At last, a video! All of this footage was filmed in SW France, including all of the waves that weekend (not necessarily filmed by me), which gives you an idea of the size they get down there!!! It requires sound as per usual and is best downloaded first.
I told everyone at work I’d see them next Tuesday and headed out of the office on Thursday afternoon to pack for the big trip to the South West coast of France for some serious holiday fun and surfing.
Friday morning came and I headed off in the car over the Docklands and out up the M11 towards Stansted Airport. It was pooring with rain and I was quite looking forward to getting out of Britain and into the warm French weather. I parked in the Pink Elephant parking area and flukely managed to park the car about 5 down from Andy, Gin and Kim, who had arrived from Birmingham only 10 minutes before! The rain was hitting it down hard and I ran over to Kim’s car. I saw Andy for the first time in 18 months and the first thing he said to me was “look at this rain, how are we going to get to the airport” – this moaning is what I expected and was to be a centre point to the holiday. We got absolutely soaked getting to the bus stop carrying the tents and sleeping bags. When we arrived at the airport we checked our belongings in then hit the bar where I had a coffee and Andy had asked for a triple whiskey (which they wouldn’t give to him) so he settled for a double. He then had his placebo drugs that loosen the nerves at the same time (as he doesn’t like flying). Meanwhile Kim was out buying a big packet of fruit sweets with every single E number under the sun in and then not eating them and just forcing me to eat then for him.
We boarded the Ryanair plane and scrambled for a good seat (Ryanair don’t allocate seats) and off we went! The flight was pretty good and you could see the weather picking up as we got closer to Biarittz. Andy did not start freaking out on the plane ‘like the guy in se7en tied to the bed’ as Kim thought he would.
My surfboard was still intact when we went to collect the hire car. The vehicle was supposed to be a ‘Peugeot 206 or similar’ Andy’s face here reflects the mood he was in when we got given this heap of Italian junk (no offence Gin) –
Going from bad to worse for Andy
The car was practically air tight by the time we had all got in with our loads! I was very nervous about driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road but after a few rides into the kerb I was enjoying it. I actually thought it made more sense to drive on the right than the left by the end of the weekend.
We did not have a campsite booked so we had to find one quick before it got dark, there was no time for fluffing around; we drove North up the A63 away from Biarrtiz and up towards Hossegor. We got off at a town called Ondres and went into the ‘Office de Tourisme’ in the town. They gave us a map of the local camp sites and we headed to the nearest one ‘Camp du Lac’. A campsite next to a lake. They had room for us and we were in. We put up the tents right away in the boiling heat and put our shorts on. I wanted to go checkout the ocean so we drove down to the beach and the waves were massive, overhead for sure, I did not want to go out in that on my own.
After setting up the tents and looking at the raging ocean we jumped back in the car and headed for Carrefour shopping mall that we passed. The quality and diversity of food on offer in French supermarches are 100 times better than any other country I’ve ever been to. We bought some lovely bread, some camembert, more cheese, some dips, crisps, lemonade, water, wine, pernod and some beer that Kim choosed called ‘Panache’. We then visited McDonalds (because Gin is a huge fan) and had some burgers. We cracked open the Pernod “that’s the most disgusting drink I’ve ever tasted” – Kim. We went for a little walk to the ‘du lac’ and had this group picture (where although I am 5’11 look about 5’2) –
Kim, Andy, Gin and Me
We came back to the campsite and Gin, Andy and Kim wondered off to the toilet. Andy and Gin came back and Kim was taking a little bit more time than usual. Gin and Andy mentioned that the toilets were ‘hole in the floor’ style and had no toilet paper. Kim came back looking very distressed about what he had just had to do. Andy being some kind of hole in floor toilet master gave an impromptu demonstration of how to use the a french toilet –
French Toilet Demonstration in Progress
We headed off to the camp site bar and tried drinking the ‘FAXE’ larger, which was absolutely disgusting. So instead we had cocktails which were pretty nice. It wasn’t really ‘going off’ at the campsite bar but we held it out to the bitter end and decided on a plan of action of where we could find an English style toilet. We got shouted at by the campsite owner (who looked like Freddy Mercury) on the way back to our tents (French Accent) “TWENTY FOUR PLEASE BE QUIET” – at first we did not know what it meant but we guessed it meant you had to be quiet past midnight!!
I was sharing a tent with Kim and as you might have seen on the holiday section of the site, he is a bit of a loose cannon. I woke up in the middle of the night to a massive downpour to see the Kim was nowhere to be seen. At first this seemed a bit unusual but then when I realised who it was I was dealing with maybe it wasn’t. The next morning I woke up to find Kim sleeping in the foyer of the tent, which is not protected from the rain very well. His sleeping bag was soaked by his feet. We managed to persaude him that he should have slept in the tent (after making up some reason it was because of my disturbing sleep talking that made him move).
So the ground was wet but the weather was holding out, although it was no day for sitting on the beach. We went to the town of Hossegor where the Rip Curl Pro was taking place, we did not see much of the event in action, but it did not really kick off until we left (just the grom search was on). We had some coffees and croissants in Hossegor –
Kim, Andy and Gin munching on some French Breakfast
As the clouds started to arrive we walked down to the beach to see what the surf was like. A heavy onshore wind and overhead waves were making it unlikely I was going to be going out anytime soon. The £34 for flying my board out was starting to begin to look like a waste of money. Here are the waves at Hossegor on the Saturday morning. If you look closely you can see a little figure riding the wave breaking closest to shore, it was insane –
Big Waves, Onshore winds, Rainclouds looming
The rains started to come in so we went to a little bar by the beach in Hossegor. I asked the waiter for ‘un stylo’ and he seemed furious at me using it to write postcards with!!!! After the rain had stopped we drove to Biarritz, the anger in the car was building to raging point between Kim and Andy, with Andy being “the hardest guy I know” – Kim we were all a little scared. We arrived in Biarritz and walked around it for ages and got Andy to calm down. For dinner we hit a place called ‘Le Cotton’ and had a pretty poor dinner although it was only €15 each (and a bottle of rose that was not for us but we drank anyway). The rain seemed to have it in for us. Not only had we recieved a soaking on the way to the airport when we were walking back to the car it started to rain a bit. We were only about 100m away from the carpark when we thought it would be a good idea to run as it was just spitting. Somehow in that time the spitting rain turned into a power shower of sideways rain that soaked us completely within about 5 seconds –
We headed back to our campsite for a night of Rose wine drinking and the ‘Panache’ larger that we got on discount at Carrefour. We deceided that because of our bad luck with the weather and the heavy rain and the crazy surf conditions that we would get really drunk that night. We got back to the campsite, got changed out of our wet clothes and cracked open the Panache larger…..mmmmm, that tastes a bit fruity…..how much alcohol is in this…..
So we had twenty four bottles of Alc. Inferieur a 1% Vol to knock back. This clearly wasn’t going to happen, so after a lot of shouting at Kim and a lot of head scratching as to why you would put 1% alcohol in between Stella and 1664 we headed back to the campsite bar. We made some friends with some English girls and they took this picture –
Nice Time Great Guys
Our new English friends and us played a game of cards where you had to get four of the same and then put your fingers on your nose and the last person to copy the person that put their fingers on their nose lost. You would have thought you could have developed that into a drinking game but obviously our brains were not in gear and we just kept playing that for ages, with the person of lost just being the loser. When ‘twenty four please be quiet’ time came we got invited by the girls to the woods (yes we were nervous) to meet some French guys who were also on the campsite. Gin was almost blind drunk and must have forgotten that the Panache was inferior alcohol and started to bring it to the woods.
Middle of the woods with the French Men and a couple of English girls
I played a bit of Jack Johnson on the guitar and we all tried to score some of the French guys beer (as Gin had dumped the Panache on the side of the road towards the forest). Eventually the English girls managed to score some beer for us which Kim downed. Gin started to fall over and get out of control, we were also getting some bad vibes from the French crew because the English girls seemed to just want to talk to us so Kim, Andy and myself made our escape from the woods, not before Andy got wild with a stick in the woods and chased us like a crazy man –
Andy with a stick in the woods
I woke up the next day to Kim climbing out of the tent, I asked him what time it was and he said it was half nine and that he was going for a shower. Twenty minutes later he came back and fell asleep again, I woke up about three hours later at the real half nine, another tick on the madness test for Kim.
At last the sun had come out and we went down to the beach, the waves were still crashing out the back but surf had to be done, so I paid €8 to hire a mal for the day. I went out for about 20 minutes and then came in feeling like I was going to be sick (too much rose/cocktails/panache the night before). As we were putting on suntan lotion we noticed Kim was using it very sparingly. He told us his reasoning was that after the burn goes down he will be a ‘bronze beauty’. As you can see from this picture he is in the early stages of serious sunburn that would affect him for that night and the next day and many days to come –
On the Beach at last!!
As the sun started to get a little bit too much and we were a little bit bored of sitting on the beach, we drove back to Biarritz to attempt to find a better place to eat than the night before. We tried to find a ‘locals’ place by walking what we thought was off the beaten track. I got a nice photo of Biarritz on our track –
When driving around in the sun in the South West of France with their open roads and not many people it reminded me very much of the trip to the Sunshine Coast with Andy in February, which disproved my theory that Australia was the only place in the world which this could be done (SW, France is a lot cheaper to get to than QLD, Australia from England).
We had a drink in a bar looking over the crazy surf of Biarritz, which was playing Mexican music that seemed to get faster and slower with the size of waves that were coming in. We then went to a really nice place to eat and ate Mussels, Ham, Pasta and Steak. Yum.
We headed back for our last night in the campsite and found ourselves sitting in the Fiat Panda drinking rose wine (after being kicked out of the camp site bar for the last time). The next morning and Kim and myself headed down to the beach at about 09h00. I had a bit of a hangover but was determined, if the waves were a little calmer, to get out their on my board. The waves had calmed down enough to make it viable for me to paddle out. It was the most tiring paddle of all time but I was out there and managed two (poor) rides before having to come in and admit that having a wine hangover and trying to surf medium sized waves was never going to work.
I am now back in England and have a cold from the immune system hit this weekend (hangover surfing + heavy rain = illness), but it was well worth it and a great time with the lads, even if sometimes the conversations are just so far out there they cannot even be mentioned on here, on in the public domain at all!!!
Gin, Andy (with triple whiskey), Kim and myself at Biarritz airport waiting for the return flight
A great weekend break, I wish we did it more often, actually the good thing is there’s no reason why we can’t!! Here’s a link to the Rip Curl Pro that we didn’t see much of! Peace out…. and France again next weekend!
I love that, Camping is in tents. Did you get it? In tents? No? Ok. Fizzer celebrated his
42nd 32nd birthday last weekend on the Gower. The surf report for the weekend looked pretty rubbish. The whole of the United Kingdom was surrounded by the colour purple on the NOAA/NCEP WAM so I did not expect to get any waves. Fizzer however was optimistic at first that there would be some waves and then as the weekend approached a lot less optimistic. So when I arrived after the five hour drive through blanket rain, I was pleased to see something going on in the ocean (and also that the rain had stopped to allow us to put up the geo-desic tent). Here is Davey and myself heading out into the choppy ocean. It looks pretty cold from the picture but the water was real nice, I did not feel cold even after a 1.5 hour session. The waves were a little bit all over the place and it was onshore and I did not catch that many because I used up all the energy just trying to get out!
That night we all went to the local pub for something to eat and some booze. I actually felt a little bit ill at first because I’d managed to swallow some of the sea, something I have not done for ages. The show had to go on though and after a few stellas, apple and chicken pie and three rounds of baileys and ice the evening was commencing. It was good to see Paula and Paul again after I bumped into them in Cornwall two weeks before. We live about 2 miles apart in London but only meet by the beach, which is a nice thing.
The next day we scaled one of the hills that looks out to see. The view is amazing and it was also a good spot to try and see where a good place to paddle out and catch some waves is.
The view in the ocean looking back at the land was just as good, maybe the United Kingdom’s version of the view at Teahupoo.
On second day and the waves were a little cleaner, they still lacked any kind of punch but I think that is typical for summer surfing, when I was on a wave I could not get the speed to break the force of gravity to let me travel up a wave. Saying that there were a couple of nice lefts and it’s all good practice!!!
The weekend sadly came to an end and we had to pack away and return home. I snapped a photo of these sheep
s in a field just outside of the campsite, it came out pretty good I think –
From sheep on the Gower to….
..our nations capital
That’s pretty much it, now I’m getting all packed away for next weekend’s trip to Biarritz/Hossegor in the South of France for a weekend on the beach with the boys from Warwickshire..it’s going to involve surfing as well (if it’s not too big and I can persaude Gin, Kim and Anders to get their feet wet). It’s going to be cooooooolllll!!!! If you have two minutes checkout the gaspar ball of death cam…brilliant.
Last weekend I returned home and got some stuff from the loft. I went out with my parents and Christine who is a German backpacker staying at my parents house to a place called Crabmill in Preston Baggot. It is my favourite restaurant in Warwickshire and recommend it to anyone.
Crabmill Preston Baggot
After doing 6 hour drives to the coast, driving to Warwickshire seems very easy! It seemed like a long way from London but really its just around the corner.
This weekend sees another surf trip although the forecast is rain, wind and no swell so lets see how that works out. The weekend after is Biarritz/Hossegor where we will catch the start of the Rip Curl Pro!! I am hoping I can persaude the boys to go along to the beach party on the Saturday night in Hossegor, it should be good.
Another nice little feature that I am currently working on (have not got very far but the ‘proof of concept’ is there) is a surf forecast website, using data from NOAA and graphics by Anhdres. It will offer surf predictions for general areas of the coast, such as ‘North Cornwall’, ‘Biarritz Region’ rather than beach by beach forecasts (only because it is easier to do as general areas). So keep your eyes peeled for that soon!!!
Over and out.
I received this comment last Friday on my ‘Tofino Surf Not Happening‘ entry from ‘Dawn’ –
your an idiot, how could you possible think that you know what the surf is like here when you were only here a few days. If you actually did know anything about surfing, you’d know that one day to the next, one min to the next, the surf changes. The reason Storm didn’t want to rent you any surf gear is probilly ’cause they knew you were an idiot. Everyone who know’s anything about surfing know’s that Tofino, has brilliant surf. Maybe not everyday, but often.
Your a dumbass which thinks it’s cool to wear Quicksilver, or any other namebrand surf gear. The only cool people which wear name brand are the people who are sponcered by the company, everyone else are just posers.
Your a geek.
An open letter to Dawn –
Thank you very much for your comment. I am very grateful for you visiting g2007.com and hope you enjoyed browsing the site. However, I would like to make the following comments regarding your comment on Tofino Surf Not Happening (scroll to bottom to read comment) entry –
1. “your an idiot” – Very clever. For future reference “your” is the possessive form of you. Next time you want to call someone an idiot I recommend you use either “You are an idiot” or “You’re an idiot”.
2. Thank you for pointing out the surf changes “one min to the next” I did not know that.
3. “The reason Storm didn’t want to rent you any surf gear is probilly ’cause they knew you were an idiot.” – I am guessing probilly means probably but I will let you off that one because you probably only went to school for a couple of days before deciding that the teachers were idiots and you could better spend your life writing comments on other peoples blogs. Storm didn’t rent me any surf gear because they were an incompetent outfit that did not communicate their surf rental status to all the employees or they decided that they didn’t want me to rent a board because as you have mentioned, I was wearing Quiksilver branded clothes (not spelt ‘Quicksilver’ but you probably don’t care because you are too cool to wear it).
4. “Your a dumbass which thinks it’s cool to wear Quicksilver, or any other namebrand surf gear. The only cool people which wear name brand are the people who are sponcered by the company, everyone else are just posers.” Do you understand why sponsored people are sponsored by brands like Quiksilver? It is so that consumers like myself see people such as Kelly Slater wearing these clothes I can then buy and get similar gear. Yes I think Kelly Slater rules, (which probably in your tiny mind makes me even more of a ‘your an idiot’) not only because he is six-times world champion and an amazing surfer, he also came to Sydney and surfed Deadmans, which you can see here on g2007.com and missed the start of the Bells Beach comp. Buying surf clothes creates profit for the brands which in turn provides the cash to pay some professional surfers to surf for a living. This in turn provides you and me with Surf DVDs to watch these pros in action as well as provide investment into the surf industry for the design of better equipment such as wetsuits, surfboards etc..
5. “Your a geek.” – You’re illiterate and probably no more than 16 years old. If you are older I suggest you do what your parents did and get a job. Maybe then you will change your mind about surf brand clothes and lose your attitude. If you are 16 years old or younger I suggest you visit this link.
Karine sent me a nice picture of Matt (fellow A3 driver), Myself and the star himself, baby Mr Felix ….
To keep prices down I purchased a semi-geodesic tent and headed West in the new motor. The journey took longer than usual because everyone else in the UK seemed to be trying to get to the South West of England. We passed a bus on fire and a smashed up caravan which caused us to get stuck in some minor traffic jams.
After being turned away from one campsite we headed over to a camp site in Harlyn Bay, which is a great little place to surf. Here is the new car, semi-geodesic tent in all its glory and the board layed out on the lawn –
Living the Dream
That evening I had a little surf at Harlyn Bay in what I thought were pretty small waves but were actually going to turn out to be the biggest of the weekend! It was pretty late so didn’t get much time out there and it also started raining so we headed back to the campsite.
The next day and the waves weren’t looking so good so we headed all the way down to Sennan, on the tip of the South West. The waves were no better here but went out there anyway, its too far to come and not get in the water.
Me on the shortboard in the ‘lineup’ with the mal boys
Here I am on the biggest set of the day –
Next set was 2x overhead
On the way back we somehow managed to come across the nicest beach in the world (if waves aren’t your thing). Here is the secret beach at an undisclosed location. I will definetly be coming back to this place when the weather is good –
On Monday we headed down to Fistral Beach in Newquay where the Ripcurl Boardmasters had just started. This was my chance to get noticed by the sponsers and go pro. However, the waves were even smaller than the day before. So we hired some mals and sat in the water. I learnt a nice new trick of riding the board backwards and then spinning it around when you get in the wave. This did not really seem to impress the sponsers and it nearly resulted in me taking out other surfers as it involves surfing backwards!
I eventually got the courage to go out on my board and hang with the pros. There was one guy who was either a big fan of Volcom or sponsered by them because he was in a Volcom wetsuit and had Volcom written all over his board and was also amazingly good at surfing 0.5ft waves! Some of the guys out there were getting speed on the waves and doing 360ies! That is a real show of professional surfing when you look at the conditions. The event goes on for a few more days yet and the swell is set to increase so hopefully they will get something. You can watch it live at Ripcurl.com.
My chance at ‘getting noticed’ down the drain
My shortboard surfing was not happening, it was too small and I was too tired from maling the entire morning, so I left the water down but not defeated, I will return for the next masters. Drove back in the afternoon and the car is fine! 750miles driven this weekend, a lot of travelling for little waves! Bring on Biarritz, 19th-22nd August 2005!!!!