· By Maria Nilsson
by Anouk Corolleur
I used to surf here when I was a kid with my dad, I don’t remember a lot of it but a lot of duck dives to get out the back of massive beach breaks and dripping ice creams on my T-shirt.
After 8 years exploring the world, it felt like the right time for me to come home and reconnect with my family and my culture.
And there was no better way for me to explore and visit my own country but with my two Australian mates: Maria and Maddie aka The Atmosea surf rats.
We had travelled a few times together already, and although I didn’t know much about our travelling plan, I had no doubt we would be perfectly aligned: It was all going to be about letting our weirdness shine out and about enjoying the precious time we’ve got together. I was excited.
I picked up the girls at the airport of Biarritz in my recently acquisition: A 4L from 1987 called Savane. I bought if for a bargain from one of my Californian friends who was leaving the Basque Country. The rusty, moody and cute Savane was the perfect Gurf-mobile.
So here we were 3 gurfs, a couple of single fins and our Atmosea suits all jammed up in a tiny French car.
French summer is about all pleasure and elegancy. It’s about the morning croissants and coffees, about the crunchy bread, and the never-too-much olive oil on tomatoes. It’s about the long hours spent tanning on the beach topless, it’s about getting lost and not knowing which umbrella is yours. It’s about indulgence, enjoyment and slow life. And we so we did! Maddie couldn’t resist her morning croissant, Maria and I ate a few kilos of mussels, and we became religiously addicted to our ice cream ritual in the afternoon. That sort of makes me wanna say: Yolo.
In the afternoons we would take down a few single fins (and a finless, because I couldn’t find my fin, ahah), our umbrella, and set up camp on the beach to roast our tits out like a proper French lady.
You have to check the right timing if you want to surf Cotes des Basques during summer. On the high tide it gets very sketchy to come back in through the ramp, but on the low tides, the surf schools come out and it’s game over. We scored it a few times, in the early morning and afternoon: Crystal blue water and view on the Belleza castle, voilà!
The only “dark spot” was the way back from the beach: 259 steps up a steep hill. Lucky Maria was here as our personal trainer, teaching us how to lift our pelvis and pull our bellies in (she was a PT in a past life I tell you). We were sweating, but ice cream was waiting.
Where there is a wave there is a Gurf!
We met two locals, Alice Vedrine and Filippa-Jean Edghill. Both incredible artists, photographers, travellers and surf creatures who have settled in Biarritz as they fell in love with the man, euh, place sorry. With my sister joining the boat, we were a full crew of ladies and it was such precious moments for me to have my friends coming from across the globe to share some waves and to brake down a few move on the dancefloor with the local girls.
(Fast Forward the emotional moment)
ANYWAYS… Days after days, waves after waves, and coffees after coffees our weirdness got better.
We surfed Parlementia in Guétary, a 20 minute paddle from the shore, 6 foot on the big sets that day. Which is extremely scary for a Gurf whose normal environment is a 2-foot point break. The locals got their guns out. We rocked out on single fins and cheeky Atmosea suits (which was a bit of a contrast but very welcomed at the line up).
We scored some awesome ones, and although Maddie got a bit frighten as she got caught on the inside, the adrenaline shot got us excited and feeling more alive than ever.
Guétary was def a high light in our trip. We loved it. We loved the coffee at Providence, which quickly turned into French Gurf HQ, we loved the small streets, and colourful market.
France is definitely a top destination for a surf trip, not just to enjoy the waves, but also to enjoy the culture and to explore different traditions. It’s way more than just the croissants, the breads, the wines and the cheeses. It’s about family, friends, it’s about the values we give to life and how we cherish what we have. Come on let me say it, it’s about Love.
Written by Anouk Corolleur
Photos by Julien Binch Binet