Sunday, November 4, 2012

Surf's Up

Anglet sits between Bayonne and Biarritz on the southwest corner of France.  Along the shore are restaurants, surf shops selling any manner of top-of-the-line surfing attire and equipment and their less expensive and less durable equivalents.  The clientele in these shops and restaurants are a combination of surfers, surfer followers, former surfers, surfer families and friends, wannabe surfers, photographers, and surfing appreciators—like us.  This is the surfing capital of Europe; and we arrived on the final day of the France Surfing Championship.  

The weather was a little blustery, though it’s always like that here—sometimes warm blustery, sometimes cold blustery—but always blustery.  Without bluster, there wouldn’t be waves.  We’ve visited Anglet several times in previous trips and always encountered wind.  The last time, we witnessed a man who lost his surfboard in the violent surf, struggling to get to shore without the board and heading back into the water to retrieve it.  He was a “hard-core surfer.”  From our viewpoint, he barely escaped with his life.   One can only hope he’ll finally make it to “former surfer” status in one piece.

The crowds were thick despite the inclement weather.  Photographers covered the breakwater like albatross on a rock.   Along the wall above the sandy beach were more amateur photographers (We fit into that category.), lots of those enthusiastic appreciators, and others who, like us, had happened across the championship and stopped to watch.
On the beach and in the water were watercrafts at the ready to rescue any poor soul who was in trouble.  We didn’t witness any rescues, but the watercraft operators were vigilant, passing back and forth in front of the waves

Competitor's wait time
The competition took place on both sides of the breakwater, so the photographers were ideally located to focus on the side where the waves were best and the competition was happening.  There was much waiting and watching without result.  Those who had already had their turn in the water watched with much anticipation of their standing and much admiration of those who are more proficient.  The competition resulted in a win by Hugo Savalli.  Do we have a photo of him?  Don’t know for sure.  But enjoy the few that follow:

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