Biarritz has an amazing assortment of beaches. There’s the little swimming beach, tucked amongst columns and salt-sprayed restaurants. There’s the Grand Plage (pictured), indeed grand with its sweeping promenade, framed by a lighthouse and viewing platform. Then there’s the surf beach, where hundreds of longboarders descend to appreciate the vast lines of waves, rolling in one after the other like a conveyor belt.
I ached to surf, but given we only had an afternoon we settled on bodysurfing. This resulted in Ian getting his head surfed over in his determination to catch a particularly good wave that some surfers were also eyeing off, but after a year in Cambridge he can afford to lose a few brain cells.
Surf is of course variable, so perhaps we just caught the Biarritz surf beach on particularly good days. But I suspect the crisp, glassy curls that seem to fondle the surfers as they tiptoe towards the front of their boards are characteristic waves for Biarritz. For me, this is ideal surf.
I thought fondly of my South African longboard that sits neglected in my mum’s shed at home, too long to fit in cars for most surf trips in these days of fuel efficiency worries. I bought it from an English guy who was trading to a shortboard halfway through his round the world trip, who brought it into the surf shop I worked in as a teenager. Since then it’s had some traumatic experiences like being whipped in a Glenelg storm that landed it in board hospital, and being the subject of a custody battle with my ex boyfriend.
I vowed that, if I win the lottery (or perhaps get a good enough paying job down the track), I will buy a place in Biarritz and take my longboard there, where it can live amongst its kind and serve me well on my annual trips to France.
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