Lockdown 2.0 has felt a little less oppressive than the spring confinement in SW France – so far at least.
Maybe in part because police resources are stretched making sure schools and teachers are safe from attack. Local groms at Capbreton’s Saint Exupéry school were greeted by gendarmes with automatic weapons for the rentrée after half term early this week.
Maybe in part because the authorities have realised that the previous lockdown’s anti-surfing measures were a bit… over the top. (Update: the surfers arrested at gunpoint by helicopter landing on the dune still haven’t received any fines through the post).
Unlike spring, beaches remain open for exercise, and there are special dispensations for surfing for certain individuals; pro surfers, surf coaches, handi-surf organisations using surfing as therapy can access the lineups and waves.
As a result, being in the water with a board isn’t necessarily a crime in itself.
View this post on Instagram
Vincent Duvignac, Hossegor during the Epsilon swell, very possibly one of the best photos ever taken at La Nord.
Nevertheless people are still getting fines for shredding this week, €135 euros for a first infringement, which rises rapidly for repeat offences. With conditions 6ft plus and offshore all week until dropping off to under head high today, it’s been far too tempting for many to resist.
Despite the relative leniency, there’s a rumour going around that as police officers chased a surfer up and down the beach at La Nord in Hossegor on Wednesday, in the ensuing confusion, someone sympathetic to the surfer’s cause slashed the tyres of the Gendarmes vehicle parked up by the beach.
Probably not a great idea.
It’s unclear whether anyone was apprehended, and whether or not the tyre slashing – a well-known if relatively rare locals only tactic – was metered out by means of a perceived second offence by the cops, after a previous waxing of their windscreen failed to ensure compliance.
Cover image: La Nord, Hossegor. Photo: Comité Surf Landes/Rip Curl