If you’ve surfed much around Euro ends like Hossegor, Ericeira, further afield in the Lesser Antilles – or merely followed Wozzle QS webcasts from afar, you might well have noticed the smooth aquatic gallop of Tim Bisso. The compact 24-year-old goofyfoot from Guadeloupe surfs with an unmistakable spring in his step; as he banks low in bottom turn or breaches lip line, a shock of blond lock swings aft to accentuate flow and cornering speed.
Having stepped out of the sweet breezes of his native Caribbean and rubbered up to battle Europe’s stony-faced competitive front runners, Tim’s lycra game has seen him secure a coveted spot as one of just 10 Euro qualifiers for the inaugural Challenger Series in 2021. Visa strife with US Immigration means he can’t attend the US Open or Hawaii this year, which makes his pending qualification job unjustly tough, albeit much more simplified, in terms of requirements.
En route, he’s hooked up with Salty Crew, the brand represented by an assorted crew of global rippers, from Meolas to Hobgoods and many between, all sharing a seafaring passion for catching their own shiny, swimming suppers. We wanted to know more.
WL: What’s your vibes, Tim?
TB: Summer’s been pretty fun. There was actually not too much surf in Portugal where I live, so I came up to France. We’ve had some fun waves, I’ve been surfing a lot, around Capbreton or wherever’s good. These days you can just check social media to find clips of where the spot is, then rock up the next day (laughs).
Tell us more about joining Salty Crew.
The brand is pretty epic, and it was a great fit for me. My dad’s really into spearfishing, my uncle is a fisherman by trade, two of my best friends back home in Guadeloupe are super into fishing, so it’s like part of my bloodline (laughs). I think I’ve a really good alignment with the brand. It took a while to work it all out with the pandemic, but I’m stoked to be on the team.
How have you found switching from Gwada to Europe?
I always came here as a kid, the first time when I was 14, I rented an apartment in Hossegor and spent a whole winter by myself, I just wanted to be around all the good surfers. It was too hard man, too cold. Wetties, gloves, boots, it was too drastic; I couldn’t handle it for a few years after that. The summer’s OK but winter was brutal. A couple of years ago I hooked up with Zé (Seabra), Tiago Pires’ old coach. I didn’t think I needed a coach at the time (laughs), but eventually, I figured it out. I decided to trust this guy, moved to Ericeira… and then I was just, ‘Wow, what‘s this place?’ Waves everywhere, beaches, reefs, points, people super nice in and out of the water, food great. So I was like ‘OK, never mind about France, I’m staying here…’
Who do you surf with in Ericeira?
I surf with a local grom called Aaron, guys like Miguel Blanco… Andy Criere just moved there too, Kanoa when he’s in town. There’s so many good surfers there. Most of the time, I like to surf Pedro Branca and Coxos, like everyone else. Crazy Left too, when it’s windy, N swell, there’s not too many crew on it.
Apart from surfing or fishing, what else keeps you out of mischief? Are you training much?
Man, the stairs at Ribeira d’Ilhas are enough (laughs). They’re a pain in the ass, super steep, that’s plenty of work out. Other than that, I’m just trying to surf all day.
The Challenger Series is just around the corner, are you psyched?
Yeah I can’t wait. It’s a bummer but I’m not going to the first event, the US Open; a year ago I tried to enter the US coming back from Indo with my girlfriend, I’d lost my credit card, and they didn‘t let me in, and I got permanently banned. I’ve been talking with WSL for months, trying to find a solution for a getting a visa, but it takes 6-8 months, and they stopped it for 2021. So it’s a bummer because we dont have many Challenger Series events, but it is what it is.
Two big ones coming up in Europe though, in your two home-from-homes…
Yeah I’m super happy to compete in Ericeira and Hossegor. Last winter I worked every single day as a waiter back in Guadeloupe, I didn’t know if surfing was ever gonna come around again, so I wanted to make sure I had some money to be able to travel and do the comps if needs be. So then getting a big result in spring [2nd at Santa Cruz QS] and following it with an OK result in Caparica was a big pay off, that set my whole year up.
Waiting tables is even more of a grind than the Q…
I wouldn’t wish working in the restaurant business on anyone, it’s tough. It certainly made me appreciate and enjoy my surfing. So yeah, now I need two finals in Europe to make it on the CT, so at least I know what I need, that part’s easy. I’ve got no real pressure, it’s been a great year. I just want to step up and show my best surfing.
Salty Crew‘s latest movie, ’Not Far From Here’ premieres in the UK in a few weeks at The Wavelength Surf Film Festival, if you like tubes, airs and fish, it looks amazing.
Man, that film looks so sick, from what I’ve seen. Matt Meola’s doing some crazy shit, some of the clips I’ve seen of him are insane. My good friend from Guadeloupe, Marin Larretche, is actually in there too, spearing some huge fish, you wouldn’t believe how big a fish he can get with a speargun. But yeah, the film looks great, can’t wait to see the whole thing.