It’s a supremely hard job being the world tour commissioner in France.
Just imagine it: every morning you arrive in the dark and gaze out towards the rumbling ocean, wondering what challenges will face you that day. Persistent sea mist perhaps? Unforecast winds? Or just the stock standard rapidly shifting tides, sandbars and peaks, which hold the potential to turn your obvious call into a laughable one in a matter of minutes.
As the sun begins to tickle the cloud lining the horizon, and hundreds of staff and thousands of fans wait for your verdict, a mic is foisted into your face by Rosy Hodge. You catch a glimpse of yourself in the monitor, and realise how dreadfully weary you look in the shadow of her radiance.
You’ve seen some fun ones through the gloom, so you call it on, but in the back of your mind there’s a nagging feeling that somewhere along Les Landes stretch of golden sands there are far better waves breaking.
You know too, that later that evening as you pour a beer through your sun-cracked lips, you’ll be inundated with footage and images of this superior peak, complete with brutal chastising of you and your inability to transport the contest to wherever it happened to be.
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Yesterday afternoon, this tough little scenario befell poor KP. As he pushed on into round two, the best session of the year so far was unfolding just up the beach on La Graviere’s hallowed sandbars. Veteran surf photog Pete Bosko reckoned it was pumping for 8 hours straight, adding that he’d ‘never been anywhere in the world and saw what he saw today.’
There’ll no doubt be plenty of video highlights in the coming weeks, in the meantime, here are some of our favourite shots from the session:
(click to enlarge)
It wasn’t all about the barrels, for lunatics like Kael Walsh, full rotations were a viable alternative to straightening out on a six foot close out section….
All photos @lugarts