London, South Africa + Madagascar

My finger slowly drags across the huge paper globe as it finishes it’s slow spin. It stops and I quickly look to see what lies underneath my fingertip– Canada. “Not cool enough, ” thinks my 8 year old self and I give it another good spin, hoping for something more exotic. It stops again- Argentina, “I’d go there”.

There is a unique allure of places you know nothing about. And at 8, I knew nothing. One thing I did know, was that someday I would have the chance to visit those pastel colored shapes. And 21 years later, it doesn’t escape me how lucky I am to do just that.

I’d like to think our process of deciding where to venture next is much more complicated and informed than what I did when I was a child. Well, its not. We’ve replaced the globe with a series of books, The Stormrider Surf Guides. These books identify locales all over the world and information about those locations that any surfer would want to know e.g. water temp, localism, sharkiness (v. important to moi) and accessibility. We flips through the books, argue about who’s pick is better talk about what our top picks are then start researching. Sometimes it takes an hour, sometimes we go back and forth for a week.

Last summer we found ourselves flipping through the pages, and voila– Madagascar. For me it was an easy decision, they have lemurs. The end.

It quickly became clear that we would have a few long layovers before we could even step foot on Malagasy soil. Los Angeles > London > Johannesburg > Antananarivo > Tulear. And so we decided to make the most of the multiple stops and spend a few days in both London and in South Africa. BEST DECISION EVER.

A friend of ours from our Hawaii days, currently lives in London and graciously offered to host us over the course of our few days there. We let our tourist flag fly, walking miles upon miles and taking in all of London. Three days in a city was Ryan’s max, so it was the perfect amount of time to see the sights and catch up with our sweet friend.

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From London we headed to South Africa. I am going to be honest here–there is no way I could ever recover if I went to Africa and not go on Safari. So after landing in Joburg, we hopped on a puddle jumper to Hoedspruit, SA for our stay at Kapama River Lodge. For the sake of this already long post let me just say this: if you want to go on Safari in SA, go to Kapama. You will stay in the most gorgeous of accommodations and have incredible animal sightings. We were in awe EVERYDAY. 

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At this point a week had gone by in a flash and we didn’t know how our trip could get better. But then we arrived in Madagascar. For the following two weeks we called the Endless Summer yacht our home. Captain Pete, a transplant from SA, provided us with plenty of local knowledge and found Ryan his beloved “cooking surf” with zero crowds. Our mornings were filled with coffee and waves, while the evenings consisted of Cuba Libres enjoyed under the stars. Not awful.

Most of my days were spent under the water. Despite it’s idyllic landscape, we learned that Madagascar is tragically overfished. Thanks to programs like Reef Doctor, initiatives are being taken to rebuild the reefs and environments around the western coast of Mada.

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If you are interested in a surf trip to Madagascar and want more details about the logistics of our trip, email us.

It was the trip of a lifetime and yet I find myself spinning my tabletop globe just for the sake of seeing where it stops.

 

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