I am by no means considering myself a core surfer. Surfing isn’t really in my blood, it’s hard to catch a big wave in the Mediterranean. However, there is a kind of addiction in it which is difficult to resist and even more to explain. “Only a surfer knows the feeling”, the usual expression, is a rather grotesque slogan over exploited by corporate advertising bulshit in the unique goal to sell clothes. I guess the reasons have better to do with some kind of perfect visions of nature and the connection that comes from playing with them. I have already spent a fair amount of energy in search of this over the years, sometimes until far remote places of the world. I turned 40 the other day and it seems that getting enough is not for tomorrow. Despite the colossal waste of time it is, like Dora used to say, I intend to keep on doing this for a while, probably as long as I can in fact.
This morning was cold in the south of Landes, but the sky was bright and things would slowly warm up throughout the day. First checks of the local breaks were promising with glass waves on a rising tide that suggested another fun day of surf. But that probably meant also the same crazy crowds and unmanerly players judging from the previous days.
That’s where a bit of experience of the region is helpful when time comes to escape from the mess. Fortunately, this coast stretches over miles of empty beaches, so there’s obviously a few sandbars here or there that are just pumping with no one or almost around. However, to play alone, you’d better know a thing or two: about the hidden accesses to these secrets and when the sandbanks are good, since they are constantly changing from one swell to another.
In these conditions, the ultimate weapon is a bike. The only way to investigate the coast further is exploring dirt tracks winding through a mixed wood forest of pine. Driving there is prohibited, anyway driving, biking, walking or whatever is at the risk of getting lost in a maze of forest paths, with few chances of finding good banks.
But if you had the chance of being initiated, like I was years ago, finding yourself riding a bike loaded with board, wetsuit, water, food and others in tree labyrinths and dunes can be well worth the effort. Not to mention the stoke of being on your own in this sanctuary. As far as I’m concerned, these moments are savoured at fair value, fugit irreparabile tempus.
Despite clean conditions on the pictures above, the swell generated by ex Cat. 1 hurricane Leslie and Cat. 3 hurricane Michael was a bit below expectations. Tide too low over the window of offshore winds, made worse by high tidal coefficients, all this resulted in fast and shifty waves on the exposed beachbeaks. Landes sandbars are fairly fickle especially as the swell gets bigger in size. But as everyone knows they can also get pretty much perfect, so better luck next time!
Now the question is what post tropical cyclone Nadine will do. Until now, it takes a rather unusual southward trajectory. Not so promising for the west area but chances to impact the Mediterranean are growing and maps start to predict a bit of activity. At least things should be interesting the next few days.