The North Atlantic sure has been busy this winter.
With the spring equinox just behind us, days now winning both battles and the war with its old foe night, things are both warming up and settling down.
Grape and kiwi vines in bud, riotous cherry blossom about to burst. At the time of writing, a muscular XL swell is about to bear down on the Continent as a kind of last hurrah of winter surf, but broadly speaking, Biscay and the western approaches are about to go into a well deserved recovery state.
If the swell season was a vinyasa yoga session, it’s on its back in Savasana, surrendering psychological effort in blissful neutrality; reflecting on the moment, anticipating the instructor padding around putting a blanket on it, misting it gently with fragranced water.
Has it been the best winter ever in SW France for surf? Very possibly. It definitely started and ended really well. November and February were all-time, weeks upon weeks of offshore winds and the swell never really dropping much below 8-10ft and clean. Between, Dec and the New Year had rare OK moments, but were largely howling, pissing down, end times grim.
When it was pump o’clock, the kink in coast from La Graviere up to Les Culs Nus was the focus of the action; surely this 1500m or so strip of sand is now the global epicentre of the step-off scene. A relatively tight crew of participants including the likes of Joan Duru, Marc Lacomare, PV Laborde, Vincent Duvignac, Jeremy Flores, Remi Arauzo, Leo Havion, Miky Picon, Aritz Aranburu, Kyllian Guerin and Sam Piter stuffed themselves into deep, heavy caverns with alarming regularity.
The Duru wave that wraps up this edit from Ripitup.fr surely has to be the most monumental backside tube ever ridden in Hossegor? Colossal from every angle.
These last couple of weeks, after months of relentless pummelling from giant swells, somehow the banks have lined up in Seignosse as cartoon good renditions of surfing peaks; rights and lefts triangulating down sculpted sandbars. A few weeks of clean, 6ft and under NW groundswells with warm light airs in March has turned the joint from survival stance spit hosed exits, to mid face swoops and roundhouse revelry.
The appropriate mantra might be simply to enjoy it while it lasts. The swell, sure. But also, the coast. Earth as we know it. According to this projection of sea levels at current warming rates, most of Hossegor and Capbreton will be underwater in less than twenty years anyway.