Mauritius Freeride Paradise Challenge: plenty of wind | Photo: Sean O'Brien

Local stars Julien Maureal and Fabrice Leclezio have blasted the 2013 Mauritius Freeride Paradise Challenge, held in the island of Mauritius, in the Southern Hemisphere.


The Mauritius Freeride Paradise Challenge is a Pro-Am windsurfing competition across multiple events. That's four days of Slalom racing in four venues, showcasing the best beaches that Mauritius has to offer.

Two-man teams compete in four separate disciplines; downwind slalom, speed, figure-8 marathon slalom and the final event, a 40-kilometer marathon race across the south-coast of the Mauritius island, finishing at the famous Preskil Beach Resort, in Mahebourg.

Competitors from all parts of the Indian Ocean, including South Africa, Australia, Mauritius, Seychelles and Reunion, as well as a contingent from mainland France, competed for the title, with the best scores from each team counting for the overall result at the end of the week.

The short downwind course started, with a Le Morne style beach start, was dominated by Antoine Questel from France, who finished the day on top winning the last final, despite Julien Maurel and Fabrice Leclezio giving Questel a run for his money and beating him in the first final.

Racing resumed again with the Oxygen Cup and Ekip Speed Challenge. Two days of downwind slalom and speed launching from Point D'Esny, inside the outer reefs, a perfect flat water speed blasting location.

Antoine Questel cemented his dominance in these events winning five of the seven races in the Oxygen Cup ahead of Sean O'Brien, who posted six seconds, and Fabrice Leclezio. Questel punished the two speed races of the Ekip Speed Challenge ahead of Leclezio and Peter-John Lumley of South Africa.

The final and most challenging event of the Paradise Challenge was the Phoenix Crossing, a 40-kilometer Slalom race with an upwind component, starting at Point D'Esny, gybing at Le Touressne Golf Course before returning back to Point D'Esny, pitching the best of the windsurfers against the best of the kitesurfers.

Maurel and Leclezio decided to take their big boards and 8.6m sails, despite the 18-25 knot forecast, giving them much better upwind angle and the ability to pass Questel and finish first and second, respectively.

The results over the four separate events meant the Mauritian favourites, Leclezio and Maurel, were able to win the 2013 Mauritius Freeride Paradise Challenge, ahead of team France and team Australia.