Thursday, 1 October 2009

surf's up in St Jean de Luz

One of St Jean de Luz' sub cultures has allowed me into its midst in recent days. With summer over, autumn winds and weather systems are forcing bigger waves onto the Basque coast. My neighbour insisted I join him and his friends to learn the way of the board. Now I knew it wasn't going to be easy but had figured the difficulty would primarily be technical not physical. How wrong I have been.
My first day was spent largely taking waves while lying flat in a press-up position. By lunchtime of day two I was halfway up and by the end of that day I managed to stand, albeit for only a couple of seconds. Today was meant to be day three but I am walking like a robot and can't lift my arms above my waist.
Now I had always sort of smirked at the whole surf thing. That whole 'being at one with nature man' thing. However, when you are sat on your board out at sea, watching and waiting for a wave to take it is a unique experience. Seriously big waves and serious amounts of fun!
I have been very fortunate in taking my first waves on one of the biggest beaches in Europe which runs some 200km from Bordeaux to the Spanish border. An enormous forest protects the beaches from the inland towns. Finding a desolate beach with excellent waves is not difficult. We were on our own the whole time we were there. Looking north and south up the beach, nothing and noone. Magical.
Basque of the day:- surf :: olatu-apar