It’s early 2015 on Reunion Island, a dramatic volcanic landmass off Madagascar’s east coast. Long azure lefts are wrapping around a horseshoe of coral in front of the charming town of Saint-Leu. The best ones peel for 300 meters, with wide open walls and the odd cover-up section. Where once this vista would have inspired elation in the island’s large local surf crew, today they are all absent, terrorised back onto terra firma. 

Two decades earlier, the picture looked very different. Every swell attracted crowds to match the waves’ world-class reputation, bolstered by a string of popular CT events that in 1995 included the Oxbow Longboard World Championship. 

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