My name is Blair Rogers and I'm an expat kiwi who grew up surfing in the Wellington area before heading up the coast to warmer water in the Gisborne region. I then moved on to the even warmer waters of the Gold Coast and was luckily enough to pull some serious barrel time at Kirra during the eighties, and also experience the legendary dollar nite at the Patch. In the early nineties I headed over towards Indo and Europe and hung there for quite a while before nestling down in Reunion Island where I lived for 17 years. During this time I visited Madagascar on several occasions and always knew that I was going to end up living here. The basic rundown on surfing in Madagascar is the SW coast or more precisely Tulear is where the best and most consistent waves are. My best mate here and partner in crime, a South African ex pat has been living in Mada for 20 plus years and has the local surfing scene totally wired so we do know what we're talking about when it comes to surfing in Madagascar.
The real problem with surfing here all boils down to actually getting to the different spots which are not easily accessible and quite far apart. Anyway it took me a little while to work it out but the best way of maximising potential surf time here is to do a mobile surf trip. 10 days min with base camp being here in Tulear and depending on conditions, swell forecast, winds, tides etc (it's pretty fickle) we make the decision where we're going the night before, pack everyone up, and sail off next morning. There are numerous advantages to organising the trip like this, firstly using internet surf tools we can pretty accurately predict where the best surf is going to be over the forthcoming days and either head south to the southern reefs and stay for as long as the swell hangs around, or head north to the reef passes or just hang out in Tulear if there's bugger all swell (plenty of alternative activities on offer here!).
For those wanting to freelance it over here, no worries at all and this isn't even a sales pitch but ... you would either want to speak fluent French or Malagasy cause bugger all people speak English, know about the tides, winds, swell directions and various access routes through the lagoons cause they all have a huge influence on the breaks here, and also be bloody good at bartering cause the local boys will take you to the cleaners to organise your transfers, they make the Bali boys look like school kids! Anyway, like I said, it's not that I want you to book with us (cause I actually don't give a fuck and we'll drop in on you so bad if you don't haha just kiddin!) but I honestly reckon it could end up costing you just as much if you had to organise all your accommodation, transfers and shit yourself and you'd without a doubt miss out on most of the best surf too. I've seen a shitload of surfers going south when they should be heading north and vica versa or sitting around scratching their noggins in Anakao or Mangily cause its flat or the winds are wrong, and in the meantime we're surfin our butts off elsewhere! ... local knowledge always counts for a lot and here even more so than most other places !!
Finally after numerous years of guiding the Gash Pack Tours the old bastard has had enough and I am now taking on a more administrative role looking after the general running of the business but will still however be available to guide the Cash Pack and private charters so if you're signing up for either of the latter chances are we may just catch a few waves together!!!
Ben Waltzinger is a young French surfer who spent a couple of years in Australia and then Reunion Island before joining the Mada Surf Tours crew in 2014. My (not so) new sidekick and apprentice lacky, Ben has been finetuning his wave riding skills at some of the best secret spots around and is always keen as mustard to get wet whenever theres a wave to be had. Ben speaks fluent French, English, and is also getting his Malagasy down and is always keen to have a beer and chat with the clients. If you're keen on partying it up a bit while you´re here, Ben also doubles up as the Mada Surf Tours entertainment officer and if you're booking the Gash Pack Tour Ben is now in charge of all trips and you will most likely be travelling with him or our new local guide Maxime pictured below.
Maxime Manopoatra is a young local surfer hailing from Fort Dauphin who after ripping up the beach breaks of the east coast decided to head over this way to get a taste of raw reef power! Maxime has been with us since 2017 and looks after the Gash pack crew guiding them from village to village and looking after the overall running of the trips. Max is a super laid back guy and is always available to help out our clients however he can. If you book a Gash Pack tour Max or Ben will most likely be your guides so don’t hesitate to reach out to them if you need help with anything whilst on tour!
Ralay is one of the first Mada Surf Tours skippers and has been with us since practically the beginning. As he is a Vezo from Anakao who grew up by the ocean fishing and piroguing all over the show, he knows everything about ocean and excelling on pirogues manoeuvre. Ralay starts surfing when he was 14 and is happy to get wet when the sun melt his brain down while waiting for client in the boat. He is as very helpful dude always willing to help clients carry their boards and bags around! Ben Waltzinger
Rivo is the Mada Surf Tours Nahoda skipper and has been with us for a few years now. Also hailing from Anakao Rivo grew up in the surrounding ocean and knows the local reefs and passes like the back of his hand. Although Rivo doesn’t surf he always keen to help out the clients however he can and will no doubt look after your boards and surfing equipment for you during the trip. Same deal as with Ralay if you need anything whilst out on the boat Rivo will always be there to offer a helping hand!
I just returned from a 3 week surf trip in Madagascar and had such an incredible time there. If you want to surf perfect reefs all alone or just with your buddies Mada is the place to go. The waves are world class but fickle so local knowledge is the key to score epic surf. Based in Tulear Blair takes you to the best spots north and south coast depending on swell, tides, and wind. He will get you to the best waves on any given day but also when its flat Mada is beautiful and more than worth a trip, uncrowded clean beaches and water, good fishing and diving, incredible cheap seafood, and cool friendly people. I can't wait to be back there, amazing trip!
Stefan K - Germany May 2013
This place is a surfers paradise. Packed with world class waves and no crowds. Blair made sure we were out at the best spot every day. Great operation he has here. Book a trip with Blair and you are guaranteed to not be dissapointed!
Sean D - USA July 2013
The perfect off the beated track holiday with insane waves all to yourself ... well almost : With Blair the only guide capable in a 24 hour timeframe of finding you a world class break with perfect waves and to top it off, a show of whales swimming around the boat for an hour ... bloody hard act to beat !!! Adventure fans jump on board !!! Thanks Blair and see you soon ...
Olivier, Ile de La Réunion - August 2013
Mada Surf Tours helped me discover the most insane places such as Sarodrano, Anakao, and Mangily ... I surfed perfect waves thanks to Blair's local knowledge of the breaks and surf conditions. It is also totally uncrowded, no surfers or sharks, so if you're sick of getting hassled by 20 guys in the line up, or the shark factor is keeping you out of the water Tulear is the place you want to be! To top it off if you like partying you won't find any better!! I have already been twice and am heading back for the third time, can't get enough of this place!! Thanks for everything Blair, the best surf guide I have ever met!
Youn L, Shark Island - September 2013
Place sucks big time! Shitty waves, crowded and full of sharks. Expensive as, horrible dirty locals, fat ugly chicks, and theives everywhere, to be avoided at all costs!! Be back for sure haha!!
Jamie B, South Africa - October 2013
After already having visited most of the major surf destinations on the planet, in February I finally decided to check out Madagascar ... In summary there are natives everywhere, its stinkin hot, waves all over the show with not a person in sight, the most insane little fishing villages, killer night life in Tulear a must see and do, the hottest chicks if youre single of course, ... and Tony Blair!!! always by your side guiding you through new experiences and filling you in on the local customs, with him the skys the limit, just name and its done! I could write a whole chapter on my trip but the best idea is to just GO!!! PS. Before leaving its strongly recommended to do some serious training cause you will surf big time and Tony doesnt muck around, he surfs full on!!! Thanks again Tony for such a great surf trip and see you soon, until next year !!
Alex G, Southern France - February 2014
Thanks for an epic mission! Can't believe there are still places where you can get PERFECT and UNCROWDED waves!! All the organisation and transfers were super smooth and cannot wait to get back! Surely it will be a selling point that you can get waves named after ya? Haha, cheers mate!
Brett L, Laity Peak SA - April 2014
One of most authentic adventure surf trips I have been on! Blair takes care of you from the moment you step off the plane. From fun waist high to cranking overhead freight trains...he will find it for you! Will be back.
Mark B, South Africa - May 2014
We spent one month surfing in Madagascar June-July 2014 with Mada Surf Tours and it was AWESOME! Pumping huge uncrowded waves in various spots, whales jumping in the background...you really couldn't wish for more. Ben, our guide did an awesome job bringing us to the best spots depending on the swell, winds etc... Even though the swell was huge; he could find waves suiting to everybody's level. As we could not speak French, Ben's French was a huge help when organizing the accommodation and food in the small fishing villages. Food was super delicious, people friendly and happy...We are definitely going back one day!
Meri T, Finland - June 2014
Just a quick note to say a huge thank you for our fantastic “Dads ’n Lads” Mada Surf adventure. We had a ball !!!!! Mada is a special place and it was great to be shown around by someone like yourself. Tom still (daily) educates me as to how things should be done “‘cos that’s what Blair says”. In between the late boards, taxi breakdowns, cancelled flights etc. (all part of the adventure) we had an amazing trip spending good times with our boys, friends and a world class surf guide. As much as we enjoyed The Right at Mangilly the highlight of my trip was our arvie session at Jelly Babies. I seriously had more fun that afternoon than I’ve had anywhere else in the world!!!! Fun waves, all to ourselves – who could ask for more? And then to boat back to what can only be described as beach paradise accommodation, eating fresh cray’s off the flames of a beach fire, washed down with a few THB’s and then sleeping 25m from the ocean edge, to wake up in the dark ready for the dawnie and start it all over again…..heaven on earth!!!! Anakao really is a special place!
Darrell H, Durban SA - June 2014
Great trip, great service, Blair and Ben worked really hard to make sure that everything went as smooth as possible. I Surfed 12 different waves in 8 days and have been to many surf locations around the world but none like this one. I will be back. Cheers!
Paul A, West Oz -July 2014
Perfect waves, 9 days out of 10, really cool back to the roots style, super smooth organisation from the boss Blair and the guide Ben, great food and a killer bonus plan to boot. Fully amped to get back. See you guys soon!
Dom P, La Reunion - July 2014
We had a fantastic time with Ben, Blair and Ralley in the south of Madagascar. We stayed in different villages down the coast, met with locals and got to know their culture – an absolutely amazing experience. The surf was heaven on earth for those who know how to surf, fantastic waves and no crowds. Our personal highlight was spending two days with Ben at one of Mada Surf Tours' best surf spots, their so-called secret spot. We stayed with a local family, in a wonderful little room without electricity or any other facility. We got up with the sun light and went to bed not long after sunset. We ate fresh fish, lobster, and other interesting things ;-), deliciously cooked by the madam of the house. We played with the village kids and explored the beautiful nature surrounding us. True paradise!
Richie and Alex , Switzerland - August 2014
Spent some time with Blair and Ben in Sept '14. Had a cracking trip - the setups are amazing and there's something for everyone from grinding barrels to perfect mellow points and what I got to surf was only touching the surface. The place is beautiful,wild and the people are awesome. The places we stayed were as close to paradise as you'll get. If you're after pure adventure, this is the place!
Henry A, Wales - September 2014
If your looking for a great experience with great surf Mada Surf Tours will get you there. Local knowledge in this region is a must in order to score good waves and no one has more experience with this than Blair. From an easy pick up at the airport to drop off he'll take care of you. I flew all the way from Hawaii knowing I'd have nothing to worry about once I landed in Madagascar. If you want a roots experience with "The way things used to be", do yourself a favor and give them a call.
Christian L, Hawaii - October 2014
Madagascar is absolutely beautiful. The pirogue adventure in the Indian Ocean was supreme. The host Mr Blair knows his business with all T's grassed and I's dotted. As far as i can tell there are waves pretty much all year round. Safe place to bring family. It's November now and plan to be back in February already. Greetings from Saudi Arabia!
Richard S, USA - November 2014
This trip is about surfing, that's for sure. But it's also all the other impressions, besides surfing, which make this trip so special! Sailing from one remote fishing village to the other, the hospitality of the people living in these villages, the excellent food and just the experience of a complete "downgrade" of your life, which actually is a big upgrade: no telephone, no electricity, no TV, just living the simple life. And it is a good life, believe me! Oh and about the surfing: Indo without crowds! That sums it up pretty much!
Boris G & Roman T, Switzerland - November 2014
We booked the gash pack for 10 days - 5 days traveling down from Tana and 5 days surfing. The entire experience was absolutely incredible! We would highly recommend booking the trip with Lanto, an amazing driver and guide, if you want to visit the country. Lanto helped us explore some sites off the beaten track - the tea plantation in Sahambavy, the wine vineyard in Fianarantsoa, hiking in Isalo National Park. After driving through the heat of Madagascar, we were excited to land in Tulear and start surfing! Despite the slow period for surfing at this time of the year (mid-December), Ben and Raighley, our surf guides and skippers, made good calls every single day and brought us to the best spots, making the most of the small swells on tap and the shifty winds. We were totally immersed in the local fishermen lifestyle in places that we would have never been able to explore on our own. The food was fantastic and you will eat the best bokoboko and seafood during the trip for sure!
Melissa M & Olivier F, USA & New Caledonia - December 2014
It's taken me two months to find the words to describe the incredible surf trip we had with Blair and Ben at the end of 2014. Unbeleiveable surf at breaks that have practically never been surfed before, the discovery of tiny little vezo fishing villages that welcomed us like we were royalty and perfect organisation on behalf of the hosts. I would do it all over and over again in a heartbeat! Almost makes you want to give everything up and just stay forever! A huge thanks to the kiwi-froggie connection for this fantastic discovery trip - Let's sausage roll !
Louis T, Antananarivo - January 2015
An epic surf trip in an epic place with an epic crew. Empty surf, perfect barrels, long rides, boko bok for breakfast, lobster for lunch....all this for cheaper than an indo trip. Hard to believe I know...perhaps god exists!!! Can't say much more, certain things need to be kept secret but with so many empty breaks Tulear is guaranteed some empty line ups for some time to go!
Clement B, Tana, Madagascar - January 2014
This surf trip is probably up there with the best in the world, certainly when when you consider the costs compared to Indo or Maldives and the fact that you will be surfing alone practically every session. The surf trip is really well planned out by the owner Blair Rogers, he knows this surf area better than anyone and will be your guarantee to surf the best waves everyday. The amount of waves in such close proximity compares to places like playgrounds in the Mentawai, but without the crowds! Will be back very soon, thank you Blair and Ben!!!
Sacha L & Elsa, Mauritius - February 2015
Surfing with Blair and Ben in Madagascar is like traveling back in time. the coast is still virgin and wild and Blair is a true pioneer, still discovering and naming waves as we speak. These guys are living like pirates sailing up and down the coast eating lobster and drinking local rum and surfing the most insane perfect waves with nobody. You'll meet people in the remote villages and feel like you're among the 1st whites they've ever hung out with. I highly recommend sponsoring some of the school kids!!! A true highlight of our trip. Every morning you'll be up at the crack of dawn heading out to some perfect reef pass. The waves are world class and if you come soon you'll still be among the 1st people ever to see and surf some of these spots.
Nico G & Emily P, Big Sur California - March 2015
I unreservedly describe my recent Mada surf trip as 'the best surf trip of my life'. I've surfed most of the famous places in the world, multiple times and without a doubt Madagascar tops the list. Blair and Ben have dedicated their lives to searching for and surfing the best waves on the planet. They've chosen Madagascar for good reason, perfect, consistent, uncrowded waves, interesting culture and warm water. Their hard work, sacrifice and absolute dedication to this goal ensures you will be surfing the best waves on the planet every day. When you motor past an epic, perfect wave because your on your way to a 'more perfect' wave you know you've found surfing paradise. When you jump in the water and there's no one else out, ever, that takes it to a whole new level. The description of Madagascar as Indo without the crowds does not do this place justice at all; maybe Indo 30 years ago before it became a sold out, crowded, waste of time but that only captures a small fraction of how good this place is. The waves are unique; sort of a mix between Indo perfection and Pacific Island grunt (Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti esque), the culture is a mix between African, Asian and Pacific Islander, the crowds....they don't exist, and the sense of adventure is second to none. Do yourself a favour, get here before the rest of the world discovers this place. It's the best surfing decision I've ever made!"
Dan K, Australia - May 2015
Prior to visiting Madagascar, I did a lot of research on where would be the best place in the country to surf regional classic waves and Mada surf tours looked like the REAL deal! "Perfect waves- no crowds" they said, and from day 1, it was just that. I went out with my partner, who doesn't surf, but had an equally epic trip like me...plenty of snorkelling, chilling on the beach and exploring amazing coastline made it just as worthwhile a trip for her as for me. Your surf guides Blair and Ben have really done their homework and can guarantee epic surf...I only stayed 8 days and got plenty!!Just one bit of advice...take a spare board if you're looking to surf Flameballs or Kamikazes!!
Jack E - Cornwall July 2015
I just want to thank you for everything once again for everything you guys did for me. I went to Madagascar just for the swell and I end up bringing back home so much more! Besides the waves I get an adventure, I met amazing people and I reconnect with myself and the really important things in life. I have much respect for you guys and for what you doing in Madagascar and with your lives. You guys are real legends... And it was an absolute privilege to meet people like you! Ps- Fuck Indonesia and all those "posers"! Mada and you are the real deal! :)
André JS, Sunset SA - August 2015
When we think about Mada Surf Tours the first thing coming to our minds is pristine. Pristine beaches with sand so white that it's burning in your eyes. Turquoise cristal clear water. Surfing a wave while being able too see all the way to the bottom. Totally glassy waves when the wind is right. And yes, surfing alone, just you with your new friends from your tour. Where can you get that? Imagine your day waking up literally in a hut on the beach. Discussing during breakfast which break you are heading to. And then going off by boat to a totally empty spot. Maybe changing to a second one after a couple of hours if you like. Then getting back to your beach paradise totally surfed out. Relaxing the afternoon. Maybe if the wind is right getting some more surf later on or just exploring the villages and meeting the locals. End your day with fresh grilled fish, calamari and lobster and a couple of chilled beers. And the next days, start it all over again! Really it's an amazing tour. Fascinating. Adventurous. Basic. Feeling free. And surfing, surfing, surfing ... In addition to the great surf, in my opinion Blair is doing an incredible job not only as surf-guide who always knows to which break to head too, but foremost with supporting the local communities! Such lovely, unspoiled and seemingly happy people who live on so little but still seem to be more confident with their lifes than most of us. Thanks Mada Surf Tours, we had an unforgettable time!
Jutta and Santos, Germany & Peru - October 2015
Mada Surf Tours was an incredible experience. As a young girl traveling to Madagascar was quite daunting, with very little information available on how to travel, where to go or what kind of accessibility to surf there is. After contacting Mada Surf Tours, they arranged everything for us - airport transfers in Tana, somebody to meet us at a hostel and then the tour itself, which was absolutely spectacular. Jeweled seas, empty lineups, amazing food and remote adventuring. Mada Surf Tours has it all.
Lucy and Anna, WA, Australia - December 2015
What a great experience. Live alongside the locals, surf with the guys who know the best waves. I have traveled a lot and I've never been anywhere like the places on this tour, cool little wooden huts right on the beach, travelling to each location on a sailboat, sunsets you wouldn't believe. The place looks amazing. The trip has gotta be perfect for experienced surfers and there's a good range of different waves that these guys have found over the years they've been doing it. I turned up almost totally green to the sport but they totally fit me in, found waves to suit me, good teaching, good surfing, i had an awesome week. Ben and Blair were really helpful and did everything to make sure I enjoyed the trip. If you're thinking about this I would totally recommend it and the secret spot is definitely worth checking out.
Alex N, England - January 2016
The Gash Pack was for myself and my father who I brought with me much more than just your typical surf trip. Aside from the perfect waves with no one out (a real treat these days!) Blair and Ben helped us meet and mix it up with the locals in this region of the Island, a fantastic experience. There is definitely a before and especially an after to this type of trip, you come back all that much richer after such a memorable experience. A huge thanks to all the team, Blair and Ben I’ll be back with my daughter for the next trip!!
Alexandre L, Basque Country - February 2016
On behalf of my boys and I, a short note to thanks you for the amazing surf trip in Madagascar. The accommodation was great, the food was great, the hospitality shown by the local's was great, the backgammon was great and your guiding was great. On top of all of this the waves were epic. It was a week that we will always remember with fond memories and a trip I would highly recommend. We look forward to our next trip. Thanks ans regards!
Alan, Rowan,& Thomas Beesley (Anchor Boy), Durban SA - March 2016
Awesome trip! We were surfing in paradise and we had the reef all to ourselves, except sharing the whitewash with the occasional fisherman in a pirogue joining in on the fun! I learned so much from the surf guide Maxime and the fun atmosphere him and the skipper Ralay created is the reason why I kept extending my trip with them! The fishermen villages we stayed in were simplistic and beautiful and the people were so kind and welcoming. My favorite part of the trip was the secret spot because giving back to the places I visit is really important to me and you could see the happiness it brought the kids. Plus, that was my favorite spot to surf! The only warning I have is to be careful because you’ll never want to leave!
Thank you! Amanda H, New Jersey USA - April 2018