Last Tuesday was a bank holiday and we decided to make one last trip to the beach at Boucan Canot to please the children and, incidentally, ourselves too ! It was an opportunity to get some fresh air before the new school year starts and also to watch the humpback whales, which are very present on our coasts at this time of year. Boucan is a beach where the seabed rises quite quickly. These large mammals are barely 100m from the beach and we were delighted to see calves jumping with their mothers.
In the early afternoon, Jojo was watching from a distance as a group of youngsters enjoyed sliding down a wooden board on the sand. From an early age, Joachim has always had a fascination with board sports. By the age of 8, he already had his third star on skis, and was infuriating his instructors by doing whatever he wanted when he left the piste to go over the bumps. On our last winter sports holiday, Joachim wanted to take up snowboarding (to follow in his father’s footsteps), but unfortunately his experiment fell through. As he was quite comfortable, his instructor took him straight onto a blue slope and on a harmless fall, he broke his wrist… I sincerely believe that he would have mastered snowboarding quickly.
He skateboarded and scootered with great ease. During our first year on Reunion Island, we spent a lot of time in the skate parks… Whatever the sport, he always tried to do tricks once he’d mastered the slide itself. He was very persistent and would constantly do the same thing over and over again until he mastered the trick. So it’s not surprising that he got an itch when he saw the youngsters having fun sliding on their boards. We went to a shop to buy a board and after a few hesitations and a lot of falls, he and his brother got hold of the thing and started sliding on their boards.
This is skimboarding. All you need is a patch of fine, smooth sand, let the water recede and then throw your board onto the sand and glide across it like a surfboard. There are different styles of board. The simplest are made of wood, while others are composite. Basically, they look like a small surfboard without the fins. The more advanced boards allow you to ride the waves that crash on the beach and do surf-inspired tricks. So I bought a wooden board that the kids could only ride on sand, i.e. flat.
There were quite a few falls at the start, but Joachim soon got the hang of it. Ronan took a little longer and was getting annoyed because he was taking knocks and that was frustrating him. It soon became clear that a second board was needed! The children dragged me to the beach the next day for yet another outing before the start of the new school year. So on Wednesday, we were at the beach again, even though school was due to start on Thursday! The bags weren’t packed, but they wanted to make the most of this last day. After two outings, they were much more at ease and there were fewer falls. That didn’t stop them coming back with bruised ankles and shins… Ronan’, without having Joachim’s natural ease, managed to impress me!
With the start of the new school year, the children were beginning to regret having to wait until the next holidays (mid-October) to get out their skimboards again …. Finally, as Gwen had a friend visiting from mainland, we decided to take her to the beach on Saturday, much to the boys’ delight! It was back-to-school time, but they still had the chance to extend their holidays for a day by taking up skimboarding on Saturday. And frankly, they had gained in ease and confidence and were now trying to do tricks together.
All of this was of course to my great delight, as I had a prime spot close to the kids with my Ricoh GRD IV to capture these moments of sliding. I have to admit that my camera took quite a few splashes, especially on the lens, because with my tendency to be very close to my subjects, it was inevitable! The times we went to Boucan, the waves were superb, sometimes creating chaos even for the skimboarders. Sometimes a board would get caught up in a wave and drift out to sea, only to be picked up again by another wave. You had to be careful not to get the boards caught on your ankles or any other part of your body.
I got a kick out of being as close as possible to the boys to take their photos. This is the one I like best. I worked essentially on the composition. It may look extremely simple, but I like simplicity …
All the photos were made with the Ricoh GRD IV