Windsurfing and kitesurfing: Mahé-Praslin crossing |22 September 2021
Present and past competitors give their views
The organisers of the windsurfing and kitesurfing Mahé-Praslin crossing has confirmed the event will go on as planned on Saturday September 25.
Saturday’s event will start at 11am in the Victoria harbour.
Originally scheduled for last Saturday, the event was called off because of light wind condition.
Today, we bring you a series of reactions from past and present windsurfers and kitesurfers.
Stephen Stravens: “Having won the race a total 13 times and set the record in 2007, I’m aiming to come back this year after a pause of four years to get back in form to hopefully break the record next year if nobody can break it this year. I wish everyone participating good luck.”
Jean Marc Gardette: “As far as training is concerned, I have done nothing in particular as I have been busy with work. But I will be present for the race. I just want to come and enjoy the crossing, with no specific result except just to give my best.”
Joshua Esther: “I am 17 years old and this will be my third time competing in the Mahé-Praslin crossing. To be honest I have no expectations for this race. I just want to compete and see what happens. My wish is to see more youths take up the sport.”
Bertrand De Charmoy Lablache: “I hope there’s enough wind, because if there is wind, I believe 4 or 5 people can lower the record. Previously the wind has been light and not favourable to establish a new record.
Jacquelin Languila: “There hasn’t been any big preparations as such for the crossing due to work commitments but I’ve been competing in local events. I’ll try my very best in this race to be among the top guys and mostly have a good time then see what can happen because anything is possible in this race.”
Ray Hoareau: “There are two different categories of competitors in the Mahé-Praslin race. The first group comprises those who dedicate their energy to training to win medals. Then there's the other category of competitors that only train for personal challenges because they want to complete the crossing. I was one of these competitors. I did it for fun on three occasions. My hope for the Mahé-Praslin is that it continues for the sake of the youngsters so that they can enjoy the sport as well as take it on as a personal challenge.”
Pierre Wartelsteiner: “I think it will definitely be a great event and I expect more participants in both windsurfing and kitesurfing this year. Everyone’s hyped up for sure! The preparations have been going pretty good... spending more time on the water and going to the gym as well since you have to be physically and mentally prepared for the open water crossing. It will definitely be a challenge! We’re just hoping for perfect conditions... Enough wind and less chops to get more board speed. But we really don’t know what to expect. So many things can happen... from smashing into a partially submerged object to wipeouts to breaking your gear! But what I know is that I’ll be putting 100% effort and staying fully focused.”
Jean Marie Croguennec: “It was in 1997 when I was only 15 years old that I did my first Mahé to Praslin competition, just a week after coming to Seychelles. It was very challenging, the visibility was less than 2 miles with strong winds and 4 to 5-metre waves. My safety boat was my parents, even if I abandoned the race after 1 hour 15 minutes, I enjoyed every second.”
Neddy Radegonde: “At the moment I'm not training because of work, but I'm looking forward to the race. I'm expecting to do better than last time if the wind condition permits.”
Sitraka Ramanantsoa: “The training was a bit of a roller coaster; preparation did not entirely go as planned due to certain restrictions and days available would be on weekends and again we don’t always get the perfect wind to train. Physically and mentally, I feel prepared. It is a massive experience to take on the challenge for the second time. My aim is to finish the course and most importantly enjoy the race.”
Alex Simon: “I've been doing kitesurfing for about one year, more or less for fun. I have been competing in the seasonal racing cups which would be basic training and has been very satisfying. As for the Mahé-Praslin race, I expect it to be 10 times harder, especially since it's going to be my first time competing in such conditions and over such a distance. For the race, I need to be mentally prepared for any conditions presented to me. I just hope that the wind condition would be considerable as my fear is asking myself on the day: ‘Have I chosen the right equipment?”.