All was pretty quiet on the mean streets of Capbreton this morning. Well, very quiet.
I got up about 6 to take the dog for a walk. He didn’t fancy it. Perhaps sensing something amiss, he minced cautiously towards the end of the deck, sniffed upwards towards the windless drizzle falling softly in the pre dawn, and scampered back to his basket to wait for better omens.
Seeing as I already had my coat and wellies on, I decided to hop on the bike and have a look at the sea anyway.
The reason for my particularly early start was a text my wife got last night, with a rumour that France was going to go on lockdown as of tonight (Monday 16th).
With all schools already shut indefinitely, all shops except supermarkets, as well as bars, cinemas, etc, the next step would be to follow the likes of Italy and Spain and stop folk leaving home, except to go to work or in case of emergency.
And yes, I did get several texts from friends overseas about only ‘essential’ shops being open, like tabacs. FYI tabacs, as well as selling cigs, perform the noble duty of distributing France’s fiercely guarded free press, bringing the people important printed fare such as newspapers and of course magazines.
Anyway. Yesterday’s thumping swell had dropped quite a bit, it had that clean but bumpy vibe to it. With a big tide going out, it generally means the surf wants to try and get worse by the set. I literally never surf breakfast time on a dropping tide, much better to let it turn and warm up a bit and surf later, forward slash never.
But with thoughts of a possible surf ban coming in to force (as part of the broader lockdown), like the one in Portugal, I decided I needed to try and stockpile me some stoke – Poseidon’s bog roll.
Former CT surfer Joan Duru was in the lineup, as was Maud le Car. Joan ripped across a few lefts but probably wasn’t getting waves at his usual frequency.
Other than that there were only about 6 people out along the whole beach, which is normally one of the more crowded spots in Capbreton/Hossegor, and therefore by extension, Europe/the world.
Why wasn’t anybody else pre lockdown panic surfing? Maybe they were all queueing outside the tabac, I reasoned.
I said, “ça-va Joan?“
He’s not much of a talker.
A girl on a bodyboard was kind of kicking for a sucky left that I was deeper on, but also a bit too far inside for. She looked at me questioningly, and I committed. Realising I was way too late, but also very conscious that I’d just kinda blocked her for the wave with at least one other person watching, I had to take off anyway.
I proned the take off, and despite only having been in the lineup for less than 20 mins, realised the only acceptable thing to do would be to belly the thing all the way until the Bradley twin’s fins ground the sand, then go home.
If that is to be my last wave for the foreseeable future, or perhaps, without meaning to be melodramatic, ever, well then I guess it’s how I was meant to be remembered.