Surfing “officially” returns to Reunion Island
After being plagued by years of shark attacks and an official ban on surfing for safety reasons, the locals have returned the water in Reunion Island. Between 2011 and 2015 the Reunion saw 18 shark attacks, seven proving fatal. Over half the victims were surfers and bodyboarders. This led to a ban in 2013 on nearly […]
After being plagued by years of shark attacks and an official ban on surfing for safety reasons, the locals have returned the water in Reunion Island.
Between 2011 and 2015 the Reunion saw 18 shark attacks, seven proving fatal. Over half the victims were surfers and bodyboarders. This led to a ban in 2013 on nearly all surfing.
This weekend, the first contest was held in Reunion after a nearly three year hiatus at Black Rocks beach in Saint-Gilles-Les-Bains.
World tour ax and Reunion Island’s own Jeremy Flores, attended the event. “It was the start of a nightmare,” he said on the tragedies that cursed the Island for years. “To those who said we were dead: we are here and we won’t give up this business, my friends,” he announced to the crowd prior to the competition.
This was followed by a paddle out where 150 surfers took to the water. They paid homage to the lost members of their community before the competition commenced.
“I am torn between an immense feeling of sadness and joy at seeing young people back in the water,” said Giovanni Canestri, whose 13 year old son, Elio, was killed by a Bull shark less than five kilometers from the Black Rocks in April.
The return to the water in Reunion is made possible by the implementation of shark nets and shark lookout devices, as we reported last year. Things are looking up for Reunion Island surfers, it’s been a shame to see such perfection go to waste over the past years of uncertainty.
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