Off the coast of Brittany sits a small island called Quéménès.
It is barely inhabited, playing host to only a small farm which houses just one family. Thanks to its position, the island is frequently battered by Atlantic swells, but due to violent currents around its coastline, the surf is almost inaccessible.
However in the hollow of the island, lies a small area protected from these fierce currents, with a decent outcrop of reef.
“I’ve surfed in Quéménès for 10 years. There are good conditions about 20 times a year… and I’m always alone in the spot!” David Cuisinier current island occupant told us.
“We need a 3-4m swell from SW to W, that generates 1.5m waves on Quéménès. Best conditions are in spring and autumn, last weekend we had great conditions – offshore winds, 2m waves, when it’s good, it’s good at Quéménès.”
With the current inhabitants David and Soizic Cuisnier leaving the island, France’s Coastal Protection Agency (Conservatoire du Littoral) are looking for someone to take up the baton.
For a couple looking for a perfectly isolated hideaway, with untouched waves, this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
After thousands of years of human occupation, the last owners of Quéménès left the island farm 25 years ago. The Conservatoire bought the farm, all they needed was a couple to run it: the Cuisiners.
The main condition of the Cuisniers’ lease was that they would have to earn their livelihood. So for the last 10 years, David and Soizic have fished, herded sheep and even cultivated edible seaweed and grew the (somewhat) famous potato of Quéménès. What did they get in return? the chance to surf and dive along their own private coastline and live on a beautiful scenic island.
They also manage a cozy little cottage, appreciated by the odd curious surfer looking for a bit of tranquility.
Coming here was an act of glorious folly. But it turned into the most wonderful adventure.
After falling out with the Conservatoire over rent and a need for their children to be closer to school, the couple have decided to leave the island.
A french web series ‘Lost in Swell’ which explores surf spots in the north-west of France, showed that the main reef break on the island has some serious potential.
There are 20 ‘serious’ candidates lined up to replace them and the deadline for applications has just closed. The lucky successors will be appointed in the coming weeks and they should arrive in the new year.
I’ve surfed on Quéménès for 10 years. There are good conditions about 20 times a year… and I’m always alone on the spot!
The Cuisineres are heartbroken to depart, but leave with good memories: “Coming here was an act of glorious folly. But it turned into the most wonderful adventure. We developed the farm into a successful business. We raised a family. It has been unforgettable.” they told the BBC.
Despite the isolation of the island, the couple have managed to live a normal life. By using the resources on the island, such as generating electricity from a wind turbine and solar panels and their water from the island well, they really do lead the wild, embedded within nature, lifestyle so many surfers crave.
“The fact is we live in modern times. We have the internet, we have constant visitors. Never once have we felt alone!”
Cover photo: L’île de Quéménès
Meet more surfers living off the grid:
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Meet A Couple Living Off The Grid In Cornwall
This Isn’t #Vanlife- Meet A Homeless Man Who Lives In A Beach Car Park & Surfs Everyday