Friday, July 23, 2010

N'gor Island

After lunch my friend and I took off in the Landcruiser for Les Almadies and N'Gor Island.  In order to get to the island you have to take a pirogue, a long wooden canoe that can seat about 50 and powered with a 25 hp outboard motor.  The trip takes about five minutes and costs 500 CFAs (about $1).  You pay at the window, take your receipt to the life vest shack for your personal flotation device, and then sit on the benches and wait for the next pirogue.  The boats run every 15-20 minutes and drop you off at one of two beaches (the pirogue alternates beaches).  Upon landing you drop off your life vest and you will be greeted by the island welcoming committee, who will take you on a tour of the small village for a small fee.

We finally managed to shake our guide after about an hour (my friend bought him off with some cigarettes) and i was able to find the famous surf spots on the left and right of the island.  on the left side of the island is "Mommie and Poppie" named after two large rocks and on the right side of the island is the break immortalized by the surf classic "Endless Summer."

"Endless Summer" is a surf epic from the 1960s where two California surfers take off on an around the world surf adventure, trying to follow the summer and surf year round.  The first place they land in Africa is in Senegal and they stay at the hotel that faces N'Gor Island and surf the right side in the film.  They introduced surfing to Senegal and today the breaks are full of little kids who surf much better than me.  There are several surf schools and N'Gor Island even has a surf camp (but it was closed when we visited) and the kids live mostly on donated surfboards left behind by tourists as they leave.  The sport shop in Dakar City shopping center has about a dozen new boards for sale at prices comparable to the states- about $700 per board- which is 1/2 of what an average Senegalese makes in a year.

There were about a 1/2 dozen kids at each break, but the numbers began to swell as time passed.  Most of the sets were thigh to waist high, but you had to know the breaks- especially at Mommie and Poppie, where you had to make a hard right turn or you were in the rocks.  I think I need to hire a surf guide to take me around the area and show me the rocks in the water.  I don’t need any more urchin incidents.

The return trip on the boat is free.  All you need to do is grab a life vest from the pile after the passengers disembark and you are back on the peninsula in five minutes.  At a buck a trip its worth visiting the island every week- but i should try to find some surfers or a guide with a boat so i wont be jammed in with everyone else while holding by board.
Hotel from the Endless Summer


  1. I've been meaning to ask, don't they have a urchin proof booty that you can wear while surfing? If they do is that something that makes you automatically uncool so you won't wear it?

  2. What do you eat while you are touring these places?

  3. I'm loving reading your blog and seeing what adventures you are having.
    I am glad that you are traveling with a friend (safer) Thanks for sharing,
    Keep them coming. Love, Mom

  4. Jason- they make a surf sock, but i never thought they were cool before. I am considering using my vibram 5 fingers the next time i go out