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Surfing in Hurricane Season? Give me a Break!

There’s nothing Ben Findlay and his friends like
better than a tropical storm, and if it comes with huge seas and10ft waves all
the better!

Yep,
St Lucia’s
surfers, there’s around 20 of them, surf April to November enjoying the
best/worst of Mother Nature during hurricane season.

Originally from New
Zealand, Ben’s been on the crest of a
wave, so to speak, for the past 22 years. When he’s not surfing, he
skippers a 55ft sailboat around the Caribbean.
I know, I know, some guys have all the luck!

“Hurricane Isobel back in 2003 made for some excellent
surfing,” said Ben, “6 to 7ft waves and hardly anyone in the
water!”

Surprise,
surprise!

According
to Ben, there’s a sort of surfing etiquette between its practitioners. If
you thought it’s just a case of paddling out, jumping on the trusty board
and waving at the crowds as you glide back to the beach you’d be wrong
— and talked about.

“Around the Corramandel (that’s in
New Zealand)
it’s usual for surfers to shout ‘my wave, my wave,’ to claim
the wave. It’s less competitive in
St Lucia. ‘You want it man?
Go for it,’ is how it’s done around here,” smiled Ben.

“The surfing down here is so good because it’s still a
secret,” said Ben.

Well, not any more it’s not.

Regular
surfing spots are treasured, they’re also called
‘breaks’ and finding them isn’t easy. But we’ll let you
in on a few of surfing’s secrets.

St Lucia’s
west coast is high on local surfing’s list (not much wind on the east
coast) as are Windjammer, Marigot and Viji. The
stretch between Windjammer and Viji — The Areas
as it’s known — has good breaks throughout the season and is always
popular.

There’s also the young pretender to traditional surfing, kite
surfing, which is catching on fast around sandy beach.

I must
admit that as someone who has only witnessed kite surfing from a beach bar or
armchair I have to admire the recent record breaking feat of Kirsty Jones. She crossed the Irish
Sea — using a kite — in a time of just 5 hours, only
slightly longer than the ferry takes!

But the
last word belongs to Ben: “We’re in the water, waiting for a break
off Cannaries when the local children decided
they’d like join in. Making surfboards from derelict wooden houses, and
tying their underpants on top of their heads they duly paddled out.

“Up
came the break when one of the kids (he’d obviously been listening to us)
shouted: ‘mistah, mistah
dat my wave!’ and I remember thinking
‘it’s getting more like
New Zealand every
day!’”

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