boat navigation outside the lagoon is either very dangerous or not possible and that even if its possible to drive the boat it may not be possible to get the boat into the actual waves to perform a rescue. On Yellow days you may have to rely on the goodwill of an experienced kite surfer who can get in the waves to drag you back at least as far as the boat can go, you will probably have to ditch your rig and start to paddle as hard as hard as you can on your board trying to catch waves to surf you to the lagoon or at least as far as the boat can come to the waves. After trying to raise attention of someone don’t just sit and wait you will have to take some course of action to get yourself to a place where you can be safely picked up by the boat.

DEFINATLY DO NOT VENTURE TO THE WAVES ON A YELLOW DAY IN THE LATE AFTERNOON.

RED Means that the beach is closed, ION CLUB station is closed and conditions are too dangerous to go in the water at all including the lagoon which may be running in excess of 10knots current.

Le Morne is a fantastic spot, take care, check with the ION CLUB Station for the weather, tide, spot info for the day, after all the ION CLUB boat is expected to go out and help when there are problems, the least any responsible kiter windsurfer or other water user can do is check-in on the day, respect the spot and most of all the locals who quite often put their own life in danger to rescue irresponsible people.

If in doubt don’t go out !

Be realistic about your fitness level and abilities and remember you may have to swim for your life in hard conditions if you break your kit in the waves.

Enjoy Le Morne and respect nature and the reputation of the spot by enjoying this world class playground in a responsible way.

Keep an eye on each other and raise the alarm at the ION CLUB if you suspect someone has a problem.

Windhut rating 5

(Visited 21 times, 2 visits today)