F-one 2012 product launch day 2

One eye surfbreak - Le Morne

For years I have seen countless photos and videos of the infamous one eye surf break thundering down the reef a picture of perfection. And finally this trip I got to ride it like that with Mitu, Raphael and the F-one team. Day 1 it absolutely pumped, solid triple overhead, cross off, scary, fast and furious. Raphael the head honcho of F-one has been kiting this break longer than anyone and it shows, he goes deep and fast top to bottom. Mitu is the main man of course totally ruling it on the new 6m Bandit5 kite and 6’0 bamboo surf by F-one. Looking in the distance from the beach just before I headed out it was crazy just how fast and fluid his lines were, I had to rub my eyes as it seemed impossible the pure speed he was traveling at down the line and through huge turns. It was like someone hit a fast forward button every time he dropped in, and the size of the waves really magnified how much ground he was covering. He is even more unbelievable to watch from the water, inspirational. His riding gets better every time I see him. These guys are natural footers like myself so I was even more appreciative of the skill and finesse they display kitesurfing at one eye lefts. Mitu was strapped up on the 6’0 riding some waves switch and some frontside hitting the lip at incredible velocity and angles totally committed. The Bandit5 kite seemed to snap up down and around like trons lightcycle. I was in 7th heaven on the 7m B5 getting great waves myself and being right in the thick of it a prime position to view the action. Whenever a suitable ramp presented pulling the trigger for a mega boost and getting the birds eye view. Watching from high in the sky highlighted how shallow and sharp the reef was reminding me not to get too carried away whenever I took off on a wave. As good as the Bandit5 flies, it would not be pretty dunking it in the impact zone. Thankfully it’s a kite that stays up, light, no hindenberg, less backstall, forgiving but instantly responsive when you need. Massive advantage in any situation but especially the dangerous one eye. Imagine your carving down the line on a lethal looking bomb then it jacks and you need to get out of there, trust me Bandit5 is the ultimate save your ass kite, going closer to the wind, faster and easier than anything. Changing direction only when you want but then instantly and with endless smooth acceleration on tap. The single tack back upwind right behind the break also gave the ideal viewpoint as the kiters threw down bigtime. A once in a lifetime show, one eye and Mitu, you don’t get a better combination. Having survived and caught some monsters and completely worn out my back leg I tacked back to the beach as the sun lowered towards the horizon. Counting my lucky stars for one of the most memorable sessions ever.

Day 2

Woke early but bloody buggered from yesterdays awesome sessions, so I passed on dawn patrol, besides we had to take delivery and assemble all the F-one 6’2 and 6’4 bamboo surf, I was frothing to get back on my favourite board from last year. Talking to Raph theres not much changed for the SL boards, maybe a bit less radical double concave and wider stance option so its even more like a normal surfboard. Mid morning I threw the 11m up and the 6’4 down for the first run out to manawa on the low tide, there was a good crew out there and we exchanged hoots and waves for a few hours with le morne mountain in the background. This iconic mountain symbolizes Mauritius for us kitesurfers, it evokes perfect barreling waves, chasing the dream, travel and freedom. Its past is less pretty, a hundred years ago a community of natives fled a life of slavery to eke a difficult existence on the plateau at the top of le morne mountain. When anti slavery law came to pass, a posse of policemen rode out to tell the slaves but seeing them climbing Le morne the slaves mistakenly thought it was to send them back to slavery and they threw themselves off the shear cliffs to their death rather than be enslaved again. Sorry for the morbid bit of history, anyway back to kiting.

Refuel and rehydrate at the resort then browse the gear collection to select my weapons for the afternoon session. The surf and wind had backed off a fair bit so I grabbed an 8m Bandit5 and a 6’0 signature bamboo surfboard, then headed into the fray at one eye. The crowd had come out in force now it was less life threatening, but there were tons of waves to go round up and down the km long break. The overhead peak at the beginning was more onshore and a little choppier then as it rolled down the line it just got smoother and faster and more offshore and eventually smaller and you don’t go past the point where the windshadows or you will be swimming for sure. Seeing a whole bunch of kites next to each other it was clear the Bandit5 kites were getting noticeably more acceleration and lively handling than any other stuff, also better angles on the tack back. And the 6’0 surf really surprised me as I did not expect to get used to the radical quad fin concave deck design so quick, after just a few waves I started to feel comfortable and getting the hang of it. My preconceptions falling by the wayside and replaced with the thrill of advancing my backhand. The double to single concave and drawn out shape handled the speedy one eye brilliantly. I did come unstuck a few times, lucky the F-one legrope is strong and stretchy. The 6’0 and 5’10 also have a thicker more chunky front grip than before, and its great. So sticky with a bit of shock absorbtion but still direct board feel. An hour into it the quad fins started to feel really familiar, forgiving and fast. Kind of a cross between twin and thruster. When I had worn out my torso and right leg from backhand I rode switch and enjoyed that too. Driving off the bottom is so positive and the kite and board swing off the top together changing direction and cutting back into the offshore wind better than anything I have ever experienced. The board has a high performance shape but is so easy to rail to rail and keep momentum which translates into big smiles straight away, no wasting time mucking about figuring it out, Bandit5 and bamboo surf just work, a wicked pairing. I stayed out till I could hardly stand, relishing the postcard conditions and setting. Feeling the all body afterglow of total satisfaction on the tack through the lagoon under the watchful eye of Le Morne mountain.

At the bar that evening we shared stories of the surf and wind, and exploits pro and punter alike. The F-one team are such a down to earth approachable bunch as they are handpicked by Raphael to be part of the F-one family. Its such a great opportunity and pleasure to be a part of that family, and I hope we can get some of the team back to Australia again this year to ride with you guys. Definitely Alex Caizergues the first kiter to break 100km on water will be back to defend his redbull rottnest island race title. And hands up who would like to ride their local with Mitu, well we did just that last summer and I have invited him back, you can email@m8kite.com with any message, show of support and enthusiasm to help get the guys back down under this year. Show them more good Aussie hospitality and share the stoke on our own spots. Cant wait for tommorow, so many kites and boards to try, so much fun to be had. Imagine coming over here yourself…. I am thinking a group tour of Aussies…. Keen ? email@m8kite.com  Manera.

MC