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Jean-Marc Gardette wins Mahe-Praslin Windsurfer Race

You won’t need a wetsuit to windsurf in the Seychelles, which is renowned as a tropical paradise. Strong winds from May to September result in ideal conditions and even when the trade winds aren’t blowing, there are still plenty of opportunities to windsurf here during the remainder of the year. A Seychelles windsurfing vacation will take you to waters that are crystal clear, with reefs and marine life visible below and if you’re lucky, you might even share the ocean with dolphins and turtles.

On Saturday, the 20th August 2022, over 30 Seychelles windsurfers and kitesurfers took part in the 40th edition of the Mahe-Praslin crossing, which took place for the first time with foreign participation. Six surfers from the neighbouring islands of Mauritius, Reunion and a French overseas department, took part in the 44km journey.

A crew of six windsurfers agreed to attempt the crossing in 1982, which is when the event began. Since then, numerous surfers have taken on the challenge and the crossing has become a highlight of local surfing and up until now, numerous surfers have taken on the challenge, making it a big feature of the local surfing scene. The crossing was completed in the quickest time ever in 2002, when ten-time winner Stephen Stravens reached Praslin in 57 minutes and 51.62 seconds.

After the most recent Mahe-Praslin windsurfing contest on Saturday, the record for the quickest time to get to Praslin, the second-largest island in the Seychelles, from the main island of Mahe, is still standing. Jean-Marc Gardette, the best windsurfer from the Seychelles, finished first in the event in one hour, five minutes and 19 seconds, finishing just short of Stephen Stravens’ 2002 record time.

Gardette claimed that the race was difficult, particularly given that the wind wasn’t constant and visibility was very low. As a result, there were times when he lost speed due to the lack of wind, but he is glad to have come in first. He continued by saying that if the wind had remained constant throughout the entire race, he could have been able to break the record.

A sizeable crowd gathered at Grand Anse, Praslin to wait for the surfers who had opted to accept the challenge. The race started off the coast of Mahe, close to the island of Sainte Anne. 23 wind and kite surfers competed in the crossing on Saturday and this was the first time that they had all been fitted with GPS trackers to make sure the whereabouts were always known to the organisers.

Windsurfing is a great activity to enjoy on the beaches of Seychelles. To enable you to explore this tropical splendour at your convenience, Kreol Services offers Mahe car rental services and Praslin car rental services.

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