Words: Willow-River Tonkin // Pics & Video: Ollie J
While in Mauritius in July 2017, we witnessed this pretty scary incident from the surf tower at Riu Creole resort. The footage is a little shaky as we didn’t have a tripod… we really weren’t expecting anyone to be out in these conditions, and if you watch the video, you will understand why. It was light winds perhaps 15 knots and fading and we noticed one kiter ‘toying’ with the large but fat waves at Chameau. No problem… until the wind dropped, and so did his kite.
We interviewed local Willow-River Tonkin on everything that went down…
Last July 2017 we had one of the biggest days of the year, if not the biggest day I have seen for 8 years of living on this island. It was absolutely insanely massive, I didn’t even go out to One Eye because on days like this, there is not even the slightest chance of getting rescued. The only way would be to swim, but on big days like this, the current is probably ripping a solid 10knots straight out the channels… so pretty much impossible to swim against it. The sad thing is that most tourist that come here don’t know about all these crucial things to know about the spot for when the swell is huge. And like you can see in the video, this guy clearly had no idea.
👉🏿👉🏻SWIPE LEFT 🧞♂️ When #oneeye 👁 looks like this… best to not go out 😱 – An absolutely #fookin huge day July 2017… if that guy on the shore is 6ft… and the #wave in the distance is 1 mile away… How big is that thing?!🤘🏿🤘🏿… believe it or not someone did venture out… and almost drowned… stay tuned for the video coming soon!
I was on the beach chilling with a couple friends, just finished a strapless freestyle session and then I was actually starting to pack up and go home until I head from a couple people that there is a kite on the water behind Chameau (Chameau is the first peak of where One Eye starts). So I thought just to wait a second before packing up my gear. The wind outside the lagoon started to drop so he wasn’t able to relaunch his kite, so the current started pulling him close to 8-10m waves just behind One Eye… which is super dangerous for anyone that has very little experience in the waves. Eventually, he managed to get the kite up and start riding towards the reef, with the idea to try cross over the reef before the wind dies or before he gets stuck outside. Which actually was the best thing he could have done. If he decided to go around or avoid the waves, I’m pretty sure he would still be out at sea today… As soon as I saw him get his kite up and start heading to the reef I knew that it was not gonna go well, even though it’s the only option he had. So I reset my bar and then launched my 10m Section in order to have some power in case I need to drag him and try keep him out of the impact zone. Eventually, I managed to launch and rush out to go help him. As soon as I got there he was in complete shock. His eyes were the size of golf balls, not having any idea what is going on or what to do. So I told him to relax, everything will be fine. I told him to get on his board so he can float a bit and then release his kite. In the meantime, a boat was on its way to come and help. Normally on days like these, boats get taken out of the water because its too risky to have it on the water. But luckily for his sake there was still a boat around. By the time the boat got to us, the current sucked us so quickly away from the reef… Which actually made things much easier. The boat arrived, and I helped pull him onto it and gave him the kite. The kite was completely destroyed, he was still in shock but hopefully, he learned the lesson that the ocean is much much more powerful than anyone can even imagine!
So guys, please be extra careful if you head out in the waves, especially One Eye. On bigger days, think twice before even going out, It’s a dangerous place… Ask a local and get some info about the spot and how the currents work. Feel free to message me if you whenever you need information about the spot, and I’ll be happy to help!
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