TYPE OF A BOARD YOU LIKE
THE GASH PACK – A BACK TO THE ROOTS SURFING ADVENTURE
The Gash Pack is mixed group surf tour with its basecamp at Mada Surf Ranch in Anakao, the surfing hub of the region. The tour in itself is essentially a swell chase targeting the best waves on offer in the region each day. As the tour visits four different villages it also doubles up as a bit of a discovery trip taking you to off the beaten track venues and surfing a multitude of differing breaks for all levels of surfer. The 50km stretch of coastline between Sarodrano to the north and Secrets to the south of Anakao lays host to more than 18 breaks which are accessible by boat only. At least 12 of these breaks are world class on their day. A mobile surf tour or swell chase is the best and only real way of optimising potential surfing time in the region. The waves are quite fickle and local knowledge as well as a good boat are essential in scoring the best waves on offer each day.
Toliara is no real secret to SA, French or Reunion Island surfers as they have been coming here for some years now. However due to the aforementioned complications a lot of surfers have not had the best experiences as they have had to just stay in one particular spot for their stay and have often missed the best waves. Add to this the language dilemma and dealing with local fisherman to get out to the breaks combined with the lack of local knowledge and it hasn’t always been an easy trip for nomadic surfers. I have been surfing here for more than 20 years, know the waves and local conditions like the back of my hand and can get you to the best waves on offer everyday! Surfing in the Madagascar is definitely going to explode in the future as quality uncrowded waves such as we have on offer here are a very rare commodity nowadays. This place is basically a time bomb just waiting to explode!!
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. Max 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
Mada Surf Ranch – The Gash Pack Base Camp
Mada Surf Ranch is the Gash Pack basecamp hotel in Anakao and where you will be based for most of the trip. Anakao is the hub of surfing in the region and also the largest Vezo fishing village in the south of Madagascar with a combined population of around ten thousand people. The Ranch itself is the newest hotel in Anakao and was set up in 2018 to specifically cater for our Mada Surf Tours Gash Pack clients. Strategically located around 500m from the main fishing village, the hotel has an onsite bar restaurant and chill out lounge with breathtaking view over the Island of Nosy Vé. The kitchen proposes fresh seafood straight off the boat daily, a range of pizzas and a selection of hamburgers to choose from. There is also WiFi 24/24 in the main bar area and happy hour daily from 5-6pm. The biggest problem we have had at the Ranch since setting up is trying to get the Gash Pack clients to leave when the waves are on elsewhere!
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
Anakao Basecamp Waves
Anakao is also home to the legendary Flameballs located off the northern tip of a tiny offshore island called Nosy Vé. The wave itself is a screaming left hander which rifles off down the reef over a carpet of fire coral, hence the name Flameballs! At 4ft the wave is pretty fun but when it starts hitting the 6-8ft range is time to pull out the guns cause it’s pretty full on and definitely reserved for the brave. Anakao is also home to Jelly Babies which is probably the most surfed wave in Madagascar. Jelly Babies. is an excellent fun wave for all levels of surfer and definitely much more forgiving than it’s predecessor. We also have several other little options up our sleeve for when the tides or winds are not cooperating at Jelly Babies of Flameballs!
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
The Jewel in the Crown – Sarodrano Fishing Village
When the swell gets too big for Anakao it’s time to hit Sarodrano which hosts TT’s, on its day one of the best wave in the area. This winding left hander reels off down a horseshoe atoll reef for up to 500 metres and is without a doubt a world class wave. When the wind is wrong or the swell too small there is also a classic right hander on the other side of the reef that can be really good fun. The right is called Inners cause about 3kms further out to sea there is an insane right hander called Outers that can handle just about anything that Huey throws at it. When the conditions are right there is also another insane right hander called Jammies which on its day looks like a miniature version of Kirra. In all Sarodrano lays host to 8 different breaks and is probably one of the best surfing set ups you could ever see. Our base camp is set up on the sand dunes in front of the main fishing village with a panoramic view of the entire lagoon. Sarodrano is a tiny unspoilt fishing village with around five hundred inhabitants set on a white sand peninsula that has remained virtually untouched by the white man. A nicer friendlier people you would be hard pressed to come across. When the waves are on we will sleep over and mix it up with the villagers. We will be staying with President Manjaka and his family in their home stay style bungalows. Your accommodation is in back to the roots beachfront bungalows with double bed and Malagasy shower with outside share facility toilets. We will be eating the freshest seafood everyday and surfing some of the best waves on offer in Madagascar, this is your true deep in the heart of Africa travel experience!
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
Kamikazes – Maggots – Slabland
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 Max 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
The Secret Spots – The Real Surfers Paradise!
The Secret Spots or Secrets as we call it is a virtually unknown fishing village that lays host to numerous breaks including a left hand reef break, a right hand reef pass, an A-frame left and right reef peak as well as another classic right hand reef break amongst others. All of these spots are located within close proximity to a tiny little fishing village which was virtually unvisited by the white man until we first starting surfing down there several years back. We will be staying with a host family in modest but comfortable little bungalows with no running water or electricity. Our host family serves up freshly cooked calamari, fish and lobster and there is also a little shop where you can buy cold water, beer and other little miscellaneous snacks to tie you over! Whilst in the village we will also visit the local primary school where clients can sponsor a young child with all the necessary stationery and school supplies that they need to get themselves through school for the year. This what we call the social responsibility side of the trip giving back to the communities we visit and helping those with too little to help themselves and I can guarantee that when you sponsor your kid the only person happier than him in the village will be you for actually doing it you will be surprized how fulfilling it is helping those in need, especially when they’re little cuties!
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 has dedicated his life 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
Surfing With The Green Team
Mada Surf Ranch – Anakao Grommet Division
In April 2020 at the very beginning of the Covid Crisis Madagascar had just firmly closed it’s borders to all foreigners and the hotel in Anakao was completely empty so me and Ed decided to make the most of it and teach my little sister in law Bella and Josh’s Nanny Andrea to surf on the little beachie in front of the hotel. On arrival there was a bunch of little grommie chicks surfing on old pieces of broken pirogue and the girls quickly became friendly with them so after the surf we invited them back to the lodge and told them that we had plenty of spare boards they could borrow so they all ended up becoming best of friends and basically surfing together every other day. After several months of intensive training at the SuperBank we ended up taking them all out to Jelly Babies for their first outer reef session and not long after we started introducing them to competition with little Mary (pictured on day one) taking out the first ever Anakao Ampela Pro then backing it up a few months later with a win in the regional titles then 18 months later she went on to win the first ever Madagascar National Surfing Championships! Since then the girls have all progressed enormously and we’ve even taken them surfing at more notorious waves such as Flameballs, Pousse Pousse, Outers, Inners and Secrets to hone in their skills and as of recently the best up and coming Juniors in Anakao have also joined « The Green Team » and they’re currently surfing harder than ever before in preparation for the next National Surfing Titles and am pretty sure that we have a couple of future champions in our midst! As they say the best surfer in the water is the one having the most fun and The Green Team definitely know how to pump out the good vibes hooting and howling on nearly every wave they catch so if you’re keen to mix it up with the groms book a seat on The Gash Pack Tour or for the less hardcore surfers you can even just book a room at Basecamp and get yourself in the thick of the action!
Surfing with Blair 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
The Common Denominator … Perfect Waves No Crowds!
What is the common denominator in all of the above photos? In case you didn’t notice there are no crowds in either the foreground or background and quite simply because there are no crowds whatsoever. When we pull up to a break it’s usually just us and mother nature alone. No Joe Pro’s hogging all the waves, no hassling and snaking, no dropping in and fighting, it’s good old back to the roots essence of surfing, just sharing waves with your buddies and hooting each other on, they way it used to be back in the old days, and the only way it should be, but unfortunately in this day and age, something that has become an extremely scarce commodity. So if you’ve had enough of all the BS that goes down at most of the breaks that you can surf today it might just be time to try the Gash Pack surfing adventure, mixing it up with the locals in the coolest little off the beaten track fishing villages you could ever imagine … a 100% pure back to the roots surfing experience guaranteed !!!
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 !!!
Sacha L & Elsa, Mauritius – February 2015
THE GASH PACK SWELL CHASE TOUR RATES 2023
Gash Pack Tour Rates – 350€pp per week on twin share
Valid for travel from 01 April 2023 through 30 September 2023 – Extra days 50€. Single traveller rate 420€ per week extra days 60€. One week minimum booking period.
GASH PACK MOBILE SURF TOUR INCLUSIONS:
- Basecamp accommodation at Mada Surf Ranch in Anakao
Accommodation at Sarodrano, Kamikazes and Secrets base camps
Surf multiple different breaks and discover off the beaten track fishing villages
- All transfers to northern and southern reef break base camps
- All outer reef surf transfers by fast boat with outboard
- Experienced local skipper and surf guide
NB : Please note that during the off season months from 01 October 2023 through 31 March 2024 only the Cash Pack or Private Charter options are available.
Please note that tours start and finish at Mada Surf Ranch in Anakao. Transfer fees to Anakao are at your own cost and can be arranged for you. One way transfer is 15€ and return transfer is 30€ though it is recommended to just take a one way transfer and we will organise return transfer for you once you are here.