OCTOBER 4TH - OCTOBER 13TH 2011
We’ll tell you who’s responsible ... Napoleon. That horny little freedom-fighter with his pirate hat on sideways and his hand tucked into his sweaty armpit. A couple of hundred years ago, the little general with the big ideas in general, diverted the Ardour River from its former emptying point at Hossegor to create the port of Bayonne 20 miles south. And thus, the deep ex-river that handled thousands of years of snow run-off from the Pyrenees also combined with the Gulf De Capbreton(an underwater downsurge of the Pyrenees) to form a crater on the ocean floor that is one of the deepest in the Atlantic. No need to tell you lot that explosive waves come out of very deep water onto very shallow coast. Hence, the tubular death-kegs of Hossegor.
American surfers came to Biarritz on the sniff when Peter Viertel made The Sun Also Rises. Locals like Joel Isnay and the Latigau bros soon picked up boards, it wasn’t hard, their ancestors were fisherman and whale hunters. Paul Witzig shot epic footage of Nat young at La Barre for his 1972 film Evolution and soon after surf culture evolved faster than anywhere else before it, sophisticated and sexy beach culture at that. The big surf companies set up bases here (close to the snow and sea) and travelling Aussies wound up working here, so many in fact, the place was sometimes referred to as ‘Aussiegor’. Lacanau, an hour up the road, had the contests but Hossegor had the tubes. When the ASP got serious about having the contests in serious waves they pencilled Hossegor in instead.
Miky Picon, Jeremy Flores, Laurent Pujol, Ben Sanchis.
In days gone by; Legend Francophiles like Tom Curren, Gary Elkerton, Jeff Hakman, Martin Potter, Miki Dora, Robbie Page scored tubes for so long they started paying rent in them.
In recent years; the cold sandy Pipeline has been prised open namely by Kelly, Bruce, Fanning and Andy, all shining in the tube-cubes so deep and dark anyone else would need a miner’s light to get out of them.
Quiksilver. The European wing of the company was founded by Mr Sunset, Jeff Hakman; and one-man Band on The Run, Harry Hodge. They turned Quiksilver into the coolest boarding wear on the ski-fields and it soon crossed back over to it’s natural home at the beach.
The stretch from Hossegor to the Spanish border is among the greatest surf zones on the planet. Surf 6’ Avalanches or St Jean de Luz in the morning, ride a 6’ dump of powder in La Mongie that afternoon. Along the way, there are stop offs for people of any persuasion. For the mad Christians, cop an appearance of the Virgin at Lourdes; for the anti-Christians, drop in to Ren la Chateau to see the town that inspired hack book The Da Vinci Code with it’s tales of undercover religious sorcery. For hedonists, hit the sophisticated casinos of Biarritz and go wild like the playboys and kings of yesteryear and party like it’s 1799.
Summer’s over, torpedo-shaped bosoms are still dancing but now under the protection of woollen cardigans. An eerie morning mist hangs over La Lac where dignitaries and ex-presidents walk their dogs around the lakeside. The smell of tanning oil and coconut-scented wax is replaced with the smell of coffee-beans and Kronenbourgs served on the promenade outside Rock Food, directly in front of the Sunset-type permanent peak ‘La Nord.’